Which moisturizer is best for you?

Choosing the right moisturizer for your skin.

4 minute read

A pair of hands, half-submerged in light blue water.
We’re here to tell you what we know, but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider about your specific health concerns.

Not all moisturizers are created equal. There is such a wide variety of moisturizing products, and they all provide different skin benefits. Keep reading to learn moisturizing basics and how to choose the best one for you!

Moisturizer basics

Many moisturizers hydrate temporarily, but then the water simply evaporates. The best moisturizers have properties that both deliver moisture to the skin and help hold it in there. A moisturizer can be an emollienthumectant, or occlusive. You don’t have to choose, though! The best moisturizers often contain a combination of these different moisturizing properties—including the Curology moisturizers, which have all three!

An illustrated diagram showing how humectants work. Text reads, "Water evaporates from skin. Humectant draws moisture." One arrow pointing away from the dermis shows water leaving. Two arrows pointing into the dermis shows water being pulled in.

humectant, such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin, has a liquid texture that absorbs quickly into the skin and draws moisture from deeper layers of skin and the environment to increase the skin’s ability to hold water. Hyaluronic acid is especially good at delivering water into the skin and keeping it there! Humectants work well when combined with emollients, so if you’re using a serum with hyaluronic acid, try topping it off with a layer of an emollient cream, like the Curology moisturizer.

Illustrated diagram showing how emollients work. Text reads, "An emollient delivers water directly into the skin using a carrier oil." Illustration shows an emollient moisturizer sitting on top of the dermis. An arrow points into the skin to show water being pulled in.

An emollient delivers water directly into the skin and often uses a carrier oil—such as grape seed oil, sesame oil, or silicone oil—and leaves the skin with a soft and supple feel.

An illustrated diagram demonstrates how occlusive work. Text reads, "An occlusive leaves oin on the skin's surface." Drawing shoes moisture being trapped below the dermis while oil sits on top.

An occlusive leaves a layer of oil on the skin’s surface to slow water loss—such as mineral oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, evening primrose oil, or silicone oil.

The skinny on good fats

Acne-prone skin often has less of the naturally occurring fats in the skin (lipids called ceramides). But that’s not a good thing! Without them, the skin doesn’t function as a protective barrier, which can mean more pimples. We know it can be a headache — acne treatments can make your skin dry, which harms the skin barrier. The Curology moisturizer is designed to work perfectly for that. It’s also good to reach for moisturizers that contain ceramides.

Illustration of an aloe plant with an arrow pointing to a bottle of Curology cream

Good news: if you’re using your Curology cream at night, you might not need a moisturizer. That’s because Curology cream already comes with a moisturizing base made with aloe vera leaf juice. Of course, many of us need more hydration. That’s where the Curology moisturizer comes in.

Illustration of a dropper, a couple droplets, and two different kind of leaves

Caution: coconut oil can clog pores!

Illustration of a jar of coconut oil with a big red X over it. Text reads, "Coconut oil can often block pores."

Even though acne-prone skin can tolerate most oils, coconut oil is one of the exceptions. Unlike mineral oil and jojoba oil, coconut oil can block pores. It may be popular, but we discourage you from using it on your skin—adding it to your diet is fine, though.

Choose a moisturizer that works for you!

Moisturizers should feel good and help you look great, so be mindful of what you use that may not be ideal for your situation. If a moisturizer is irritating your skin, causing breakouts, or not hydrating enough, set it aside and try something else—like the Curology moisturizer, which we designed to be safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Here are a few more Curology providers recommend:

Again, a good way to find out if a product has any pore-clogging or skin-irritating ingredients is to review the item for pore-clogging ingredients. Like with any product, don’t be afraid to try more than one until you find the elixir you love.

Curology Moisturizers

It may seem obvious, but the only real “moisturizer” is water. The moisturizing lotions we know and love are mixtures that keep water in the skin longer. Should be simple, right? But not all moisturizers are created equal. That’s why we made not one, but two moisturizers of our own!

Curology Moisturizer

The Curology moisturizer is designed to take the guesswork out, and it conveniently comes in your three-step skincare set along with your Custom Formula and a gentle cleanser when you subscribe to the full package. Its gel-cream hybrid texture hydrates deeply with hyaluronic acid, yet it feels soft and lightweight on the skin.

The rich moisturizer provides deep hydration for dry or aging skin. Our dermatologists formulated this creamy moisturizer to work hard: first it adds moisture to the skin, then it traps that moisture in. Your skin will stay soft and protected all day (or night) long, thanks to 6 key hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid and shea butter.

Curology Moisturizer vs. Curology Rich Moisturizer

Layer up as much as you’d like—this is designed to not clog pores. It pairs perfectly with your Custom Formula and Curology cleanser as part of the 3-step set. So sit back, relax, and let Rich at Last work its magic on your thirsty skin.

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But this isn’t a sales pitch—we’re here to give you the facts! So we’ve whipped up this guide with everything you need to know about choosing the right moisturizer for your face. We’ll show you what moisturizers out there are made of, what to avoid, and what may work best for you.

Moisturizers for Dry Skin or Dry Air

Dry skin or dry air? Apply a thin layer of our rich moisturizer, in the morning and at night. With 6 key deeply hydrating ingredients, it’ll replenish and protect your skin throughout the day (and night). Certain moisturizers can also improve skin tone and help mask imperfections, such as: 

And yes, your custom Curology cream can improve your skin tone and imperfections, too! Whatever moisturizer you use, just make sure to check out the ingredients to make sure the moisturizer won’t clog your pores.

Moisturizers for the body

Whatever you pick, make sure the moisturizer doesn’t block your pores! If your skin is dry and feels itchy, we recommend trying Theraplex Clear lotion. Work it in immediately after cleansing or showering, while your skin is still damp.

Want to get outside? You’ll want to reach for a moisturizer with sunscreen. Just note the SPF rating of whatever you use, because some products don’t shield your skin from UV rays!

Moisturizer recommendations by skin type

Finding the perfect moisturizer can be a challenge, so we've rounded up a list of handy recommendations by skin type:

Trial size Curology set, cleanser, moisturizer, and Curology bottle against a purple background

When in doubt, experiment with different options that target your skincare concerns or opt for Curology's dermatologist developed gel-cream hybrid, lightly hydrating moisturizer! Try it for yourself when you sign up for a free trial of Curology (you just pay $4.95 for shipping and handling)* and opt into the monthly set, including your own custom cream and our simple, gentle cleanser.

• • •

We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.

Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Trial is 30 days + $4.95 shipping and handling.

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