With more and more men waking up to the importance of looking after our skin, a daily moisturiser – along with a good quality face wash and sun cream – has become an essential component of every well-stocked wash bag. Acting as a protective barrier on the surface of your skin, a daily moisturiser will help to keep your skin hydrated, offer protection from the sun, and even help with the appearance of ageing.
Picking a moisturiser, though, isn’t always easy. With an abundance of products on the market specifically formulated to target different skin types, it’s important to first identify what type of skin you have before heading out and trying a moisturiser for yourself.
To help you pick the best product based on your needs, The Recommended spoke to a leading dermatologist to find out what you should look out for (and avoid) when shopping for moisturisers for men. We also find out how you can identify what skin type you have, as well as what the differences are between men’s and women’s skincare products that you should be aware of.
Jump to the best moisturiser for men:
- Best for sensitive skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Rich Moisturiser
- Best moisturiser with SPF: CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF 25
- Best for spot-prone skin: Bioderma Sebium Hydra Moisturising Cream
- Best moisturiser for dry skin: Eucerin Dry Skin Face Cream
- Best overall moisturiser: CeraVe Moisturising Lotion
- Best night-time moisturiser: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturising Lotion
- Best carbon-neutral pick: Bulldog Skincare Original Moisturiser for Men
- Best for tired skin: L’Oréal Men Expert Anti-Fatigue Moisturiser
- Best lightweight moisturiser: Philosophy Purity Moisturiser
- Best post-shave moisturiser: Jack Black Double Duty Face SPF
Our skincare expert
Dr Abha Gulati is a UK-trained consultant dermatologist for The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic and the lead clinician for skin cancer services and dermatology teaching lead at Homerton University Hospital. Dr Gulati’s dermatology training included a PhD at Queen Mary University London exploring the early changes in skin cancer development and the impact of common treatments. She is a member of the British Association of Dermatologists Skin Cancer Prevention Committee and the British Society for Skin Care of Immunocompromised Individuals (BSSCII) and has over 15 years of experience in general dermatology in adults and children, consulting on all aspects of skin.
How do you find out what type of skin you have?
Dr Gulati says you can identify your skin type by paying attention to how it looks and feels first thing in the morning and then monitoring how it feels throughout the day. Here are some common tell-tale signs she recommends looking out for:
- Dry skin: If your skin is generally dry, easily irritated and sometimes itchy even with moisturisers, you likely have dry skin. If so, you would benefit from products with less or no soap and minimal fragrances and preservatives.
- Oily skin: If your skin feels more greasy rather than dry, and you are prone to blackheads and outbreaks of acne, you likely have oily skin. You would benefit from oil-free products with ingredients like salicylic acid to help control sebum (an oily substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands).
What are the best moisturisers?
Dr Gulati recommends using a good quality moisturiser that suits your skin type, such as products specifically formulated for dry or oily skin. “I would also recommend using a day moisturiser that includes a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF, ideally at least factor 30,” she adds. “Night creams tend to be richer, and many contain additional anti-ageing ingredients that help reduce signs of skin ageing, such as retinoids, antioxidants and acids.”
Dr Gulati recommends moisturisers from La Roche-Posay, CeraVe, Bioderma and Eucerin, as they have been “well tolerated and effective” across a range of skin types and skin problems that she has seen as a dermatologist.
Is there a difference between men’s and women’s moisturiser?
According to our expert Dr Gulati, there are relatively few differences between men’s and women’s skincare products. “The basic active ingredients and principles of skin care are the same,” she says.
However, there are some subtle distinctions to be aware of. “Differences in skin care products might reflect the need to prepare and protect male skin for shaving habits or facial hair care,” says Dr Gulati. “There may also be differences in fragrance preferences.”
Why should you use a moisturiser?
According to a paper published by the American National Library of Medicine, the role of a moisturiser is to hydrate the skin’s surface by “flattening the valleys between the skin contour ridges”, making the skin’s surface “soft, more extensible, and pliable”. On top of this, moisturisers can be anti-inflammatory, reduce itching, protect against the sun when incorporated with sun cream, and in general, improve quality of life through social and psychological satisfaction.
How much moisturiser should you use?
How much moisturiser you should use will depend on the product you are using and the size of the area you are targeting. According to expert skincare advice from L’Oreal, for facial moisturisers, you generally should apply anything from a nickel to a dime-sized dollop – the equivalent of a 5p to 10p amount.
Most brands include application advice on their packaging, instructing you as to what quantities to use. However, if you are specifically looking to treat a skin condition, you should first consult a doctor or dermatologist for advice.
How should you apply moisturisers?
Research by the American National Library of Medicine says that skin should first be moistened by rubbing a wet cloth over the area. After rubbing the moisturiser in both palms, it should be lightly applied along the direction of hair follicles.
