15 Moisturizers to Wear Under Makeup
We spend our hard-earned cash on the best foundations, powders and blushes on the market in an effort to achieve flawless-looking makeup, but we often overlook the most important part of our beauty routine: the prep work (AKA our skin-care routine). But it can be really hard to get a perfect makeup application when your face is dry and lacking a little TLC. The real secret to better-looking makeup is smooth, well-hydrated skin. That’s where moisturizer comes in. Depending on the product, a lightweight moisturizer can help refine skin’s texture, hydrate and even mattify, especially if you have oily skin. Ahead, we’re sharing 15 moisturizers to wear under makeup.
This oil-free gel moisturizer delivers 72 hours of hydration with its water-like liquid formula. Infused with skin-loving ingredients like ceramides, glycerin and cactus flower extract, it helps smooth your complexion for easy makeup application.
To Use: Apply the gel moisturizer both morning and night in an upward sweeping motion to your face, neck and chest.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to layer additional moisture onto already oily skin, it’s actually a crucial step. Because oily skin and makeup don’t usually play nice, your best bet is to use a mattifying moisturizer before your foundation. In addition to providing your skin with daily hydration, Effaclar Mat — formulated with sebulyse technology, LHA, absorbing powders, and antioxidant vitamins C and E — features a dual-targeting action on excess oil to help mattify skin and refine the appearance of pores.
To Use: After cleansing the skin, apply Effaclar Mat’s non-comedogenic formula both morning and night.
Enriched with vitamin E and B5, Lancôme’s Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30 Lotion Day Cream boasts 24-hour hydration. This moisturizer will help soften your skin before you start blending out your foundation, while also offering SPF protection.
To Use: Pump this cream into your palms and gently rub into skin. Use in the morning daily for best results, before makeup application.
If you’re looking for a hydrating moisturizer that won’t break the bank, reach for this drugstore lotion. CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen is packed with ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. The lotion works to keep your complexion hydrated while also helping to restore the protective skin barrier. An added bonus: it’s formulated with SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
To Use: Pump this lotion into your hands and apply liberally to clean skin. Use daily in the morning before applying makeup.
Infused with the highest concentration of Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water of any Vichy product, this gel moisturizer helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier function so it can better protect itself against aggressors. The formula’s unique Dynamic Hydration technology, paired with hyaluronic acid and aquabioryl, helps distribute and lock in water. Thanks to its ultra-light gel texture, the product offers a soothing sensation when applied and dries without a greasy or sticky residue.
To Use: Apply the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Mineral Water Gel morning and evening to clean skin. Let the formula fully absorb before starting makeup application.
Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV is formulated with broad-spectrum SPF 30 to provide you with sun protection, as well as ceramide-3, niacinamide and La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water to deliver long-lasting hydration. The oil-free lotion leaves skin feeling smooth and prepped for makeup.
To Use: Apply Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV to a freshly cleansed face and neck in the morning before sun exposure.
This lightweight, no-frills moisturizer is a Kiehl’s favorite for a reason. It’s suitable for all skin types and absorbs quickly into the skin to leave the surface area feeling soft and nurtured — sans greasy residue left behind.
To Use: Massage a small amount of the moisturizer onto freshly-cleansed and toned skin, avoiding the immediate eye area.
This lotion is formulated with hyaluronic acid — an ingredient known to hold up to 1000x its weight in water — and floods the skin with all-day, weightless moisture. What’s more, the non-greasy formula provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays, which makes it ideal to wear under makeup every single day.
To Use: Apply Moisture Bomb The Antioxidant Super Moisturizer SPF 30 to a cleansed face and neck daily. To use as a sunscreen, be sure to follow the instructions listed on the packaging and reapply often.
A moisturizer that pulls double duty and also works to prime skin is truly what dreams are made of. The lightweight texture of this Prep Lotion provides instant hydration and helps to minimize the look of pores for better makeup application.
To Use: Use the pump applicator to obtain one dose of the lotion. Rub it into your fingertips and gently massage over skin. Use daily in the morning and evening.
Giorgio Armani Prima Glow-On Moisturizing Balm is practically designed to keep your makeup in place. It’s formulated to help skin achieve a healthy-looking glow through maximum hydration while also providing a smooth base, making foundation application easier and products less likely to settle into fine lines.
To Use: Apply the moisturizing balm starting from the center of your face, using outward motions. If you have dry skin or dry patches, reapply the balm throughout the day on top of foundation by warming it on the back of your hand and gently dabbing it onto dry spots.
Excess oil and enlarged pores don’t make for an ideal makeup canvas, which is why we reach for this L’Oreal Paris moisturizer. The lightweight cream formula instantly works to help minimize the appearance of pores and shrinks the actual pore size after one month of use with its highest concentration of Perline-P. It also absorbs excess oil for an all-day smooth finish that is shine-free.
To Use: Apply the moisturizer as the final step in your skin routine, right before makeup application.
This lightweight daily moisturizer provides nourishing hydration, helps reduce the appearance of pore size and is formulated with a combination of marine extracts to leave skin feeling soft and supple. By not leaving any greasy residue behind, it’s perfect for subsequent makeup application.
To Use: Apply a dime size of the moisturizer to the face, neck and chest once or twice daily. For best results, use after a SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum and before a SkinCeuticals sunscreen.
A gel moisturizer is ideal for layering with primer and foundation because it provides lightweight hydration that completely absorbs into the skin. Biotherm’s Aquasource Gel Moisturizer also delivers a cooling sensation and is infused with aura leaf, a medicinal plant found in the French Pyrenees.
To Use: Dispense a small dose of Gel Moisturizer into your palms and smooth over your skin in an outward motion morning and night.
These lightweight, water-based moisturizers are great worn alone or before makeup application. They’re available in three different formula variations for different skin types — normal, dry, and oily — and provide a surge of hydration without leaving any heavy or greasy feeling behind. Whether you want your skin to look slightly dewy or matte, this range will help you achieve your desired look while replenishing your skin with moisture.
To Use: Apply Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care every morning before you put on makeup and every evening after cleansing your skin. Smooth the lightweight formula over your face and neck.
This hydrating moisturizer delivers long-lasting, luxurious hydration with its unique combination of oils and actives — including vitamin C, vitamin E and shea butter — to help soothe, smooth and brighten dull skin.
To Use: Apply gently in upwards and outwards motion, from the bridge of your nose and across your cheeks. Then, massage it in to your forehead and neck in a circular motion and let it absorb into your skin before applying makeup.