Just as no two snowflakes are the same, neither are two complexions—your unique skin needs a winter regimen designed for its specific needs. Everybody knows that drier skins need extra hydration during the holidays (and beyond), but it’s lesser known that even oily and acne-prone skins also require moisture.
Of course, the best moisturizer for a super-dry complexion would cause an oily or combination skinned person to reach for the Clearasil, so it’s critical to choose the proper hydration—whether cream, gel, or oil—for your skin type. (When in doubt, however, a lightweight oil serum—yes, oil!—will work on most complexion types, even oily.)
Not sure what type of skin you have? There are a variety of tools online you can use, such as Olay’s Your Skin Age tool, Clinique’s Diagnostic quiz, or the skin consultation on aesthetician Renee Rouleau’s site.
Here, the best winter moisturizers for every skin type.
The fact that dry skin needs extra moisture in the winter is a no-brainer. Your skin will be grateful drink up the hydration, leading to an overall complexion that’s dramatically softer and smoother. (Pro tip: don’t use hot water, stay away from scrubs, and apply moisturizer when your skin is still damp to help it sink in.) Dry skin favorites to try include Dr. Jart Ceramidin Oil Balm ($35), Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream ($85), a favorite of Marjorie’s, Clarins Santa Face Treatment Oil ($58), Belif The True Cream – Aqua Bomb ($38), or Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil ($95).
Think that oily complexions don’t need hydration during winter? Think again. While, yes, you might have oil to spare on the top of your skin, your deeper layers may actually be parched, and, in fact, the reason you have oily skin might be because your thirsty skin is overcompensating. Put it back into whack with a light moisturizer such as Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($27), Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar ($39), Saturday Skin Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream ($49), or even an oil like Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($40).
Oily in the t-zone, dry in the cheeks: sometimes combination skin can feel like the worst of both worlds, leaving you wondering what to do when the temperature plummets. To keep your skin happy, supple, and balanced, choose a light gel-based moisturizer, such as Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel ($29) or Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream ($20)—or, better yet, go for a light, hydrating oil such as Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil ($72), or It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream ($48).
While sensitive skin may still not be an official diagnosis—dermatologists can’t seem to come to a consensus on what it actually means—for those suffering from easily irritated skin, it’s all too real. Winter’s cold temperatures and harsh elements mean that sensitive skin particularly suffers, needing soothing moisture and TLC to bring it back into harmony. Try Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer ($65), Ren Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream ($45), Kiehl’s Centella Skin Recovery Salve ($43), or SW Basics Oil Serum ($28).
Much like oily skin, those with acne-prone skin might be terrified of using too much moisture, for fear of causing more breakouts. Don’t be. In fact, a common cause of acne is oil-overproduction stemming from parched, dehydrated skin. By keeping your pH balanced and giving your skin the light, non-comedogenic moisture it needs, you’ll be taking necessary steps toward clearer, healthier skin. Try PCA Skin Clear Skin ($42), Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil ($80), Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil Light ($48), or Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer for Blemish-Prone Skin ($105).