Top Picks: Moisturizers for Combination Skin
One thing I cannot ever – and you shouldn’t ever either – remove from my beauty routine is a moisturizer. Sorry, correction: a good moisturizer that really hydrates my skin. Thousands of face creams out there claim to hydrate, but like searching for a good-fitting bra, finding a great moisturizer that works well with your skin is never as easy as it seems.
At any given time, I likely have 2 or 3 moisturizers on my counter that I use on rotation. I choose the products based on the season, and whether I’m traveling during that time or not, because those are the two main factors that affect the status of my skin. I often try new products but only re-purchase the ones I unconditionally love. For ones I have problems liking, or simply just don’t work on my face, I turn them into body lotions instead.
Today, I’m sharing my three current favorites, but before I start, just a quick recap for your reference: I have sensitive (as I was recently told by a dermatologist), combination skin with an oily t-zone and extremely dry cheeks.
So the three moisturizers that made it to the top of my list are nicknamed as: the year-round standard, the vegan multitasker, and the darling newcomer.
The Year-round Standard: Ultra Facial Cream by KIEHL’S ($47.50/125ml)
I’m sure many of you are aware of this product already. Likely Kiehl’s most iconic, signature product, this “24-hour daily face moisturizer,” as it labels itself, is a lifesaver. It has once saved me from suffering desert dry cheeks in Los Angeles (I literally had dry patches) and relieved me from frostbite pain in Hokkaido, Japan.
On a daily basis, this is one of the few creams I’ve come across that really keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day. And this is even when I worked in air-conditioned offices or heated environments for over 10 hours. I love that while it moisturizes the dry areas of my face, it doesn’t add a shine to my nose and forehead. I also love that it is fragrance-free, and I can use it all year round. This is, in fact, also the only product out of the many in my beauty cabinet that my husband Kevin picked up and started using regularly (this allows us to buy in bulk and save money, woohoo!).
The cream features an ingredient called Antarcticine, sourced from Antarctica, that helps the skin retain water and prevents dryness; it has the function of shielding the bacteria against harsh environments, too. Another key ingredient is a desert plant extract commonly known as cogon grass. The roots of the plant contain high concentrations of potassium, which provides a lasting hydrating effect. According to Kiehl’s, the extract used in their formula helps skin retain moisture even in the driest places. Squalane, a botanical lipid that restores skin’s natural moisture balance, is also used in the cream to provide skin with extra softness and suppleness.
The Vegan Multitasker: Age Prevention Moisture Cream by Youth to the People ($48/2oz)
Hand bottled in small batches, this moisturizing cream has combined all the superfoods using cold-pressed extracts made in the USA to restore and condition your skin. I call it a multitasker, because not only does it hydrate my skin, the spinach in the cream helps defend against environmental stresses, the green tea helps keep skin looking youthful, while the antioxidant-packed kale rejuvenates tired-looking skin.
I love how lightweight the cream is. The scent is faint but natural and fresh, and it luckily does not smell like a refrigerator. The product has no additional synthetic fragrance, which means your skin won’t be buried under unnecessary, sometimes harmful, ingredients. It is also naturally mint green, without any added coloring.
This product initially caught my attention because it uses green tea, an ingredient that has created a buzz in the beauty world a while back. Green tea is known to have anti-aging benefits that help with sun damage, age spots, and fine lines. Although I’m not under the sun a lot, I’ve started noticing wrinkles around my eyes, so this cream satisfies my need to target that problem as well.
The Darling Newcomer: Priming Moisturizer, Rich by Glossier ($35/50ml)
This winter, I added Glossier’s new moisturizer to my collection. Thicker in texture than the two previous products, the dense cream is a non-greasy combination of murumuru butter and shea butter. Surprisingly, it melts into my skin upon application without having a sticky, heavy feeling; it works well even on my oily forehead! The moisturizer also features an “anti-redness complex” that calms stressed skin cells, and for someone who gets red cheeks easily, I was immediately drawn to the product. One of the ingredients, Kukui Oil, provides five key fatty acids to help lock in moisture. I don’t put makeup on every day, but when I do after the moisturizer, I’ve noticed my skin acting more like a smooth canvas in comparison to other creams. Sometimes lumpy little pieces are formed when I apply foundation right after other facial creams.
I’m not sure where the minty aroma comes from, but that is the only thing I sort of dislike about this moisturizer. And I don’t know for sure yet, but I am assuming the cream will be too much for my t-zone area in warmer months. However, it definitely has kept my skin hydrated this winter, and I’ll likely be re-ordering another tub soon.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Key To Radiance is not sponsored by the above-mentioned brands.