The 10 Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin in 2022, Tested and Reviewed

DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream came out on top

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Have you ever looked in the mirror only to notice flaky patches on your forehead, cheeks, and around your nose? Such is often the reality of having dry skin. While it’s impossible to fully rewire your natural skin type, there are moisturizers specially designed to drench dry skin in much-needed hydration. That said, not all moisturizers are created equal, so it's important to find one that will fully quench your dry skin's thirst.  

To make finding an ideal moisturizer for dry skin a bit easier, InStyle pulled together a group of 22 testers to analyze 35 best-selling moisturizers for dry skin. They ranked each based on five key indicators — including consistency, absorption, value, the effect on dryness, and the overall appearance left behind after use. In doing so, they found that DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream is a top-notch moisturizer for dry skin. Though, depending on your preferences, you may want something a bit more tailored. That’s why we didn’t stop at just one product suggestion. 

Ahead, uncover the 10 best moisturizers for dry skin.

Best Overall

DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream

5
DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream

Ulta Beauty

What We Love: It’s thick and silky, so it deeply hydrates the skin while also leaving it feeling smooth as can be. 

What We Don’t Love: We wish larger size options were offered so we could use this luxe cream on our body, too.

While the packaging of this moisturizer isn’t the most compelling, the formula inside most certainly is. Made with organic olive oil, squalane, and beeswax, this moisturizer is incredibly hydrating, while also working to help balance oil production, reduce the appearance of pores, and brighten skin.

“The consistency is quite thick but it's so creamy and blendable,” our tester shares, noting that although it’s quite oily upon application it quickly sinks into the skin. “I am quite impressed by the texture and compatibility with my skin — there’s a significant difference in moisture levels. I feel more hydrated and look like I've woken up from a deep, rested slumber [thanks to the plumping benefits this product delivers].”

In short, our tester found her new go-to in this fan-favorite moisturizer, and the only thing she’d change is the jar size — she wishes it came in an oversized tub so that she could slather it all over her body. Yes, it’s that good. 

Price at time of publish: $39

Key Ingredients: Organic olive oil, Squalane, and Beeswax  | Size: 1.7 oz. | Texture: Silky, oily, and thick | Scented: Free of added fragrances

DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Budget

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

4.8
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Amazon

What We Love: It instantly makes skin feel soft and hydrated. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t offer anything outside of hydration.

Beloved by over 13,000 Ulta shoppers, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream was a no-brainer for our sample selection — and once tested, it was clear that it deserved a spot in the top 10. According to one tester, the moisturizer goes on smoothly and absorbs almost instantly, all without any residual film, tackiness, or greasiness. 

“My skin actually feels hydrated and soft, and I want to put it on my whole body,” she exclaims. That said, she admits that she thought it might do more than just hydrate, given its National Eczema Association seal of approval. “There wasn't any difference in redness or the appearance of my pores,” she admits. Her other complaint? It’s not cruelty-free. Still, she assures us that it’s definitely worth the cost. And at just $18, it's a true bargain considering the moisturizing benefits.

Price at time of publish: $18

Key Ingredients: Ceramides and Hyaluronic acid | Size: 12 oz. | Texture: Smooth and fast-absorbing | Scented: No

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Multi-Use

Alleyoop Dream Team 3-in-1 Moisturizer Eye Cream & Mask

4.8
Alleyoop Dream Team 3-in-1 Moisturizer, Eye Cream & Mask

Alleyoop

What We Love: It quickly absorbs into skin and doesn’t leave any sticky or oily residue in its wake. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s quite heavy considering it doubles as an eye cream and a mask.

