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Three questions to ask to find the best moisturiser for you

Avleen M.
Avleen M.Jul 28, 2020

When you have clear skin, it’s hard not to shout it from the rooftops. The right moisturiser can help give you that healthy glow. But with the army of lotions, creams and ointments on supermarket shelves, how do you know which one to pick? Everyone’s skin is different, so read on to discover the three questions to ask yourself to find the best moisturiser for you.

A quick note on moisturiser types

You may be confused by the various marketing labels for ‘moisturiser’ you’ve seen, and no one coud blame you. In short, the three types of moisturiser you’ll see are sorted by their level of thickness.

  • Moisturising lotions are the lightest or thinnest type of moisturiser you can buy. Their main ingredient is usually purified water, which means they won't clog pores and are suited to oily skin. Since lotions are non-greasy they're also great for the summer months.
  • Moisturising creams are the most common type of moisturiser, and they make the best face moisturisers for normal to dry skin. Rich creams will usually be oil-based, to help meet your skin’s daily hydration needs.
  • Ointments or skin oils are the thickest moisturisers you can find, and are soothing for dry or itchy skin, especially during the winter months.

Do you want a moisturiser for your face, hands, or body?

Applying moisturiser

This is an important question to ask because you can’t buy one product and use it for all three areas. The skin on your face (and neck) is more sensitive and delicate than the thicker skin on your hands and body. Using a body moisturiser on your face can irritate it or make it oily, and even if you're using the best face cream on your hands and body won’t moisturise it properly.

Some people find that their body cream doubles well as a hand cream . This is usually the case if you have the same skin type on both your hands and body. However, you might notice that your hands become especially dehydrated in the colder months, necessitating the use of a separate hand cream. Everyone is different, so choose what works best for you and the season.

As this guide focusses mostly on face creams, the list below ranks the top five body moisturisers according to reviewers. These are all especially suited to dry skin.

Top 5 Rated Hand and Body Moisturisers

  1. Dermal Therapy Australia Hand Care Range
  2. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
  3. Redwin Vitamin E cream with Evening Primrose Oil Moisturiser
  4. Nivea Soft moisturiser
  5. The Body Shop Body Butters

What's your skin type?

Dry skin

If your skin feels dry, flaky or rough after you wake up, cleanse or hop out of the shower, your skin type is likely to be dry. It produces less oil than other skin types, which is why it tends to lack moisture. If you have dry skin, opt for a thicker moisturising cream that’s oil-based, as this will help hydrate and replenish your skin.

Best moisturisers for dry skin: This Nivea Crème is rated 4.4. stars on ProductReview.com.au, and many users like it for its thick, rich texture which smooths dry skin. While many users found this cream handy for winter, however, they observed that in warmer months it can feel greasy.

The Redwin Vitamin E with Evening Primrose Oil Moisturiser, awarded 4.5 stars, is a great moisturiser for the hands, body and in some cases the face, if you have dry or sensitive skin all over. It’s also only $4, an affordable price that means you can apply it generously. This is handy as the tub size is relatively small at 300g.

In some cases a body oil is preferable to soothe very dry skin, such as the Nutrimetics Nutri-Rich Oil. A skin oil is better for the body, as applying oil directly to your facnace will probably leave it looking greasy.

Oily skin

T-zone area

While oily skin usually feels clean after showering or cleansing, some tell-tale signs appear later in the day. These include your face becoming shinier in the afternoon, particularly in the T-zone area (forehead, nose and chin). Even if you're literally powdering your nose to keep the shine away, chances are it's a futile exercise. Oily skin can also cause larger pores in the T-zone area, and perhaps some blackheads or pimples, too.

If you have oily skin, your skin produces plenty of moisture. This makes a lightweight lotion or face cream the best solution to help balance your skin. Lotions are high in water content, rather than oils, and hydrate the skin without adding more oil to the equation.

Best moisturiser for oily skin: The Real-U Hydrate Lite Moisturiser is the top-rated moisturiser for oily skin, sitting pretty at 4.7 stars. It's sold as an individual moisturiser for around $25 or or as part of the Real-u Beauty Bundle.

Many reviewers who experienced acne or mild breakouts caused by oily skin recommended this real-U Lite Moisturiser. The majority found that, when used in conjunction with the real-U spot treatment, cleanser, and Face Gel acne serum, it helped clear up their skin, and by extension, their confidence about their skin's improved appearance.

Combination skin

Combination skin means your skin shows signs of being both oily and dry in different places. Usually, the T-zone area produces more oil, which can result in occassional breakouts in this area, along with enlarged pores, and/or blackheads. By contrast, the skin on your cheeks may remain dry or flaky.

Combination skin can be tricky to work with, because you have two skin types in a small surface area. The easiest solution is to find a moisturiser that's suitable for all skin types. This will accommodate both oily and dry skin – and therefore, combination skin.

If the level of oil and dryness is strong on different parts of your face, you may prefer to buy two different moisturisers. Another option is to buy one product that’s either light (for oily skin) or rich in texture (for dry skin), and apply more or less product on different parts of your face accordingly.

Best moisturiser for combination skin: : Check out the Olay Whip face creams range, which is suited to all skin types and has a promising rating of 4.6 stars. This range of Olay moisturisers has been described by happy reviewers as hydrating, as well as light and non-greasy.

Normal skin

Normal or balanced skin produces just the right amount of oil. It’s not especially oily or dry, and while it can produce the occasional pimple or spot of dryness, it generally stays balanced for the majority of the time.

The pores are usually small, which makes for a fairly clear complexion without you having to do much.

