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What Type of Moisturizer is Best for My Skin?

facial moisturizers

Moisturizer is a vital part of skin care for many reasons. First, it creates a barrier between the skin and the area that holds water in the epidermis. The right moisturizer should leave your skin feeling hydrated, smooth, soft and protect the skin from the harsh environment and pollution.

Second, it is ‘the fountain of youth’ meaning that it helps skin retain it’s moisturize. (As we age, skin loses its moisture and therefore appears to have aged. Moisturizer reduces this process greatly.)

facial moisturizers

However, there are so many types of moisturizer on the market today, how do you know which one is right for your skin type? Though finding your ‘perfect’ skin care regimen for your skin does take some trial and error, I hope this list can help make that step a little bit easier. (If you don’t know what your skin type is, my post How to Find Your Skin Type might help.)

Dry skin

Dry skin needs a heavier formula, so oil-based moisturizers work best. Oil based moisturizers completely absorb into the skin and leaves it feeling ridiculously soft and supple. One that comes to mind is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer, which contains mineral oil. If you have dry skin yet are prone to acne, opt for a normal moisturizer (that is oil free) and apply two ‘layers’ (as opposed to one) twice a day, morning and night.

Normal skin

Lucky you! Your skin has a healthy moisture balance and doesn’t need anything too ‘serious’. Find any moisturizer that works for you (water based is the most gentle) and slather it on twice a day, morning and night.

Oily and combination skin

All my fellow combo skin sisters, hands up! Our skin type benefits from oil-free and water based moisturizers, so make sure the first thing you read in a potential moisturizer is “oil-free”. Also, look for key words such as “non-comedogenic” and “for acne-prone skin”. Test out some moisturizers that give a soft yet matte finish, which minimizes shine.

Sensitive Skin

Again, this is my skin type as well! For those prone to rashes, peeling skin, redness and flushed skin, avoid moisturizers with fragrance and dyes. Or, why not try an organic formula? Look for gentle formulas specially targeted for sensitive skin.


And there we have it! I hope my tips have helped. What kind of skin do you have, and what type of moisturizer do you use? As I mentioned, I have combo sensitive skin – my skin is dry except for my cheeks and nose, and is quite sensitive (redness, itching and flushed skin is common with me!). The only moisturizer that has worked greatly with my skin is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which I have been using for years (check out my raving review here)!

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Ri January 17, 2012, 1:19 am

    I have the same skin type as you, right down to the dry but only oily on the cheeks and nose area! *high 5* I’ve been using Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel too and I love love love it. Not sticky and most importantly not oily! It actually feels like my skin is “drinking” it up, as weird as that sounds. But it has to be the gel version, not the lotion one. Clinique sometimes gives away free samples of the lotion version and I usually give them back because I’m too afraid of putting anything too lotion-y/oily on my skin :/

    • Renee January 17, 2012, 10:07 pm

      Hahah HIGH FIVE!!! Sigh… silly skin. It can’t make up its mind!

      Omg I totally agree with your whole comment… it has to be the Gel version, and I too feel that my skin just laps it up! When I first started using Clinique I used the Lotion, but while it was great – my skin was suuuper soft – it made it so oily. So thank goodness they came out with an oil-free version! :D

  • elena January 17, 2012, 2:32 am

    i have an oily skin that drives me crazy! i use a nivea moisturizer that is very light and has FPS 15. i know it’s not enough but for my tipe of skin i can’t put more things on it. also i have large pores that you can see from a mile, so i’m kind of searching some tipe of moisturizer that could help me in this way too. what would you recommend?

    sorry for my english, i’m from Chile (it’s in south america) :)

    • Renee January 17, 2012, 10:05 pm

      Elena, your English is perfect :) If you have trouble reading my blog, did you see that I put a Translate option on the sidebar? Just look underneath my picture, you can translate my blog to your language if that will be easier for you!

      Oily skin – Clinique!!! It’s so good. The gel version… just make sure whatever you use, it’s an oil free version.

  • Apoo January 17, 2012, 5:45 am

    do you recommend using a different moisturiser during the day and a different one at night? I want to find a good moisturiser with SPF for the day and a thicker moisturiser for before bed. Any suggestions? I have combination skin.

    • Renee January 17, 2012, 10:03 pm

      I suppose you could, though I personally think, that like eye creams and serums… an extra moisturizer is just a gimmick for you to spend more money :P But if you think it works, then you should go for it!

      Unfortunately I don’t have any recommendations, as I mentioned I’ve been using Clinique for years so haven’t tried anything else. :(

      Can any readers help Apoo out?

      • Apoo January 18, 2012, 2:33 pm

        Hmmm true, do you suggest using the same moisturiser morning and night plus SPF in the morning?

        • Renee January 18, 2012, 11:28 pm

          Yep, that’s why I personally do and I think it works. :) I think the only except is that if you have problem skin (like really dry skin), then maybe you might need a more thicker/potent moisturizer at night. But since you have combo skin, I think you won’t need that!

  • Tammi January 18, 2012, 6:29 pm

    Hmmm, I would say my skin is generally dry to normal but our dear island’s infamous humidity pushes it a little to the combination side sometimes (could the weather be a major factor in determining or at least affecting skin type, though?). I’m alternating between two moisturizers at the moment, one is Clean & Clear and the other is St. Ives. I honestly never really paid that much attention to whether something is oil-free, water-based etc when purchasing moisturizer, though! Guess I will do so the next time I’m buying one (:

    • Renee January 18, 2012, 11:29 pm

      Hey Tammi! Oh, I have no idea St. Ives made moisturizers! I always only saw their facial scrubs, but I guess they’d make it all for the skin. :D

  • Shumei January 20, 2012, 9:56 am

    I’m not sure I agree. I used to think that oil was really bad for acne prone skin but I tried the Suki balancing oil a few months ago and it really works well for acne prone skin!

  • review of moisturizers February 16, 2012, 6:19 pm

    Natural remedies are always helpful in skin type issues because they don’t have any side effects and they are easy to use as well as economical. You can try this it’s a homemade moisturizer: Honey is humectants which moisturizes our skin. Mix ½ honey, ½ a lemon, 3 tbs. yogurt and a whipped egg white and apply to face. Let stand for 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.

  • Beatriz February 22, 2012, 3:19 am

    My skin is super oily and acne prone. The only products that helped me are from the Body Shop, they are made from Tea Tree Oil and they are amazing. They cleared my skin without salicylic acid (it’s completely natural!) and it is completely cruelty free as they don’t test on animals. My favorite moisturizer though, is Clean and Clear Finishes Mattifying Moisturizer

  • Beatriz February 22, 2012, 3:21 am

    * I try not to use Clean and Clear products, but it is great at reducing shine and although it leaves my skin a little white-ish, if mixed with my foundation, it leaves my skin in the perfect state of matte and dewy. Must buy! (I’m from South America, so please excuse my english)

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