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Winter is coming for our skincare routines. With more than a month left of fall, the impending dry winter air — coupled with people using humidifiers and heaters indoors — can leave the skin flaky, dry and cracked and cause irritation in already sensitive skin.
“Winter can be a notoriously tricky time to manage hydration, balance and skin health. Humidity drops along with temperature,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban (whose clients have included Angela Bassett, Kris Jenner and reportedly Nicole Kidman) tells The Hollywood Reporter. “This time of year in many climates ravages of winter are presenting the worst in skin, hair and nails — but our lips actually take the biggest beating [when they get] chapped and rough. Dehydration, transepidermal water loss, shrinkage and loss in lip color and shape are coming for us. We change clothes and layer up, and we need to do the same for our skin.”
Adds medical esthetician Nina Carla of Beverly Hills’ Motykie Med Spa, “due to the lack of moisture in the air during this cold and chilly weather, moisture in the skin experiences losses and we become brittle, cracked and dry. Temperature, lack of humidity and indoor heating [are a] triple threat against the hydrated, healthy, balanced and dewy skin we work hard for! My celebrity clients want to restore their glow, eliminate dull dehydrated or flaking skin and eliminate any inflammation or pigmentation issues that are more aggravated in the winter months.”
The cold weather season is the time to bring back “heavy formula creams” and replace physical exfoliants with milder ones with ingredients such as lactic acid or enzymes that gently “slough off skin without irritation,” Shamban continues.
Shamban also suggests reducing the application of retinoids to once a day or every other day and adding a hyaluronic serum on top. “Don’t forget sunscreen — damage is done 365 [days of the year],” she adds.
Both skincare experts recommend using tepid water when showering or bathing and applying moisturizers immediately afterward while the skin is still damp, and using overnight treatments to boost the skin’s repairing properties while you’re sleeping.
As far as the best medical spa treatments to book during winter, Shamban says her patients are coming in for the hydrating, brightening and oxygen-boosting Carboxy Mask, a 30-minute gel-based treatment; volumizing lip injections to make up for water loss; and skin treatments that require staying out of the sun, such as Cosmelan peels, Fraxel and Plasma Pen.
What Are the Best Ingredients to Look for in Winter Moisturizers?
“Look for emollients, humectants [which attract water from the skin or air] and more occlusive ingredients as well as calming and soothing polyglutamic acid (PGA), hyaluronic acid (HA), aloe, glycerin, calendula, niacinamide, vitamin E, squalane, pro-vitamin B (Panthenol), urea and shea butter,” suggests Shamban. “Use a richer body and face cream for the evening with ceramides and lipids, HA or PGA.”
Carla also suggests using products formulated with electrolytes. “The same way electrolytes help us to rehydrate internally, topically they can enable cells to regulate pH levels and keep the body’s hydration systems in check cellularly including maintaining our water in winter,” she says.
The overall goal, Shamban adds, is to “boost moisture and fortify the skin barrier using products to heal, moisturize and seal.”
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best winter moisturizers for every skin type based on Shamban’s and Carla’s top tips. From nourishing creams that are safe for eczema to the top moisturizers from drugstore brands and luxury labels, check out the best moisturizers for winter below.
The Best Winter Moisturizers for Every Skin Type
1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
BEST WINTER MOISTURIZER FOR ALL SKIN TYPES
Safe for those with eczema and developed with dermatologists, CeraVe’s gentle daily moisturizing cream is one of the best winter moisturizers that’s great for dry skin year-round. The fragrance- and paraben-free formula is packed with hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides to help protect and restore the skin’s natural barrier and deliver 24 hours of hydration.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Amazon | Target | Ulta | Walmart
2. Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream Moisturizer
BEST LONG-LASTING MOISTURIZER
Korean skincare brand Laneige’s Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream Moisturizer features blue hyaluronic acid fermented with deep sea algae and microfiltered for quick, deep absorption into the skin. A month-long clinical study found that the cream helps to keep normal to dry skin hydrated for up to 100 hours and reduces loss of moisture throughout the day. Suitable for morning and evening use, the dermatologist-tested cream also helps to visibly firm and strengthen the skin, thanks to squalane and ceramide.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Laneige | Amazon | Kohl’s | Sephora
3. Orpheus Resurrection Bio-Shield Cream
BEST DAY CREAM
Makeup artist and YouTube star Tati Westbrook recently shared her skincare shelfie featuring Orpheus’ Resurrection Bio-Shield Cream, which the brand says is clinically proven to “recover lost hydration by 42 percent after treatment” with the help of sustainably-sourced ingredients and bio-ceramides. The brand says the lightweight formula contains a patented cell peptide complex that helps to increase skin elasticity and collagen production, reduce redness and inflammation, seal in moisture and protect the skin from pollution and UV radiation.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Orpheus | Amazon
4. Happy Dance CBD Look Alive Moisturizer
BEST FOR SOOTHING AND CALMING
Hollywood entrepreneur Kristen Bell’s CBD-infused Happy Dance skincare line includes the ultra-hydrating Look Alive moisturizer. It contains squalane, avocado oil, full-spectrum CBD and four types of hyaluronic acids, which all work together to lock in moisture and soothe and calm the skin. A blend of bisabolol and ginger help to even out the skin tone and reduce redness.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Happy Dance | Ulta
5. HydroPeptide Power Luxe Hydra-Rich Infusion Cream
BEST FIRMING NIGHT CREAM
HydroPeptide’s Power Luxe Hydra-Rich Infusion Cream addresses dry, mature and dehydrated skin with a formula of four-dimensional hyaluronic acid, the retinol alternative Bakuchiol and wrinkle-targeting peptides to support collagen production and restore the skin’s natural lipid barrier. The brand says the moisturizer is also ideal in cold climates and high elevations.
6. SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
BEST FOR MATURE SKIN
Beverly Hills injector and laser specialist Aubrey Mench swears by SkinCeuticals’ Triple Lipid Restore 242 cream for the summer, and the ultra-hydrating cream is also ideal for colder months. Its patented formula addresses mature skin of all types with a “unique lipid stabilization system [that contains] contains the first 2:4:2 cholesterol-dominant ratio to help restore skin’s external barrier and support natural self-repair, while potently nourishing aging skin for improvement in the visible appearance of skin smoothness, laxity, pores and overall radiance,” per the brand.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: SkinCeuticals | Bluemercury | Dermstore | SkinStore
7. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
BEST FOR IRRITATED SKIN
Clinically proven to immediately relieve and hydrate the skin, First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream is ideal for all skin types and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy layer. It’s safe for eczema and kids, and the lightweight moisturizer is free of potentially irritating ingredients such as mineral oil, artificial fragrances, petrolatum, phthalates and parabens.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: First Aid Beauty | Amazon | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta
8. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT WINTER MOISTURIZER
Neutrogena global beauty ambassador Lana Condor has raved about the brand’s Hyro Boost line for locking in moisture, thanks to the key ingredient hyaluronic acid. The Hydro Boost Water Gel is a daily face moisturizer (but can also be used all over the body) that absorbs quickly and leaves the skin feeling smooth and bouncy. It also comes in an award-winning gel-cream formula.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Amazon | Neutrogena | Target | Ulta | Walmart
9. EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
BEST BRIGHTENING MOISTURIZER
WandaVision‘s Kathryn Hahn has told THR that she’s a fan of EltaMD’s sunscreens: “I love EltaMD. I have to put it on every day because I can’t screw around at all anymore. I’ve got to have sunscreen on all the time. I used to love a little Cleveland tan and now I can’t pull it off.” The brand’s AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer has an oil-free formula that contains hyaluronic acid for boosting moisture absorption and retention. The morning moisturizer helps to even out and smooth the skin texture and tone.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Amazon | Bluemercury | Dermstore | SkinStore | Walmart
10. Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer
BEST FOR OILY SKIN
Peter Thomas Roth’s cream moisturizer has an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula that makes it ideal for those who want to keep their oily skin moisturized and shine-free. Hyaluronic acid, ceramides and antioxidants combine to help the skin look bright, nourished and plump. (Hollywood groomers Diane Schmidtke and Sydney Zibrak use the brand on clients.)
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Amazon | Dermstore | Nordstrom | Ulta | Walmart
11. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
BEST PRIMING MOISTURIZER
A backstage and red carpet favorite among makeup artists and stars, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream is a go-to for prepping the skin while smoothing out wrinkles before applying foundation. It contains hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E and a peptide complex for moisturizing, brightening and softening the visage. (It’s now available in a refillable option, too.)
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Charlotte Tilbury | Kohl’s | Nordstrom | Sephora
12. Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Cream
BEST STRENGTHENING MOISTURIZER
Cult-favorite skincare brand Sunday Riley’s Ice Ceramide Moisturizing Cream is a rich-yet-lightweight hydrator that can be applied in the morning and at night to strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier and top up on hydration. (Hollywood facialist Adeela Crown has worked with the brand, which has also been used by Oprah Winfrey, Helena Bonham Carter, Julianne Moore, Victoria Beckham and Maggie Gyllenhaal.)
