Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Aheli Sen (Fashion & Beauty Expert)  on 26th Nov 2020

How to choose the best moisturizer for every skin type: Straight from the experts!

How to choose the best moisturizer

Well, it seems easy enough. Yet, when the time comes to pick the right moisturizer for the skin, we seem to be quite flabbergasted. And we can in no way blame ourselves. The market is filled with creams and moisturizers from different brands. It isn't easy to make a choice. Right and wrong come later!

It also seems easy to put faith in a brand that tells you that a specific range or product is meant for your skin type. However, we are often left disappointed when we try out a new moisturizer when it fails to meet these claims.

At times, we have failed to find the right moisturizer for the longest time. The worst of it all is when the product says it is ideal for your skin but makes your skin feel less moisturized than required or too greasy and non-absorbent. Often, especially when heavily fragranced, moisturizers can cause your skin to break out. Now really, these three situations can get pretty frustrating. 

Hence, to make matters better, here is how you could choose the right moisturizer for your skin. 

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A) Determine your skin type. 

The first step to choosing the right moisturizer for the skin is to conduct a skin test. Figure out the kind of skin you have and then go with moisturizers in the following order: 

  • Dry Skin – a heavy, oil-based moisturizer is the way to go for dry skin.
  • Oily Skin – a light, water-based moisturizer would benefit people with oily skin
  • Combination Skin – a medium thickness moisturizer is suitable as it can treat both dry and oily skin patches. 
  • Normal Skin – any form of moisturizer usually works for this skin type. 
  • Mature Skin – mature skin too suffers from dryness, and hence, a heavier oil-based moisturizer like those for dry skin is beneficial for such skin type. 

B) Determine weather conditions.

Weather plays a significant factor in choosing the right moisturizer. More often than not, the same moisturizer will not work for your skin in different climatic conditions. 

1. Humid seasons: 

  • Dry Skin – creams that have an oil base but are not super thick.
  • Oily Skin – gel moisturizers are the right choice for oily skin during the more humid months. 
  • Combination Skin – water-based creams that are neither too oily nor too matte are the best. 
  • Normal Skin – any form of moisturizer usually works for this skin type. 
  • Mature Skin – mature skin too suffers from dryness, and hence, a heavier oil-based moisturizer like those for dry skin is beneficial for such skin type.

2. Dry seasons: 

  • Dry Skin – a heavy, oil-based moisturizer is the way to go for dry skin.
  • Oily Skin – a light, water-based moisturizer would benefit people with oily skin. 
  • Combination Skin – a medium thickness moisturizer is suitable as such skin type has both dry and oily skin patches. 
  • Normal Skin – any form of moisturizer usually works for this skin type. 
  • Mature Skin – mature skin too suffers from dryness, and hence, a heavier oil-based moisturizer like those for dry skin is beneficial for such skin type. 

Skin Test: 

While salons and skin clinics can quickly help you determine your skin type, choosing the same at home is easy too. All you need is tissue paper and some dabbing!

If there is no oil stain on the tissue, it means that you have dry skin. If there is a slight oil stain, it means you have normal skin. A big oil stain would indicate oily skin. When only parts of the face produce oil stains, it means you have combination skin. 

C) Scented/Unscented/Fragrance-free moisturizer – what is the difference? 

A crucial part of selecting a moisturizer is finding out if it contains a fragrance. Usually, a moisturizer with a heavy scent is likely to break out a person with oily skin or sensitive skin. Now the tricky question is, what is the difference between scented and unscented and fragrance-free moisturizer

· Scented –

this has a heavy or light smell developed in labs and added to the product to mask the scent of ingredients present in the moisturizer and give it a luxurious feel. Many moisturizers smell elegant and pleasing, but the added fragrance can cause breakouts. Thus, if you have sensitive, oily, or combination skin, it's best to stay away from such moisturizers. 

· Unscented –

these are moisturizers that do not smell because they have been modified to cover up the smell of the present ingredients. This, too, requires adding fragrance that would cancel out such smell. Thus, unscented moisturizers also are a big no for sensitive, oily, or combination skin.

· Fragrance-free –

these are the best types of moisturizers that would break no one out due to added fragrance as it has none and more often than not either has no to the smell of ingredients.

Smelling the product is an easy way to understand whether it is scented or not. However, it is advised to check the label to help know whether the product has been unscented or it is fragrance-free truly, and thus, safe to use. 

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D) Non-comedogenic 

A product that has this term on its label means that the product is non-clogging (oil-free). It means that while the work will break down the excess oil, it will not strip the skin of its moisture. 

E) Hypoallergenic 

Hypoallergenic means a product that causes fewer allergic reactions in consumers when compared to other products. However, seeing the same on a label does not mean that it is a hundred percent guaranteed to cause no allergic reactions from its users. As the cosmetic and skincare guidelines are not rigid, manufacturers often claim a product to be hypoallergenic—but the FDA never requires manufacturers to provide sufficient proof to support these claims.

So, what can you do? If you have reacted previously to a specific component in a product, check the label of your current moisturizer to check if the same substances have been used. If yes, stay far from any moisturizer containing the same. Manufacturers are required to list all ingredients on their packaging. 

F) Natural vs. Organic 

Natural products use natural ingredients. They usually come from botanical sources (may or may not use chemical elements). Organic products claim that these contain ingredients from plants that have been grown sans exposure to pesticides, chemicals, artificial fertilizers, etc. However, the loose guidelines help manufacturers put misleading labels on their products. Also, the usage of organic or all-natural products is not necessarily any better than once made from chemicals.

Again, the words natural and organic have different meanings and are often misplaced with each other.  

To get rid of this confusion, let us read below: 

1. 100 % organic:

it is optional, but such products are qualified to use the organic seal on them; products bearing such seal must use ingredients produced organically (sans counting water and salt). 

2. 95% Organic:

products marked “organic” has to contain at least 95 percent ingredients that are produced organically (sans counting water and salt) and can display the same organic seal. As for the remaining 5% of the ingredients, they must be from approved, non-agricultural substances or from agricultural products that are non-organically produced 

3. Made with organic ingredients:

contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients, but products cannot use the USDA Organic Seal; these products are allowed to list “up to three of the organic ingredients or ‘food’ groups on the principal display panel.” 

4. Less than 70 % organic components:

cannot use the organic seal or use the word “organic” anywhere on the main product label and its packaging (organically sourced ingredients could be listed). 

The Last Word 

The lists mentioned above of requirements are sure to help you choose the right moisturizer for your skin. It is also crucial to note that day creams need to always come with sunscreen of a high spectrum (SPF 30 or higher) to help protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays that cause radical damage to the skin and make it mature sooner.

Conduct a skin patch test to test products with sunscreen to understand if it would break your skin or not, and then purchase the same. The main thing to keep in mind is to realize the skin type and what ingredients work for you and which don't.