The Ultra-Hydrating Face Moisturizers to Avoid Dry and Irritated Winter Skin

These are the best face moisturizers to use right now.

The Ultra-Hydrating Face Moisturizers to Avoid Dry and Irritated Winter Skin
Face moisturizer is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine, especially during the harsh winter months. Annie Sheehan for Observer

Moisturizer is a non-negotiable in any skincare routine, no matter the time of year, but it takes on a truly paramount role during these harsh and incredibly drying colder months. Even those who are typically blessed with healthy, hydrated and soft skin tend to develop tighter, drier and rougher complexions during the winter, which is why it’s key to ensure your skincare routine is appropriate for the weather and climate. Right now, it’s crucial for many of us to use an ultra-hydrating, rich and nourishing face cream that won’t just act as a quick fix, but will really lock in that moisture and soothe a dry and irritated skin barrier.

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Just because a face cream is a moisturizing powerhouse doesn’t mean it’s inherently heavy or greasy; there are plenty of options out there that will intensely hydrate and won’t leave you desperate for an oil wipe. Instead of slapping on the first moisturizer you can lay your hands on (we’re all guilty of it), take the time to make sure you’re using a face cream that’s right for your skin, so that not only will it soothe and hydrate, but will also help you combat sensitivity, redness, dryness, oiliness or any other conditions.

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Since no one wants to have parched, ashy and uncomfortable skin at any time of the year, we’ve found the best moisturizers to use right now that will keep you hydrated, plump and glowy, no matter the season.

All products featured are independently selected by Observer editors. When you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission that supports our work.

  • Sisley Paris.

    Sisley Paris Velvet Nourishing Cream with Saffron Flowers

    Add a touch of much-deserved indulgence into your skincare routine with Sisley’s ultra-nourishing Velvet Cream, which hydrates and plumps while also helping to calm and heal skin, thanks to saffron flower. If you want an extra dose of luxurious moisture, consider adding Sisley’s Velvet Sleeping Mask to you nighttime ritual—you’ll wake up with the softest skin.

    $250, Shop Now
  • SkinCeuticals.

    SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2

    This face cream has a seriously dedicated fan base, including skincare enthusiasts who eagerly await the *very* rare occasions it goes on sale. The ultra-creamy formula almost instantly soothes skin; it’s thick and hydrating, but non-greasy and absorbs quickly. The name comes from the ratio of ceramides, natural cholesterol and fatty acids, which work together to nourish and help repair the natural skin barrier. A major plus is that this is also a potent anti-aging cream.

    $136, Shop Now
  • Fresh.

    Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Moisturizer

    Fresh’s rose face cream proves that a moisturizer can be lightweight while still seriously hydrating. It contains multiple types of hyaluronic acid, and promises 72 hours of much-needed hydration, thanks to a time-release technology. The Damask rose extract works to lock in the moisture, and leaves you with a coveted dewy finish.

    $46, Shop Now
  • Charlotte Tilbury.

    Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Moisturizer

    While I prefer charlotte tilbury’s Light Magic Cream during the summer months, the cold, drying winter weather calls for the famous original. It’s a true overachiever, and helps with hydration, plumping, smoothing and firming, not to mention it provides a radiant glow. It’s also perfect for pre-makeup skincare.

    $100, Shop Now
  • Youth to the People.

    Youth to the People Polypeptide-121 Future Moisture Cream

    Youth to the People’s barrier-focused cream is packed with ceramides and peptides, for a nourishing, hydrating and healing moisturizer.

    $64, Shop Now
  • Tata Harper.

    Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer

    While Tata Harper has a plethora of wonderful moisturizers to choose from (I especially love the Superkind line), I turn to this particular face cream when I want major hydration in a lightweight formula. It’s a moisturizer-primer hybrid, which is great for a pre-makeup look, and contains orange peptides, hyaluronic acid and pomegranate spheres. It does contain lightly exfoliating AHAs, so be careful about using this with a retinol or other actives.

    $68, Shop Now
  • Skinfix.

    Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream

    Whether you’re guilty of over-exfoliating (happens to the best of us!) or just dealing with sensitive skin in this dry winter time, go for a peptide-rich cream. This Skinfix moisturizer is a gel-cream hybrid, which is ideal for those with combination or oilier skin types that don’t want too heavy a formula.

    $54, Shop Now
  • Chanel.

    Chanel N°1 De Chanel Rich Revitalizing Cream

    Chanel’s latest drop from their eco-focused skincare line is a total moisturizing powerhouse, and no, it doesn’t go on red. It’s contains a high concentration of red camellia extract and red camellia oil, as well as ceramides, to simultaneously hydrate, smooth and protect. Dry skin is sure to soak up the rich, velvety formula, which feels downright luxurious.

