Given that moisturizing is one of the foundational skincare steps — you need to be doing it morning and night, after cleansing—then it’s also not something you should skimp on. If you want the best results, then you obviously need the best moisturizer.
The best moisturizers do more than simply hydrate skin. In fact, they’re as much about preserving existing moisture, and helping the skin’s barrier defenses (which keep moisture in, as well as bad stuff, like toxins, out). Moisturizer protects your skin from photo-aging factors, as much as it feeds your cells with active ingredients. Pair it with a terrific facial sunscreen for the full protection — though some moisturizers and facial sunscreens are one in the same, if they pack SPF and skin-fortifying ingredients.
Below are the best moisturizers for men, whether they prevent and reverse signs of aging, shield you from the sun, soothe skin on the daily (or after each shave), or help you wake up looking brand-spanking new. Pick any one or three from the list, and give your skincare regimen the strong foundation it needs, because moisturizing is one of three must-do's, Dr. Jeremy Fenton reveals.
Dr. Fenton, the Medical Director for Midtown Manhattan's Schweiger Dermatology Group and winner of the Marion B. Sulzberger Award for Excellence in Dermatolog, says there's a defined order of importance and optionality, steps you shouldn't skip and products you can avoid altogether (if you want). "These are your basic components," he says. "With them you're covering 95 percent of what you need: wash, moisturize, apply sunscreen, apply retinol and add a serum."
Caldera + Lab packages all of its ingredient-driven, oftentimes wild-harvested, formulas into a suite they called The Regimen. In it are the aforementioned The Base Layer, a balancing cleanser called The Clean Slate and a multifunctional serum called The Good. This pre-made ensemble makes it easier for beginners and free agents alike to find a single brand they can buy the bare essentials from, with the promise that they won't clash or counteract each other. (It doesn't happen often, but some textures don't work well together — and combining several scented products muddle's the most prominent's intent. The Base Layer doesn't just smell nice, though. It protects from environmental pollutants, regenerates the skin with plant stem cells, nourishes with adaptogenic mushroom extracts and moisturizes, most importantly, with a combination of glacial mineral water, oat protein and squalane.
Sports car aesthetic included, Patricks' AM1 is ultra-luxe. A concentrated formula containing hyaluronic acid, creatine and squalane, this option targets signs of age while obviously moisturizing the skin at both the surface level and deep down. It encourages collagen production and elasticity, while acting as an anti-inflammatory. Plus, it absorbs fast and pumps out easily from this unique looking vessel.
A heavy-hitting list of skincare veterans hand a formulating the products Bravo Sierra sells — and for a good cause, too. A percentage of all sales go back to military members, who tested each of the products in the first place. It's a solid deal, I'd say. They get access to this gel-lotion, for example, which mixes macademia nut oil and a lotion base for a soft feel on the face. Plus, there's apple extract in here, an ingredient that can break the skin's barrier and hydrate deep down — naturally, of course. Best of all? This option's the exact limit for TSA-approved carry-ons.
Hishi plays the custom skincare game with aplomb, and its serum-like day cream is packed with whatever it is your skin needs. By filling out their quiz — which analyzes your skin type, your environment (like hard water, pollution levels, humidity), as well as your lifestyle — you get one of 17,000 possible combinations. It targets anything from wrinkles to acne, dark spots, moisture boosts... anything that your skin needs most. Each recipe includes butterfly ginger to help shield skin front the dulling effects of blue screen light, and the ingredients in their formulations are all natural. You can even reformulate your unique recipe whenever you need to, as your skin’s own needs evolve from month to month.
Lab Series' Daily Rescue feels like luxe without the extras. Sometimes, although obviously not with any on this list, you get the feeling that your skincare product (if you spent quite a bit on it) is nice and all but that it's almost too much, whether in aroma or just overall. The Daily Rescue defends against signs of aging, smooths the skin's surface and keeps it all moist for nearly 24 hours, meaning there's no need for a mid-day refresh (but it's not advised against, by any means).
We already called Typology one of the best new grooming brands, and it’s because of products like this moisturizer. Typology takes a minimalist approach to maximum benefits: Clear-cut ingredient lists, nearly all-natural, transparent production. This moisturizer is 99 percent naturally derived, fragrance-free (which is terrific for sensitive skin in particular), and has 9 ingredients in all, ranging from moisture-spoking hyaluronic acid to smoothing-and-softening coconut oil. You’ll understand each ingredient’s purpose (be it to balance the product’s pH levels or to help prevent bacterial growth), making your consumption much more informed and intentional — in addition to making your skin firmer, stronger, and softer all at once.
