How to use moisturizer, according to experts
- November 10, 2022 |Last updated on 10/21/2023
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Moisturizing your face has become a key care step in even the most basic skincare routines.
Why moisturize? To hydrate and protect your skin. Regular use of a moisturizer can help reduce skin issues such as oiliness or dryness and can also camouflage blemishes. Moisturizers are mostly water-based creams or lotions with oils added to keep the water in your skin.
“Moisturizers use key ingredients such as humectants to draw moisture in, emollients to soften and smooth the skin, and occlusives to lock moisture in,” dermatologist Marisa Garshick told Real Simple.
Showering or cleaning your skin removes natural oils, and moisturizers replenish that while improving the texture of your skin.
How To Use Moisturizer
There are some best practices when it comes to how to use moisturizer.
First, and perhaps most obvious, is to make sure your skin is completely clean before applying it.
Next, you’ll “lock in” the most amount of moisture in your skin if you apply moisturizer immediately after washing your face so that it’s still a bit damp. Don’t waste any time. A steamy bathroom helps, but water quickly evaporates from your skin after you shower.
If you’re putting on other skin care treatments like toner, serums or oils, apply them from lightest to the heaviest. You may also want to spritz your face with water right before moisturizing since toners and the like can dry your face.
If your face is still damp with toner, don’t wait. Apply your moisturizer on your still moist skin, according to aesthetician Renee Rouleau, who spoke to Byrdie on the subject.
“Your skin cells are like fish — they need water to live, so leaving toner damp on your skin is a great way for your moisturizer to lock in all the hydrating benefits that toners offer,” Rouleau said. “It doesn’t have to be dripping wet — just damp.”
Apply a quarter-sized drop of your moisturizer in a circular, upward motion, patting it in. Work your way from the outside in because the T-zone in the middle of your face tends to be oilier. Don’t forget your neck.
Ideally, you should moisturize twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. A great option for your daytime moisturizer is one with sunscreen already in it. You’ll avoid an extra step and make sure your skin is protected from the sun; just note that you may be getting less sun protection than the container says, since other ingredients dilute the SPF. Dermatologists recommend getting a moisturizer with at least 30 SPF. Also, don’t forget that you need SPF around your eyes.
Before trying any new skin product, test it out in a small patch on your inner arm to see if you have a reaction.
Now for some of the top-selling, highest-rated moisturizers on Amazon, each of which works on different types of skin.
For Dry Skin:
Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Extra-Dry sells for $19.45 right now. This lightweight moisturizer has hyaluronic acid in it and is fragrance-free. Amazon reviewers give it 4.7 out of 5-stars in over 39,500 ratings.
You can also get Hydro Boost with SPF 25 in it.
“As someone who uses tretinoin and experiences pretty uncomfortable dryness, this stuff has saved me,” wrote Amazon reviewer Emily Costa. “After just one use with this product, however, I’ve noticed a drastic difference. I haven’t experienced even the slightest bit of dryness since I started using this product.”
For especially dry skin, you might want to add in Ancient Greek Remedy’s body oil, which can be used on your face and other parts of your body, including hair and nails. The brand’s oil, which is a mixture of organic olive, lavender, almond, grapeseed and vitamin E oils, comes in a 4-ounce spray bottle and is currently selling for $14.99.
For Oily Skin:
Differin’s Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30 costs $11.37 each but you can get it for $9.41 if you add it to your Subscribe and Save and clip a $1.98 coupon. It mattifies your complexion using a micropearl technology, according to the company. Differin has long been associated with acne treatment, so this might be a good bet for those struggling with outbreaks.
This moisturizer has 4.5 out of 5-stars in more than 21,000 ratings.
One Amazon customer who called it a “life-changer miracle” said, “I’m so extremely grateful I gave this product a try because it worked within a week to get my acne under control! A miracle. It did however dry out my thick oily skin pretty good; even Accutane never dried out my face like this but nothing a little moisturizer couldn’t help.”
CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30 is also well-rated for oily skin and remains a trusted brand name.
For Sensitive Skin:
Vanicream Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 is currently selling for $14.24 on Amazon. This moisturizer is free from dyes, fragrances, lanolin, parabens and formaldehyde releases, according to the maker. It also uses a mineral-based, zinc oxide sunscreen and is formulated with ceramides for effective hydration.
Vanicream has made products for people with sensitive skin since the 1970s. This one gets 4.6 out of 5 stars with ratings from more than 11,200 customers.
“This product does look and feel a lot like a non-sunscreen moisturizer (maybe just a tad thicker, but not as thick as a typical physical sunscreen),” wrote Amazon reviewer Liew. “It has a dewy finish, which I love … I am very fair, but the product is so sheer that I don’t imagine it would leave a white cast even on darker skin.”
L’Oreal Paris Skincare Collagen Moisture Filler is selling for $8.98 if you buy it as a one-time purchase. But if you add it to your Subscribe and Save it costs $8.53, and you can also click a 65-cent coupon on top of that. The collagen-based format of this moisturizer helps fill in fine lines and wrinkles.
It has 4.5 out of 5-stars in more than 48,300 ratings, and many Amazon reviewers say they prefer to use it at night.
Amazon reviewer Raena said that she’s 36 with “light wrinkles around my eyes, in between my eyebrows and above my eyebrows and they are legit practically invisible now, or at least faded substantially after about one week of using this stuff — like magic! It also did not cause me to break out, and I was able to use it with my normal cleanser and toner.”
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 uses a “Total Soy Complex” to help with skin tone and texture, is hypoallergenic, and has oxybenzone-free sunscreen in it. Plus, it has 4.6 out of 5-stars.
Another very highly reviewed sunscreen that features physical sunblock zinc oxide EltaMD UV Clear with SPF 46.
Now that you know how to use moisturizer, these recommendations should help you face the world with smooth, dewy skin!