Between blazing heat indoors and frigid temps, harsh wind, and bright sun outside, your skin can take quite a beating in the winter. Even those who don’t usually deal with dry skin might suddenly find their faces feeling irritated, red, and cracked in the colder months. While you don’t need to overhaul your whole skincare routine to address these changes, if you’re dealing with drier skin than normal, now’s the perfect time to introduce a moisturizer for winter dry skin.
So what makes a good heavy-duty moisturizer? Part of it is the texture: Rather than the lightweight gels and thin lotions that you might use in the summer, look for thicker, richer creams. If you’re worried about your skin looking greasy, use a heavier moisturizer before bedtime. If you have really dry skin, don’t be afraid to use an overnight cream in the morning; just keep in mind that if it has active ingredients like retinol you’ll need sun protection as well. (Even in winter, it’s a good idea to apply a UV-blocking product daily).
In addition to a heavier texture, you’ll also want to focus on a few specific ingredients when shopping for a moisturizer for winter dry skin. Look for creams with humectants, which attract water to the top layer of skin to help combat flakiness and cracking. Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, and glycerin are some examples. These are best paired with occlusives, which prevent moisture loss by creating a lipid barrier atop the skin. That category includes ingredients like shea butter, squalane, and many natural oils. A good winter moisturizer will often include both.
Read on for our picks of the best winter moisturizers, including picks for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and more.
The Best Moisturizers for Winter Dry Skin
1. Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream
Youth to the People’s rich moisturizing cream provides hydration via several key ingredients: squalane, which mimics skin’s natural oils, a mix of adaptogens that act as antioxidants to protect the skin from external stresses, and shea butter for its restorative properties. This everyday cream is also good for dealing with redness and skin sensitivity.[$58; youthtothepeople.com]
2. Asystem Overnight Rebuilding Cream
Supplement brand Asystem takes a holistic approach to grooming—in addition to this cream, it offers a full skincare line. The brand’s overnight cream is particularly helpful for renewing tired-looking skin thanks to its blend of vitamins C and E, which promotes the regeneration of skin cells, while avocado oil provides healing moisture.[$28; asystem.com]
3. Hawthorne Ultra Rich Face Lotion
Though formulated for dry skin types, Hawthorne’s Ultra Rich Face Lotion is good for anyone looking for extra hydration. The non-comedogenic formula (it won’t clog your pores) uses almond oil and shea butter for nourishment, while centella asiatica extract soothes red or irritated skin.[$16; hawthorne.co]
4. Geologie Repairing Night Cream
With .05 percent retinol, Geologie’s night cream boosts skin cell turnover to reduce signs of aging. It also includes niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to help restore the skin’s plumpness and provide hydration.[$55; geologie.com]
5. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
Kiehl’s has a large array of creams, lotions, and moisturizers in its lineup, but the Ultra Facial Cream is a classic for a reason. It might be heavier than what you’re used to, but a little goes a long way. The formula includes glycerin, a naturally occurring component in the skin that acts as a humectant, as well as squalane to restore the skin’s protective barrier and prevent moisture loss.[$22–$68; kiehls.com]
6. Humanrace Humidifying Cream
Pharrell let the world in on his skincare secrets with the launch of his Humanrace line last year. The products sold out quickly on their initial launch, so now’s the time to try them if you missed out on the first drop. The brand’s Humidifying Cream is vegan and cruelty-free, and it features moisturizing ingredients like snow mushroom extract and hyaluronic acid.[$48; humanrace.com]
7. Jack Black Overnight Repair Moisturizer
Oils are a popular and effective ingredient in heavy moisturizers, but if you’re concerned about breakouts, try Jack Black’s overnight cream. The oil-free formula includes salicylic acid to combat acne and it hydrates the skin with hyaluronic acid.[$40; getjackblack.com]
8. Malin + Goetz Advanced Renewal Cream
Malin + Goetz’s Advanced Renewal Cream relies on a mix of jojoba oil, squalane, and lipids, also called fatty acids, to restore skin moisture levels. Geranium and lavender oils give the product a refreshing, luxurious scent—an ideal pick if you’re looking to elevate your skincare routine.[$94; spacenk.com]
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