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The Ultimate Guide To Moisturisers

Trifonia Asmar
Writer and expert8 months ago
View Trifonia Asmar's profile
model applying moisturiser on her cheek

Whether you’re new to skin care or a seasonal pro, there are three main steps every daily routine should consist off… Cleansing, toning and moisturising. And if you ask any dermatologist, they will probably tell you that the latter is one of the most important stages in your beauty regime. Why? Because the best face moisturisers don’t just hydrate, they seal in other nutrients, provide protection, boost brightness, and banish blemishes the list goes on… 

With that in mind, here at Cult Beauty we pay homage to the ultimate skin care saviour by shining the spotlight on everything you need to know about the best face moisturisers. Happy, healthy and hydrated complexion here we come!

WHAT IS A MOISTURISER 

Moisturisers are designed to prevent the loss of water in the outermost layer of your skin. How? We’re glad you asked. The dew-drenching formula helps to seal in moisture while acting as a protective barrier to prevent environmental damage from harming your complexion.  

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOISTURISERS 

Choosing the right moisturiser and implementing it into your routine is crucial. But, how do you select the best moisturiser for your skin type? Firstly, it’s important to know that there are four types of face moisturisers. Just like all your skin care, these formulas provide different results for different skin types. Read on to discover how to distinguish between them and uncover the best one for you. 

  • Creams: these are relatively heavyweight moisturisers, that provide a large amount of hydration and keep the skin soft. Day creams are perfect for those with an irritable complexion.  
  • Lotions: these lightweight moisturisers feature a high concentration of water. They absorb easily and don’t make the skin greasy. Lotions are ideal for people with oily or combination skin. 
  • Gels: this is also a lightweight formula that absorbs easily and provides a lot of hydration. The most important thing to recognise with gel moisturisers is that some contain alcohol which can be a problem for sensitive skin. 
  • Ointments: these are the heaviest and thickest types of moisturizers with a high content of oils – making them a go-to for dry skin types.

HOW DO FACE MOISTURISERS WORK 

In short, face moisturisers work in two different ways. Firstly, they create a temporary seal over your complexion to trap in some much-needed water, and secondly, they work hard to restore lost moisture to the outer layer of your skin.  

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Moisturisers are formed of four different classes of ingredients. The occlusives components (aka shea butter, coco butter, mineral water) are used to form a protective seal. Humectants (we’re talking hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and AHAs) pull in the water from the deeper layers of your skin and atmosphere. Emollients (including ceramides, squalene and plant-based oils) work together to fill in the cracks and look to smooth roughness. Then last, but by no means least, is the ceramides and polyhydroxy acids, which replace natural fats and acts as skin conditioners to boost the protective barrier’s overall function. It’s simple, really!
bare skinned model with a glowy face

THE BENEFITS OF MOISTURISERS 

HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE 

Cold climes or hot weather, these natural environmental factors can suck the moisture right out of your skin. But fear not, that’s where moisturisers come into play. They don’t only replace moisture that’s already been lost, but they help prevent loss for the future too. Not all heroes wear capes, you know! 

BOOST BRIGHTNESS 

Dialling up your skin’s dew can be easy. Simply, select a face moisturiser with high levels of hyaluronic acid. This key ingredient retains moisture better, while keeping you well hydrated. Or keep your eyes peeled for a vitamin C-powered formulas. This key component not only raises your radiance, but it will fade dark spots and dullness too. Discover everything about vitamin C here.  

FIGHT AGAINST BLEMISHES 

As we all know by now, moisturisers are considered the ultimate hydrating hero. When your skin is well nourished, it’s healthy enough to banish acne-causing bacteria, resulting in a clearer and more confident complexion. 

BUILD RESILIENCE AGAINST UV RAYS 

Moisturisers repair and protect your lipid barrier. This not only keeps toxins at bay, but it helps to block out pollutants and other free radicals too. What’s more, many formulas on the market today also come with the added benefit of SPF to further shield the skin from harmful UV rays. Discover the importance of wearing SPF every day (rain or shine) with our Ultimate Sunscreen Guide.

