By Jude Chao

These days, skincare routines come in all shapes and sizes, from the ultra basic to the lavishly multilayered. But almost all effective skincare routines have a few things in common. One of those things is incorporating a good moisturizer. 

Moisturizers are key for maintaining an optimal oil and water balance. What makes a good moisturizer is up to your individual skin, budget, and taste. But if you haven’t found a great go-to or need holiday gift ideas, ere are my picks broken down by the four common skin types. 

Oily Skin 

For skin that overproduces oil, look for moisturizers that add water rather than more oil, to plump up and smooth out skin texture without adding greasiness. My pick in this category is COSRX Oil Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion, a weightless, satin-finish product that’s easy on the budget and the face. 

The main ingredient in the Oil Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion isn’t water, but rather birch sap. As I wrote in my 2016 review of the product, “birch sap is a natural cocktail of skin-friendly components, including vitamins, antioxidants, humectant sugars, proteins, amino acids, minerals, and enzymes.” These components will help hydrate, protect, and strengthen skin over time. 

Normal Skin 

To maintain the oil and water balance of normal skin, I like lightweight creams with a fairly even balance of hydration and richness. A top pick is Innisfree Derma Formula Green Tea Probiotics Cream for everyday use. This soft, silky moisturizer glides on easily and absorbs quickly, leaving skin soft and comfortable. The green tea extracts and probiotic ingredients help ease any minor inflammation. Meanwhile, the lack of fragrance in this product makes it especially suitable for sensitive skin as well. 

Dry Skin 

Dry skin under-produces the lipids necessary to maintain a strong and healthy moisture barrier, leading to accelerated water loss, rough texture, and tight and sometimes itchy skin. Supporting dry skin requires extra richness to your moisturizer. 

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream aka CeraVe in the tub” as it’s long been known in online skincare communities, is a classic choice for dry skin. With the ideal ratio of ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, “CeraVe in the tub” can substantially improve the look and feel of dry skin. [Why mention this other product? Is it another good choice for dry skin? If so, I’d state that] Like the Innisfree Derma Formula Green Tea Probiotics Cream, this moisturizer is also unscented. 

As an extra bonus, the modestly priced tub is huge! Feel free to use it all over your body to ward off winter-dry limbs and keep you moisturized from head to toe. 

Acne-Prone Skin 

It used to be thought that acne-prone skin needs to be “dried out”—we now know that’s not true. Acne-prone skin benefits from an appropriate moisturizer too, generally one with a simple ingredients list and a focus on lightweight moisturizing ingredients with anti-inflammatory and skin-healing properties. COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream fits these requirements perfectly. 

The unusual texture of COSRX cream comes from its main ingredient: 92% purified snail slime extract! I’m personally a huge fan of snail mucin, as are many K-beauty converts. Full of humectants, emollients, and amino acids to soften, protect and soothe skin, snail mucin can accelerate healing of break outs and leave fewer scars behind. Give it a chance—your skin just might love it. 

A good moisturizer is one of the foundational products in your skincare routine. Once you have your cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen game down, you can add on whatever extras will best suit your skin’s needs—whether those are acne treatments, retinoids for anti-aging, or anything else you choose. Be patient and be consistent, and before you know it, your skin will look better than ever, no matter what skin type you are! 

What are your favorite moisturizers for your skin type? Let us know in the comments! 

Photo by Sunyu Kim on Unsplash

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