The more time you spend outside camping, hiking, swimming and hanging by the fire, the more your skin takes on a healthy glow. Ah, those are the good days — all 14 of them per year. The rest of the time we’re inside with overactive heating systems and poor hydration habits, leading to skin that looks like the Atacama desert. Facial moisturizer helps combat dry and aging skin, especially when used with a gentle cleanser (cleanse first, then moisturize).
It’s also a good idea to do a bit of personal research about ingredients using the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics‘ and EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to make sure you understand what goes into the products you’re smearing on your face. Not every cream leads to the fountain of youthfulness.
Baxter of California Oil-Free Moisturizer
Price Per Ounce: $6
Key Ingredients: aloe vera, green tea, chamomile
Our Take: Baxter is a favored brand among several members of the GP crew. This moisturizer is designed specifically for men: oil-free, fragrance-free and fast absorbing. Another good value.
Ernest Supplies Protective Matte Moisturizer
Price Per Ounce: $10
Key Ingredients: vitamins A, C and E; extracts of acai, cupuacu and green tea
Our Take: You can’t go wrong with a neatly and smartly packaged skin care regimen. This one lives up to its name with a completely matte finish and a really refreshing, wake-your-face-up sensation. Keep it away from the eyes, though.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer
Price Per Ounce: $7
Key Ingredients:squalane, octinoxate
Our Take: Though Kiehl’s makes some male-focused moisturizer under the Facial Fuel line, we prefer the unisex and less sexy Ultra Facial Moisturizer. It goes on light and leaves a healthy glow, plus it has good sun protection at SPF 30. For the price, it’s the best performer for really dry skin.
Price Per Ounce: $10
Key Ingredients:squalane, alpha hydroxy acids
Our Take: Walk into any Macy’s and you’ll find Zirh Protect, a moisturizer with a nice aqua-citrus smell. It leaves a slightly tacky film that we’re not crazy about, but which is probably connected to the improved texture and elasticity that the moisturizer is meant to provide.
Malin and Goetz Vitamin E Moisturizer
Price Per Ounce: $15
Key Ingredients: glycerin, vitamin E, vitamin B5, allantoin, chamomile
Our Take: New York–born Malin + Goetz launched in 2004 as an apothecary for people with dry skin. The company still makes all its products in the New York area, and the key to its moisturizer is that instead of oils, silicones and waxes, the company uses fatty acids and botanical extracts. Just like the Kiehl’s, this one is very rich, helping to relieve serious early winter dry skin around the nose and eyebrows.
Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Nourishing Moisturizer
Price Per Ounce: $42
Key Ingredients: olive polyphenols, neuropeptides, tocotrienols
Our Take: This little tub of gold is thicker and richer and perhaps more gelatin-like than the others here. It’s hypoallergenic and free of all the bad stuff that some lesser products use (parabens, fragrance, petroleum).