Best face moisturizer for winter

face moisturizer for winter

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Winter brings with it overcast skies, cool air, low humidity, and cold winds that reduce our skin into the dehydrated shadow of its former glowing self. Vitamin D levels drop so when moving from warm central heating into the cold and back again, we are more prone to having chapped and cracked lips, flaking hands, and sensitive, dry skin. Its ability to retain moisture is reduced by 25% during winter.

We all have our rituals for this season. Some of us go by a single product, others go on combos and custom concoctions to slough dead, dehydrated and parched skin while keeping it soft and moisturized. Using a facial moisturizer is important in our daytime and nighttime routines, but they are more crucial in winter, so it would be best to also layer up on the best gel cream, moisturizer, oil, and other products.  

Just remember to pick products that are best suited for your skin type. Keep in mind that not all skin is the same.

What to look for in moisturizers

When buying moisturizers, you should be on the lookout for key ingredients to make sure you buy only what you need and what’s fit for your skin type. It’s not necessary to buy products with all these key ingredients, but it will help to understand what each one of them does so you can make an informed choice.

These are the key ingredients in moisturizers that you can check:

  • Ceramides
  • Humectants
  • Occlusives
  • Hyaluronic acid


Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids found on the outer layers of skin. They come in high concentrations and form a protective layer that locks the moisture in by holding the skin cells together. The number of ceramides on our skin declines as we age, so products with ceramides as key ingredient will be preferable for older women.


A humectant is a kind of molecule that draw moisture into the top layer of the skin from the surrounding environment making the skin cells swell slightly. It is a moisturizing agent commonly found in shampoos, lotions, and other skin and hair products. It can also preserve the overall properties of the product.

Common humectant agents include:

  • Molasses
  • Glycerin
  • Sorbitol
  • Honey
  • Sodium hyaluronate
  • Aloe vera gel


Occlusives are moisturizing agents that increase moisture levels in skin by providing a protective, physical seal to water loss on the epidermis. They fill the cracks in the skin and make a film that prevents moisture from being lost. They have a rich texture and an oily base, and they feel heavy on the skin.

Common occlusive agents include:

  • Silicone
  • Petrolatum
  • Paraffin wax
  • Mineral oil


The main function of an emollient is to soften the skin by acting as kind of a healthy food that nourishes it. It has some occlusive properties, but it has a wider range of spreadability on the skin and feel nicer on the surface. They are often sold as single ingredient products. Examples include:

  • Butter
  • Oil
  • Esters
  • Fatty acids

Hyaluronic acid 

Also known as hyaluronan, hyaluronic acid is a naturally produced substance in the body that helps retain water to keep the skin moist and well lubricated. Its largest amounts are found on the skim, connective tissue, and eyes. It has a clear, gooey appearance with a watery consistency which makes it easily absorbed by the skin. It also helps reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles by keeping the skin hydrated which increases skin cell production. This leads to smoother, plumper, and more elastic skin. Products with this key ingredient can be used on oily skin types without causing breakouts.

How can I moisturize my face in winter?

Choosing products with a cream base is a better choice for the cold season since it tends to moisturize better in colder weather than lotions. Steer clear of gels as it can be too drying and ointments as it can be too heavy on the skin. Pick a moisturizing sunscreen that is oil-based and with Vitamin C and SPF 30. The lipids repair the skin’s moisture barrier, vitamin C helps manage antioxidant damage, and SPF 30 gives ample protection from sun exposure regardless of the temperature.

Select a moisturizing product that fits your skin type. You can choose a combination of moisturizers or apply more heavily in some areas that are more prone to drying. All skin types can benefit from a moisturizer but assess which key ingredient you need more of and the frequency of application. 

Here are other tips to keep your face moisturized:

Apply moisturizer while you’re damp

After washing your face with lukewarm water, pat the excess water on your skin to dry. Then, while your skin is still damp, apply moisturizer to seal the moisture in the skin. Wait until the moisturizer is completely absorbed before adding other facial products like sunscreen or makeup.


Don’t go out in the cold when you’re damp

Your skin will be more prone to chapping if you go out in the cold while your skin is damp. The skin will shrink because of the water that evaporates more quickly when the air is cold. It’s similar to our lips getting drier when we lick them while they’re wet.

Moisturize your lips 

Bring with you a winter-weight lip balm when you spend time outdoors and reapply it several times a day to keep your lips hydrated. Resist the urge to lick the balm off your lips and stick to unflavored ones to break the cycle of dryness.

Stay hydrated

Bring water and non-alcoholic refreshments wherever you go so you can stay hydrated all throughout the day. Moisturizing yourself doesn’t just mean applying products; you must also moisturize from the inside out so you can avoid flaking, chapping, and other annoyances.

Moisturize after hot baths

Eczema or ‘winter’s itch’ happens when the skin is not immediately moisturized after taking a hot bath. Hot water quickly evaporates so cracks appear on the surface of the skin if you don’t lock the moisture in immediately. This feels like paper cuts and it is a real discomfort, so make sure to moisturize right away after taking a hot shower.

