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- Sensitive complexions benefit from simple moisturizers with nourishing textures and few bells and whistles.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is a gift for easily irritated skin, packed with calming ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and shea butter.
After washing my face, moisturizing is my favorite skin-care routine step. In addition to delivering hydration, applying face cream is just plain fun. Plus, I have sensitive skin with rosacea on my cheeks, and my face is usually parched by the time I’m finished scrubbing all my makeup off at the end of the night. Moisturizer is essential.
But not all creams are created equal, especially where reactive skin is concerned. You want richly hydrating formulas made without potential irritants like added fragrance, alcohol, or parabens. I look for ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and shea butter combined with skin-soothers like colloidal oatmeal, nourishing oils, or ceramides.
As far as texture goes, I gravitate toward water gel moisturizers in the summer and thicker consistencies in the winter. Really, it’s all about personal choice. But the five picks on this list are some of the most highly recommended picks on the market.
Here are the best face creams for sensitive skin:
- Best face cream overall: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
- Best drugstore gel: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
- Best luxury face cream: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
- Best natural face cream: Biossance Squalane & Omega Repair Cream
- Best priming face cream: Glossier Priming Moisturizer
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks
The best face cream for sensitive skin overall
First Aid Beauty
Why you’ll love it: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is a holy grail moisturizer jam-packed with soothing hydrators like ceramides, shea butter, and colloidal oatmeal.
I don’t often fall in immediate love with skin-care products. It takes time to figure out exactly how your skin will react to a new serum or moisturizer. But I’ve been obsessed with First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream since the very first time I massaged it into my face.
FAB is one of the few brands I’ve encountered that practices what it preaches in terms of being gentle enough for even the most reactive skin types. Packed with soothing colloidal oatmeal, ceramide 3, shea butter, and the proprietary First Aid Beauty Antioxidant Booster, this cream works for all skin types, including those prone to eczema and rosacea.
Ultra Repair Cream is extremely hydrating but not thick. It blends down to a velvety smooth, non-greasy finish. I appreciate the large jar size because I’m not afraid to pile this stuff onto other areas that get dry, like my elbows or knees in the winter. The cream has a clean, inoffensive scent but no added fragrance.
Pros: Fragrance-free, allergy-tested, can be used on eczema and rashes, large size
Cons: Might not be hydrating enough for super dry skin
The best drugstore face cream for sensitive skin
Why you’ll love it: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is an expert-approved drugstore moisturizer that hydrates as well as its high-end counterparts thanks to hyaluronic acid.
I’m a big fan of the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range, and the Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturizer is no exception. My skin drinks hyaluronic acid like, well, water. Luckily, this lightweight face cream is absolutely loaded with the stuff.
This is one of my favorite summertime moisturizers because of the weightless texture, but it’s hydrating enough to use during any season. It’s also a great pick daytime pick for underneath makeup because it goes on wet but dries down quickly.
The hyaluronic acid has a nice plumping effect that instantly quenches rough, red patches. Oil-free and non-comedogenic, this is a great pick if you get greasy and shiny throughout the day.
Hydro Boost Water Gel is a fan favorite, with 4.3 stars on Amazon, based on 1,600+ reviews and comes recommended by dermatologists and beauty editors at The Strategist, Women’s Health, Reviews.com, and Marie Claire.
Pros: Affordable, lightweight, oil-free
Cons: Strong scent
The best luxury face cream for sensitive skin
Why you’ll love it: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is a luxe, airy, moisturizer suitable for all skin types.
The Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream sounds very similar to Neutrogena Hydro Boost on paper. It, too, is a light, airy cream packed with hyaluronic acid, albeit more luxe. When it sinks into the skin it becomes watery before drying down to an undetectable finish.
But if the strong scent of Hydro Boost turns you off or irritates your complexion, this is another fantastic option. The texture is even more weightless and the formula even more soothing. In addition to hyaluronic acid that claims to hydrate for up to 72 hours, the cream contains elderberry extract, ceramides, and silk proteins.
This is an especially great option for those with oily or acne-prone skin that reacts negatively to harsh ingredients.
“I have extremely dry skin and relatively sensitive skin. This is the only moisturizer that I find works. I can be flaky when I go to bed, put this on, and in the morning I am good as [new]. It doesn’t clog my pores and interfere with any of my acne medications,” writes one Sephora shopper.
Pros: Lightweight, minimal fragrance, works well under makeup
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