We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
Whether due to skin sensitivities or allergies, lots of people find that fragranced skin care products can cause an unwanted reaction in the form of redness, itching, or a rash. If you count yourself among one of those people, you need one of the best fragrance-free moisturizers featured here. In addition to being unscented, these face creams are free of other common irritants, as well — like alcohols and dyes — since people with fragrance sensitivities may also find these ingredients irritating. Sensitive skin also tends to be on the dry side, so all of these moisturizers are formulated to intensely nourish, hydrate, and strengthen your skin.
Emphasis on strength here. Sensitive skin is often a symptom of a weakened skin barrier, which can leave your skin vulnerable to triggers that can cause redness, irritation, itchiness, and the like. (Though persistent reactions may be a sign of an underlying condition, like eczema or psoriasis, which is why is why you should always consult your dermatologist first.) So most fragrance-free moisturizers — or, more broadly, sensitive skin-friendly moisturizers — contain ingredients that work to repair your skin barrier and improve its moisture-retaining abilities, like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
Whether your needy, delicate skin (or needy, delicate nose) is oily, dry, or desperate for sun protection, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this guide to the best fragrance-free moisturizers, just ahead.
1. Best For Dry Skin
This FAB Ultra Repair Cream is a godsend for dry, flaky, and/or irritated skin, including all of the above associated with eczema or psoriasis. A combination of soothing allantoin and colloidal oatmeal help alleviate irritation and itchiness, while shea butter, ceramides, and glycerin offer much-needed hydrating and strengthening benefits. This has a decadent, whipped texture, but it feels surprisingly lightweight and dries to a semi-matte finish. I also like using this on my dry hands and knuckles, since it doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue that smears onto my phone and keyboard. At $54, it’s definitely on the pricier side, but this big, 12-ounce tub will tide you over for several months (or even a year).
2. Best For Oily Skin
A favorite among celebrities, makeup artists, and Amazon reviewers (who’ve bestowed it with over 25,000 five-star ratings), Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel has officially ascended to modern-classic status. Although it’s marketed for dry skin, it’s actually a favorite among people with oily skin, thanks to its refreshing, lightweight feel and oil-free formula that won't leave you shiny. This is often cited as a good alternative to Tatcha's The Water Cream, since it’s powered by a similar, water-burst technology; but this has the added benefit of being fragrance-free, and $50 cheaper. Just a heads up that this contains dimethicone, in case you prefer to steer clear of silicones.
3. Best For Acne-Prone Skin
Not only will this Paula’s Choice moisturizer not trigger breakouts, but it can also help prevent future breakouts from occurring. In here, three types of ceramides, peptides, and antioxidants help bolster your skin barrier and stave off aggressors, while licorice and niacinamide help fade unwanted scarring from breakouts past. One Amazon user with sensitive skin and cystic acne wrote that this is “the only moisturizer [they] can use,” and another reported that it “reduced their breakouts by 90%.”
4. Best Brightening Moisturizer
You may know EltaMD for their cult-favorite sunscreens, but don’t sleep on their range of moisturizers. Their AM Therapy moisturizer in particular is a great choice if you’re hoping to rejuvenate your skin and even out your complexion, as it’s packed with brightening niacinamide and caffeine. This one’s also suitable for acne-prone skin, since it features willow bark extract — a natural alternative to salicylic acid.
5. Best Moisturizer With SPF
Chemical sunscreens tend to be irritating on super-sensitive skin — not so with this CeraVe facial lotion. This features a combination of chemical sunscreens and zinc oxide, so you’re getting the blendable consistency of the former and the soothing properties of the latter. And with an SPF of 30, this is the rare moisturizer that actually provides the right amount of sun protection you need for the day. Like all of CeraVe’s cult-favorite products, the formula is bolstered by three types of ceramides for protection and hydration, plus glycerin, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid as well.
6. Best For Face & Body
This fragrance-free lotion from The Honest Company is technically formulated for babies, so it's guaranteed to be gentle enough for your own, sensitive, grown-up skin. The consistency is on the richer side, as it’s formulated for your face and body; though the addition of calendula, chamomile, and aloe make this feel soothing, not suffocating. At just $11 for over 8 ounces, you can't beat the value, either.
7. Author's Pick
La Roche-Posay never includes fragrances in their products, so you can’t go wrong with any of their excellent moisturizers. But I’m partial to this one for its extra-fluid consistency, which feels soothing if my skin is feeling hot or irritated in any way — during the summer months, for instance, or after going ham on the acids. Even though it’s incredibly lightweight, it somehow manages to be moisturizing enough on my combination skin’s dry spots. Pro tip: This pairs beautifully with a hyaluronic acid serum for even more, cooling, hydrating benefits.