Is the colder weather is wreaking havoc with your skin? These expert-approved moisturisers will inject some serious hydration back into dry, winter skin. 

When the temperatures outside dip, our skin reacts. Cold and windy weather can aggravate even the oiliest of skin types, while central heating literally zaps the moisture out from our skin barrier. The result? Dry skin in winter is a common skincare complaint. 

But what does dry skin look like and how do you know if you have it? It might sound pretty obvious – but the symptoms of dry skin can vary from your skin actually feeling physically ‘dry.’You might find that your skin is red, flaky or tight. There might be more visible fine lines than usual and your skin might also feel rough, itchy or flaky. 

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So what can help? Of course, drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated is key. Then there are tips like avoiding long, hot showers (as these will strip skin of moisture) and being ultra gentle with your cleansing regime (no harsh or foaming soaps.) But where does using a good ol’ fashioned moisturiser actually come into it?

“Moisturiser is necessary to maintain the elasticity and flexibility of the skin’s upper layers,” says Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible. “It keeps the skin healthy and allows it to function effectively as a barrier.”

What to look out for when buying the best moisturiser for your skin type?

Moisturiser ingredients often fall into three main categories: humectants, occlusives and emollients. By understanding the benefits of each ingredient and deciphering your skin type can help you choose the best moisturising ingredients for you. 

Humectants

Humectants are key in maintaining skin hydration; they act by attracting and chemically binding water in the skin. They have the ability to plump the skin and improve fine lines and wrinkles.

Look for: hyaluronic acid, glycerine, hex-anediol, butylene glycol and sorbitol.

Occlusives

Occlusive agents create a barrier over the skin and prevent water loss from the surface. These are good for dry and very dry skin or for use on the body as they often have a greasy, shiny finish. Avoid these if you have acne-prone skin as they could clog pores.

Look for: squalene, cocoa butter, shea butter, lanolin and beeswax.

Emollients

Emollients act by replacing lipids and filling any gaps and crevices between the skin cells, helping to rebuild the skin barrier. 

Look for: ceramides, dimethicone, linoleic acid and caprylyl glycol.

Most moisturisers will contain a combination of humectants, occlusives and emollients. Not sure which is right for you? As a general rule, if your skin is acne prone you should look for products higher in humectants but low in occlusive agents. If your skin is dry, look for more emollients and occlusives, as this will help hydrate your skin better. 

Best moisturisers for dry skin

  • Beauty Pie Plantastic Deep Nourishing Moisture Balm

    Perfect for seriously dry skin, this rich buttery balm is infused with shea and murumuru butters, sesame and coconut oils. It can be used to nourish dry patches all over the body and face – think elbows, knees and around the nose. 

    Beauty Pie Plantastic Deep Nourishing Moisture Balm, £50 (£10.91 for members)

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  • Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

    This velvety whipped cream is enriched with lipids and ceramides to support the skin barrier function while working to plump and smooth your complexion for a soft dewy finish.

    Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream, £49

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  • Weleda Skin Food

    It’s a cult product for a reason, Weleda’s famous Skin Food is packed with nourishing plant oils that deeply nourishes skin from within while working on the surface to add extra protection to the skin barrier. 

    Weleda Skin Food, £12.95 

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  • Origins GinZing Ultra Hydrating Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturiser

    If you’re worried about excess oils then this is the moisturiser for you. The lightweight formula is oil-free but still ultra rich. It definitely doesn’t scrimp on delivering a punch of hydration to the skin. 

    Origins GinZing Ultra Hydrating Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturiser, £25

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Best moisturisers for oily and acne-prone skin

  • Lumene Nordic Hydra [LÄHDE] Fresh Moisture 24H Water Gel

    Inspired by the cold Nordic and Arctic temperatures, Lumene knows how to moisturise weather-ravaged skin. This fast-absorbing gel is perfect for normal to oily and combination skin types, leaving the skin feeling soft and supple – never greasy.

    Lumene Nordic Hydra [LÄHDE] Fresh Moisture 24H Water Gel, £17.90 

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  • Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel

    This clever moisturiser is designed to work in harmony with your natural microbiome, balancing the bacteria across your face to reduce the risk of irritation. It’s also packed with a slow-release hyaluronic acid, to help your skin better retain water for a more hydrated feel.

    Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel, £38 

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  • Skin Proud Sorbet Burst Hyaluronic Acid Jelly Moisturiser

    Formulated with rose water to soothe and calm the skin, this gel moisturiser is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin types that are still suffering with that annoying winter dryness. It helps to increase hydration levels by up to 99% in just 30 minutes and hyaluronic acid helps to lock-in moisture long term. 

    Skin Proud Sorbet Burst Hyaluronic Acid Jelly Moisturiser, £13.95 

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Best moisturisers for combination skin

  • CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

    Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe’s known for their ceramide-rich formulas. This lightweight moisturising lotion is specially formulated to protect the skin barrier with three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and MVE technology to provide instant and long lasting hydration. 

    CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion, £13 

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  • Glossier Priming Moisturizer Balance

    Perfect for combination skin types, Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Balance works to moisturise, control shine and refine the look of pores in just one step. Niacinamide helps improve the look of pores and uneven skin tone while Marine Extracts instantly reduce visible shine.

    Glossier Priming Moisturizer Balance, £23 

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  • The Inkey List Peptide Moisturiser

    This hardworking moisturiser unites two forms of peptides to support the skin’s natural proteins, helping to keep skin looking healthy and glowing. Plus, a supporting hexapeptide helps to hydrate, strengthen the barrier and stop transepidermal moisture loss. Winner.

    The Inkey List Peptide Moisturiser, £14.99 

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Best moisturisers for sensitive skin

  • Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream

    Designed specifically for sensitive skin types, this ultra-rich cream can help with associated issues of dry skin like irritation, redness and sensitivity. Packed with glycerin, it helps to rebuild the skin’s delicate barrier while nourishing and moisturising, leaving the complexion looking softer, healthier and more hydrated.

    Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream, £69 

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  • Pai The Anthemis Chamomile & Rosehip Soothing Moisturiser

    Perfect for stressed-out skin, this calming lotion helps to soothe and moisturise sensitive, eczema and rosacea-prone skin. The natural formula works to minimise the risk of irritation while reducing the overall appearance of redness.

    Pai The Anthemis Chamomile & Rosehip Soothing Moisturiser, £39 

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  • La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Fluid Moisturiser

    This daily moisturiser is so gentle it’s also suitable for babies. It works to instantly soothe and hydrate sensitive skin, nourishing dry skin without overloading it. La Roche-Posay’s iconic thermal water together prebiotics help to relieve the symptoms of dry, sensitive skin.

    La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Fluid Moisturiser, £16.50 

    Buy now

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Main image: courtesy of Biossance 

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