The 10 Best Facial Moisturizers of 2023, Tested & Reviewed


PUBLISHED ON 2023/09/09 at 6:31 AM

The 10 Best Facial Moisturizers of 2023, Tested & Reviewed

With skin-loving picks from brands like SkinCeuticals, Tatcha, and more

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation.

Learn more.

Finding your go-to moisturizer is easier said than done—there are a ton of things to consider and even more options to choose from. Simply put, the best facial moisturizer for you will hydrate your skin without causing irritation, prompting unwanted breakouts, or turning your skin into an oil slick. Still, everyone has their own preferences, and when skin concerns and budget come into play, the search becomes more complex. Everyone deserves healthy, super-soft skin, so we spent months testing the most popular facial moisturizers on the market—from tried-and-true drugstore picks to dermatologist-loved designer formulas. To determine the best of the best, we had testers and Byrdie editors (each representing a range of skin tones, ages, textures, and concerns) try out a bunch of options. We considered each formula’s consistency, how well it absorbs into the skin, and whether or not it lives up to its promises of addressing specific skin concerns. Then, we consulted with three trusted skin experts—board-certified dermatologists Dr. Marisa Garshick and Dr. Harold Lancer, as well as board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Levine. The result: This curated list of moisturizers.

Our Ratings

What We Like

  • Silky, whipped consistency
  • Softening, hydrating
  • Great for most skin types

What We Don't Like

  • Can be too waxy and heavy for very oily skin types

One tube of the iconic Embryolisse Laid Crème Concentré sells every five seconds around the world, and after trying it out during testing, we can see why. This one product cleanses, hydrates, nourishes, and protects the skin on both the face and the body—and poses the question “What doesn’t this thing do?”

The formula—which has been a best-seller since the ‘50s—contains several natural-origin active ingredients, like shea butter, beeswax, soy proteins, and aloe vera, each of which works in tandem to combat skin concerns like dryness, irritation, and redness. One squeeze of the tube deposits a lovely whipped cream that melts on contact with the skin, which we experienced firsthand. The brand recommends applying a small amount of the product onto clean, damp skin post-cleanse to really lock in moisture and get the full effects of the creamy elixir. This super-rich cream is a great example of an occlusive, which Levine says can soothe and hydrate the skin. “These types of formulas create a protective film that traps moisture into the skin, softening and hydrating it in the process,” she adds.

It performs nicely on all skin types, but it might be a smidge too thick for very oily or acne-prone skin types.

Price at time of publish: $29

Ingredients: Shea butter, soy proteins | Size: 2.54 fl. oz. 


Our Ratings

What We Like

  • Hyaluronic acid boosts moisture
  • Absorbs quickly
  • Non-greasy, lightweight texture

What We Don't Like

  • Added fragrance may irritate skin


What’s the difference between facial moisturizer and body lotion?

Not all moisturizers are made the same, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to facial creams and the type of lotion you’d slather all over your body. According to Lancer, body moisturizers are usually heavier than face moisturizers and contain ingredients like butters, oils, and more, that are too heavy for the face (and can cause unwanted breakouts). Garshick explains that facial moisturizers tend to absorb easier and are normally formulated to be non-comedogenic to prevent clogged pores and breakouts. “In some cases, facial moisturizers can contain ingredients to help address signs of aging or other concerns,” Garshick adds.

What is the difference between humectants, emollients, and occlusives?

It’s all in the ingredients, Garshick explains. Humectants (like formulas containing hyaluronic acid) draw moisture in and help hydrate the skin. Emollients, on the other hand, are formulas that often soften the skin and support barrier health and repair as they often contain ceramides and rich oils. Occlusives, like petrolatum, essentially act as a protective barrier that locks moisture into the skin, she says.

Do you need to use a separate sunscreen if your moisturizer has SPF?

Yes! Even if you use a two-in-one moisturizer, you’ll need to slather on a good facial sunscreen to help prevent skin damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Apply your sunscreen as the last step in your skincare routine (after moisturizer) and don’t forget to reapply every two hours during prolonged exposure to the sun.

Why Trust Byrdie

For this story, Caitlyn Martyn relied on her experience as a beauty writer, product reviewer, and skincare lover. She utilized tester and editor insights to get a holistic view of each product.

She also spoke to experts to discuss what to look for when selecting facial moisturizers. Experts she spoke to included: