15 Moisturizers to Layer Underneath Your Makeup
Looking for the best moisturizers to wear under your makeup? We rounded up our top moisturizer picks for a flawless makeup finish!
We spend our hard-earned cash on the best foundations, powders, and blushes on the market in an effort to achieve flawless-looking makeup. Sure the formulas are important, but so is the prep work. Real talk: Even the most expensive and highly-rated cosmetics items will look drab and dreary on skin that’s dry. That’s right ladies, the secret to better-looking makeup (and hold!) is smooth, well-hydrated skin. That’s where moisturizer comes in. The key is to pick a lightweight moisturizer that can help to refine skin’s texture, hydrate, and/or mattify (especially if you have oily skin!), without leaving an uncomfortable residue behind. Ahead, we’re sharing 15 of the best moisturizers to wear under makeup—all from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands.
VICHY AQUALIA THERMAL MINERAL WATER GEL
Meet your new favorite makeup base. 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 water in all facial zones. Thanks to its ultra-light and comfortable gel texture, the elixir offers a soothing sensation when applied and dries without any greasy or sticky residue.
To Use: Apply morning and evening to cleansed skin by spreading a touch of moisturizer all over the face. Spread using outward movements from the middle of the face without using too much pressure.
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Mineral Water Gel, $31 MSRP
GIORGIO ARMANI ARMANI PRIMA GLOW-ON MOISTURIZING BALM
Looking for a moisturizer that can help your makeup stay put? Look no further than this moisturizing balm formulated to help skin achieve a healthy-looking glow through maximum hydration that lasts. The formula can help plump skin with hydration and smooth the appearance of your complexion, making foundation easier to apply and less likely to settle into fine lines.
To Use: Apply the moisturizing balm on your face starting from the center 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 dabbing it onto your face gently.
KIEHL’S ULTRA FACIAL MOISTURIZER
This lightweight formula is definitely one of our favorite no-frills moisturizers suitable for all skin types. It absorbs quickly to leave the surface area feeling soft and nurtured. No greasy feeling left behind.
To Use: Massage a small amount of moisturizer onto freshly-cleansed and toned skin. Avoid the immediate eye area.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer, $21 MSRP
L’OREAL PARIS TEXTURE PERFECTOR PORE VANISHER
Excess oil and enlarged pores can really ruin your canvas. Help pores appear virtually vanished with this fresh, airy cream. The formula not only hydrates skin, but also absorbs excess oil for an all-day, smooth finish.
To Use: Apply the formula as a last step in your skin routine, right before makeup.
L’Oreal Paris Texture Perfector Pore Vanisher, $24.99 MSRP
LA ROCHE-POSAY EFFACLAR MAT
It seems counter-intuitive to layer additional hydration onto already oily skin, but it’s actually recommended. Since oily skin and makeup don’t always play nice, your best bet is to use a mattifying moisturizer before your foundation. In addition to providing 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 the look of skin and refine the appearance of pores.
To Use: After cleansing skin, apply Effaclar Mat onto skin. The non-comedogenic formula can be used morning and/or evening.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat, $31.99 MSRP
KIEHL’S RARE EARTH PORE MINIMIZING LOTION
Large-looking pores got you down? Give this Rare Earth Pore Minimizing lotion a try. Formulated specifically for normal to oily skin types, this oil-free formula with Amazonian White Clay can help absorb excess sebum on the surface of skin and refine the look of pores
To Use: Apply the facial lotion to clean skin morning and/or night.
SKINCEUTICALS DAILY MOISTURE
This lightweight daily moisturizer—for normal or oily skin—provides nourishing hydration, helps reduce the appearance of pore size and is formulated with a combination of marine extracts. Skin is left feeling soft without a greasy residue, 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 and before a SkinCeuticals sunscreen.
SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture, $62 MSRP
GARNIER MOISTURE BOMB THE ANTIOXIDANT SUPER MOISTURIZER SPF 30
This water-light lotion formulated with hyaluronic acid—an ingredient known to hold up to 1000x its weight in water—floods 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. Hydration plus SPF protection? Yes, please!
To Use: Apply Moisture Bomb The Antioxidant Super Moisturizer SPF 30 to a cleansed face and neck daily. If used as a sunscreen, be sure to follow the instructions listed on the packaging.
GARNIER CLEARLY BRIGHTER BRIGHTENING & SMOOTHING DAILY MOISTURIZER SPF 15
It’s no secret that applying makeup onto rough skin doesn’t always work out well. Help even the appearance of your skin’s tone and texture with this daily moisturizer formulated with broad-spectrum SPF 15. Designed with the brand’s antioxidant complex of vitamin C & E, pine bark essence, and gentle exfoliating LHA, this fast-absorbing, non-greasy formula turns dull, rough skin into smooth, polished-looking skin with a more radiant, even tone.
For Sunscreen Use: Apply liberally onto skin 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Be sure to reapply at least every two hours. Use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. To decrease this risk, regularly use a sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF value of 15 or higher and other sun protection measures, including: limit time in the sun, especially from 10a.m. – 2p.m., wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses.
LA ROCHE-POSAY TOLERIANE DOUBLE REPAIR MOISTURIZER UV
Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV is formulated with broad-spectrum SPF 30 to help protect skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays when used with other sun protection measures. But that’s not all! The formula—with ceramide-3, niacinamide, and La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water—also delivers long-lasting hydration!
To Use: Apply Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV to a cleansed face and neck in the morning. Since the formula contains SPF—which is not necessary at night—use a different hydrating formula before bed. If used as a sunscreen, be sure to follow the instructions listed on the packaging.
Biotherm Aquasource Gel Moisturizer
A gel moisturizer is ideal for lightweight hydration before you start layering on primer and foundation. Biotherm’s Aquasource Gel Moisturizer offers deep hydration while delivering a cooling sensation to the skin.
To Use: Apply a small dose of Gel Moisturizer into your palm. Using both hands, evenly smooth over your skin in an outward motion. Don’t forget your neck! For best results, use every morning and evening.
Biotherm Aquasource Gel Moisturizer, $44 MSRP
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen
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 a potent formula with powerhouse 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.
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, $12.99 MSRP
Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30 Lotion Day Cream
Enriched with Vitamin E and B5, Lancôme’s Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30 Lotion Day Cream boasts high potency, 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.
Yves Saint Laurent Top Secrets Moisturizing Prep Lotion
A moisturizer that 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.
To Use: Use the pump applicator to obtain one dose of the lotion. Rub it into your fingertips and then gently massage over skin. Use daily in the morning and evening.
L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care
These lightweight, water-based moisturizers are great worn alone or before makeup application. These moisturizers, available in three different varieties for different skin types, provide your skin with a surge of hydration without leaving skin feeling heavy or greasy. 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.
L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care, $17.99 MSRP
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