Until the year I started Accutane, I never had a dry skin day in my life. I didn't even really know what dry skin felt like or even meant — I was simply trying to keep the overproduction of oil from dripping off my face at all times. But the second I began my first round of the infamously-intense acne medication, my face changed from permanently slick to the Sahara desert, leaving me searching high and low for a dry skin facial moisturizer that wouldn't leave me flaky or red.
Since then, I've tried every hydrating product I could get my hands on — and sadly, most of them did virtually nothing, or turned my sensitive face beet-red on contact. In fact, it took me approximately 10 years and many failed attempts to find anything that actually has an impact on the dryness of my face without inflaming it, especially when the weather gets cold.
Now, when implemented into my nightly routine of toner, essence, moisturizer, and face oil, I've found that a select few products actually do what they promise. And while I haven't found anything that helps with the redness in my skin, the 10 moisturizers ahead work wonders on my flaky face without inflaming my sensitive skin — which at this point, kind of feels like a miracle to me.
Shop My Picks
LANEIGE Water Bank Moisture Cream
This is my holy-grail, I'd-die-without-it moisturizer, and I'm still upset that it took me so long to discover. It's hands down the most moisturizing cream I've ever tried, and it feels like heaven going on. Plus, it's only $35, which just makes it even more perfect.
Lala Retro Whipped Cream
I tried this Drunk Elephant cream once when a series of small, red dry patches popped up on my face thanks to stress, and it cleared them up in one night. Though it's not always a match for my skin in the dead of winter, I've found that it's the perfect moisturizer for daytime when I can use something a little lighter.
Sublimage La Crème Texture Suprême
Chanel's Sublimage La Crème is definitely not for the faint of heart (it's THICK), but it delivers on its promises of hydration. I only use this on special occasions given the three-digit price tag, but it's a lifesaver.
REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream
Admittedly, this isn't a heavy duty moisturizer at all. However, it does provide a nice amount of moisture (and doesn't add redness) on hot, humid days when I'm able to use something lighter.
Darphin Rose Hydra Nourishing Oil Cream
I've never tried a Darphin cream I didn't like, but this one takes the cake for me. My skin is calm, moisturized, and glowy every time I use this.
Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream is my-go to for layering under heavier makeup for a night out. It never makes the redness in my skin flare up, and it creates a hydrated base for my foundation without any pilling or greasiness.
Avène Rich Compensating Cream
In my eyes, no one does sensitive-skin care like Avène. All of the brand's products are ultra gentle, and this cream is no exception. I spot treat with it when I have a stubborn rough patch, and I slather it on generously over a hydrating serum when I know I'm going to be out on a windy, cold day for a long time.
LANEIGE Lavender Water Sleeping Mask
While not *technically* a moisturizer, I often use this in place of my night cream and it works just as well. Once a week, I put a thick layer of this on my face after a round of Dr. Dennis Gross' Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel for Sensitive Skin and I always wake up with soft, glowing, skin without a hint of redness.
Dr. Jart Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask
Yes, this is another sleeping mask, not a moisturizer — but this stuff does not play around when it comes to dry skin. I'm always on the hunt for anything that will help me wake up with a dewy glow, and so far, this is one of the few products I've found that does. I use it in place of a night cream when I'm really desperate for a dose of hydration.
Rose Day Cream
This cream is my go-to when my skin is recovering from a reaction from a product I shouldn't have tried — it's ultra gentle and calms my face while providing a layer of moisture that's not too heavy.