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The 17 Best Hydrating Moisturizers in 2024

The 17 Best Hydrating Moisturizers in 2024
Blu Atlas

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The whole purpose of moisturizers is that they’re hydrating, but some are better at that job than others. If you have dry skin or just want a moisturizer that will quench your skin’s thirst, start with this list of the best hydrating moisturizers in 2024.

Why is Skin Hydration Important?

Skin hydration is essential to your skin’s health, appearance, and comfort. Keeping skin moisturized increases its elasticity, helping it appear plumper and more firm for longer. Since dehydrated skin is more vulnerable to sun damage, keeping skin moisturized is a great way of protecting it.

In fact, your skin has a moisture barrier, which keeps moisture in and irritants out. By consistently applying hydrating products to your skin, you reinforce that barrier for greater comfort and less dryness, itching, redness, and other annoying symptoms.

You may think you don’t need skin hydration if you have oily skin, but the opposite is true! Keeping skin properly moisturized can actually cut back on your skin’s sebum production, which means your pores won’t clog, keeping your skin free from breakouts and that overly greasy look. Basically, no matter your skin issues—from aging to breakouts, dryness, damage, and more—skin hydration is what you need.

How Do Moisturizers Work?

To understand how moisturizers work, you need to understand how the skin works. There are three layers of skin: the hypodermis (the deepest layer), the dermis (the middle layer), and the epidermis (the surface layer). Typically, moisture gets to the middle layer of skin through the blood vessels. That moisture then flows to the epidermis, where it evaporates into the air. The dryer the environment, the more moisture is lost through the epidermis.

Moisturizers aid in these processes in two different ways. Typically, they pull moisture through the skin using humectant ingredients or seal it in from above using emollients or occlusives. Some moisturizers also get the job done using ingredients that support the skin’s natural moisture barrier, like ceramides.

Many products also contain exfoliating ingredients that help loosen the bonds that hold on old, dead skin, allowing the surface of the skin to be smoother so that the moisturizing ingredients can better penetrate.

By smoothing out skin, replacing moisture, backing up the skin’s moisture barrier, and locking moisture in, moisturizers keep your skin well hydrated. This is especially important if you have dry skin or live in a dry environment.

What to Look for in a Hydrating Moisturizer

Here is what to look for in a hydrating moisturizer:

  • Ceramides: Ceramides are lipids that are naturally found in the skin. Moisturizers bolster the natural skin barrier and repair dry skin. Since low levels of ceramides are related to skin issues like eczema or dryness, moisturizers that contain ceramides are important for those with skin conditions.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Your body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, a slippery, lubricating substance that keeps skin elastic and helps it retain moisture. Because this ingredient can hold so much water, it’s excellent for hydrating and also happens to be an anti-aging secret.
  • Glycerin: Glycerin can act either as a humectant or emollient, depending on the concentration. That means it can either draw moisture through the layers of your skin or seal it in from the top layer. This ingredient is found in most skincare products.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is a great natural hydrator that comes with soothing benefits, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin. It binds moisture to the skin, preventing transepidermal water loss.
  • Shea Butter: Shea butter is rich in fatty acids, which are the building blocks of healthy cells and also keep the moisture barrier strong. Since this ingredient also calms irritation, it’s a great option for those with sensitive or eczema-prone skin.
  • Panthenol: This ingredient, a form of vitamin B5, attracts moisture to the skin, allowing it to get and stay moisturized from the inside out. It also happens to promote wound healing.
  • Squalane: Squalane is a part of sebum, the substance your skin creates to keep it hydrated. When used in a moisturizer, squalane helps keep your skin’s moisture barrier intact so that it is protected. This ingredient is especially helpful for those with naturally dry skin.
  • Natural Oils: There are lots of natural oils that are found in clean skincare products, like coconut, jojoba, or avocado. These oils typically provide the skin with moisture but also come with additional benefits like vitamins and minerals that keep the skin healthy.
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids: These naturally derived acids serve as exfoliating agents, getting rid of accumulated skin cells. While they won’t moisturize on their own, the inclusion of AHAs in a formula helps the other moisturizing ingredients get further into the skin.
  • Clean Formulas: Search for formulas with ingredients that come from natural sources, such as plants and minerals. These are less irritating to the skin and bring plenty of benefits in addition to hydrating properties. Make sure that the moisturizers do not contain phthalates, parabens, or formaldehyde, which can irritate the skin and may be toxic to the body.
  • Unscented or Naturally Scented Products: Similarly, opt for products that are unscented or have a natural scent, as these will go easier on your skin. Moisturizers that contain artificial fragrances may be drying, undoing their positive effects.