Alleyoop is all about making ultra-convenient, easy-to-use beauty products. What started as makeup and tools eventually evolved into skincare. The Dream Team 3-in-1 Moisturizer, Eye Cream & Mask is a triple threat against dehydrated skin. It’s vegan, paraben-, and cruelty-free, and loaded with complexion-perfecting ingredients like softening and moisturizing squalane, plumping and hydrating hyaluronic acid, nourishing macadamia nut oil, and smoothing and hydrating coconut oil

“It's just the right consistency — not too thick, not too watery — and lightweight, with three pumps being enough product to cover my face,” our tester reveals. “It starts absorbing into the skin right away, with no stickiness or oiliness after.” Because of that, she says that it’d be a great option to wear under makeup — though, only if you use a pump or two. Any more than that could potentially lead to a cakey complexion. Makeup aside, our tester says the moisturizer does its job and does it well. “My skin feels way less tight than it did [before applying it],” she explains. “It's smooth to the touch and feels plumper, softer, and more hydrated than before.” 

Price at time of publish: $35

Key Ingredients: Squalane, Hyaluronic acid, Macadamia nut oil, and Coconut oil | Size: 1.68 oz. | Texture: Smooth and fast-absorbing | Scented: No

Alleyoop Dream Team 3-In-1 Moisturizer, Eye Cream, and Mask

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Sensitive Skin

Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

5
Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

Amazon

What We Love: It’s extremely comfortable and lightweight, not to mention fragrance-free. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s the tiniest bit sticky immediately after application.

Formulated without fragrance, dyes, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, or preservatives, Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer is a godsend for sensitive skin. With ceramides and hyaluronic acid at the forefront, this comfortable and lightweight moisturizer is designed to hydrate the skin and help it retain moisture by reinforcing the skin barrier. “It’s a great product to layer under a rich cream during the winter or to use by itself in the summer,” says one tester. “When testing, my skin felt comfortable and hydrated, albeit a little sticky.” She assures that the sticky feeling melted away after a few moments, though, and her skin was left feeling soft and smooth for hours on end. 

Price at time of publish: $14

Key Ingredients: Ceramides and Hyaluronic acid | Size: 3 oz. | Texture: Rich but lightweight | Scented: No

Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Redness

Embryolisse Lait Crème

4.8
Lait Creme Concentre

Dermstore

What We Love: It works well to hydrate skin while calming and masking redness. 

What We Don’t Love: Though lightweight, the cream goes on pretty thick and takes some time to sink into the skin.

When you think of taking care of sensitive, redness-prone skin, you likely don’t imagine using a scented moisturizer. That said, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré defies the norms with its delightful rose scent paired that's with an aloe vera and shea butter-infused formula. “My skin feels soft and plump to the touch,” our tester raves. “The moisturizer hid/calmed my redness (from rosacea), as well as smoothed the uneven texture on my cheeks."

Her only complaints are that the packaging itself isn’t anything special and it goes on a bit thick. Though, she admits that it does absorb effectively and almost immediately. 

Price at time of publish: $16

Key Ingredients: Aloe vera and Shea butter | Size: 2.54 oz. | Texture: Thick yet lightweight | Scented: Yes

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Hyperpigmentation

Buttah Skin CocoShea Revitalizing Cream

4.6
buttah CocoShea Revitalizing Cream

Ulta Beauty

What We Love: It leaves skin looking hydrated, smooth, and overall nourished. 

What We Don’t Love: It has a notable scent despite being free of added fragrances.

Buttah CocoShea Revitalizing Cream is formulated with moisture-locking cocoa and shea butters, plumping hyaluronic acid, and deeply-hydrating vitamin E to banish all your dry skin blues. Due to the natural butters, our tester found the cult-favorite moisturizer to be a bit gooey, but she loved it nonetheless. 

“The consistency is very interesting and it takes a few rubs to completely absorb into my skin, which I think is a result of the gooey-like texture,” she admits. More importantly, though, she says that after applying the rich moisturizer, her face didn’t feel the slightest bit dry. “My forehead and chin usually experience the most dryness, but after using this moisturizer those spots look hydrated and silky,” she marvels. 

Her one concern is the scent. While it’s free of added fragrances, it has a natural aroma that’s quite noticeable. “As a person with sensitive skin that usually avoids products with heavy fragrance, I was initially alarmed,” she admits. Though, after testing, she found that the unique texture, pretty packaging, effective hydration, and overall restorative nature of the product make it well worth it. 

Price at time of publish: $19

Key Ingredients: Cocoa butter, Shea butter, Hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin E | Size: 2 oz. | Texture: Rich and smooth | Scented: Free of added fragrances

buttah CocoShea Revitalizing Cream

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Non-Comedogenic

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

4.6
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Amazon

What We Love: It’s deeply hydrating without being too heavy. 

What We Don’t Love: While this is a great pick for warmer months since it’s lightweight, it might not be the best for colder temperatures.

If your biggest worry with finding a deeply hydrating moisturizer is that the formula will inevitably overwhelm your complexion, fear not: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer is non-comedogenic and widely touted as a must-try skincare product. “It’s beautifully lightweight and deeply hydrates skin without any heaviness,” one tester shares. “It’s not greasy or thick, it absorbs fast, and it immediately left my skin feeling softer.” 

While the consistency of this ceramide-, niacinamide-, and glycerin-infused moisturizer is a highlight of the product, our tester admits that for the cooler months of the year, a slightly thicker feel may be better. Nevertheless, due to how hydrating it is and how well it layers under makeup, she attests that it’s a top-notch non-comedogenic, fragrance-free moisturizer. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Key Ingredients: La Roche-Posay thermal spring water, Ceramide-3, Niacinamide, and Glycerin | Size: 2.5 oz. | Texture: Smooth and lightweight | Scented: No

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Plumping

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream

4.8
Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream

Glow Recipe

What We Love: It absorbs quickly, and leaves skin looking dewy and feeling hydrated. 

What We Don’t Love: It feels a bit sticky and, as a result, can pill when layering makeup on top.

This ultra-lightweight whipped gel moisturizer has a watery consistency that refreshes the skin before sinking in for a dewy, balanced-looking visage. Given it’s deeply-hydrating nature, our tester did find that it’s a bit sticky immediately after application, so it’s definitely best to wait a minute or two before applying SPF or makeup over top. Texture aside, the moisturizer is infused with hyaluronic acid, and polyglutamic acid (which boosts the efficacy of hyaluronic acid), as well as balancing and brightening plum and ice willowherb. While quite gentle, it’s formulated with fragrance but considering the moisturizer has earned over 100,000 Sephora likes, it’s safe to say the scent isn't a deterrent. 

Price at time of publish: $39

Key Ingredients: Polyglutamic acid, Hyaluronic acid, Plum, and Ice willowherb | Size: 1.7 oz. | Texture: Wet and lightweight | Scented: Yes

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Brightening

Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Lightweight Face Moisturizer

4.6
Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer

Sephora

What We Love: It makes skin look notably brighter, smoother, and more hydrated in just 15 minutes. 

What We Don’t Love: It can sting slightly when applied on sensitive areas of skin, like under the eyes.

Hundreds of shoppers tout Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer as the answer to their dull, dry skin woes — and our testers agree. “There was a significant change in my skin's texture after the product sat for 15 minutes — it felt soft to the touch and looked healthier than ever,” one reviewer shares, applauding the shea butter-, borage seed oil-, and ceramide-infused moisturizer. While it quickly absorbs into skin, it does leave a slight film behind. Though it doesn’t pill or feel uncomfortable — it’s just noticeable on the skin. Our tester’s only other complaint is that it slightly stings on contact with sensitive areas. Still, she finds it to be a top pick for daily use.

Price at time of publish: $37

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, Borage seed oil, Ceramides, and Omegas 3, 6, and 9 | Size: 1.7 oz. | Texture: Thick and fast-absorbing | Scented: No

Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best with SPF

Fenty Beauty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

5
Fenty Beauty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

Sephora

What We Love: It absorbs quickly, leaves skin looking dewy, and protects against UV damage. 

What We Don’t Love: Nothing at all — it’s fabulous.

Whether you’re looking to combine two steps of your skincare routine or simply hoping for optimal hydration plus a little extra UV protection, Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen with Niacinamide is a must. The reasoning? This SPF-infused moisturizer is smooth to the touch, spreads onto skin like butter, and absorbs quickly and weightlessly for an end result that doesn’t feel tight or tacky. What’s more, one of our testers found it to be quite cooling. “My skin feels super dewy and supple after applying this product,” she marvels. “Even my driest spots both look and feel hydrated.”

