The Types of Moisturizer Explained: How to Choose Your Best Fit

The Types of Moisturizer Explained: How to Choose Your Best Fit

Purchasing the right moisturizer for your skin type should be the easiest thing in the world. But there are so many options available, which might leave you hesitant to start searching in the first place. Just like all skin care, moisturizers differ for all skin types, making the task even harder.

So, where should you start? In this article, we'll explain all the different types of moisturizers and help you find the best one for your skin type.

Types of Moisturizer

One thing all dermatologists agree on is that choosing the right moisturizer and implementing it in your skincare routine is crucial. So, how do you choose what kind of skin moisturizer to get?


If you have dry or irritated skin, picking out a thick formula is the way to go. This will ensure that your face is properly hydrated without clogging up your skin cells.


For those who suffer from oily or combination skin, lotions can be extremely helpful. These are lightweight yet offer a sufficient amount of hydration. Their main ingredient is water, so they won't cause any breakouts or congestion, making them suitable for acne-prone skin. Make sure you choose one that's non-comedogenic.


Gel moisturizers usually contain a mash-up of ingredients like water and alcohol. They have a cooling effect and absorb pretty easily. A gel moisturizer is suitable for a couple of different skin types but mostly for those who want lightweight hydration without the greasy feeling.


These are the thickest moisturizers available, and they have a high concentration of oils and lipids compared to water. This ratio makes these types of moisturizers a no-no for combination and oily skin types. They have a sticky feeling, and their thick texture makes them sit heavy on your face. Vaseline is the most common representative of this category.

Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Some people who have oily skin often stay away from all moisturizing products. They believe adding a top layer of moisturizer will only worsen matters. However justified and logical this belief is, it's a common misconception that only people with dry skin need to apply moisturizer regularly.

It's crucial to pick a moisturizer that balances and hydrates your skin without making it too oily. This is why you should always choose moisturizers specifically aimed at people with oily and acne-prone skin. In addition, look for ones that don't contain too many harsh chemicals.

But why is that?

Because these types of ingredients can dry out your skin. You might think this is the outcome you need, but overdrying your skin will only make it produce more oil, otherwise known as sebum. It'll signal to your sebaceous glands that the amount of oil on your face isn't sufficient, resulting in an endless cycle of overproducing oil and over-drying your skin.

On top of being very hard to deal with, an oily complexion often leads to major breakouts and clogged pores, which can create a problem with acne scars and hyperpigmentation. To avoid this, you should help your skin retain moisture.

Applying moisturizer regularly will ensure you are safe from environmental pollutants and protected from UV rays which can cause further damage to your skin (assuming that you're also applying sunscreen on top of your moisturizer).

If you're on the oily side, there isn't one rule you should follow. People with oily complexions have one thing in common – the overproduction of sebum. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that their skin types are identical.

Some people will react badly to additional oils in the product. If this sounds like you, it's wise to look for an "oil-free" label. These labels don't just apply to moisturizer - oil can be found in cleansers, serums, and even sun protection! Oil-free moisturizers and lotions have a lighter formula than others, so they're easily absorbed without leaving your face feeling greasy. If you have acne, look for products containing glycolic acid and lactic acid.

How can you find out if you react negatively to oil? The truth is it involves much trial and error. You have to experiment to figure out what will work best for you. Until you get to know your skin, you'll have to be your own guinea pig and test out multiple products.

Go for Non-comedogenic Moisturizers

Another important label that all skin types should look for is "non-comedogenic." When a product or ingredient is labeled as non-comedogenic (such as jojoba oil, rosehip oil, aloe vera, or mineral oil), it's unlikely to clog pores and cause trouble.

Even if you don't have sensitive and acne-prone skin, avoid comedogenic ingredients (such as cocoa butter or olive oil) because clogged pores won't do any good whatsoever.

As far as makeup is concerned, most people with an oily complexion tend to go for mattifying foundations and heavy powders. This is not always a good idea because it can lead to clogged pores and congestion.

