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Thick and rich moisturizers: luxury or need?

Strike it rich with your skincare routine

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 5 min read
Skincare cream on pink background
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 5 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

If you’re looking for the best way to moisturize your face, you’ve probably come across a moisturizer promising to be “rich.” You already know what it means when we’re talking about cheesecake, but what does it mean when a skincare product is “rich?”

A good rich moisturizer has emollient properties that work double-time to both replenish and lock in skin hydration. If your skincare routine lacks a moisturizer for dry skin, or you’re struggling with signs of dryness thanks to powerful anti-aging ingredients, an emollient cream may be the most effective for facial moisturizing.

Is a rich moisturizer a want or a need in your skincare routine? Team Curology is here to answer your questions.

Why use a rich moisturizer?

A rich moisturizer is one that both adds and locks in moisture. Rich moisturizers may be effective dry skin treatments, especially when they contain a few key ingredients that encourage emollient skin. It might be a good idea to supplement your skincare routine with a rich moisturizer if you struggle with dryness, flakiness, or redness.

For dry skin types

Whatever the cause of your dry skin: you’re not alone. Itchy and flaky patches of skin are totally normal, with lots of potential causes — not all of them in our control. The good news is that treating signs of dry skin is relatively simple — it’s all about hydration. Regular moisturizing can restore and reinforce your skin’s natural moisture barrier. If you’ve got a face like the sahara, we feel you — even normal skin needs regular moisturizing!

For anti-aging skincare routines

If your skincare routine contains age-defying products such as tretinoin, you might benefit from adding a rich moisturizer to your routine! Retinoids such as tretinoin are prescribed precisely because of their powerful effect on cell turnover: they help old skin cells shed faster, and new skin cells come in. Which is great for treating any number of symptoms from acne to fine lines — but that strength can some some temporary side effects like dryness flakiness, sensitivity, or redness. Paying extra attention to moisturizing may also help plump skin, adding to that youthful glow we’re always after.

Skincare cream on side of woman's head

If your skincare routine contains age-defying products such as tretinoin, you might benefit from adding a rich moisturizer to your routine!

6 richly moisturizing ingredients

These 6 research-backed ingredients have moisturizing and emolliating properties that help to soften and strengthen skin by locking in hydration. They’re also non-comedogenic, meaning they’re less likely to cause breakouts.

  • Hyaluronic acid, aka sodium hyaluronate, adds moisture to your skin by binding water from the environment. It’s the secret to plump, hydrated, and youthful-looking skin (and can help with the appearance of wrinkles).

  • Glycerin hydrates, softens, and protects skin.

  • Aloe soothes and deeply moisturizes. Responsible for that glides-on-smooth feeling.

  • Shea butter fills tiny cracks in the skin, making your skin feel soft (and the moisturizer feel creamy).

  • Squalane, a natural plant-based antioxidant that fights wrinkle-forming free radicals, also boosts other ingredients by helping them absorb better.

  • Allantoin, a protective powerhouse that forms a barrier around skin, keeps you hydrated from wind, dry air, and injuries.

6 rich moisturizers for dry skin

If you’re considering adding a rich moisturizer, here are our recs that feature ingredients from the above list:

1. The Rich Moisturizer by Curology

Designed with above 6 hydrating ingredients, the rich moisturizer is perfect for nourishing dry or aging skin. Hyaluronic acid restores your skin’s natural moisture barrier while shea butter fills in tiny cracks in the skin, leaving you with more glowy, youthful skin.

2. Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer ($68.00, 1.69 oz)

A cult favorite when it comes to age-defying skincare, this moisturizer is formulated to address concerns with skin texture. It’s a water-based moisturizer featuring glycerin and sodium hyaluronate — and a lot of other ingredients (which should, per our standards, be non-comedogenic, but may still not be the best for sensitive skin).

3. COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream ($26.00, 1.76 oz)

COSRX’s rich moisturizer has a formula dense with fatty alcohols that moisturize the skin. It also contains sodium hyaluronate (albeit in a small concentration), as well as butylene glycol and dimethicone, giving it a super creamy, absorbent texture.

4. La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Riche Facial Moisturizer ($35.99, 1.69 oz)

The main ingredients of this moisturizer are water, glycerin, and shea butter. In other words, if you’re in search of a moisture bomb for your skin, this could be it. The only thing that gives us pause is its added fragrance — although it’s a small amount, we just don’t know what gives this product its perfumey scent, which means you may want to avoid this one if you’re on the extra sensitive side.

5. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($16.99, 16 oz)

Another cult classic in the skincare community, CeraVe in the tub has two of our favorite rich ingredients: glycerin and hyaluronic acid. This product also contains ceramides, a staple of most (if not all?) of CeraVe’s products, which are also great moisturizers for pretty much any skin type. It’s an everyday product that is fine for daily use, but may not be as effective in addressing signs of aging as other products mentioned.

6. Versed Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream ($17.99, 1.5 oz)

This is a great water-based rich moisturizer that we love because it’s one of the few that contains squalane. With glycerin and hyaluronic acid, it’s got 50% of our favorite friendly ingredients we look for in rich moisturizers. This particular rich moisturizer could supplement an age-defying skincare routine, or work as a good daily moisturizer for dry skin types.

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Easy-access skincare

Even though you’re on a skincare journey that’s entirely individual, skincare doesn’t have to be complicated — which is why we keep it simple. If you want to refresh your skincare routine, why not stick to what works? Trust our dermatologists: with Curology, you’ll get a custom cream just for your skin concerns. Get your first bottle or 3-step set for just $4.95 to cover shipping and handling when you start your free trial.

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Curology Team

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