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10 best moisturisers for dry skin: Hydrating face creams tried & tested

We spoke to the experts about the best moisturisers for dry skin 

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Sophie Bates
Commerce Writer
Updated: 13 May 2024
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Moisturiser is without a doubt the most important factor in any skincare routine, so finding the right one to match your skin type is key. Those with dry skin will understand the struggle of maintaining a hydrated complexion throughout the year, but there are plenty of options around that are specifically designed to keep dry and flaky skin at bay. 

With so many moisturizers for dry skin on the market right now, it can be hard to figure out which one to choose. That's why we've spoken to the experts, Dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite and Elizabeth Arden Training Manager Craig van der Merwe, who have given their industry knowledge on the best moisturisers for dry skin, along with advice on how to manage your skin type. The HELLO! shopping Team has also weighed in, sharing the hydrating products they can't live without, from Clinique to Charlotte Tilbury, CeraVe, and more. 

What to look for in a moisturiser for dry skin

Skincare expert Craig van der Merwe told us: "Hydration in a moisturiser is all about attracting water to the skin, and locking that moisture in. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides and ceramides will help flood the skin with moisture, and help lock that hydration in. Depending on your preference for moisturiser texture, you can choose from lightweight lotions to richer comforting creams."

What is the difference between hydrating your face and moisturising your face? 

"Hydrating your face is about attracting water to the skin, especially to the top layer, or moisture barrier called the stratum corneum. Moisturising your skin is about re-introducing lipids and oil to lubricate and lock in comfort. A happy skin needs both hydration and moisture, in equal measures," Craig explained.

What is the best type of moisturiser for mature skin? 

Dr Alexis Granite recommends opting for a moisturiser with SPF. "Protection from the sun is vital to keeping our skin healthy and glowing as we age. Sun damage is one of the main causes of ageing, and it’s essential to protect our skin from harmful UV rays." 

Craig added: "A mature skin generally starts to lose hydration, moisture, elasticity, and other youth proteins. It needs more comfort, and support. Moisturisers or skin regimes that offer both hydration and moisture whilst topping up those skin-caring ingredients like ceramides, and peptides will provide greater benefit for a mature skin overall."

What kind of things make your skin dry?

Craig told us: "Our skin can be affected by both internal and external factors, which can lead to it feeling drier. Internal factors like stress, poor diet, alcohol, and medication can all sap the skin of its moisture. External factors like sun-damage, pollution, and environmental aggressors, can all take their toll on the skin. Antioxidants are amazing for helping to protect the skin from free radical damage, which can be both internal and external."

How I chose the best moisturisers for dry skin

  • Personal experience: Each moisturiser in the list has been tried and tested by members of the HELLO! Shopping Team, and I have only included products that we truly swear by. 
  • Ingredients: Every product included has been designed for dry and flaky skin, using ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to focus specifically on improved hydration. 
  • Ratings: Whether they're constantly selling out or have gone viral on TikTok, the moisturisers in this list have caused a buzz in the beauty world. 
  • Price: I've selected moisturisers in a variety of price points to suit every budget, ranging from £16-£145.
  1. 1/10

    First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

    first aid beauty repair cream

    First Aid Beauty Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Formulated for dry, flaky skin 
    • Suitable for sensitive and eczema-prone skin 
    • Suitable for face and body 
    • Whipped, non-greasy texture 

    HELLO! Tried & Tested

    "I started using the Ultra Repair Cream during the winter when my skin was feeling extremely dry, and it has become my absolute favourite. I use it every night and in the mornings on no-makeup days. I've found that it really keeps my dry patches at bay, and the whipped texture soaks into the skin quickly without fueeling greasy. 

    It is rich, so I tend to avoid wearing it over makeup, but the soothing moisturiser can be applied anywhere on your body for some extra nourishment."

    Sophie Bates, Commerce Writer 

  2. 2/10

    Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Cream

    charlotte tilbury magic cream

    Charlotte Tilbury Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Contains SPF15 
    • Available in four sizes 
    • Barrier boosting 

    HELLO! Tried & Tested

    "This is a moisturiser I just keep coming back to - especially when my skin is feeling a little parched and I'm in serious need of some hydration.

    Loved by celebrities and supermodels, the results-driven formula is infused with a magic matrix of oils, Charlotte's 'magic 8' of supercharged skincare ingredients and SPF15 to flood your complexion with moisture and transform the appearance of tired, dull skin for a glowing, dewy, plumper-looking canvas! What's more, it moisturises for up to 24 hours."

    Leanne Bayley, Director of Commerce & Lifestyle

  3. 3/10

    Avène Tolerance Soothing Skin Recovery Cream

    avene moisturiser

    Avène Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Suitable for sensitive skin 
    • Calming D-Sensinose ingredients
    • Barrier-restoring 
    • 98% natural ingredients   

    HELLO! Tried & Tested

    "I have extremely sensitive skin, am prone to eczema and don't like fragrances or heavy creams, so my regular skincare routine includes French pharmacy products from Avene, which has gentle treatments specially designed for 'hypersenstive' skin. One of my go-to's is the Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream - it's a very lightweight, fragrance-free moisturiser that works well under makeup and soothes my skin immediately if it's feeling overly dry, tight, hot or irritated. 

    My holy grail for instantly calmer skin is the Tolerance cream and a spritz of the Avene Eau Thermale mineral water mist - if you struggle with itchiness and redness, I highly recommend trying it out."

