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How to Choose the Right Daytime Moisturizer for Your Skin

Three different jars of moisturizers
Youth to the People/Farmacy/Biossance

Moisturizing is one of the most important steps in any skin care routine. When you use the right product during the day, it can mean a huge difference for your complexion. If you’re having trouble choosing a daytime moisturizer, we’ll help you find just the right one for your skin type.

Like any other skin care product, it takes a bit of time, and trial and error to find the right daytime moisturizer. Generally, you’ll want something lighter for day wear, even if your skin is oily, and one of these lightweight, gentle moisturizers should be just right.

How to Choose a Daytime Moisturizer

Daytime moisturizers differ from those used at night in a few small but important ways. Generally, a daytime moisturizer is meant to be a lighter, more breathable product that won’t leave the skin looking or feeling greasy throughout the day.

Because many people will put makeup on after performing their morning skincare routine, it’s often important for a daytime moisturizer to be relatively fast-absorbing to avoid causing issues with the texture and/or appearance of makeup.

Here are some things to consider when picking a daytime moisturizer:

  • Texture (cream versus gel versus lightweight lotion)
  • How quickly it absorbs into the skin
  • Your own skin type, and how much hydration it needs
  • The other steps and ingredients are in your routine

Consider some of our favorite moisturizers to add to your routine and keep your skin healthy, hydrated, and glowing all day long, without clogging up your skin.

Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid

A jar of moisturizing cream on top of a pile of greens; several boxes and jars of the cream on a white background
Youth to the People

For a clean, green, vegan daytime moisturizer, try the Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid. It’s a lightweight, whipped moisturizing cream for daily use.

Kale, spinach, and green tea are the “superfoods” of the name, providing tons of antioxidants to protect the skin against damage and environmental wear. Plus, hyaluronic acid helps to retain moisture, giving the moisture barrier the boost it needs to stay refreshed and healthy.

Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer

Side view of a glass jar of moisturizer with a wood lid; same jar, open and viewed from above with yellow cream inside

Light but very hydrating, the Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer is a bit of a hybrid between gel and cream formulations. The honey blend in the formula provides antioxidants and nourishment—honey has natural antibacterial properties that also support clearer skin.

It also features a triple hyaluronic acid complex for more moisture, and cupuaçu butter beads that help to release moisture slowly for softer skin and a healthy moisture barrier.

Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

An open green jar with white gel inside; a pair of hands holding an open jar of moisturizer

Breathable and gentle, the Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer is a lightweight, easy-on gel formula perfect for daytime wear, including under makeup.

A probiotic complex helps with clarifying the skin and promoting long-term balance, while ginger and red seaweed calm irritation, redness, and visible signs of stress or fatigue. It’s all supported by hydrating squalane to reinforce the skin’s natural moisture barrier without a lot of weight or lingering oiliness.

Sephora Collection Nourishing Moisturizer

A woman applying cream to her cheek; a white jar with a pink lid

If you’re looking for super-affordable, effective options, the Sephora Collection Nourishing Moisturizer is packed with healthy botanical ingredients. Avocado oil, rose hip seed oil, and marula oil all offer serious hydration, repairing, and nourishment, while leaving skin super-soft and healthy.

As a bonus for the sustainably minded, even the packaging is environmentally friendly! The jar is made of 55% sugarcane residue, the box from sustainably maintained forests, and the printing is done with plant-based ink.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

A blue and silver jar on a gray background; an open jar of white cream with fingers dipping into it
First Aid Beauty

The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration is rich enough to hydrate even the dryest skin types, but gentle enough to use in the mornings without worrying about heavy, greasy residue.

Colloidal oatmeal can calm skin irritation, even from conditions like eczema. Meanwhile, shea butter and allantoin work together in a fast-absorbing cream that penetrates the skin for deep, long-lasting hydration. Especially on dry skin that needs a little extra help, this formula can work wonders.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

A silver tube of moisturizer; a tube squeezing out white cream onto a hand
The Ordinary

Want something super-affordable, lightweight, and just-the-basics without a bunch of extra ingredients? The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is for you! Like many of The Ordinary’s products, it’s a stripped-down formula that focuses just on what you need and skips the rest.

The actual “moisturizing factors” (aka, the active ingredients that deliver the moisture to the skin, including hyaluronic acid) take center stage. It’s scent-free, easily absorbed, and free of all the fuss (and potential irritants) of some of the more elaborate formulas.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Oil-Free Moisturizer

A pink bottle of moisturizer next to watermelon slices; several pink bottles arranged in rows
Glow Recipe

Watermelon extract is the secret ingredient in the Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Oil-Free Moisturizer. This non-oily daytime moisturizer contains fruit extract, so it’s hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and contains important nutrients.

The light gel formula also contains hyaluronic acid for moisture and plenty of antioxidants, all in an easy-on formula that leaves your skin healthy and glowing.

A good daytime moisturizer is an important part of your skin care routine. Unlike products designed for overnight use, daytime moisturizers are meant to deliver just enough hydration for your skin type in a much lighter formula. Sample a few of our faves to find the perfect one for you.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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