Skincare Favorites

Product Roundup: Hydrating Moisturizers

Moisturizers can be tricky business—finding one that strikes the perfect balance for you within the incredibly wide spectrum of options on the market, from thin lotions to buttery creams, can be frustrating. A moisturizer needs to provide necessary moisture/nourishment and seal it in, while not clogging pores. The category of “hydrating” moisturizers fits into my own routine, not necessarily as a hydrator (I tend to seek hydration in the previous, lighter layers of my skincare routine), but as an occlusive layer that I can tailor to my needs with the addition of my favorite facial oils. In my own case, I have very dry, but also congestion prone, skin—so I often choose to forgo a heavier cream, which may lean towards pore-clogging, for an emulsion of a lighter cream and one of my less-comedogenic facial oils (the latter providing the dry-skin-nourishing element).

Here are several that I have collected and tested with some notes on their respective virtues/drawbacks:

  1. Primera Alpine Berry Watery Cream ($28.30/50ml): Perhaps my favorite on this list, I owe the discovery of this gem to Liah Yoo (If you haven’t checked out her blog and/or YouTube channel, I highly recommend it). It has no discernible greasiness, but still manages to have some body to it (which I think, adds to its occlusive properties—retaining skin hydration for an impressively long time). Very nice ingredients list, chock full of botanical extracts. It has a very, very delicate scent. Beautiful.
    • Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Dimethicone, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Dicaprylyl Ether, Cyclopentasiloxane, Sucrose Polystearate, Urea, Cyclohexasiloxane, Myristyl Myristate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Leaf Extract, Aminobutyric Acid, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Borago Officinalis Extract, Brassica Oleracea Gemmifera (Brussels Sprouts) Extract, Veronica Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tapioca Starch, Lactobacillus Ferment, Alcohol, Disodium Edta, Fragrance(Natural Origin)
  2. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream ($27.50/1.7 oz.): I find that this one has the best “plumping” effect on my skin. I also think that the hydrating/moisturizing effect of this cream lasts impressively well in spite of how light it feels. No fragrance. Kiehl’s does include Methylparaben and Propylparaben in this product—however, I am perfectly comfortable with the inclusion of Parabens as preservatives in cosmetics (a great article/podcast on this subject by The Beauty Brains, here).
    • Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Squalane, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Sucrose Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Peg-8 Stearate, Urea, Myristyl Myristate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Persea Gratissima Oil, Olea Europaea Oil, Oryza Sativa Bran Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Stearic Acid, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Palmitic Acid, Disodium Edta, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine, Caprylyl Glycol.
  3. Clarins HydraQuench Cream, now revamped as Hydra-Essentiel Silky Cream ($48/1.7 oz.): A lovely, water-full feeling, refreshing cream (I have used up the majority of my HydraQuench Cream now, and have sampled the Hydra-Essential cream, they seem almost identical to me.) It is quite fragranced—I find it to be pleasant and calming, especially before sleep—however, if you are sensitive to fragrance, perhaps not the one for you.
    • Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propanediol, Glycerin, Silica, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dipentaerythrityl, Tetrahydroxystearate/Tetraisostearate, Glyceryl, Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetyl Alcohol, Perilla, Ocymoides Seed Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Xylitylglucoside, Parfum/Fragrance, Polyacrylamide, Anhydroxylitol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xylitol, Butylene, Glycol, Dimethiconol, Tocopherol, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Decylene Glycol, Disodium Edta, Laureth-7, Diospyros Mespiliformis Leaf Extract, Glucose, Maltodextrin, Kalanchoe Pinnata Leaf Extract, Sanicula Europaea Extract, Tromethamine, Citric Acid, Lapsana, Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Furcellaria Lumbricalis Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Maris Sal/Sea Salt/Sel Marin, Callicarpa Japonica Fruit Extract [V2922A]
  4. Caudalie’s Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet ($39/1.3 oz.) and Caudalie’s Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($39/1.3 oz.): Caudalie is one of my all-time favorite ranges, I find their products to be elegant and gentle, and the Vinosource Moisturizing range is no exception. The Moisturizing Sorbet is a very water-full, light-feeling cream. I would highly recommend this to oily skins and those who prefer a very light moisturizer. The Intense Moisture Rescue Cream has more body to it and feels richer, but not greasy in the least. I would recommend this to all skin types, especially those who prefer a non-greasy texture.
    • Ingredients (Moisturizing Sorbet): Water, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Water*, Dicaprylyl Ether*, Glycerin*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Extract*, Hexyldecanol*, Hexyldecyl Laurate*, Behenyl Alcohol*, Glyceryl Stearate*, Erythritol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum (Fragrance), Tocopherol*, Lecithin*, Caprylyl Glycol, Mannitol*, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice*, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols*, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Sodium Carboxymethyl Betaglucan, Sodium Phytate*, Potassium Sorbate, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sodium Hyaluronate, Homarine Hcl, Glyceryl Caprylate*, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15. *Plant origin.
