There's a common misconception that, in order for them work, skin-care products have to be expensive. And while there is some truth to that regarding products with formulas rich in active ingredients like serums and face oils, moisturizers are much more straightforward. In fact, many of the best cheap face moisturizers work just as well as their more expensive counterparts. And for some skin types, simpler is often better.
As long as you're familiar with the ingredients that do and don't work for your skin, shopping for an affordable moisturizer should be pretty easy. Luckily for sensitive skin types, many of today's drugstore brands offer formulas that are free of common irritants like synthetic fragrances and allergens such as propylene glycol. For oily and acne-prone skin, there are tons of mattifying and blemish-fighting options to choose from: A good tip is to look for a product that says it's oil-free or balancing. And if your face runs on the dry or dehydrated side, you'll have luck with creams that contain hydrating and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe, and shea butter.
Below, find six of the best moisturizers under $20 (with the exception of one two-pack) that you can buy online, according to skin type.
1. The Best Cheap Face Moisturizer For Dry Skin
L'Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Moisturizer
For dry skin types, there are few better affordable moisturizers than this one from L'Oréal. The gel formula hydrates skin using hyaluronic acid, a powerful moisturizing ingredient, and aloe water, which is rich in nutrients that soothe and calm. This non-greasy face cream absorbs into skin quickly and hydrates for up to 72 hours so your skin stays smooth and soft long after application. Pro tip: Store it in the fridge to enhance the refreshing sensation the water-gel formula provides.
2. The Best Cheap Moisturizer For Oily Skin
Garnier SkinActive Balancing 3-in-1 Moisturizer
For those with oily skin looking for a great value, try this three-in-one moisturizer and treatment from Garnier. It's noncomedogenic, non-greasy, and oil-free, and you can use it as a day cream, night cream, or mask depending on how much product you apply. The green tea-enriched formula helps balance oil production and purify pores, in addition to keeping skin nourished and soft. It also has a mattifying effect, so your face will look moisturized but never shiny.
3. The Best Cheap Face Moisturizer For Acne-Prone Skin
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer
If your skin is prone to acne and congested pores, try this classic oil-free moisturizer from Neutrogena. The formula contains salicylic acid to help unclog pores and shed dead skin cells, and it is non-greasy and noncomedogenic which means it shouldn't provoke future breakouts. Because this moisturizer contains a heavy duty acne-fighting ingredient, you might want to start out with a few applications a week before increasing to daily use.
4. The Best Cheap Face Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin
Eucerin Face Creme
This gentle but nourishing face cream from sensitive skin experts Eucerin is a great option for delicate, easily reactive skin types. The fragrance-free formula contains antioxidants like vitamin E, coenzyme Q-10, and beta-carotene to tone and hydrate skin while also keeping it moisturized and balanced. Those who enjoy richer creams will love this moisturizer, though it's worth noting that it's noncomedogenic, so you don't have to worry about it clogging your pores.
5. The Best Cheap Face Moisturizer With SPF
Aveeno Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
One of the most important parts of your skin-care regimen should be sunscreen. If you're a fan of multiuse products, then you'll love Aveeno's daily moisturizer with sunscreen. It combines your daily moisturizer with an SPF of 30, so your skin is well-protected from the sun. The formula also contains vitamins C and E, which hydrate your skin and boost elasticity. These two vitamins, along with a bunch of other antioxidants, also help keep your skin protected from free radical damage, so it looks healthier and more even over time.
6. The Best Cheap Night Cream
CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM (2 Pack)
For an affordable night cream, try CeraVe's Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. The star ingredients in this formula are ceramides, which restore and replenish skin; hyaluronic acid, for hydration; and niacinamide to even tone and texture. The moisturizer is also fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and oil-free, so sensitive skin types can enjoy it, too. And though it runs over $20, it comes in a two-pack, so you'll be stocked for a while.
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