The Ultimate Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin

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Best cleansers for dry skin

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 20 fluid ounces (fl oz.)
  • Key ingredients: glycerin

This ultra-gentle cleanser can be used on the face and the body. It’s pH-balanced, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free, so it’s gentle enough for even the driest skin. Glycerin softens and hydrates as it cleanses.

While this cleanser has long been a favorite of those with sensitive skin, one thing that’s worth keeping in mind is that the product was recently reformulated. Some say the new and improved formula is just as great as the old one, while others find that it doesn’t work as well for their skin.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 19 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin

This hydrating facial cleanser is made to clean facial skin without stripping moisture, leaving it feeling hydrated but not greasy. It’s free of parabens, soap, and fragrance.

Reviewers with dry skin say that using this cleanser daily has helped their skin become less dry over time.

Best toners for dry skin

Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Toner

  • Price: $
  • Size: 12 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: coconut water, neem extract, papaya extract, glycerin

This soothing mist toner is designed to hydrate and balance skin. Ethically traded coconut water, extracts of neem and papaya, and glycerin combine for a softening effect that doesn’t strip moisture.

Reviewers love that this toner makes their face feel fresh and dewy, rather than dry and tight like alcohol-based toners.

Cocokind Rosewater Facial Toner

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 4 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: rose hydrosol

Rosewater Facial Toner from cocokind is a rose hydrosol designed to soothe and hydrate with a quick spritz. It’s a lightweight, fragrant mist you can use to balance your skin’s pH level.

With just one ingredient, this is especially good for sensitive skin.

As an added bonus, cocokind as a brand is ultra-focused on sustainability. Their packaging is almost completely plastic-free, ingredients are sustainably sourced, and you can see exactly how much carbon emission each product is responsible for right on the cocokind website.

Best serums for dry skin

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

  • Price: $
  • Size: 1 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5

With three forms of hyaluronic acid, this concentrated product is designed to hydrate deep within your skin. Vitamin B5 adds another level of surface hydration.

Reviewers say the serum leaves their skin soft and provides a plumping effect.

Beekman 1802 Milk Drops Probiotic Ceramide Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.95 oz.
  • Key ingredients: goat milk, ceramides, probiotics

This lightweight serum combines ceramides and probiotics with a signature Beekman ingredient: goat milk. It’s a microbiome-friendly serum that absorbs rapidly, leaving skin feeling hydrated and softened. It’s designed to be non-irritating, though some reviewers with very sensitive skin note that it wasn’t quite a match for them.

Best firming moisturizer for dry skin

SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1.7 oz.
  • Key ingredients: peptides, hyaluronic acid, shea butter

Mariwalla recommends this face cream. It’s deeply hydrating, brightening, firming, and plumping. It works well for average, dry, and oily skin.

If you try the cream and like it, SkinFix makes repurchasing a cinch. Instead of buying a whole new jar, you can simply buy a refill and pop it in your first jar. It’s a win-win, saving both packaging and money.

Best eco-friendly moisturizer for dry skin

Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 2 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: peptides, squalane, jojoba, shea butter, reishi

This cream is made to boost skin hydration without clogging pores. It’s a soothing formula that won’t irritate dry, reactive, or sensitive skin.

The cream is truly fragrance-free, which is a bonus for those with sensitive skin and noses.

Plus, it comes in an eco-friendly glass jar (the cap is still plastic), and it ships in recyclable paper packaging. Products are made in California, with ingredients sourced locally whenever possible.

Best moisturizer for dry skin with acne

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1.7 oz.
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid

This hydrating water-gel face moisturizer is completely free of alcohol, which can be drying. The noncomedogenic formula is also free of oils, making it a nice light choice for acne-prone skin.

Still, even without heavy oils, it’s hydrating thanks to hyaluronic acid. It absorbs quickly, and reviewers report that a little goes a long way.

Keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin, you may want to take a thorough look at the ingredients list. It does contain blue dye, as well as fragrance.

Best tinted moisturizer for dry skin

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal

If you don’t wear makeup but still want sheer coverage on your skin, this tinted moisturizer may be a great low maintenance product. It’s made to relieve dryness, even skin tone, and protect your skin from UV rays.

The SPF 30 moisturizer contains octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, and avobenzone as its active ingredients. That means it’s a chemical sunscreen rather than a physical (or mineral) sunscreen.

