Soft, hydrated skin shouldn't be a luxury. These are the best drugstore moisturizers for face and body that won't break the bank, according to dermatologists.
Here's some happy news: Although there's no shortage of splurge-worthy moisturizers out there, "you do not need to spend a lot of money to get a good quality, effective moisturizer," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
When shopping for any moisturizer—whether it's a drugstore steal or pricey luxury brand—Dr. Zeichner tells us it's important to look for a formula that contains a combination of occlusive, humectant, and emollient ingredients.
"Occlusives are ingredients like petrolatum or dimethicone that form a protective seal over the skin to prevent loss of the skin's natural hydration," he explains. "Humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin bind to water to hydrate and plump the skin." Finally, emollients are natural oils that help smooth rough cells and soften the outer skin layer.
New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, agrees that a moisturizer's ingredient list is much more important than its price tag. In addition to hyaluronic acid and glycerin, she favors formulas that also contain ceramides and niacinamide, both of which can be found in many drugstore brands.
So you don't have to scan the product labels, we asked dermatologists to share the best drugstore moisturizer formulas that contain these nourishing, good-for-skin ingredients. Below, top drugstore lotion picks for both face and body—all under $20.
Best drugstore face moisturizer: CeraVe Night Cream
There's a reason why so many dermatologists rave about this cult favorite brand: CeraVe products are famously gentle and formulated with the most sensitive skin types in mind. "CeraVe Night Cream is an excellent moisturizer for when the weather starts getting cold and your skin starts losing more moisture," says Dr. Jaliman. "It's a light formulation that is non-comedogenic and contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, which helps even out skin color."
Best drugstore face moisturizer: Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion SPF 30
"I love Eucerin products," says Anna Guanche, MD, a dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert based in Calabasas, California. "They are all soothing and emollient." Our pick: Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion SPF 30, an ideal daytime formula that's fragrance-free, packs SPF 30 from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and is lightweight enough to wear under makeup.
Best drugstore face moisturizer: No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream For Dry / Very Dry
No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream also get Dr. Jaliman's vote: "This night cream has shea butter, glycerin, and ceramides—perfect ingredients for someone in need of a highly hydrating moisturizer," she tells us. "It replaces lost moisture with all of its moisturizing properties." Also good: The brand has a daytime formula and advanced version for those with seriously dry skin.
Best drugstore body lotion: St. Ives Softening Body Lotion, Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean
Dr. Zeichner recommends St. Ives Softening Body Lotion, Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean, which is packed with ultra-hydrating cocoa butter. "Cocoa butter has been used in its raw form or as an ingredient added to moisturizers to provide extra emollient benefits," he says. "Its rich, natural oils hydrate and smooth the skin."
Best drugstore body lotion: Dove DermaSeries Fragrance Free Body Lotion
Best drugstore body lotion: Vaseline Clinical Care Extremely Dry Skin Rescue Hand and Body Lotion
Dr. Zeichner likes that Vaseline Clinical Care Extremely Dry Skin Rescue Hand and Body Lotion is "light, easy to spread," and "combines the core ingredients needed for an effective moisturizer." In particular, it's rich in a type of natural fats called lipids that help eliminate flakes and soften rough skin.
Best drugstore body lotion: Aveeno Cracked Skin Relief Cica Balm With Triple Oat Complex
Aveeno Cracked Skin Relief Cica Balm With Triple Oat Complex is another one of Dr. Zeichner's favorite drugstore body lotions. "This rich balm contains high levels of petrolatum along with colloidal oatmeal to help repair the skin barrier," he says. "Its formulation makes it ideal for extra dry or cracked skin, like the elbows and knees."
Best drugstore tinted moisturizer: L'Oréal Paris Makeup Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream Tinted Moisturizer
One of our all-time favorite tinted moisturizers, L'Oréal Paris Makeup Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream Tinted Moisturizer is a color-correcting formula that helps neutralize redness. But the ingredient list is also seriously impressive, thanks to antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and glycerin—important, since as Dr. Jaliman explains, it helps deeply moisturize skin by drawing water from the air into the skin's outer layer.