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE MOISTURISERS 

Just like most of your skin care products, you should be applying a face moisture twice a day – once in the AM and then again in the PM. In the morning opt for a lightweight moisturiser with a high level of SPF. Come the evening enjoy a more heavy-duty formula. Our top tip? Always apply it at least 30 minutes before getting into bed. This allows for the solution to absorb fully, rather than rubbing off on your pillow! Want to know more about perfecting your skin care routine? Head over to our 101 Skin Care Guide 

A close-up shot of someone's hands as they apply moisturiser

HOW TO APPLY MOISTURISERS 

  1. Whether you’re carrying out your morning or evening routine, always prep for your moisturiser by washing your face to create a clear canvas. Once cleansed, gently pat dry – keeping your complexion damp. 
  2. Then, follow up with all your remaining skin care products (we’re talking toners, serums, essences, exfoliators… you get our gist), in order of lightest to heaviest consistency. 
  3. Now it’s time to apply your moisturiser. Using a pea size serving, rub in the formula on damp skin using gentle, upward motions – reaching all areas including your ears, hairline neck and décolletage. If you’re using a gel or water-based solution, ensure to use circular motions until the liquid is fully absorbed. 
  4. In the morning, complete your routine with a high SPF sunscreen, allowing it to absorb for at least 15 minutes before heading into direct sunlight. 

THE BEST FACE MOISTURISERS RIGHT NOW 

The moisturiser on every skin care devotee’s wish list? Kora Organics’ Plant Stem Cell Retinol Alternative Moisturiser. Powered by plant-based retinol alternatives bakuchiol and alfalfa extract, this dew-drenching must-have fuses a gentle blend and ensures non-irritating properties, so you can lock in your moisture 24/7 – without any breaks. What’s more, with the addition of rosehip oil, the cream also protects against external aggressors, while enhancing your natural glow. This pot really can do it all! 

SHOP ALL KORA ORGANICS >>>

Suitable for all skin types, Youth To The People’s Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream looks to revive and restore tired complexions. Flooded with hyaluronic acid, it draws moisture to the skin, boosting the retention of water. But that’s not all. Oh no, this no-fuss favourite is also housed in recyclable packaging to limit the levels of CO2 emissions from entering our environment – making it kind to both your skin and planet!  

SHOP ALL YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE >>>

A multitasking marvel that deserves prime position on any dressing table, Medik8's Advanced Day Ultimate Protect SPF50+ blurs the line between skin care and sun care. Non-greasy and lightweight, it creates an invisible layer of protection that quenches your complexion’s thirst, while deflecting external UV aggressors. Supercharged with a broad spectrum SPF 50+ PA++++, this daily cream binds sugars with proteins to keep skin supple, smooth and shielded.   

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Inspired by 30 years of innovation and research, Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream, guards your moisture barrier while looking to reinstate your complexion’s resilience. Cantered around the brand’s signature TFC8 technology, the potent potion ‘unlocks’ your dermis’ innate code and activates regeneration. The results? Reduced fine lines and renewed radiance. 

SHOP ALL AUGUSTINUS BADER >>>

Ideal for dull, dry and sensitive skin, Milk Makeup’s Vegan Milk Moisturiser alleviates parched complexions. Ultra-rich and highly hydrating, its blend of vegan milk works in harmony to seal in some much-needed moisture. While fig milk is used to soften and soothe, oat milk looks to calms and comforts for a confident canvas. 

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Enlivening lacklustre skin, Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturiser enhances a get up and go glow. Bursting with extracts – from chia to flax seed – and essential fatty acids, the silky-soft cream boosts elasticity, smooths imperfections and swifty revitalises dehydrated complexions. Plus, with the addition of guava and passion fruit, it gradually illuminates for an all-year-round radiance – no matter what the forecast predicts.   

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Aptly named, Kinship’s Supermello Hydrating Gel Cream Moisturiser is just as light and satisfying as the sweet snack it’s named after (we’re talking about marshmallows, of course). Delivering a healthy dose of hydration – without any stickiness – the cool-to-touch gel offers a refreshing kick to boost your morning or evening routine. Infused with a plant-based blend of hyaluronic acid, coconut water and antioxidant marshmallow root, it reduces redness and softens your complexion. Oh, and did we mention it’s subtly scented with vanilla extract, so your skin smells good enough to eat! 

SHOP ALL KINSHIP >>>

There you have it, from the endless list of moisturising benefits to the best moisturisers for dry skin, you have everything you need to know about quenching your complexion’s thirst. So, without further ado… get ready, set, glow! 

SHOP ALL MOISTURISERS >>>
Trifonia Asmar
Writer and expert
View Trifonia Asmar's profile
Cult Beauty’s Senior SEO Copywriter, Trifonia started out in the industry when bold brows were just becoming a ‘thing’, and shares a passion for all things fashion and beauty. Currently embracing her curly girl journey (after endless years of straightening her strands), she is finally reverting to her natural ways! When Triffy isn’t busy testing out the latest curl-saving solutions, you’ll find her binging the latest reality TV show or on a long walk listening to her ever-evolving country music playlist.
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