Applying a face moisturizer daily is one of the number one keys to healthy, glowing skin no matter what the season, your age, or skin type. Moisturizers are emulsions of oil and water (plus other ingredients for nourishing, treatment, and preserving) that help replenish hydration, keeping moisture in skin and dryness out.
Experts say that hydrating is crucial for keeping skin youthful and healthy, even if you don’t have dry skin. “Moisturizing protects the skin barrier,” explains Dendy Engelman, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. The healthier your barrier, the better your skin’s defense against inflammation and damage, which can protect skin from signs of dehydration, irritation, redness, and even dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles over time.
For best benefits, moisturize your clean face daily (morning and/or evening as needed for your skin type), massaging it in as you apply it. “This will increase its absorption and effectiveness, and improve circulation,” Engelman advises.
How we test moisturizers
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab.scientists have a century-long history of testing skin care products for efficacy, including moisturizers. When skin care products make moisturization or hydration claims, the Beauty Lab’s chemists use the Corneometer device to gauge how well (or not!) a formula moisturizes skin. We use the machine to measure the hydration levels of testers’ clean skin before application, and again six hours after to calculate how much the product has increased skin’s moisture.
Last but certainly not least, we send moisturizers home with consumer testers who give their feedback on factors such as absorption, texture, and scent. We consider all of these data points to find the best face moisturizer out there for sensitive skin, oily skin, and everything in between. Our picks are either backed by our Good Housekeeping Seal or top-tested by the GH Beauty Lab.