Ask the Expert: How Should Moisturizer Feel on Your Skin?
On the outside, moisturizer seems pretty unfussy. Apart from the fact that we swap out formulas during different seasons—gel for summer, heavy-duty for winter—the rest of it, like how to apply it correctly, is pretty basic, right? Well, sort of. Here’s a little trick courtesy of board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Michael Kaminer: “When you put moisturizer on, the most important thing is to put it on skin that has recently been moistened with water so the moisturizer can lock in the water,” he says. “That is how they worst best.” If you haven’t been applying your moisturizer onto damp skin, now’s the time to change that.
But the question here is not so much a concern of how to apply moisturizer, but rather how it should feel on your skin following an application. How do you know if the formula is too greasy? How long should it take to soak in? Are you supposed to feel it as a layer on your skin? Not surprisingly, we asked Dr. Kaminer to clear the air. Here’s what he had to say:
“When your moisturizer dries, make sure you like the way it makes your skin feel,” he says. If it feels lumpy and thick, it’s probably not the right match for you. If it’s making your skin feel like a slide of oil, also not the perfect fit. If the packaging touts it as lightweight formula, you shouldn’t be able to feel it on your skin after about a minute. It should immediately absorb without tightness or dryness. Or as Kaminer puts it, “If it feels supple but not slick, you know you have the right combo.”
MOISTURIZERS FOR EVERY SKIN TYPE
As with all skin care buys, your moisturizer must be skin-type appropriate. This will ensure that the blend not only feels right on your skin, but is also effective at addressing your skin’s needs. Need a little help picking a formula? You’re in luck! We’re sharing our favorite moisturizers for every skin type, below!
For Sensitive Skin: Decléor Harmonie Calm Soothing Milky Cream
Sensitive skin will adore the silky, melting texture of this day cream formulated to nourish and protect the skin from irritants and aggressors, such as pollution, by helping strengthen surface skin’s moisture barrier. Say hello to hydrated, as well as a soft, supple, and comfortable-feeling skin.
For Oily Skin: Vichy Normaderm Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion
If you have oily skin, it’s crucial that your moisturizer has a non-greasy and oil-free formula, not only to reduce the chance of a breakout but also to ensure that your complexion isn’t looking as shiny as a disco ball. This formula blend of gentle resurfacing ingredients—read: glycolic acid and micro-exfoliating LHA—can deliver targeted exfoliation to help clear away breakout triggers on skin’s surface, improve skin texture, reduce shine, and minimize pore visibility. Does your current moisturizer do all that?
For Dry Skin: La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense UV
If your skin feels as dry as the Sahara, not just any moisturizer will whip it back into shape. Bring out the big guns with this intensely moisturizing formula boasting fragmented hyaluronic acid to infuse skin with water and provide long-lasting hydration and protection from the sun. Win-win.
For Mature Skin: Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer
Who doesn’t want to fight back against wrinkles? This light, non-greasy daily moisturizer does just that thanks to its formula with vitamin E, Pro-Retinol (a form of Vitamin A), and rice peptides. Instantly, skin will feel deeply hydrated. With continued use, skin can appear firmer, tighter, and more radiant, with fine lines and wrinkles visibly reduced.
For Normal Skin: Biotherm Aquasource Gel
Help your skin preserve its hydration with this lightweight gel formula with plankton and mannose, two ingredients known for their moisturizing properties. It feels cool upon contact, but store it in the fridge for an extra burst of freshness.
And remember: supple, not slick. Got it?