For normal skin, a light moisturiser during the day will keep your skin happy, while a thicker night cream will adequately replenish your skin at night, protecting the skin’s moisture barrier as you sleep.

Best moisturiser for normal skin: During the day, try one of the Olay Whip face creams, which have a 4.6 star rating and are suited to all skin types. This Olay range has been described by satisfied reviewers as being hydrating, light and non-greasy.

If you’re looking for the best night moisturiser, the Sukin Signature Moisture Restoring Night Cream is a top pick for all skin types. With its heavier natural oils, positive reviews described it as thick, hydrating and absorbent without being greasy. It’s also 100% vegan, with no animal testing or animal ingredients.

Do you have any skin concerns?

Acne-prone skin

The top-rated moisturiser for acne-prone skin is the Real-U Hydrate Lite Moisturiser, which can be bought individually for $25 for 100ml or as part of the Real-u Beauty Bundle. With an impressive 5-star rating (or 4.7 stars for the Beauty Bundle), this moisturiser often helped with clearing skin marked with acne.

Reviewers appreciated how the real-U Lite Moisturiser was light and didn’t clog skin. At the same time, they also noted that this moisturiser ‘hydrates skin but doesn’t add oiliness,’ making it an effective moisturiser for dry, acne-prone skin as well as combination skin. Overall, reviewers noted that after using this facial moisturiser, their skin felt fresh and looked clearer, smoother and healthier.

The skinB5 Acne-Control Moisturiser also received a positive 4.4 star rating. It’s available to buy individually for $25 for 500ml, or as part of the Skin B5 Next Generation Clear Skin Bundle.

Sensitive skin

T-zone area

If you have sensitive skin, your skincare routine should incorporate a moisturiser that is gentle and doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients that are likely to aggravate your skin.

It’s also helpful to remember that everyone’s skin will react differently to the same product. If your skin is sensitive or allergic to an ingredient you're aware of, check the ingredients list of a moisturiser before buying – especially the first five ingredients listed, as these will be in the highest concentration. If your skin is generally sensitive, or you have a skin condition, seeing a dermatologist may help point you in the right direction of a suitable moisturiser.

Best moisturisers for dry, sensitive skin: MooGoo Full Cream received 4.3 stars, and helped soothe sensitive, itchy or dry skin, and eczema. The MooGoo Skin Milk Udder Cream was also good at providing relief for eczema, in the experience of many reviewers.

The Dermal Therapy Australia Body Care Range is rated an almost-perfect 4.9 stars. Their Very Dry Skin Cream and Sensitive Skin Lotion were favourites among reviewers who experienced these conditions. The Very Dry Skin Cream is also a great option if you have dehydrated skin.

Dehydrated skin

Moisture droplet

This is different from the dry skin type, as dehydrated skin is a condition that can be caused by extremes in weather, certain food or drinks such as an excess of caffeine or alcohol, or not drinking enough water. Skin may feel rough, sensitive, tight or dull. Many people experience dehydrated skin during winter.

Best hydrating moisturiser: Dermal Therapy’s Very Dry Skin Lotion was by far the most popular choice of moisturiser for reviewers who experienced dry skin, especially in winter. One reviewer summarised the sentiment shared by many others when they wrote: ‘the winter months cause so much havoc on our body and skin, but not with this.'

Anti-ageing

Anti-ageing cream

Anti-ageing moisturisers are marketed as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They require the inclusion of the right active ingredients in a high-enough concentration to be effective, such as retinol. There are other daily steps that can be taken to prevent the effects of ageing. Namely this includes keeping out of the sun and investing in a moisturiser with SPF, as exposure to UV rays can cause premature skin ageing, wrinkles, and/or pigmentation.

Best anti-ageing moisturisers: According to reviewers, the Olay Regenerist Whip, rated 4.6 stars, is the best, and contains amino peptides.
This is closely followed by the MooGoo Anti-Ageing Antioxidant Face Cream which received 4.5 stars. It contains resveratrol, a plant-based antioxidant proven in studies to have anti-ageing benefits.

Sun protection

Moisturiser with SPF beach

Being out in the harsh Australian sun makes choosing a moisturiser with SPF sensible (slip, slop, slap!) Look for a moisturiser with a minimum of SPF 30+ sunscreen to protect from sun damage. If you wear make-up and can’t find a good one for your skin type, there are primers, foundations and tinted moisturisers with SPF, and you only need one for the sun.

Looking for the best moisturiser for men with SPF? Choose something lightweight yet deeply hydrating, as men’s skin is generally thicker and oilier than women’s. The Dermalogica Oil Free Matte SPF 30 ($81) is good for this purpose, and the Natio Men’s Face Moisturiser SPF 30+ is another worthy choice. It’s the men’s version of the Natio Daily Protection SPF15 moisturiser, and at $16.95, is more affordable than the Dermalogica pick.

Conclusion

When choosing the right moisturiser for you, it’s helpful to consider a number of factors that will more likely result in buyer satisfaction. These include: knowing which part of your body you want to moisturise, catering to your skin type and finding a product that helps soothe and settle any skin conditions. Also think about the season or time of day you’ll be wearing the moisturiser, and whether you'd prefer a moisturiser with SPF. Answering these questions will help you choose right the first time, leading you one step closer to clear skin.


About the author
Avleen is a content writer for ProductReview. Her area of expertise covers furniture and bedding, home appliances and beauty products. Outside of work she enjoys scribbling down poetry and music, reading fantasy novels, and discovering delicious vegan restaurants.