Moisturizer FAQs

Just to make sure you understand the purpose of moisturizers and how to choose the right one for you, check out these FAQs.

How often should you use moisturizer?

Experts recommend moisturizing your face twice a day after cleansing. Basically, any time you wash your face you should follow up with moisturizer, whether that’s after your morning shower, right before bed, or even post-workout.

How much moisturizer do you need?

Typically, a pea-sized amount of product is enough, depending on the kind of moisturizer you’re using.

How do you apply moisturizer?

After cleansing your face and perhaps toning and applying serum, it’s time for moisturizer. Gather a little bit of the product in your fingers and massage it into your skin in upward, circular motions. During the day, follow with sunscreen of at least SPF 30 if your moisturizer doesn’t contain one.

Do people with oily skin need moisturizer too?

People with oily skin still need moisturizer, just one that won’t further clog pores and lead to acne. Look for non-comedogenic formulas that are lightweight, such as gels rather than thick creams. Check that the product is approved for your skin type before using it.

1. Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer

Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer
Blu Atlas

The best hydrating ingredients are butters and oils, which just so happen to power this formula from Blu Atlas. This moisturizer will completely rehydrate dried-out skin, but it also works great on all skin types, providing moisture and luminosity with a formula made up of 98.5% natural ingredients. Mango seed butter is one of the most important of those ingredients, giving skin antioxidant protection and plenty of hydration.

Ascorbic acid brightens the skin with vitamin C, seaweed extract provides lightweight moisture while regulating sebum production, and moringa oil—which is rich in fatty acids and vitamins—brings anti-inflammatory benefits. No matter what you’re looking for in a moisturizer, this formula has it!

What We Love the Most: This hydrating moisturizer has a clean formula and three different scent options. Those with particularly sensitive skin can opt for the unscented version, while others can try Coconut Apricot or Classic.

2. Tatcha’s The Water Cream

Tatcha’s The Water Cream

The name The Water Cream brings to mind the ultimate thirst quencher, and that’s exactly what this product is. It bursts onto the scene with an array of nutrient-rich ingredients and thorough moisturizers, refining skin and adding some anti-aging benefits to the mix. After one week, 95% of users claimed their skin felt softer—that’s a result we can get behind!

Japanese wild rose is an important balancing ingredient, boosting circulation for healing while neutralizing free radicals. Japanese leopard lily encourages skin cell turnover and adjusts oil production, and a combination of Japanese superfoods detoxifies, moisturizes, and reverses signs of aging. Rice ferment filtrate conditions skin, and camellia sinensis leaf battles aging, inflammation, and bacteria.

What We Love the Most: How great this formula is for maturing skin!

3. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay

The hydration you’ll get from this Double Repair Face Moisturizer is both instantaneous and long-lasting, thanks to a combination of ingredients that both seep into the skin and reinforce the moisture barrier. This product is ideal for those with sensitive skin, as well as anyone with dry or combination skin, making it a real crowd-pleaser.

Ceramides help maintain the natural skin barrier, while glycerin serves as a humectant to bind moisture to the skin. Niacinamide soothes and treats discoloration while the brand’s special thermal water provides prebiotics, antioxidants, and minerals to nourish and protect the skin. Tocopherol and dimethicone are two other ingredients that ensure moisture, making this one of the best hydrating moisturizers in 2024.