The best moisturisers for men
Best for sensitive skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Rich Moisturiser
This fragrance-free daily moisturiser is designed to hydrate and soothe dry skin. La-Roche-Posay claims it can provide up to a 98% reduction in tightness after four weeks.
Recommended by our expert Gulati as a well-tolerated skincare brand for a range of skin types and problems, La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Sensitive Rich Moisturiser has been dermatologically tested and approved by Allergy UK for use on sensitive skin.
Best moisturiser with SPF: CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF 25
Apply in the morning
This oil-free moisturiser with SPF 25 is designed to give dry skin long-lasting hydration and protect against UVA and UVB rays, making it an ideal moisturiser to use in the morning.
Fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, this moisturiser from CeraVe is designed to keep pores unblocked and help maintain your skin’s natural oils. It is formulated to spread easily and dry with a clear finish and includes hyaluronic acid to retain moisture.
Best for spot-prone skin: Bioderma Sebium Hydra Moisturising Cream
For reducing redness
Suitable for adults and teenagers, this moisturiser is formulated with anti-irritating properties designed to nourish and rehydrate acne-prone skin, as well as reduce the appearance of redness.
Bioderma says its Sebium Hydra Moisturising Cream limits the sensation of tightness and is proven to moisturise skin for 24 hours. This moisturiser also promises to keep pores from becoming clogged, as well as limit the formation of new spots and blemishes.
Best moisturiser for dry skin: Eucerin Dry Skin Face Cream
Clinically approved, this daily facial moisturiser from Eucerin is formulated to naturally hydrate dry skin and reduce the feeling of tightness.
Eucerin says this moisturiser has been found to significantly increase skin moisturisation and reduce skin roughness within one week of use. Colourant-free, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, Eucerin’s 5% Urea moisturiser is specifically formulated for facial skin.
Best overall moisturiser: CeraVe Moisturising Lotion
For face and body
This oil-free face and body moisturising lotion from CeraVe is suited to dry and irritation-prone skin and is said to provide up to 24 hours of hydration.
CeraVe says the addition of three naturally occurring ceramides and hyaluronic acid help to maintain your skin’s natural oils and barrier while promoting moisture retention. This moisturiser is also fragrance-free, non-irritating and non-comedogenic.
Best night-time moisturiser: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturising Lotion
For overnight hydration
This fast-absorbing, lightweight facial moisturiser from CeraVe is specifically formulated to hydrate dry skin throughout the night without leaving it greasy.
Developed by dermatologists, this facial moisturiser contains three essential ceramides to help protect your skin’s natural oils, hyaluronic acid for moisture retention and niacinamide to calm irritation.
Best carbon-neutral moisturiser: Bulldog Skincare Original Moisturiser for Men
As well as promising to hydrate skin without leaving it feeling sticky or greasy, this quick-absorbing moisturiser from Bulldog is carbon neutral and cruelty-free.
Bulldog Skincare’s Original Moisturiser for Men is formulated with aloe vera, camelina oil and green tea, designed to leave skin looking healthy and soft after use when applied twice per day. It is also free from parabens, artificial colours and synthetic fragrances.
Best for tired skin: L’Oréal Men Expert Anti-Fatigue Moisturiser
For life’s daily pressures
This daily moisturiser promises to tackle five signs of fatigue by keeping skin hydrated for 24 hours, targeting fine lines and dark circles, and leaving your skin feeling healthy and looking fresh.
L’Oréal Men Expert’s Anti-Fatigue Moisturiser is formulated with vitamin c and guarana – a natural source of caffeine – which are said to tackle your skin’s visible signs of fatigue and stress.
Best lightweight moisturiser: Philosophy Purity Moisturiser
Quick absorbing hydration
Clinically proven to hydrate skin for 24 hours, this lightweight moisturiser from Philosophy is designed to absorb quickly into dry skin and hydrate it without leaving a greasy residue on your skin.
Suitable for all skin types, this moisturiser is formulated with a blend of vitamin c and e derivatives, as well as a green tea antioxidant complex, meadowfoam seed oil, and chia seed oil, a combination that Philosophy says leaves skin feeling refreshed and bouncy to the touch.
Best post-shave moisturiser: Jack Black Double Duty Face SPF
Suitable for all skin types, this lightweight daily moisturiser is designed for use after cleansing and shaving, providing lasting hydration and improving the skin’s overall appearance.
Formulated with SPF 20, this moisturiser helps protect the skin against UVA and UVB exposure. It also includes blue algae, sea parsley and vitamins A and E, which Jack Black says leaves skin feeling soft, supple and revitalised.
Want to read more expert-recommended men’s beauty round-ups? Check out our grooming page for a full list of recommendations, including our guide to the best hair clippers for men, the best beard trimmers, and the best beard oils for men, as recommended by our experts.