Recently a reader asked me for my recommendations for “best lotions.” The request brought me up short, realizing that it is easy to get carried away with all those fancy serums out there and forget that we all need a damn good moisturizer. I have rounded up not only the best I have found, but also tried to make a selection that will appeal to different needs: anti-aging, dry or combination skin, oily/breakout-prone skin, light or rich. They can be used on their own or layered over a serum. Either way, here are my Five Best moisturizers.
BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Sculpting Firming Cream Complex
BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Sculpting Firming Cream Complex ($195/1.70z in the shop). This day or night cream (or both) can be used on the face and neck to firm, brighten, and hydrate. Unscented and absorbent, it is a great base for makeup. The ingredients consist of a very solid list of vitamins, natural oils, herbs, extracts, butters, antioxidants. In fact it just about has it all in a complex everything-including-the-kitchen-sink combination that will moisturize and exfoliate (the latter with glycolic acid and vitamin A). Aside from being a great moisturizer, with hyaluronic acid and phospholipids, there are also a few good anti-aging ingredients, including green tea and expression line inhibiting peptides and a ton of botanical antioxidants.
Royal Nectar Moisturizing Face Lift
Royal Nectar Moisturizing Face Lift ($55/1.7oz in the shop). A good choice for oily skin, as this moisturizer is light with an almost whipped texture and is non-greasy and easily absorbed. Like its sister Face Mask, there is bee venom here, which is mainly made up of anti-inflammatory peptides. There are nourishing antioxidants in the form of avocado, vitamin E, apricot and rose hip. I like the inclusion of marshmallow as it has an inhibitory effect on hyaluronidase, the enzyme that degrades hyaluronic acid in our skin tissue. A lovely moisturizer at any price and great value for under $60.
Snowberry Bright Defence Day Cream No. 2
Snowberry Bright Defence Day Cream No. 2 ($63 in the shop). This is a moisturizer for dry to combination skin. There are some unique ingredients, such as “silver ear,” a mushroom (also known as tremella) whose water-retaining capacity is greater than hyaluronic acid! Emollients used include: rosehip, grapeseed, passion flower, macadamia and the New Zealand harakeke. Then there is kombuchka, produced from the fermentation of sweet black tea; this compound decreases glycation and skin roughness, improving radiance. Regular use will impart a subtle brightness and a velvety softness to the skin.
Arcona Magic White Ice
Arcona Magic White Ice ($40/1 oz). Arcona has a thing about cream and without putting words in the brand’s mouth, I’d go so far as to say it doesn’t like them. Its moisturizers – whether Magic White Ice or Desert Mist – are lightweight gels. Generally, they serve oily, sensitive skin well and leave it refreshed but matte. There’s hyaluronic acid and a bevy of antioxidants including totara (a native New Zealand tree, known for its healing properties), cranberry and green tea.
M.A.D Illuminating Daily Moisturizer
M.A.D Illuminating Daily Moisturizer ($50/1.7 oz). This describes itself as a “lightweight daily moisturizer,” but don’t expect something that is watery or insubstantial. It is part of M.A.D’s “Brightening” line and so you can expect to find ingredients that will even out skin tone as well as moisturize. One of the key actives is B-White, a peptide that binds to the TGF-b receptor in skin cells to inhibit the enzymes involved in skin pigmentation. The other is Lumiskin, also known as diacetyl boldine. Extracted from the bark of the Chilean Boldo tree, this is another skin-lightening agent. Plus there’s strawberry seed, elderberry and blackcurrant. Like all M.A.D products, this has a good quality to price ratio.