Avoid exfoliating excessively

The skin barrier is going to be a little bit compromised during cold seasons. Exfoliating during the cold season is a must so you can speed up your skin’s regeneration process and allow better absorption of the moisturizing products you use. However, minimize it especially if your skin is very dry. 

What is the best moisturizer for the face during winter?

We can certainly wrap our bodies with layers of clothing to protect ourselves from the cold. However, our faces aren’t as well covered, that’s why we need to have moisturizers on our arsenal. Apart from drinking lots of water, here is the list of the best moisturiser for the face that you can use as stand-alone or combination:

Hydrating masks

Moisturizing facial masks can double as a cleanser so not only do they keep your face hydrated, they also help restore and refresh it. Applying one once or twice a week will keep that glow on our face and seal the moisture in. Use masks that are light-weight and without smells or oily texture. You can make your own masks as alternatives depending on your skin types using the products that are readily available on your fridge like honey, bananas, yogurt, and milk.

Facial moisturizer with SPF

No other area or part in our body is more prone to acne or drying than our face. Since they’re typically not covered to not obstruct our breathing and sight, use moisturizers like oil-based creams and sunscreens at least once every day to protect it from getting parched. The moisture barriers are able to absorb a product with greater oil content better, so apply a thin layer of it to hydrate the skin tissue.


Exfoliating helps us get rid of dead skin to reveal its natural softness and smoothness. At the same time, it also enables the penetration of moisturizing agents into our skin. So don’t forget to exfoliate every once in a while to maximize the effect of your moisturizers. 

Oils and serums

Oils and serums address a wide range of skin issues and can act as a topical multivatimin for the skin with its multiple key ingredients. Use a powerful serum hydrator such as hyaluronic acid to keep the skin moist, reveal its natural blush, and reduce the formation of lines and wrinkles.

Specialty creams and ointments

Face cream and ointment can come at a hefty price, but they are the best facial moisturisers especially during winter. They are crucial during winter since they are better able to keep the moisture in due to their plaster-like properties. If you have a skin condition that requires prescribed creams and ointments, make sure to stock your winter supplies with them. They don’t run out easily since they don’t have to be applied every day and you only need to dab the tiniest quantity of it.

Lip balm

Our lips are more susceptible to getting cuts from being parched because of the cold weather. Keep a moisture-rich lip balm and chap stick with you at all times and dab them onto your lips every time you feel them becoming dry. You can also wear them overnight for maximum effect.

Moisturizing items you need for other skin areas

It is important to keep the moisture not just on the skin on our face but our entire body as well. Here are the moisturizing items you may use for other skin areas:

Body moisturizer

Body moisturizers soften rough elbows, heels, and other dry areas of the skin that are most vulnerable to getting parched from the cold. You can use between body lotions or creams every after shower at least once every day. Choose those that absorb easily into the skin and does not leave a sticky after-feel. 

Body mists and sprays

Apart from keeping you smelling fresh all day, mists and sprays also do a lot to keep your skin hydrated. You can use them multiple times at any time of the day multiple times to treat your skin from all that internal heat or when you need an afternoon spritz to refresh your makeup and.

Deep conditioner

The hair becomes dry and brittle in winter too, so make sure to moisturize it by applying conditioner every time you wash your hair to keep its oil levels and prevent your scalp from flaking. Use a deep-conditioning treatment weekly and leave it on your head for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Foot soak and cream

You can see visible cracks at the soles and sides of your feet even when it isn’t winter. Treat your feet better with a moisturizing foot soak and a heavy-duty cream.

Winter wreaks all kinds of havoc on your skin from wind-burned cheeks to chapped lips and itchy, dry skin. Beef up on your moisturizing game and make it a part of your daily winter skincare routine – not just to combat the cold weather but to preserve our skin’s softness and natural glow.


Most frequent questions and answers

Even for complexions that are healthy and trouble-free, the cold still makes skin vulnerable to chapping and drying. We are exposed to cold temperatures, lower humidity levels, and biting winds that leave our skin dehydrated especially when these factors are combined by less than ideal indoor heating systems.

During the cold months, it is important to moisturize our skin so we can maintain smooth and supple skin. Having a chapped complexion can cause itch, discomfort and sometimes pain, so make it a habit to use moisturizer with UV protection as a staple in your daily skin care regime.

There are four types of skin and each one requires specific treatment to ensure all-day hydration. Purchase products that are better suited for the following skin types.

  1. Normal – non-greasy face cream with ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and wheatgerm oil. 
  2. Dry – oil-based cream packed with avocado oil, shea butter and hyaluronic acid. The heavier the formula the better barrier 
  3. Oily – use alcohol-free, water-based products like gel cream with ingredients like zinc pidolate, silica, green tea, witch hazel and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. Steer clear of heavy-duty creams
  4. Combination – choose an oil-free cream or moisturizer with ingredients such as zinc oxide, tea tree extract, jojoba oil, Vitamin C and other antioxidants. 

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