8 Drugstore Moisturizers for Every Skin Type
Here’s the truth: There's no need to splurge on moisturizer. So, we rounded up the best budget-friendly options for dry skin, acne-prone, and everything in between—all available at Canadian drugstores.
Like sunscreen and cleanser, moisturizer is a skin care product dermatologists agree is essential for healthy skin. Its most important duty is, naturally, to hydrate skin, but it can also help control oil production, heal and prevent breakouts, soothe redness and irritation, minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even protect skin from the environment.
“It’s important for all skin types to moisturize,” says Renita Ahluwalia, dermatologist and founder of the Canadian Dermatology Centre in Toronto. Moisturizer helps to maintain a healthy skin barrier, she says, which is the outermost layer of skin cells responsible for protecting against irritants. A damaged skin barrier can actually be the cause of skin woes like dryness, itchiness, or irritation.
Now, here’s another thing derms agree on: There’s no need to splurge on moisturizers. “There are many drugstore options out there that provide ample hydration,” says Ahluwalia. And they all cater to different skin care needs.
So, we sifted through drugstore moisturizers and collected the derm-recommended picks, the best-sellers and the most highly-rated to deliver this list of the Best in Show, all available at Canadian drugstores. Whether you’re looking for a moisturizer for dry skin, mature skin, or just want whatever French girls are using, we’ve got it down below.
Best Overall: Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion
Cetaphil, a brand beloved by derms, hit a home run with this moisturizer: It’s super hydrating, making it a great pick for those with dry skin, and lightweight and oil-free, making it also great for those with oily or acne-prone skin. What’s more, it’s non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) and hypoallergenic, making it great for sensitive skin, too.
Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion, $16, well.ca
Best for Dry Skin: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Daily Face & Body Moisturizer
CeraVe, a brand that’s been around since the mid-naughts, gained recent popularity courtesy of the TikTok set recognizing and touting its effective results and low price points—a.k.a., what dermatologists have been telling us for nearly two decades. The brand’s Moisturizing Cream is one of its top-sellers. The simple formula is rich but not greasy, and packed with ceramides (which derms love, as they help lock in moisture) along with hyaluronic acid to provide extra hydration and help restore skin’s natural protective barrier.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Daily Face & Body Moisturizer for Dry Skin with Hyaluronic Acid & 3 Ceramides, $22, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Best for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream
We love Neutrogena’s gel face cream for its oil-free formula that contains acne-fighting ingredients like AHA, PHA and mandelic acid, which work by increasing cell turnover. With the help of another ingredient called neoglucosamine, this cream not only helps treat blemishes but can also help brighten and soften skin.
Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream, $37 shoppersdrugmart.ca
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer
Blemish-prone? Here’s an option that’ll help skin be clean and clear and under control (you remember the commercials, surely?). This moisturizer is nothing new, but it’s still a bestseller, and that’s because it works. It has an oil-free formula with acne-fighting salicylic acid (not recommended for people who are or taking certain medications like blood thinners) to both help heal pimples and prevent new ones from sprouting. Its other superpower is hydrating dry patches that often occur from acne spot-treatments, helping to even out skin tone and texture.
Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer, $9, well.ca
Best for Redness: Bioderma Sensibio AR Cream
If you have rosacea or find yourself with any facial redness, try this super soothing pick. It contains calming agents like avocado extract and glycerin to help visibly alleviate red areas, moisturize skin and improve its protective barrier. Plus, it’s formulated without fragrances to help mitigate the possibility of irritations.
Bioderma Sensibio AR Cream, $31, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Best French Pharmacy Find: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
Lauded by celeb makeup artists and French girls, this super hydrating cream is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins and can double as a makeup primer (it plumps skin and creates a smooth, makeup-ready canvas). Bonus: It can be used as a cleanser and makeup remover, too (just smear on and rinse off with water).
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, $33, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra
Dermatologists love to recommend La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Ultra to those with sensitive skin because it nurtures and repairs the skin’s barrier to help prevent reactions. That means it helps skin be less sensitive and less allergy-prone over time, thanks to calming ingredients like thermal spring water and neurosensine. Bonus: It’s also suitable for those with eczema and can help relieve irritation immediately after application.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra, $36, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Best for Mature Skin: Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer SPF 25
Here we have one of the most recognizable moisturizers on store shelves. Known as simply “The Red Jar,” Olay’s Regenerist moisturizer comes in various formulas including rich and very rich, but we love the whipped version for its lightweight feel and shine-free finish. It’s formulated with skin-plumping ingredients like niacinamide and delivers so much hydration that fine lines and wrinkles can look diminished. Another reason to love it? It boasts SPF 25, so it’ll help prevent skin from further UV damage as it corrects it.
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer SPF 25, $32, shoppersdrugmart.ca