What We Love the Most: How this product helps your skin barrier and provides up to 48 hours of moisture you can feel.

4. Ole Henriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost

Ole Henriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost
Ole Henriksen

It might sound a little extra to get a strength trainer for your face, but not when that comes in the form of this Ole Henriksen moisturizer. To improve the skin’s elasticity and make it more resilient, this vegan formula strengthens the moisture barrier, the skin’s essential protector. With a balm-like texture that melts into the skin and a bunch of important skin barrier ingredients, this moisturizer is a clear winner.

Vegan peptides condition skin and bond to create proteins like collagen and elastin, the stuff that keeps skin youthful. Fatty acids soften skin, ceramides bolster the moisture barrier, and amino acids support skin elasticity to help it “stay in shape.” There is plumping hyaluronic acid for moisture, natural moisturizing factors, and humectants, working to keep skin hydrated and ensure it stays that way.

What We Love the Most: Perhaps the best part of this formula is its texture, which hits the skin and becomes liquid, sinking right in without leaving a residue. Plus, its anti-aging benefits are supreme.

5. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream was developed with dermatologists and meets the National Eczema Association’s criteria, as it repairs the skin’s moisture barrier to reduce irritation and dryness. While the formula is rich and hydrating, it’s also non-greasy, so you don’t have to worry about shininess after applying or the sensation of residue left on the surface of your skin.

There are three different ceramides in this formula that replenish the moisture barrier, which is the most important step this product takes toward hydrating skin. Glycerin, petrolatum, and dimethicone provide extra hydration, as does sodium hyaluronate, which acts as a humectant and leads to a more supple look. You can find this moisturizer at drugstores near you, making it a convenient and budget-friendly option for all.

What We Love the Most: This formula can be used both on the face and the body, making it a great option when you need hydration all over!

6. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Properly hydrating your skin doesn’t only lead to softness and greater comfort, but also a healthy glow! Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water gel helps you attain that glow with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone. It’s a non-comedogenic formula, meaning it will provide moisture without clogging your pores, which is helpful if you’re prone to breakouts. If you’re looking for a satisfying and weightless hydrating experience, it’s right here!

What We Love Most: This makes for a great makeup primer! We also love how it’s heavy on hyaluronic acid but super light and fast-absorbing.

7. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer
Paula’s Choice

Here’s what you’ll get with Paula’s Choice Replenishing Moisturizer—instant relief, long-term hydration, a smoother skin texture, increased luminosity, fewer wrinkles, and extra skin protection. It’s loaded with antioxidants, helping to fight free radical damage and shield skin from harm. This makes for an especially helpful nighttime recovery cream for those with dry skin, hydrating while you rest so you can wake up refreshed.

Hyaluronic acid makes all the difference, filling out the skin to diminish the appearance of fine lines while binding moisture so it won’t dissolve. Evening primrose oil provides a dose of antioxidants along with plentiful moisture. Glycerin, sodium PCA, and panthenol act as humectants in this formula, chamomile takes on oxidative stress, and a tripeptide blend gets to the source of irritation while also encouraging protein creation for firmer skin.

What We Love the Most: A blend of moisturizing and soothing ingredients for relief even for those with extremely parched skin!

8. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream
Dr. Jart+

If you’re looking for the best hydrating moisturizers out there, Dr. Jart+ certainly has a contender with this Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream. It’s a repairing formula that addresses everything from wounds and dryness to irritation and inflammation, fixing troubled skin and making it stronger.

The formula is made up of a powerful cocktail of botanical ingredients, including the product’s namesake tiger grass, which is an ingredient with a long history of healing. Niacinamide preserves the moisture mantle, glycerin ensures hydration, and holly leaf provides non-greasy moisture. Neem extract, known for its antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties, chases out all the bad stuff to promote healthy skin.