Follow up your chosen moisturizer with a mineral-based foundation to avoid nasty chemicals and ingredients. Many foundations are specifically designed for people with oily skin, so investing in one of these is also a good idea.

Oily skin doesn't only come with a greasy feeling and shine but also large pores. Unfortunately, large pores are often genetic, and there isn't much you can do to change their size. However, you can choose products that will minimize the appearance of pores. These could be regular moisturizers, tinted moisturizers, or foundations. Some serums also can give the impression of smaller pores.

Moisturizers for Combination Skin

People who have combination skin don't have it easy.

Combination skin is quite hard to identify. It's similar to oily skin in texture, but there are dry to normal patches on the face, which are usually located on the cheek area, making it look similar to dry skin. Finding a proper moisturizer that suits you is essential for maintaining a healthy glow and proper hydration.

It's important to remember that there's not only one solution. The best moisturizer for you will depend largely on how oily your T-zone is and how dry the other parts of your face are. Try a couple of facial moisturizers to determine which one balances those two radically different areas out.

But not everyone has the patience and money to try multiple products on the market. Sometimes, your skin will require two completely different products for the T-zone and cheeks.

The T-zone usually needs a mattifying finish to keep the shine at bay, and the dry areas require extra hydration. This means that you will have to use two completely different formulas.

Don't despair, though! This may not be the case for you. Make sure to try out at least one moisturizer designed for a combination complexion before you decide it won't work for you.

Look for one that contains beneficial ingredients for the area troubling you the most. For example, if oil is the main issue, opt for a sebum-controlling formula and, if needed, follow up with a serum or lotion on the dry areas afterward.

Whichever one you choose, avoid aggravating ingredients such as alcohol, fragrances, and colorants. The last thing you want is to add a sensitive face type into the mix as well.

It all comes down to experimenting with what's right for your skin type. Combination skin types might find that applying two different facial moisturizers is best. You could also try layering two different ones in the dry areas. It can be quite a hassle, but if it helps, it's worth it!

Moisturizers for Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, chances are you're already using a moisturizer. For people with this skin type, it can be incredibly irritating and uncomfortable if they don't use a moisturizer after washing their face. It's definitely a necessity when it comes to skincare.

A good moisturizer will repair, soothe and alleviate symptoms such as irritation and itchiness. There are many options for dry skin, so choosing a suitable moisturizer will depend on what kind of skincare you prefer.

Unfortunately, people with a dry complexion are more prone to premature signs of aging. This is especially true if you've had harsher, unsuccessful treatments done to your face. Choose a moisturizer that will eliminate premature signs of aging and simultaneously compensate for moisture loss, such as our best-selling moisturizer with anti-aging effects.

For those who don't have fine lines and wrinkles yet, it's never too early to start anti-aging skincare! You can buy a face cream with amazing anti-aging benefits that will prevent premature signs of aging from appearing. It's a win-win – you'll get a moisturizer (which can also act as a foundation base) and the anti-aging benefits all at the same time!

If you have dry skin, look for ingredients such as vitamin E oil and jojoba oil. They both score low on the comedogenic scale, making them safe to use. You can enjoy all their hydrating benefits without sacrificing your pores.

You could also look for humectant moisturizers, known for drawing moisture into the skin barrier. Occlusive moisturizers are also good, as they will create a barrier on the skin's surface, locking in hydration and essential nutrients, creating a soft complexion.

Collagen is another amazing ingredient because it prevents premature signs of aging.

Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin

Having sensitive skin is not a walk in the park. It's different from the other skin types because you can't just try out several different products and see which works best. When trying out a new product, the stakes are always high.

A new product could clog pores, irritate the skin barrier and cause you to break out. It could make your skin dry, creating uneven patches and itchiness and resulting in redness. You have to be careful when choosing new products to try out so you don't end up with even more problems than when you started.

If you have sensitive skin, it's important to mention how much of a lifesaver patch tests can be.