Best of all, this moisturizer-meets-SPF truly goes on invisibly. “What I love the most about this Fenty moisturizer is the fact that it incorporates SPF, yet still manages to keep my skin vibrant and glowy instead of leaving a white cast like many SPF products leave,” our tester adds.

Price at time of publish: $38

Key Ingredients: Kalahari melon, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid, Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 9%, and Octisalate 4.5% | Size: 1.7 oz. | Texture: Lightweight and fast-absorbing | Scented: No added fragrance

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen with Niacinamide

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Our Testing Process

In pursuit of the best moisturizers for dry skin, we began by rounding up 35 of the most highly-rated products on the market, taking into consideration every price point. Then, the InStyle team of testers put every moisturizer to the test, ranking each on a scale of 1 to 5 in five categories: Consistency, absorption, dryness, appearance, and value. To ensure the most accurate evaluation, our testers used advanced technology to read their skin’s moisture levels before and after application, and each moisturizer was worn for a full day to determine just how effective it is. By the end of the process, the team was able to set aside less stellar formulas to make way for the 10 best moisturizers for dry skin. 

DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream

InStyle / Tamara Staples

What to Keep in Mind

Key Ingredients

According to board-certified dermatologist and Jergens® Glow Collective member, Angela J. Lamb, M.D., a top-notch moisturizer for dry skin should include deeply-hydrating ingredients, such as emollients like shea butter and/or cocoa butter. “Both keep water from evaporating off of the skin barrier,” she explains. (Buttah Skin CocoShea Revitalizing Cream contains both of these super ingredients.)

Meanwhile, double-board-certified dermatologist Kristy Bailey, M.D., who is the Medical Director and Founder of FCP Dermatology, touts ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol as great ingredients to keep an eye out for. What she recommends avoiding, however, is fragrance and potentially-irritating ingredients like exfoliating acids. 

Size

When you fall in love with a new skincare product, you want it to last — especially if you’ve invested in it. As such, when shopping for your moisturizer for dry skin, keep in mind how often you plan to use it and how long you want it to last to ensure you buy a large enough product. If you find yourself reaching for moisturizer multiple times a day, opt for a larger product like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream.

Scent

Touching on Dr. Bailey’s suggestion, fragrance is something to be highly aware of when shopping for a new moisturizer. While people with sensitive skin are most prone to irritation from fragrance, people with dry skin have a proclivity for their complexions becoming sensitive, so it’s certainly something to be aware of before adding a new product into your routine. Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer is a safe option because it’s formulated specially for sensitive skin. 

Your Questions, Answered

Are gel moisturizers good for dry skin?

Gel moisturizers are often thought to be best for oily skin, as they’re less likely to clog pores or overwhelm already-shiny skin. That said, Dr. Lamb points out that gel moisturizers are fine for dry skin. “That is, if they are formulated correctly, but they are inferior to cream-based moisturizers for the winter,” she admits.

Dr. Bailey tacks onto this, noting that dry skin generally fares better with thicker moisturizer overall.

Is oil-free moisturizer better for dry skin?

The opposite, actually! “You want something that contains oils or some sort of fatty acids to provide the appropriate moisture,” Dr. Lamb says. Our best overall winner DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream is rich in olive oil, and our favorite pick for those with dry skin.

Why Shop With Us

Rebecca Norris has covered beauty for over eight years. For this story, she spoke with a group of 22 testers, as well as board-certified dermatologists Kristy Bailey, M.D. and Angela J. Lamb, M.D. to determine what makes a high-quality, performance-driven formula. With testing insights and expert input in mind, she presents the best moisturizers for dry skin.

What Is InStyle Picks?

Did you notice the InStyle Picks seal of approval at the top of this story? That means our team of testers has reviewed every product on this list using a unique methodology to ensure it's really worth your time, money, and attention. We may get samples for free to try but we never promise positive (or any!) coverage in exchange. Put simply: InStyle picks are products we love, and we've put them to the test to be sure you will too.

Want more product recommendations? From best-in-class concealer to the black pants you need for work, check out all of our InStyle Picks content.

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