13 of the Best Face Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin Types, Broken Down
Sensitive skin can be difficult to spot, especially upon your first baby steps into skin care. If you’ve dealt with underlying skin conditions like eczema orrosacea since you were young, having sensitive skin is a given. However if you’re always left wondering why your skin flushes red at the drop of a hat, is prone to bumps or rashes, or gets totally stripped when put even slightly out of its comfort zone, you might not know that a sensitive skin type is to blame. Well, now ya do. Sensitive skin is hard to keep calm. Seriously, no amount of yelling, “Stay calm!” at your face in front of the mirror is going to help. But we won’t blame you if you try.
Really, plenty of different things can trigger a sensitive skin type, from harsh products to environmental aggressors to something as simple as a drop of fragrance or dye. Because at the core, sensitive skin comes down to the skin barrier becoming compromised and irritated, and there are varying levels of intensity. Things like facial redness and dryness are easier to cope with, but if you have eczema or rosacea, it doesn’t necessarily need to be triggered to see the effects.
The cure? There is no cure—sorry. But there is a way to bolster up and replenish your skin barrier to keep your sensitive skin healthy, hydrated, and most importantly, calm. That’s where a ceramide-packed, hyaluronic acid-filled, glycerin-infused, lipid-loaded face moisturizer comes in. Trust us: Avoid using harsh products likeretinol, chemical exfoliants, and rough scrubs; use a gentle cleanser; cap off with one of these sensitive skin face creams; and you’re set to kick sensitive skin’s booty. But not too hard now, it’s...sensitive.
Here are the best face moisturizers for sensitive skin, according to skin concern.
Best Drugstore: CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion
This stuff isn’t flashy, but it’s pretty much the go-to moisturizer for anyone with sensitive skin, thanks to the non-comedogenic formula (which means it won’t clog your pores) and three types of ceramides for crazy long-lasting hydration. Use the AM lotion to add a jolt of SPF to your routine, and the PM counterpart during your nighttime ritual.
BUY IT: $14; walmart.com
Drugstore Runner-Up: Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion
We couldn’t leave this crowd favorite off the list. Simple, humble, and effective, this affordable face lotion is the kind you’ll feel good using on a daily basis. The powerhouse duo here—glycerin and hyaluronic acid—is all about optimizing hydration, which makes it a no-brainer pick for more low-key sensitive skin types.
BUY IT: $13; walmart.com
Best Department Store: Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly
When it comes to sensitive skin, there is an invisible culprit of redness, rashes, and overall irritation: the environment. Not only does this hydrating jelly contain a bevy of good-for-you ingredients and none of the harsh stuff, but it also contains a clean shield formula that seals your moisture barrier and keeps environmental pollutants away from your pores.
BUY IT: $25; amazon.com
Best for Eczema: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Eczema is a real bitty to deal with, as anyone who experiences the dry, scaly patches of irritated red skin on the regular knows. Luckily, this affordable staple can thwart those patches’ most successful attempts at ruining a good time. The ointment is made to restore your skin’s healthy balance and protect your skin while it recovers, using a super simple list of ingredients.
BUY IT: $13; amazon.com
Best for Redness: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Sensitive Skin Moisturizer
This hard-working cream soothes and recovers facial redness, while acting as a natural makeup primer by color-correcting with its signature light green tint. Skin-calming ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, aloe, and cucumber help keep redness at bay, which is often a big issue for many sensitive skin types.
BUY IT: $49.50; ulta.com
Best SPF: Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40
I scream, you scream, we all scream for...sunscreen! We don’t need to tell you twice: SPF is essential in any routine, but especially for those commonly irritated. One sunburn or too much photo-damage can set your skin off on the hot mess express. This clean-beauty daily moisturizer covers both UVA and UVB rays for both premature aging and sun protection.
BUY IT: $38; nordstrom.com
Best for Multitaskers: Weleda Skin Food
This cult-favorite Amazon cream will only set you back $12 and is consistently one of the best-selling beauty products on the Internet (it has over 1,600 five-star reviews alone). Why is it perfect for multitaskers? It can be used as both a serious skin soother—from your face to your elbows to your heels—a glowy makeup base, or a frizzy hair tamer. The combination of ultra-hydrating ingredients, including calendula, chamomile, glycerin, and beeswax, paired with a cocktail of oils is the key. It’s also made without any synthetic fragrances, preservatives, or mineral oils,per the brand’s website.
BUY IT: $13; amazon.com
Best for Calming: Glow Recipe Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream
It says it right there on the cheery banana-colored pot: calming + hydrating. This stuff is made to reset, replenish, and seal even the most sensitive skin. With a non-comedogenic combination of banana, chia seed, magnesium, turmeric, and cica, you end up with the most special moisturizing soufflé you could dream for. The vanity appeal doesn’t hurt either.
BUY IT: $39; sephora.com
Best for Uneven Skin: EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
If you didn’t know that EltaMD’s fan-favorite face sunscreen had a sensitive skin sister product, let us introduce you. It’s lightweight, packed with moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid (oil-free!), and uses willow bark to gently stimulate turnover for smoother skin in a non-irritating way. The addition of niacinamide helps to even out skin tone and brighten dark spots.
BUY IT: $30; amazon.com
Best for Super Dry Skin: Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream
Anyone who has truly dealt with the effect of super dry skin—think scaly patches, allover peeling, and frustrating tightness—is willing to shell out for the promise of smooth, restored skin. As far as that goes, this under-the-radar face cream is one of the best. Why? It’s packed with good fats like squalane, jojoba oil, and macadamia oil. These ingredients bolster up your skin barrier for true, very real recovery and hydration. (Though it might not be the best pick for acne-prone skin users.)
BUY IT: $50; sephora.com
Best Heavy-Duty: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
When it’s time to bring out the all-star squad, make sure this vat of ultra-thick, insanely moisturizing cream is present. This is our secret weapon when dealing with super dry winter skin or feeling the dehydrating effects of a long airplane ride. The short ingredient list is also free of common chemical irritants like dyes, fragrances, sulfates, and more.
BUY IT: $12; amazon.com
Best Luxury: Tatcha The Indigo Cream
With Tatcha’s favorite Dewy Cream and Water Cream always taking most of the attention, we were intrigued as we kept hearing whispers of another Tatcha moisturizer: The Indigo Cream. Turns out, this soothing cream is made specifically for sensitive skin types, particularly those dealing with rosacea, dermatitis, and even eczema. One swipe of the velvety-rich cream, and your skin will be sold—even on the high price point.
BUY IT: $85; sephora.com
Best Organic: Éminence Calm Skin Chamomile Moisturizer
This vegan cream is like an organic chill pill for your face, especially if you’re prone to redness. Calming chamomile and aloe vera juice soothes the skin, while shea butter and calendula oil hydrates and softens your skin barrier into buttery perfection. Not bad for a vegan, huh?
BUY IT: $59; dermstore.com