Here are the best moisturizers for dry and cracked skin. The moisturizers we're talking about basically feel like butter, and we'll split them into 4 categories: moisturizers, night Masks, oils, and K beauty. As a medical esthetician, these are the best choices Cassandra has tested and tried. She's recommended these moisturizers to people, and they've seen results like the reduction of flaking and irritation. You can choose these products, but any moisturizer with the following ingredients will probably provide some benefits for dry skin.
What are the best ingredients for dry skin?
Ceramides, squalane, colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and petrolatum are the ingredients you want to look for. Our skin naturally produces ceramides and squalane, and both help to repair the skin barrier. So, adding them to your skincare routine can help to support the skin even more.
There's also colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and petrolatum. Doctors and derms recommend these ingredients for extremely dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis because of how they work. So, let's talk about some picks for dry that contain these main ingredients.
Moisturizers for dry skin
For the price, this is one of the most luxurious and affordable moisturizers available, and it feels like melted butter on the skin. It gives the skin a sheen, and it truly locks in moisture. The phytoceramides are ceramides that come from plants, and they're known to help with itching. The “natural moisturizing factors” help to draw water into the skin. This moisturizer contains other ingredients that seal in the moisture and coat the skin too. As for the texture, once you rub it in, it's not overly tacky. But, it does take a second to dry down.
This is the vegan, cruelty-free version of CeraVe. Doctors and derms do recommend CeraVe, but it's not vegan and cruelty-free. It's also known to pill. On the other hand, Ceremedx is completely vegan and cruelty-free and doesn't pill. The texture is very cloud-like, and it takes a moment to rub in. It doesn't give you the same sheen that The Ordinary's moisturizer does. Even though the Ceramedx Moisturizing cream is still very thick, it's more mattifying So, even when Cassandra is oily but still struggling with dryness, this is her go-to. It strengthens the barrier without exacerbating oily skin.
This hypoallergenic moisturizer has ceramides and cucumber. So, it smells really fresh. This is medical-grade skincare, meaning it has clinical studies to back up the brand's claims. However, any brand can literally spend money on clinical studies and call their products “medical-grade.” The label "medical-grade" doesn't automatically make it good or effective. So, it's best to buy medical-grade skincare that is made by doctors.
This has a ceramide building complex with pro ceramides and cica. This has a ceramide-building complex, meaning it encourages your skin to naturally produce more ceramides. Ceramides make up over half of our skin's top layer. It's what helps us waterproof ourselves, but when we get dry skin or stressed out (etc), our skin can decrease its ceramide production.
So, products like these give the skin a helping hand. The Stabilizing Dermalogica Repair Cream is one of Cassandra's favorites. It melts into the skin so smoothly, and it feels like whipped butter on the skin. If you're looking for something formulated by science that estheticians recommend, this works wonderfully even though it's a little on the pricier side.
This is also one of Cassandra's favorites for a healthy skin barrier, and it also helps your skin maintain its water balance. So, it gives your skin hydration also locks it in. As an added bonus, the product contains a pump applicator. So, this helps you get the perfect amount, and the product comes out as a buttery emulsion. This is very soothing, and Cassandra loves to use this at night.
Night Mask for dry skin
What is a night mask?
A night mask is a super heavy-duty moisturizer that you wear overnight. It's basically a super moisturizer.
This has hyaluronic acid and peptides which are both very hydrating. The shea butter gives the skin a wonderful, thick texture. It's so thick that it even holds its shape upon placing it in your hand. It's very budget-friendly but very good as well. It does have hyaluronic acid which some people prefer to avoid. But, Cassandra found it to be fantastic. It's a good drugstore option to put over a moisturizer. You could also use it on its own.
Cassandra would recommend this Bubble Moisturizer for someone who likes hyaluronic acid and doesn't mind fragrance. This works especially well with a skincare routine that includes water-based products such as an essence or a light moisturizer. Likewise, it layers well which is good because the thicker Ceremedx and ELF masks are more difficult to layer.
This is a fragrance-free option overnight hydrating sleep mask. Cassandra loves it because of the applicator, and it's very easy to carry with and take on the go. This comes out with a thick and hydrating moisturizer.
It doesn't hold up its shape the same way the ELF Cosmetics one does, but it's still very luxurious without the luxury price.
Cassandra likes this one from Bubble. It has quinoa, floral stem cells, and mushrooms. It can truly help to bind more moisture into the skin. So, it's great to leave on overnight because it gives glowing skin in the morning.
This is a triple lipid because it contains ceramide NP, ceramide AP, and ceramide EOP. The various types of ceramides work synergistically to help create the lipids within our skin barrier. Ceramides also act as a reserve for linoleic acid which is a critical fatty acid for a healthy skin barrier.
It also contains oils like squalane, jojoba oil, and shea butter which are phenomenal for the skin. Jojoba oil is one of Cassandra's personal favorites for her oily, acne-prone skin because it doesn't cause breakouts for many people. This is definitely an acne-friendly and reparative moisturizer for dry skin that's made to rebuild the skin barrier.
This is a wonderful, plant-based squalane moisturizer. Squalane mimics what your skin naturally creates. This also has omega fatty acids and oils which help to nourish and protect the skin. Oils help to lock moisture deep within the skin. They also help to fend off dryness from the outside. Oils repel water, and unless they have something to bind it together within a product, they will naturally separate. So, coating the skin with an oil-based moisturizer helps protect your skin from losing water. It provides a layer that protects the skin from the outside too.
This is phenomenal. It's also a really good eco-friendly brand that donates to ocean conservation efforts too.
This is eczema-approved, and if you are struggling with dry, flaky skin, or psoriasis, this Derm Repair Rescue Balm is phenomenal. There's also colloidal oatmeal which has beta-glucans. Beta-glucans help to nourish and hydrate the skin.
This retinol moisturizer has a very creamy texture. Retinoids tell your skin to make more skin cells, and likewise, make it more plump. The formula includes licorice for evening dark spots and gives a glow to the skin. There's also jojoba oil.
This is a great body moisturizer for dry, winter weather because it has AHAs and PHAs which are more hydrating exfoliators. Sometimes dry skin requires exfoliation so dead skin cells can be removed, and the skin can be hydrated properly.
This is one of the least expensive, but most effective options. Petrolatum truly locks in moisture and protects the skin. You can even wear it overnight after your skincare routine to help all of the moisture from your other skincare sink in.
PureAm Authentic Barrier Cream Moisturizer - $37
This is more lightweight, and Cassandra loves it for her skin when it's a little cracked and dry.
This has nourishing, soothing hydration with squalane and panthenol. This is like the Biossance one, and you can use it during the day or at night.
This is meant to moisturize and protect the skin. It leaves a thin, protective film on the skin. But, it's not an oily film. It's more of a dry touch film, and it's very hydrating. Along with the Bubble Moisturizer, this is Cassandra's go-to.
This has panthenol or vitamin B, and it also has hyaluronic acid. Combined, the two ingredients are very soothing and hydrating. It's a very thick moisturizer, but it layers well.