    Karen SilasSenior Lifestyle Editor 

  4. 4/10

    Elizabeth Arden Retinol & HPR Ceramide Rapid Skin Renewing Water Cream

    elizabeth arden retinol moisturiser

    Elizabeth Arden Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Combines retinol, hyaluronic acid and peptides
    • Works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles 
    • Works to improve tone and texture 
    • Lightweight 

    HELLO! Tried & Tested 

    "I have been blown away by Elizabeth Arden's Retinol + HPR Ceramide Rapid Skin Renewing Water Cream. This moisturiser is powered by Retinol and HPR (hydroxy pinacolone retinoate) which is a super gentle but effective. 

    Packed with skin-caring ingredients like ginger root extract, peptides, hyaluronic acid and bisabolol (chamomile flower extract) this moisturiser has changed the game with my skin. It can be used day and night, too."

    Leanne Bayley, Director of Commerce & Lifestyle

  5. 5/10

    La Roche-Posay Nutritic Intense Moisturiser Riche

    la roche moisturiser

    La Roche-Posay Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Soothing on dry skin 
    • Rich texture 
    • Reinforces natural skin barrier


    HELLO Tried & Tested

    "Growing up in France, La Roche-Posay products have long been on my radar. The bathroom cabinets at my parents' house were full of them and my mum would always lend me her moisturisers to help calm my sensitive skin.

    I've found the Nutritic Intense Rich moisturiser to be the best of the bunch and a total saviour during the colder months when low temperatures and heating wreak havoc with my skin. Applying a layer of the cream before I go to bed every night helps keep angry eczema flare ups at bay while ensuring my skin stayed nourished and hydrated."

    Kate Thomas, Lifestyle Managing Editor

  6. 6/10

    CeraVe Moisturising Cream

    cerave moisturiser

    CeraVe Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Contains three ceramides to protect the skin barrier 
    • Formulated with hyaluronic acid 
    • Fragrance-free and non-comedogenic
    • Hydrating without feeling greasy

    HELLO! Tried & Tested 

    "I have eczema and very sensitive skin so I’m super careful as far as what products I use on my face and body. CeraVe’s moisturiser is one I swear by - it’s so lightweight but somehow feels so nourishing and keeps my skin soft and moisturised all day. It’s fragrance-free, and I use it year round."

    Karen SilasSenior Lifestyle Editor

  7. 7/10

    Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré Multi-Purpose Moisturiser

    embryolisse moisturiser

    Embryolisse Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Multipurpose – works as a moisturiser, primer, and makeup remover 
    • Provides satin film for a glowing complexion 
    • Non-greasy
    • Comes in two sizes 

    HELLO! Tried & Tested 

    "I've been using the Embyolisse Lait-Crème Concentré since seeing it go viral on TikTok and I can confirm it lives up to the hype. 

    I use it every time I wear makeup, opting for a thicker moisturiser at night. The cream is super hydrating despite feeling so lightweight on the skin, and because it's designed to act as a primer too, it keeps my makeup for longer than any other moisturiser I've tried without ever flaking. It's also a favourite amongst celebs including Michelle Keegan"

    Sophie Bates, Commerce Writer 

  8. 8/10

    Augustinus Bader The Cream

    augustinus butler moisturiser

    Augustinus Bader Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Comes in four sizes
    • Protects skin from free radical damage and oxidative stress
    •  Lightweight 
    • Evens tone and texture 

    HELLO! Tried & Tested 

    "Whenever dry skin flares up, I always reach for Augustinus Bader's The Cream - it's expensive, and I don't want to love it, but I do. I've used so many creams and serums in my days and this is the one that not only moisturises my skin, but doesn't pill the flaking skin nor does it make it look greasy - just glowy. 

    It also reduced my redness, a common side effect for me when dry skin occurs, and smooths out lines and wrinkles. I couldn't say if it would be the one for those with super sensitive skin, but if you're like me who gets dry skin moments, it's worth keeping as a quick fix."

    Carla Challis, Commerce Partnerships Editor 

  9. 9/10

    Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

    clinique moisture surge moisturiser

    Clinique Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Refreshing gel-cream texture 
    • Enriched with Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Bioferment for deep hydration 
    • Safe for sensitive skin
    • Comes in three sizes 

    HELLO! Tried & Tested

    "I have combination skin (a mostly oily T-zone with some dry/dehydrated patches), and Clinique's Moisture Surge is my holy grail moisturiser to use in the morning. 

    The inclusion of Hyaluronic Acid means it's super hydrating, but the lightweight, oil-free formula ensures my skin isn't left looking shiny. It's a dream to wear under makeup too - one of the only day creams that I find doesn't cause pilling."

    Hollie Brotherton, Lifestyle & Commerce Senior Writer 

  10. 10/10

    Origins Dr Weil Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion

    origins mega mushroom moisturiser

    Origins Moisturiser for Dry Skin

    Why We Love It

    • Can be used a moisturiser or pre-moisturiser treatment
    • Enriched with Reishi, Sea Buckthorn and Fermented Chaga
    • Lightweight
    • Comes in two sizes 

    HELLO! Tried & Tested 

    "If you have sensitive, reactive skin but also love a spa vibe, the Mega-Mushroom Fortifying Emulsion from plant science-based Origins should be on your radar. I have tried sooo many moisturisers to find ones that agree with my very picky skin, and I use this daily to leave my face feeling silky, non-irritated and soft. 

    One of the Mega-Mushroom line's key ingredients is Reishi mushroom, used in traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-redness and calming properties. The emulsion is formulated to help strengthen the skin barrier as well as deeply moisturise, plus it's perfume-free - although it does have a slightly grassy, refreshing scent that I find very soothing."

    Karen Silas, Senior Lifestyle Editor 

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