Best Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime)
In order to make the Best Products list, a moisturizer must NOT be packaged in a jar and have a state-of-the-art formula that:
- Helps skin fight environmental damage
- Increases healthy collagen production
- Contains a mix of antioxidants, skin-repairing, and cell-communicating ingredients
- Produces younger, healthier skin cells
- Improves skin texture
- Hydrates skin
- Is appropriate for your skin type
Regardless of your skin type (more on that below) or texture preference, all of the moisturizers on the Best Products list meet the formulary requirements mentioned above.
What remains offensive, however, is that most of the moisturizer formulations don't warrant their outlandish claims, ridiculous prices, or your belief that you've finally found the fountain of youth. No moisturizer, regardless of claims will "eliminate wrinkle," "lift sagging skin," "restore youthful contours," or "make you look years younger."
What each will do, to some degree, is restore a healthy barrier (essential for allowing skin to repair itself and generate new collagen), reduce inflammation, help prevent (not completely eliminate) free-radical damage, restore vital elements needed to maintain healthy skin, and create a feeling of smoothness and softness that most will find aesthetically pleasing. A great moisturizer can do a lot to fight multiple signs of aging, but it cannot replace cosmetic corrective procedures or the need for daily sun protection, exfoliation, and other critical aspects of skin care.
Moisturizers for oily skin are difficult to evaluate. As a rule, if oily skin is not being irritated or assaulted with harsh skin-care products, it does not need a moisturizer. Lotions and creams in general can be problematic for oily skin; even gels and serum-type moisturizers can feel heavy on oily skin though without question these lightweight textures are preferred for oily skin.
Those with oily skin should stick with ultra-light serums, gel-textured moisturizers, or toners, which should supply all the hydration and important ingredients oily skin needs. Keep in mind that when a lotion or cream-textured moisturizer is labeled as being for someone with oily or combination skin, it is meant to be used only over dry areas, not over oily areas.
Packaging is a big deal for state-of-the-art moisturizers, and we're not talking about visual appeal (though this entices many a consumer and fashion magazine editor). Rather, we're referring to the need for opaque, non-jar packaging that demonstrates the manufacturer has made efforts to ensure the continuing potency of the key ingredients, particularly antioxidants and plant extracts, after you start using the product.
Almost without exception, antioxidants are prone to degradation when repeatedly exposed to light and air (the manner in which they work to protect our skin bears this out). It is thus very disappointing to report that hundreds of the moisturizers reviewed on this site did not make the Best Products list and were not rated a "Best" solely because of clear or jar packaging.
The other issue with using a moisturizer packaged in a jar is that you're repeatedly dipping your fingers into it, which isn't most hygienic way to take care of your skin, not to mention the bacteria transferred with each use further degrades important ingredients.
Lastly, keep in mind that the only difference between daytime and nighttime moisturizers is that the daytime version should contain a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater (and include one or more of these UVA-protecting active ingredients: avobenzone, titanum dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX, or Tinosorb).