    • Ingredients (Intense Moisture Rescue Cream): Water, Glycerin*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride*, Squalane*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract*, Butylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Potato Protein*, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil*, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Stearyl Esters*, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Panthenol, Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides*, Trehalose, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Cetearyl Glucoside*, Tocopheryl Acetate*, Dimethicone, Carbomer, Parfum (Fragrance), Caprylyl Glycol, Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract*, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxide, Pentylene Glycol, Tricaprylin, Tocopherol*, Linoleic Acid*, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Bark / Leaf Extract*, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract*, Cyclodextrin*, Linolenic Acid*, Sodium Carboxymethyl Betaglucan, Bht, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Geraniol, Coumarin.*Plant Origin.
  5. CosRx: A smart, minimalistic Korean skincare brand, formulated with acneic skin in mind. Very affordable and really impressive, simple ingredient lists. I have several fabulous options under the umbrella of this brand:
    1. Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream ($26/1.76 oz.) and Honey Ceramide Eye Cream ($18.92/1.01 oz.): I’m a sucker for anything that includes honey, which is said to have healing and antimicrobial properties. Very water-full feeling, refreshing, no fragrance. If you’re a fan of light, hydrating eye creams, definitely worth checking this one out.
      • Ingredients (Full Moisture Cream): Honey Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Betaine, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Beeswax, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) oil, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) Kernel Oil, Hordeum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol “Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate, Copolymer”, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 3, Xanthan Gum, Adenosine.
      • Ingredients (Eye Cream): Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Betaine, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Dimethicone, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) Kernel Oil, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) oil, Hordeum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hyaluronic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ceramide 3, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Adenosine, Honey, Honey
    2. Ultimate Moisturizing Overnight Honey Mask ($12.74/1.76 oz.): A gel-texture (think aloe gel—but honey), this one feels very healing and hydrating, no fragrance.
      • Ingredients: Propolis Extract, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, 1, 2-Hexanediol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Arginine, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract, Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Hyaluronic Acid, Allantoin, Panthenol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Adenosine, Honey
    3. Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion (with Birch Sap) ($22/3.38 oz.): A really great value for the large container, this one is probably the lightest on the list and impressively moisturizing for an oil-free formula. The only CosRx product that I have encountered with a noticeable scent—still fragrance-free, guessing the scent is due to either/both the Birch Sap and Tea Tree Oil included, however, it’s pleasant and fresh.
      • Ingredints: Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Betaine, Cetearyl Alcohol,1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Lactate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil.
    4. Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask ($18/1.76 oz.): This one is very hydrating and has just enough body to it. (I’m not completely clear on what differentiates this “overnight mask” from a general moisturizer, except that it leaves a bit of a sheen which may not sit perfectly well under makeup.) No fragrance.
      • Ingredients: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Betaine, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) oil, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) Kernel Oil, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Arginine, Carbomer, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum.
  6. Nourish Organic’s Ultra-Hydrating Organic Face Cream ($23.99/1.7 oz.) and Renewing + Cooling Eye Treatment Cream ($21.99/0.5 oz.): If you’re a fan of organic/vegan/cruelty-free skincare, these are lovely options. Fragrance-free, but have a pleasant, light natural smell to them. Both include Argan oil (a favorite ingredient of mine for its non-comedogenic and skin-nourishing properties) and Aloe Vera juice (hydrating and healing). Also, the eye cream has a very nice metal applicator for a refreshing, cooling sensation under the eye.
    • Ingredients (Face Cream): Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera) Juice, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Organic SDA 38B (Alcohol Denat.), Autolyzed Yeast, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Essential Oil, Organic Punica Granatum Linn (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Organic Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Oil, Organic Theobroma Grandiflorum (Cupuacu) Butter, Organic Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Organic Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Organic Glycerin, Xanthan Gum
    • Ingredients (Eye Treatment Cream): Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera) Juice, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Organic SDA 38B (Alcohol Denat.), Autolyzed Yeast, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Organic Glycerin, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Organic Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Distillate, Xanthan Gum, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Organic Theobroma Grandiflorum (Cupuacu) Butter, Organic Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Seed Oil, Organic Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Organic Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Organic Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

What are your favorite moisturizers? Have you tried any listed here? I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions!

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