Under $50: The best face moisturizers for your skin type

Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored
Tue May 21, 2019

Story highlights

  • These daily moisturizers will keep your skin hydrated
  • We've rounded up a ton of options under $50 for different skin types and concerns

Hyaluronic acid or salicylic acid? What's the difference between ceramides and cerium? When it comes to your daily moisturizer, what it's made of makes a difference in how it benefits your skin. While most moisturizers will probably provide your skin with some level of moisture, choosing a facial moisturizer with additional skin care benefits can really help you target your specific skin issues.

Whether your concern is acne, eczema or fine lines, these daily moisturizers are packed with ingredients that will keep your skin happy and hydrated during the day and provide some longer term benefits over time. And you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on these top-rated moisturizers. We've rounded up a ton of options for all different skin types and concerns, and they're all $50 or less. So shop to your heart's content, since you don't have to worry about blowing your budget on these skin care staples.

For oily skin:

If you have oily skin, you're probably interested in a daily moisturizer that will help control shine throughout the day. Nobody wants to look in the mirror at the end of the day and see a greasy mess. For this reason, look for oil-free, water-based or gel moisturizers. All these things will help to keep your skin moisturized without it getting too oily. Since people with oily skin are also often prone to breakouts, there are moisturizers out there that include acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. Not only will incorporating these ingredients into your daily moisturizing routine help with any current skin issues, they'll help protect against future breakouts.

Aveeno Clear Complexion Salicylic Acid Acne-Fighting Daily Face Moisturizer ($13.97; amazon.com) is a super affordable daily moisturizer that's designed to simultaneously clear up your skin and hydrate it. It's oil-free, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Plus it contains salicylic acid, a dermatologist-recommended acne-fighting ingredient. Says one reviewer, "The problem with other products is that they dry out your skin, resulting in your skin becoming extra oily. This stuff is great and targets the acne and gives you smooth and soft skin at the same time."

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin ($31.99; amazon.com) is formulated specifically to make sure you don't end up looking like a disco ball at the end of the day. It contains zinc pidolate, which helps to neutralize shine, and LHA, which helps tighten pores and refine your skin texture. It's oil-free, and reviewers say the moisturizer's matte base is great for applying makeup over.

Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer ($29.50; sephora.com) is a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that's packed with some great ingredients for your skin. The panax ginseng and coffee bean help your skin look energized and vibrant, while the salicylic acid and rosemary leaf extract -- rosemary is known to have natural antiseptic properties -- help fight bacteria and keep your skin clear. One reviewer wrote, "THIS is a true godsend for my skin. Perfect amount of moisture, no shine, doesn't break me out, and it is light-weight. Smells amazing too!!!"

For dry skin:

I used to have combination skin. Then I moved to Chicago. After a couple of weeks, I realized that my skin wasn't getting "worse" -- it was just super dry. These three moisturizers have been tried and tested, and have slightly different benefits. What they have in common is some great ingredients that will hydrate your skin, lock in moisture and give you that healthy, glowy complexion all day long.

Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer ($38; sephora.com) is an oil-free SPF 40 daily moisturizer that aims to simultaneously protect and moisturize your skin. It contains ingredients like mineral cerium -- which protects your skin from damage from UV rays, blue light and pollution -- and plant fermentation film, which shields your skin against atmospheric pollution. When it comes to hydration, blue-green algae offer a naturally occurring combination of moisture, antioxidants and skin repair ingredients. The moisturizer is creamy and whipped without being heavy and will give you that dewy look perfect for warmer months.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream ($30; nordstrom.com) is perfect for day or night, on its own or under makeup. It's formulated with olive-derived squalane and glacial glycoprotein, an ingredient derived from sea glaciers. Both work to hydrate your skin while keeping everything super lightweight and comfortable. It absorbs easily, and like many Kiehl's products is a big hit with those who have sensitive skin. To quote one reviewer, "Hands down my favorite facial cream. Hydrates like nothing else I have tried (and I have tried a lot of them). Doesn't make my face feel greasy and it's one of the products I NEED to get me through the winter. Highly recommend."

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration ($32; sephora.com) is one of those rare products that actually works for a lot of different purposes. It's a great everyday moisturizer -- the whipped texture is super comfortable and never greasy. I love putting on a lot at night because it always feels light even after a round of skin care products. But it's also great for your hands or neck area. The moisturizer is formulated with colloidal oatmeal, which is a FDA-designated skin protectant against itching or minor irritation caused by skin conditions like eczema. It also contains shea butter and ceramides, which work to strengthen and moisturize your skin, while allantoin helps to calm and soothe your skin.

For anti-aging and fine lines:

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturizer ($46; sephora.com) is formulated with antioxidant lotus root extract and vitamin E to help fight signs of aging. The face cream is lightweight and claims to have a spa-like scent, which sounds totally luxurious to us. Plus, it's supposed to create a perfectly smooth base for any makeup you apply on top. To quote one rave review, "I have finally found a moisturizer that immediately works to hide lines and noticeably soften wrinkles... I am not one to gush but this really is the first time since I started the aging process that a cream really made such a difference."

Vitabrid C12 Eye and Face Cream ($39; barneys.com) is a velvety, rich face cream that feels like a combination of moisturizer and luxury skin care. Some of its proprietary active ingredients include Vitabrid CG, which the company says brightens skin and improves elasticity, and Peptibrid, to help heal damaged skin and add antioxidant protection. While the cream works to moisturize, brighten and firm, it also increases collagen volume. The experience of applying it feels on par with way more expensive creams. And when I apply it at night, I wake up with super smooth, resilient skin.

Youth To The People Superfood Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer ($48; nordstrom.com) is a lightweight, air-whipped moisture cream that's packed with superfoods and moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid. While the hyaluronic acid helps to restore and balance hydration in your skin, ingredients like kale and green tea provide your skin with the benefits of vitamins C, E, K and nourishing antioxidants. Another big plus: Reviewers love the smell.

For brightening:

Ole Henriksen C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer ($45; sephora.com) is a brightening gel moisturizer that contains ascorbic acid, 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbat -- three forms of vitamin C that have skin benefits that range from addressing signs of aging to acting as an antioxidant for your skin. It has a slight peach color that helps illuminate and brighten your skin.

For uneven skin tone:

Caudalie Premieres Vendanges Moisturizing Cream ($35; sephora.com) is a velvety moisturizer that aims to keep your skin hydrated without clogging pores. It has a ton of moisturizing active ingredients that work to make your skin more radiant. The formula also includes powerful antioxidants, natural oils and extracts like olive, coriander, sweet lime and lemon and sandalwood. One reviewer writes, "My skin feels softer and my sister has noticed a difference in how radiant and clear my skin has become... You only need a pea sized amount and it's safe to use morning AND night! A good value for its size and works through fall and summer... I will never change moisturizers again!"

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.