This award-winning moisturizer from Lumin lifts and brightens the skin by targeting the issues that contribute to dullness and dryness. It also evens your overall tone. Lumin suggests trying this one out at night, but it can be applied to dry spots the next morning, too.
It’s hard not to place this atop the list, for that tingly feeling it gives your skin, not to mention the broad-spectrum sun defense. Facial Fuel is a terrific moisturizer for the active man since it’s powered by stimulating caffeine and soothing aloe — always helping to supercharge your skin while soothing it simultaneously.
Maapilim's Face Moisturizer — with hyaluronic acid and collodial oatmeal — might be the best-smelling on this list. Obviously that doesn't matter much if the formula doesn't work, but it does — and well. The plant-based hyaluronic acid carries far more than its own weight in water, making it the ideal hydrator. Collodial oatmeal soothes issues like irritation or even eczema, and pomegranate extract, which is loaded with vitamin C, firms the skin and encourages elasticity.
Oars + Alps makes its face moisturizer oil-free for a non-greasy feel. But that doesn't make it any less impactful. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, proprietary antioxidant-rich Alpine Caribou Moss, vitamin E and vitamin B5, this option will obviously hydrate your skin but also smooth, lift and tighten it, too, by actively fighting signs of age and both dryness and dullness. Plus, it's rated SPF 37, a big jump up from the 10s and 15s most offer.
It’s one of our favorite face sunscreens, too, though Ursa Major’s super cream is foremost a moisturizer. It offers physical, natural SPF 18 protection in the form of zinc, and it soothes skin with aloe, nourishes with shea butter, tones and balances complexion with squalane, and kickstarts moisture with floral stem cells. On any day you spend a significant amount of time outdoors and want to apply just one product (as opposed to a moisturizer and sunscreen), then here you go.
An anti-aging super cream, Dr. Loretta’s moisturizer can be used morning or night to help thwart hyperpigmentation and turn over dark spots (as well as fine lines and wrinkles). It’s juiced up with Vitamin C to give skin the defense it needs against pollution, blue light damage, endless winters, acne recovery, and more.
Meant for the morning, Geologie's moisturizing cream comes packed with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. Plus, this option offers SPF 10 protection — enough for foundational-level protection against the sun. If you're expecting prolonged, direct exposure, you should another sunscreen though.
What is niacinamide?
This one is the most versatile on this list; it’s a great winter day-time cream, or a light-enough summer night balm, or an A+ aftershave. It’s fueled by skin-soothing bison grass, nourishing sesame oil, as well as moisture-preserving houseleek and leaf of life (bonus points for using cool-named ingredients). The balm cools on contact and was even tested under intense arctic conditions to ensure its moisture-preserving and boosting abilities.
If your skin is looking dull or sullen, or if it needs some firming and brightening up, then summon some peptides, which are teeming out of Drunk Elephant’s day and night cream. It’s also formulated with proteins, amino acids, cellular growth factors, and soothing + antioxidant-rich waterlily. Together these ingredients help plump, tighten, and brighten the skin, while shielding it from further signs of aging.
Although this brand makes a bunch of stuff — like toilet paper, cleaners and now skincare — you shouldn't steer clear because of its generality. This option doesn't offer the same expert-formulated impact as others on this list, it does stand as a solid starting point — and an affordable one at that. For only $7 bucks you get a moisturizer that's free from parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, phthalates and formaldehyde-derived ingredients, and loaded with vegetable fatty acids and coconut extract.
If there’s any time to upgrade your moisturizer, it’s nighttime. This is when you want to apply as many active, healing, and restorative ingredients as possible since they’ll get in step with your cellular regeneration as you rest. The results are ultra magnified by morning. Lately, my go-to is Omorovicza, with its dense, buttery night shield (dense and buttery is good — again, you want something thick and nutrient-packed). Among its best ingredients are Vitamin A, which works like retinol to expedite cellular turnover; carrot oil to stimulate collagen and firm skin; plus apple pectin and plum almond oil to soften, hydrate, and soothe.
Do you have questions about skincare? You're not alone.