6 Humectant Moisturizers To Hydrate Parched Skin

Best Humectant Moisturizers

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Moisturizers keep getting new names. Face cream or lotion is old news. These days, we have humectants, hydrators, water-based creams, and even jelly creams. So what gives? Actually, these names refer to one specific type of moisturizer, which is a humectant moisturizer.

Before we dive into the details, know that humectant moisturizers are exceptionally helpful for certain skin types and for certain seasons.

If you’re not sure what the big deal is, we’ve gathered everything there is to know. Keep reading to learn about humectants and the best humectant moisturizers to try.

What Is a Humectant Moisturizer?

A humectant moisturizer is formulated with a higher concentration of humectants, which have exceptional hydrating benefits.

The most common humectants are glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA, and lactic acid. These ingredients work by attracting water and binding it to the skin to give it a supple, bouncy, and soft feel.

Because of these properties, humectant moisturizers are sometimes called hydrators or water-based moisturizers. Typically, they are oil-free moisturizers with a gel-like texture.

Humectant moisturizers are different from other types of moisturizers like emollient moisturizers, which tend to be creamy, and occlusive moisturizers, which tend to be buttery.

Benefits of Humectant Moisturizers

The most important benefit of humectant moisturizers is their ability to increase water content in the skin. They simply hydrate your skin. And they are the go-to fix for dehydrated skin.

When your skin lacks water from irritation, hot showers, hot weather, or certain skincare ingredients, a humectant moisturizer is the first thing you should reach for to hydrate the skin.

Humectant moisturizers serve a very specific purpose for certain skin types too. They’re almost always oil-free. So they make the best moisturizer for oily and acne-prone skin to hydrate without clogging pores.

Another benefit of humectant moisturizers is their lightweight texture, which is perfect for hot summer weather. They’re easy to layer on the skin and even allow you to use a second moisturizer.

While oily skin types can use a humectant moisturizer alone, dry skin types can go ahead and use a second moisturizer on top without even worrying about skincare pilling.

And lastly, a humectant moisturizer is basically a hydrating face serum with a thicker texture. Because of that, it instantly plumps the skin and reduces the look of dehydration lines on the skin.

How to Choose a Humectant Moisturizer

Blend of Humectants

When you’re looking for a humectant moisturizer, make sure there’s a rich blend of humectants high up on the ingredient list. Hyaluronic acid alone won’t be enough to get that maximum hydration. Make use of a variety of humectants like glycerin and lactic acid.

Your Skin Type

Go for oil-free humectant moisturizers if you have oily, combination, acne-prone skin. This is to keep your pores clean and clear. If you have dry skin, look for emollients like fatty acids or squalane and occlusives like shea butter to both hydrate and moisturize your skin.

Other Ingredients

You can power up your humectant moisturizer by looking for active ingredients in the formula. For example, if you want your humectant moisturizer to help with some skin concerns too, look for vitamin C for antioxidant benefits or salicylic acid for anti-acne benefits.

Best Humectant Moisturizers

Below are the best humectant moisturizers to hydrate your skin with amazing humectants.

1. Lancome Hydra Zen Glow Liquid Lightweight Moisturizer

Lancome Hydra Zen Glow Liquid Lightweight Moisturizer - Best Humectant Lotion

This is my absolute favorite from this round-up. This is a liquid moisturizer that runs like milk on the skin. It’s loaded with humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalane, lactic acid, and a complex made with a whopping 11 amino acids. This is not oil-free, but it is non-comedogenic.

But that’s why it’s perfect for dry skin, or skin that’s prone to dryness and dehydration. It plumps the skin and leaves it soft and radiant. It layers beautifully over my hyaluronic acid serum and under my SPF. And it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin either.

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, amino acids, squalane, aloe
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Non-comedogenic

2. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel - Best Drugstore Humectant Moisturizer

This is one of the most affordable humectant moisturizers out there. Though it doesn’t have a dozen humectants, it is a minimal formula and contains hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It’s oil-free and basically weightless on the skin. This is ideal for all skin types including acne-prone and sensitive.

It absorbs fast, doesn’t have a prominent finish, and doesn’t irritate either. Though it contains silicones, it has a light texture. If you’re just starting out with this type of moisturizer, you can try this one and see how the texture works out for you. The drugstore moisturizer plays well under makeup too!

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Oil-free

3. Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer

Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer - Best Humectant Moisturizer

If you have oily skin or breakout-prone skin, this oil-free humectant moisturizer is the one to hydrate without clogging pores. It’s so rich in humectants that it practically mimics your skin’s moisturizing factors. Besides hyaluronic acid in different molecular weights, it packs several amino acids, which are amazing humectants.

It has ceramides as non-comedogenic emollients. Plus, it contains pineapple enzymes, which are natural but gentle exfoliators. It doesn’t leave the skin looking shiny or oily and it simply disappears into the skin. It’s also silicone-free and fragrance-free.

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, enzymes, ceramides, amino acids
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, oil-free, silicone-free, fragrance-free

4. Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator - Best Humectant Moisturizer For Face

Likewise, this one is also oil-free and fragrance-free. However, this one does contain silicone, which simply helps blur out the look of pores. The hydrator is rich in humectants like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, plant sugars, as well as urea.

It also has antioxidants like vitamin C and lady’s mantle to provide anti-aging benefits. The term ‘activated’ refers to the fact that the moisturizer provides day-long hydration and keeps rehydrating your skin throughout the day. Its invisible texture absorbs fast and refreshes your skin instantly.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Oil-free, fragrance-free

5. Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer

This is gold for combination skin. Because even though it’s not oil-free, it’s super light on the skin and has just enough emollients to moisturize without making oily parts oilier. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid in different molecular weights. And it has polyglutamic acid, which is another hydration booster.

The moisturizer has a whipped texture, which is a little bit thicker than gel but way lighter than the traditional creamy feel. So you can use the humectant-based moisturizer to hydrate, balance combination skin, and achieve instantly smoother skin.

Key Ingredients: Polyglutamic acid, hyaluronic acid, squalane
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

6. Ole Henriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturizer

Ole Henriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturizer

If you have mature, aging skin and you’re dealing with fine lines and wrinkles, an oil-free humectant moisturizer may run short on the lipids necessary to keep the skin texture soft. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with heavily occlusive, greasy-feeling options. This one has the perfect balance between humectants and emollients.

It’s teeming with amino acids, different molecular weight hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, as well as ceramides and light emollients. More importantly, it has signal peptides and neuropeptides to help with the look of fine lines and boost collagen. The moisturizer leaves the skin looking radiant and feeling supple.

Key Ingredients: Peptides, vitamin B5, ceramides, amino acids, niacinamide
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, non-comedogenic

So these are some of the best humectant moisturizers you can use to boost hydration. Because humectants increase water content in the skin, they thrive in water-based products. So if you’re interested in humectant products in other forms, try hydrating face serums for maximum benefits.


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