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Sunday Riley | Amazon | Dermstore | Sephora | Ulta
13. Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
Star-loved biomedical scientist Augustinus Bader’s namesake brand is a cult favorite for a reason. The Hollywood-loved luxury skincare label’s Rich Cream is now formulated with TFC8, a proprietary stem-cell complex that deeply hydrates the skin, smooths out fine lines, and evens the tone and texture. Melanie Griffith (an investor of the company), Victoria Beckham, Olivia Culpo and Jennifer Aniston are a few fans of the brand.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Augustinus Bader | Bluemercury | Nordstrom | Sephora | Violet Grey
14. Cetaphil Facial Hydrating Lotion
BEST DRUGSTORE MOISTURIZER
Rachel Brosnahan is as a brand ambassador for Cetaphil, which makes one of the best winter moisturizers available at drugstores. The dermatologist-recommended Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion is suitable for combination, dry or sensitive skin, and the hypoallergenic formula helps to lock in moisture for up to 24 hours.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Amazon | Target | Ulta | Walmart
15. Éminence Facial Recovery Oil
BEST MOISTURIZING OIL
Shamban says Éminence’s Facial Recovery Oil is a favorite of client Cameron Diaz and “a little goes a long way. [It’s a] hydrating, soothing and calming oil that seals in moisture and delivers balance. It’s made with squalane and sage oil, so it is for all skin types.”
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Éminence | Amazon
16. Neova SmartSkincare Night Therapy
BEST NIGHT CREAM
“I highly recommend Neova’s Night Therapy to my parents with dry, dehydrated skin that is chapped and flaking,” says Carla. “It’s packed with essential healing and hydrating nourishments that repair tissue while you sleep, and [it has a] DNA Cofactor that uses the restorative hours of sleep to optimize renewal, elevate moisture retention and inhibit the signs of free radical damage.”
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Neova ($103) | Amazon ($103) | Walmart ($66)
17. Tatcha Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream
BEST FIRMING MOISTURIZER
Inspired by traditional Japanese beauty rituals, Tatcha’s Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream is infused with Hadasei-3, a complex of rice bran extract, red algae and green tea for moisturizing the skin. Peony and gardenia fruit extracts boost elasticity and support and protect the skin barrier from free radicals and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (Stars including Meghan Markle, Kasey Musgraves and Kim Kardashian have used Tatcha.)
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Tatcha ($195) | Amazon ($156) | QVC ($120)
18. Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 40
BEST WINTER MOISTURIZER WITH SPF
As Shamban and Carla both point out, sun damage can happen during winter, too. Supergoop!’s Superscreen daily moisturizer combats dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, dullness and uneven texture while providing UVA/UVB sun protection with SPF 40. It uses cerium to reflect and protect from blue light, blue-green algae to repair the skin and a moisture-binding plant-based barrier to protect the skin from atmospheric pollution.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Supergoop! | Amazon | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta
19. Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer
BEST CLEAN BEAUTY WINTER MOISTURIZER
Drunk Elephant’s vegan and cruelty-free Protini Polypeptide Cream uses a complex of nine peptides and Pygmy Waterlily stem cell and soybean folic acid extracts to help moisturize the skin and leave it feeling soothed, plump and firm. (The brand has collaborated with Hollywood hairstylist Chris McMillan on a haircare line.)
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Amazon | Kohl’s | Sephora | Ulta
20. OleHenriksen Cold Plunge Pore Remedy Moisturizer
BEST FOR LARGE PORES
Got combination or oily skin and want to reduce the appearance of pores? OleHenriksen’s Cold Plunge Pore Remedy Moisturizer does just that while boosting hydration. This lightweight moisturizer has salicylic acid (BHA) and lipohydroxy acid (LHA) to get rid of dead skin cells that clog the pores, while alpine willowherb extract and the brand’s proprietary green fusion complex work together to nourish the skin and absorb excess oil.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: OleHenriksen | Amazon | Kohl’s | Sephora
21. Honest Calm & Renew Melting Balm
BEST FOR FLAKY SKIN
Honest’s rich cream-to-balm is safe for those with eczema and uses allantoin, mondo grass and hyaluronic acid to help heal and calm dry and flaky skin while supporting a healthy skin barrier. It’s great for dry climates and made without parabens, dyes, silicons, paraffins and synthetic fragrances.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Honest | Amazon | Target | Ulta
22. Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT NIGHT CREAM
Good for all skin types, Paula’s Choice’s Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer is especially great for dark circles, dull skin and uneven texture. The cruelty-, oil- and fragrance-free gel formula delivers hydration while leaving the skin feeling dewy and energized, thanks to electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. The lightweight moisturizer was designed to be used as the last step in your evening skincare routine.
MORE BUYING OPTIONS: Paula’s Choice | Amazon | Dermstore | Sephora
This story was originally published Feb. 18, 2022.
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