While eggplant might seem like a funny ingredient in a skincare formula, it delivers vitamin C to protect and brighten skin. Ivy reduces tension on the face and eliminates wrinkles, and moringa oil provides fatty acids that hydrate skin.

What We Love the Most: This formula is all about healing, making it a great option for those dealing with difficult skin conditions who need a little help in the recovery department.

9. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense

If you want to convince someone of how much moisture a product can provide, test in Siberia, where the ultimate cold, dry tundra conditions exist. That must have been the thought that ran through Clinique’s head when they came up with this Moisture Surge Intense formula because they really did test it on Siberians during the unforgiving winter. The results showed that 98% of users felt their skin was better hydrated right away, and 98% still felt that way after four weeks.

So how did Clinique crack the ultimate moisture test? Activated aloe water, for one. This ingredient is just water that’s infused with aloe vera for super hydration. Cica is a powerful soothing ingredient, lipid filler technology helps skin moisturize itself, and wheat bran extract addresses discoloration. This moisturizer is not for the faint of heart or the oily of skin. It provides such intense, 72-hour moisture that you’ll never need another hydrating product again.

What We Love the Most: The ability of this product to activate your skin’s inner moisture stores to help your skin help itself.

10. SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore

Anti-aging isn’t just for those already in or approaching middle age. Ideally, you should start in your mid-20s and continue regularly from there to prevent dramatic signs of aging. Luckily, you don’t have to do anything special to get anti-aging benefits. This Triple Lipid Restore formula from SkinCeuticals takes care of it all with a 2:4:2 ratio, meaning 2% ceramides, 4% cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids.

You might be thinking: what is cholesterol doing in here? This naturally occurring substance is a great moisture barrier recovery agent, improving the appearance of aging as well as boosting skin glow and firmness. Ceramides optimize barrier function further, keeping skin hydrated, and fatty acids improve skin. This best hydrating moisturizer doesn’t just provide these benefits but also relief from irritation and inflammation with a blend of essential oils that cool and invigorate.

What We Love the Most: You’ll notice a visible change in smoothness after using this regularly for a few weeks.

11. Then I Met You Renewing Rich Beauty Cream

Then I Met You Renewing Rich Beauty Cream
Then I Met You

This cream is the stuff of dreams, imparting softness and evening out the skin’s tone. Despite the formula’s creaminess, users claim it seeps into the skin quickly, and it’s best for dry, normal, and combination skin types. While you can use this as a day moisturizer, it’s also a great option for night wear—when you want a more intensive moisturizing experience.

When it comes to the formula, this moisturizer does things slightly differently. The base is a quad ginseng complex, putting together black ginseng, panax ginseng root water and oil, and red ginseng then steaming and drying the blend nine times to get the most out of it. What makes it into the formula is a potent blend of antioxidants that improve moisture and fight damage.

There is also fatty acid-rich baobab oil in here, rejuvenating squalane, and barrier-repairing ceramides—plus shea butter and cocoa seed extract for added moisture.

What We Love the Most: The velvety texture of the formula allows you to feel like you’re really treating your skin to intensive moisture.

12. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Drunk Elephant

This Whipped Cream from Drunk Elephant has one mission and that’s to moisturize. With barrier support and skin-renewing ingredients, this formula helps skin recover and revitalize. After eight weeks of a consumer study, 93% of users agreed that their skin felt softer and smoother, so get ready to reap all kinds of benefits with regular use.

If you’re extra conscious about what you put on your skin, you’ll be happy to learn that this product is vegan and free of essential oils, silicones, and fragrances. It’s based upon an African oil blend, using marula oil to nourish dull skin, mongongo for its high antioxidant content, baobab for moisture and vitamin C, kalahari melon for omega-6 fatty acids, ximenia with brightening vitamin C, and passionfruit for its many helpful nutrients.