    $115, Shop Now
  • Eminence Organics.

    Eminence Organic Skincare Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer

    If you want a hydrating moisturizer with impressive anti-aging properties, consider Eminence Organics, especially if you have sensitive skin. This formula is packed with coconut, shea butter and grape seed oil, which tighten and moisturize.

    $69, Shop Now
  • Augustinus Bader.

    Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

    It turns out that the ultra-pricey Augustinus Bader Rich Cream does, in fact, live up to the hype. It’s filled with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, argan oil, vitamin e, avocado oil and evening primrose oil, which work together to intensely hydrate, refresh and smooth skin, including reducing the appearance of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. What really makes it stand out, though, is the brand’s exclusive TFC8 technology, with a blend of botanicals that support cellular renewal. It’s moisturizing yet non-greasy, and is a great option for when you want serious hydration while slimming down your skincare routine, since it’s a true all-in-one.

    $290, Shop Now
  • Tatcha,

    Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream

    I use this purple cream (it melts into your skin sans color, don’t worry) whenever I want a boost of hydration along with a serious highlighter-esque glow. It’s infused with Japanese purple rice, hyaluronic acid and an Okinawa algae blend, which plump, hydrate and leave you looking truly luminescent.

    $70, Shop Now
  • Dr. Jart.

    Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream

    This super hydrating cream is packed with five different types of ceramides, plus hyaluronic acid and glycerin, to help strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier, lock in moisture and prevent water loss.

    $48, Shop Now
  • Noble Panacea.

    Noble Panacea Active Replenishing Moisturizer

    This creamy moisturizer comes in 30 individual packets so you’ll know the precise amount to use for your daily dose of hydration. It’s filled with actives that contour, plump and smooth while also hydrating and protecting your skin.

    $334, Shop Now
  • Naturium.

    Naturium Plant Ceramide Rich Moisture Cream

    Naturium’s face cream is packed with plant-derived ceramides that hydrate, restore and support your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

    $25, Shop Now
  • Guerlain.

    Guerlain Orchidée Impériale The Cream

    It’s hard to find a more luxurious cream out there than Guerlain’s indulgent anti-aging moisturizer, which is deeply hydrating and also truly amazing at easing the look of lines and wrinkles.

    $500, Shop Now
  • Valmont.

    Valmont Moisturizing With A Cream

    Valmont’s velvety cream is *all* about hydration. It contains triple DNA that helps retain 10,000 times its weight in water, plus an anti-drying complex and a rehydrating complex. It’s a nourishing, hydrating and just straight-up luxurious moisturizer that soothes and plumps your skin.

    $180, Shop Now
  • Schwanen Garten.

    Schwanen Garten Antioxidant Nourishing Cream

    This K-Beauty brand face cream intensely nourishes, hydrates and smoothes, with ingredients like glycerin, niacinamide and lots of antioxidants to brighten and firm.

    $45, Shop Now
  • Herbivore.

    Herbivore Pink Cloud Soft Moisture Cream

    Once you apply Herbivore’s moisturizer, you’ll understand why it was aptly named the Pink Cloud Soft Moisture Cream. It feels like a hug for your skin; it’s, well, soft, with hydrating (and vegan!) ingredients like tremella mushroom and squalane. It’s so hydrating and has a slight dewy finish.

    $44, Shop Now
  • Obagi.

    Obagi Hydrate Facial Moisturizer

    This non-comedogenic moisturizer helps lock in moisture for eight hours using naturally-derived ingredients like shea butter, glycerin, mango butter and avocado.

    $51.50, Shop Now
  • Surya.

    Surya Balancing Collagen Cream

    This is a super thick, 100 percent natural face cream filled with botanicals including saffron, frankincense and rose petals, plus a blend of collagen and milk.

    $195, Shop Now
  • Alpha H.

    Alpha H Essential Hydration Cream

    If you’re dealing with more redness and sensitivity than usual due to dryness, try this hydrating cream, which includes a blend of essential oils that are specifically designed to combat redness and irritation, in addition to sea minerals and fatty acids that brighten and hydrate.

    $52, Shop Now
  • Naturopathica.

    Naturopathica Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream

    Those who have sensitive or reactive skin will appreciate this gentle moisturizer, which contains anti-inflammatory calendula to help calm down dry and sensitive complexions, plus softening borage seed oil.

    $68, Shop Now
The Ultra-Hydrating Face Moisturizers to Avoid Dry and Irritated Winter Skin