Who doesn't want healthy, supple, glowing skin? Well, the best way to make that happen is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. But that's just half the battle. You need to make sure you're using the right kind of moisturizer. Here's an easy rundown by type, from lightest to heaviest.
These spritzers are water-based solutions that feature vitamins and sometimes fragrance. They aren't standalone products meant to give your skin all the moisture it needs, but they do freshen up your complexion throughout the day and keep your makeup looking dewy. On a plane? Stash a travel-sized bottle of face mist in your bag so you can prevent your skin from getting dehydrated. Talk about a smooth landing!
Got an issue with your complexion? You can find a fix that targets your troubles, whether you're worried about wrinkles, dark spots, or dullness. "A serum is a lightweight, absorbent product — it's like a vehicle for active ingredients," explains dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D., who notes you can use a serum alone if you feel it fully moisturizes your skin. There are all types of serums, so ask your dermatologist which will work best for you.
This type of moisturizer is not as heavy as a cream and it works for pretty much everybody. If you're perplexed about which to try, your best bet is a lotion that's noncomedogenic, meaning it won't block your pores. Lotion is also less likely to leave a shiny or greasy finish behind, so if you're trying to look dewy rather than drenched, stick with this pick.
This one's thicker than serum or lotion, making it a good option for drier skin types or women who want more moisture. Remember: The drier your skin, the heavier the product you should use. "Cream can be just plain moisturizer, but it can also be used as a base for other ingredients," says Dr. Peredo. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer, for example, infuses moisture as well as Vitamin B3, amino-peptides, and hyaluronic acid into the skin. And don't forget to consider the seasons: in winter, when it's dry, she recommends using a heavier cream to ensure your skin is at its most hydrated.
These thicker, heavier creams typically don't have SPF or tint, and they can have a shinier finish (but you likely aren't wearing it out of the house). This is a good option for women with aging complexions, since older skin tends to be drier and night creams often have anti-aging qualities. If it's winter and the air is dry, or if you need a big boost of moisture overnight, you can apply a bit of night cream before bed so you'll wake up with dewy, supple skin.
If the idea of putting more oil on your skin sends you running, don't worry — some oils are specifically intended to be applied to your face. If you have dry or sensitive skin, or aging skin, oil for the face can be a great option, says Dr. Peredo. On the other hand, if you have a tendency to break out, or if you want to avoid having a shiny finish, she recommends steering clear.
This heavy moisturizer is typically petroleum-based, so it retains the most moisture and can be soothing. "If you have extremely dry skin, if you're very old, or if you have eczema, ointments can work well," advises Dr. Peredo. Bonus: If you have a sunburn or cut, put a bit of ointment on it to help it heal.
Now that you've learned the ABCs of moisturizing, make sure you pin this handy graphic to your beauty board so you'll remember which pick is right for you!