Ceramides stop transepidermal water loss, plant-derived lipids soothe, green tea fights inflammation and oxidative stress, and sodium hyaluronate tackles wrinkles head-on.

What We Love the Most: The potential for this product to not only eliminate skin dryness but also completely reinvigorate your complexion.

13. Damdam Mochi Mochi Luminous Cream

Damdam Mochi Mochi Luminous Cream

Damdam Tokyo’s Mochi Mochi Luminous Cream is something of an influencer sensation that has become an absolute cult favorite. With tons of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, it makes sense that this product has taken off, as it has the power to address the toll modern life takes on the skin while targeting the processes behind rapid skin aging.

Shiso leaf, a Japanese herb, contains lots of omega-3s and antioxidants and serves as a skin plumper. Phytic acid, naturally found in Japanese rice, will even out your skin tone, and glycerin, shea butter, and sunflower seed oil work on the moisturizing side of things. You’ll notice some brightening benefits in addition to skin that feels soft and smooth.

What We Love the Most: The additional benefits of anti-aging ingredients and brightening.

14. Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream
Fresh Rose

When it comes to the best hydrating moisturizers, this one from Fresh is certainly a keeper. It infuses skin with moisture that lasts a full 72 hours and contains time-release technology so hydration comes more as a steady stream than a full-on flood. With hydration of this caliber, your skin is sure to respond by becoming dewier and plumper, giving you a healthier look.

To get these results, Fresh uses hyaluronic acid, of course—in this case, two forms of it to both provide instant moisture to the epidermis and reach the lower layers of skin. Damask rose gets to work on moisturizing by encouraging the skin’s natural levels of hyaluronic acid. Rosewater soothes skin, and rose flower tones to ensure a proper balance of skin oils.

What We Love the Most: The time-release technology provides steady benefits over a longer period of time rather than drowning skin and then fading quickly.

15. Murad Intense Recovery Cream

Murad Intense Recovery Cream

Murad is known for luxuriant formulas that make you feel like you’re in a high-end spa, like this one that delivers intense hydration to help skin recover from stress, aging, redness, irritation, and more. It’s like an anti-anxiety medication for your face, encouraging inner peace that spreads as far as your complexion.

How is this possible, you ask? It begins with shea butter and macadamia oil, two ingredients that offer comfort to the skin while sealing moisture in. Mirabilis jalapa extract counteracts irritation and accompanying redness. Microalgae extract, meanwhile, takes on stress. Plenty of other plant-based ingredients come to the skin’s rescue, too, like apple extract for vitamins and minerals, eggplant for protection, and spearmint for cooling relief.

What We Love the Most: The focus on de-stressing skin, as in our fast-paced society stress is a real factor in skin health!

16. Farmacy Honey Halo
Farmacy Honey Halo

This ultra-hydrating formula follows a few strict rules about what is and isn’t allowed in it, meaning you can count on this product to be non-irritating. It contains a number of hydrating and plumping ingredients sure to wake skin up and help it look more youthful with time—like ceramides for the moisture barrier, buckwheat honey, and a royal jelly blend for antioxidant-rich moisture, plus fig fruit to encourage taut skin.

What We Love the Most: An innovative and unusual blend of ingredients that gets rid of fine lines.

17. Origins Mega Mushroom Relief and Resistance

Origins Mega Mushroom Relief and Resistance

This moisturizer has just been reformulated to include 10 times the reishi mushroom power, calming skin and shrinking pores while it soothes and smooths. The texture of this moisturizer is on the liquid side, but that’s what helps it feel so moisturizing—like soaking your face in water.

In addition to the powerful adaptogen, this product gets its name from, it also contains licorice root, skin-soothing chaga mushroom, and plumping hyaluronic acid. With a blend of essential oils, this formula also smells amazing and brings skin all kinds of nourishment, antioxidants, and brightening benefits.

What We Love the Most: This product’s power to reduce redness.

Us Weekly partners with external contributors. All contributor content is reviewed by the Us Weekly editorial staff.

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