A patch test will determine if a new product is safe for your face. Apply a tiny amount of the product to a small area of your face. Repeat this daily for a couple of weeks to see how you react. If the area seems fine, apply it to a bigger area next time. But, if there are multiple breakouts, redness, or itchy skin, the product might not be for you. In this case, select a new product and repeat the process.

Selecting gentle products is crucial when it comes to moisturizers, body lotion, and face creams. There are a couple of different ingredients which help soothe the skin, such as:

If any of these are on the ingredients list, then chances are that product will do wonders for you. Always make sure the product checks off these:

  • “Non-comedogenic”
  • “Fragrance-free”
  • “Hypoallergenic”
  • “Anti-inflammatory”.

Many ingredients will do an amazing job of hydrating your face without leaving you with congestion and clogged pores. Hyaluronic acid is a great example of an ingredient that works as an outstanding hydrator but is also suitable for people with dry patches.

Other common ingredients which can be found in moisturizers suitable for people with a sensitive complexion are shea butter and squalene, both of which protect the skin from harmful effects.

Remember that creams for these types often contain fewer ingredients than others. The goal is usually to use the least amount of components to achieve the most desirable effect.

Now that we have gone over all the safe ingredients let's see which you should avoid if you suffer from sensitive skin. Whether it's in skincare, makeup, or any other products you use on your face, try your best to avoid the following ingredients:

  • Mica
  • Talc
  • Fragrances
  • Silicone
  • Perfumes
  • Parabens
  • SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate)
  • Phthalates

These can cause irritation and redness and lead to clogged pores and breakouts. You could also have an allergic reaction. When this happens, it can be hard to pinpoint which ingredient caused your sensitive skin to react.

Moisturizers for Mature Skin

Keeping our skin healthy and youthful should be a priority regardless of age. Investing in high-quality skincare products (like anti-aging creams) will pay off in the long run. Neglecting your skin and repeating bad habits (like sleeping with your makeup on) will cause harm.

It's no secret that our skin changes as we age, and so do our needs. So when picking out a moisturizer, select one aimed at mature skin types or something with anti-aging benefits. On top of that, it should contain hydrating and nourishing ingredients (such as shea butter) that will keep you from drying out. Our skin loses moisture as we age, so we need to compensate for that. Ingredients like vitamin E, squalane, and hyaluronic acid will keep our skin moisturized.

Retinol (Retin A), vitamin B, vitamin C, collagen, and fruit acids are famous for their anti-aging benefits. When shopping for moisturizers, always check the label for any of these. If the product includes them, it's a safe bet that they will tackle fine lines and wrinkles. Many of these ingredients, along with antioxidants and squalene, also help with sagging skin, so you'll kill two birds with one stone.


Just like other skin care products, choosing the best moisturizer for your skin tone and type will require a lot of trial and error. The good news is, you'll know when you've found the one.

Having healthy and glowing doesn't come down to your moisturizer alone. Your whole skincare routine needs to be effective to see the benefits. Choose a gentle cleanser that will remove all the dirt, bacteria, and impurities in the morning and nighttime, like our salicylic acid cleanser.

Follow it up with the moisturizer you've picked. Make sure to add a protective layer of sunscreen if you leave the house. Protecting yourself from harmful sun rays is crucial to maintain healthy skin in the long run.

At night, you can experiment with serums, toners, and stronger acne treatments.

You could also try harsher treatment options that deal with the most common skin problems. Chemical peels (alpha hydroxy acids), lasers, and microdermabrasion are extremely popular, and most patients can tell the difference even after one treatment. If you're planning on trying any of these, consult a board-certified dermatologist first.

Many products you put on your skin won't work unless you're also taking care of yourself. Exercising, minimizing stress, and having a healthy diet and lifestyle are all things you should implement as a daily habit if you want that healthy glow all year round.

Have normal skin? You're in the clear - just choose the moisturizer you like best.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to up your skincare game.


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