Chemical sunscreens blend into the skin more easily than physical sunscreens, which can leave behind a white cast. However, some of these chemicals can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Their safety is currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Best inexpensive moisturizer for dry skin

Dermasil Labs Oil Free Facial Creams

  • Price: $
  • Size: 2 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: vitamin E, glycerin

These facial moisturizers come in a two-pack: one for daytime and one for nighttime. Both formulas contain glycerin to hydrate dry skin.

Keep in mind that the daytime formula doesn’t contain sunscreen, so if you’re looking for a product that does it all, this isn’t the one for you. However, if you’re fine with your skin care routine having multiple steps, you may find that this product relieves dryness without putting a big dent in your wallet.

Best mineral facial sunscreen for dry skin

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 3.4 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide, vitamin E

“I recommend wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from harsh UV rays regardless of your skin type,” Mariwalla says. She recommends this sunscreen, which is mineral-based with a lightweight consistency.

In addition to protecting you from the sun’s rays, it’s designed to help repair existing sun damage.

Some reviewers comment that it does leave a bit of a white cast, which is to be expected with mineral sunscreens. Still, others note that it absorbs more quickly than other brands and is easy to mix with BB cream to help it blend better.

Some reviewers also note that the product is strongly scented. If you’re sensitive to fragrance, this product may not be your best bet.

Best chemical facial sunscreen for dry skin

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 5 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene

This is Mariwalla’s other sunscreen recommendation. It’s a chemical-based sunscreen, but it’s free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two common ingredients are damaging to coral reefs.

The broad-spectrum formula can be used on the face and body and is safe for sensitive skin. It has a nongreasy texture and absorbs quickly, leaving skin smooth and hydrated.

Best inexpensive facial sunscreen for dry skin

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 5 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene

With hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and SPF 30, this is sun protection and hydration in one product. It’s a moisturizing sunscreen lotion that absorbs quickly with no greasy residue. It’s oil-free, noncomedogenic, and made without oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Best body cleansers for dry skin

Sebamed Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 33.8 fl oz.
  • Key ingredients: vitamin E, sodium lactate

This cleanser is formulated for sensitive skin, with a slightly acidic pH that helps protect against dryness. It’s a mild, fragrance-free option designed to support hydration in the skin.

Best of all, it’s multipurpose. Not only can you use it to wash your face, but you can also use it as a body wash.

Reviewers say it’s non-irritating and doesn’t leave skin dry or itchy.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

  • Price: $
  • Size: 4.5-oz. bar
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid

Bar soap has a reputation for being drying, but this product is an exception to the rule.

Made with 5 percent moisturizing cream, it’s designed to cleanse without stripping the skin. The fragrance-free cleanser is nondrying and non-irritating, and it can be used on the face, body, and hands.

It has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, meaning it’s suitable for people with eczema or sensitive skin.

Best body lotion for dry skin

AmLactin Rapid Relief Restoring Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 7.9 oz.
  • Key ingredients: ceramides, lactic acid

“AmLactin Rapid Relief Restoring Lotion is my favorite body [moisturizer] since it has 15 percent lactic acid,” Mariwalla says.

The lactic acid gently exfoliates dry, flaky skin, while ceramides moisturize.

Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Reviewers comment that this lotion worked for them when nothing else did. They’re also impressed that the results seem to last, with the lotion banishing dry skin for a full 24 hours.

Best body cream for dry skin

Ceramedx Ultra Moisturizing Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 6 oz.
  • Key ingredients: ceramides, hyaluronic acid, shea butter

If you prefer a thicker body cream over a thinner body lotion, this product may be just what you’re looking for. Plant-based ceramides and moisturizers make this fragrance-free cream a soothing, hydrating choice for sensitive or severely dry skin. Use it on the hands or body to lock in moisture without stickiness.

Like AmLactin Rapid Relief Restoring Lotion, this product also contains lactic acid to exfoliate dry skin.

Best ointments for dry patches

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

  • Price: $
  • Size: 7 oz.
  • Key ingredients: glycerin

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is a versatile ointment that can be used to moisturize just about anything from head to toe. It’s preservative- and fragrance-free, making it a good choice for sensitive skin.

Compared with a cream, an ointment offers more protection against moisture loss in the skin. They can feel a little greasy, but a little generally goes a long way.

Note that color variations ranging from a translucent white to a light yellow are usual.

Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.52 oz.
  • Key ingredients: lanolin

This is another multi-use balm, designed to hydrate everything from chapped lips to dry patches on the face and body. The product uses pure lanolin, making it an alternative to petroleum-based balms.

Lanolin is an oil that’s naturally found in sheep’s wool, so this product isn’t vegan. However, it is cruelty-free and not tested on animals.

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