Fall signals changing leaves, the rebirth of sweater weather, and naturally, an updated skincare routine. During the summer months, I layered on lightweight products, but now that the weather is finally cooling down in sunny Los Angeles (and by cool, I mean a cool 70, 80 degrees) and the drier months are upon us, my routine definitely needed some help in the moisture department, especially for my ever-so-parched skin.
My skin type is a combination of things: normal-to-oily on my T-zone (sebum-sucking powders all day!) and dry on my cheeks as well as on and around my nose and lips (avoid sebum-sucking powders at all costs!). I also tend to get redness on my cheeks, and thankfully, I don’t get too many acne flare-ups (unless I’m indulging in too many sugary, fried, or cheesy foods). So my main skin qualm is keeping my cheeks peachy-keen and hydrated all day long. Here are five dry skin moisturizers (three creams, two emulsions) that help me tackle hydration head on.
If I ever wrote a love letter to a skincare brand, it’d be addressed to SanDaWha. Their Liposome Skin Softener, Camellia Flower Hydrating Mist, and Extra Virgin Camellia Face Oil are at the top of my favorites list, and this moisturizer is right there with ’em. The SanDaWha Ultra Rich Hydrating Camellia Floral Water Cream (*gasps for air*) is so luxurious, rich, creamy, and outright delicious, I want to spread it on some toast and eat it right up.
Its first ingredient is Camellia japonica flower extract, which is followed by over 30 botanical extracts and oils (hello, shea butter, we meet again), as well as skin saviors like niacinamide, adenosine, hyaluronic acid, and beta-glucan. It smells sooo good, and at $38, you’re getting a luxury face cream for a bargain.
Swanicoco, you had me at “swan cream.” Milky, gel-like, and creamy, this moisturizer is chock full of skin-quenching ingredients. First on the list? Saccharomyces ferment filtrate, a natural humectant that belongs to the #fungifam and boasts the ability to brighten, even skin tone, and promote cell turnover. Marry that with macadamia seed oil, shea butter, allantoin, and a number of other natural skin-boosters, and you’ve got a cocktail for nourishing hydration in one spatula-full of facial cream.
You’d think that any dry-skinned girl would run far away from any product labeled “acid intensive,” but lucky for you, that acid is hyaluronic, and girl, it’s intense in the moisture department. Formulated with a base of antioxidant-rich sea buckthorn water, glycerin, sunflower seed oil, macadamia seed oil, and of course, sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid), the COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream has an ultra-gooey, slightly tacky texture, and a little goes a long way. I would recommend this more so as a nighttime moisturizer, but I have used this during the day. Just make sure that you let the cream sink in and dry completely before applying your sunscreen and foundation or cushion.
For extra, extra hydration — and thanks to my moisture-sucking skin, I need the extra, extra help — I incorporate a layer of emulsion before my face cream step.
For day, I’ve been using Swanicoco’s Bitamin A All Skin Emulsion, and at $16, this one is an affordable option if you’re looking for an everyday emulsion. For starters, it’s got the holy grail snail secretion filtrate, cotton seed oil (which contains free radical-fighting vitamin E and antioxidants), rice bran extract, sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of the oh-so-hydrating hyaluronic acid), and allantoin. Its texture is everything you’d want in an emulsion: a lightweight moisturizer that absorbs quickly, prepping your skin for the final seal of moisture from your facial cream.
My only qualm with this product is that it doesn’t come with a pump dispenser, so I have to whack the bottle against my poor hand until the product comes out. But all in all, the Bitamin A All Skin Emulsion is a trusty emulsion that my skin can depend on.
The other emulsion I’ve been using is the Bitamin A’s much fancier (and pricier) older sister, the Peptine Care Emulsion. I use the latter mainly at night (and especially when my skin feels like it needs an extra boost), and that’s because it contains an extensive list of rich, nourishing ingredients that’ll leave your tongue twisted and your face happy.
The first five ingredients of the Peptine Care Emulsion are skin-conditioning rice ferment filtrate, aka sake; Poria cocos extract, a derivative of mushrooms that has skin-soothing abilities; ginseng callus culture extract, stem cells that claim to lighten and brighten skin with antioxidant properties; hydrolyzed collagen (oh hi, plump skin!); and sodium hyaluronate. The rest of the skin-tillating ingredient list goes on and on.
At $62, it definitely is on the expensive side for an emulsion, so this does fall under the splurge category for me — or alternately, it would work well as a fancy gift for Mom or Aunt Steph (I mean, look at that black and gold packaging!). I’ll also interject and say that it is thick and hydrating enough to work as a moisturizer alone. It’s rich, creamy, and leaves a healthy sheen to your skin, which absorbs nicely into a dewy finish.
What are your go-to dry skin moisturizers? Do you use different moisturizers for day and night? I’d love to hear what your favorite creams are in the comments below!