Look, we’re not saying you need to jump on the super complicated Korean beauty regime or even borrow products from your girlfriend’s drawer (although, you totally can). But as you get older and start investing in grown-up things like a steady job, a workout routine, a car lease, or even a mortgage (congrats!), you should also be investing in yourself. The first place to start: taming that mean mug you look at in the mirror every morning.
If you’re not already moisturizing your face each morning, you should start — and start stat. Your face literally comes into contact with a ton of stressors every day, from air pollution and environmental debris to harsh winds, to sweat — especially after a tough gym session. All of those things sink into your skin to cause other things you don’t want to see, like wrinkles, creases, sagging and dullness. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to combat it all.
To protect your skin and to keep that youthful glow, you need to invest in a good moisturizer. Aim to use it twice a day, after you wash your face in the morning and before bed, and you’re good to go. All of our options for the best men’s face moisturizers below are packed with skin-clearing, skin-boosting ingredients that will leave your face feeling revived, refreshed and literally ready to face the day.
Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Alicia Zalka, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine, and Founder of Surface Deep. We asked Dr. Zalka our burning questions about skincare, especially as it relates to sun exposure and SPF protection.
Below, you’ll find our top recommendations for men’s face moisturizers, as well as some insight from Dr. Zallka on whether or not you really need moisturizers with SPF protection.
Should You Use a Face Moisturizer With SPF Protection?
More and more face moisturizers now do double duty as face sunscreen. And while it’s not uncommon for women to have a five-step skincare regimen, most guys want to keep skincare as simple as possible. So does that mean the best men’s face moisturizers will also protect your mug from the sun? If you want your face moisturizer to do double duty, then the answer is yes.
Dr. Zalka recommends applying sunscreen to our skin every day. For your face, she specifically recommends products with SPF 30 or higher for maximum protection, although some of our favorite products offer SPF 20. If you want to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun — and do everything you can to fight premature signs of aging — then applying moisturizers with SPF protection is a must before you step out into the sun. That’s even true during the winter or on cloudy summer days. Dr. Zalka even says, “hazy and cloudy days still allow ultraviolet rays (which are a form of radiation, don’t forget) to be absorbed by your skin.” Meaning, yeah, even if you wake up and the sun isn’t shining, you should still throw on some sunscreen.
On the other hand, moisturizers without SPF are great for wearing after showers and before bed. In fact, that’s a great test if you aren’t sure which type of moisturizer to buy:
- If you typically apply facial moisturizers in the morning, then you’ll definitely want moisturizers with sunscreen.
- If you apply moisturizers at night so your skin can recharge while you sleep, then you’ll want to invest in anti-aging moisturizers for men.
To make things easier, we’ve selected the best men’s face moisturizers and broken them down into two sections: the best moisturizers with and without SPF protection.
The Best Moisturizers with SPF
“Any method that increases the chances of maintaining the healthy habit of using daily moisturizer and sunscreen is welcome,” says Zalka, “Products that combine both in one makes it more convenient and easier to remember.” If you’re going to use moisturizer when leaving the house in the morning, it’s most important to use sunscreen to keep your skin safe throughout the day. “Do check the label. The best protection will have an SPF 30 or higher and will not provide all-day protection. Re-application is recommended.” (Emphasis added).
1. Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer
Nothing will age you faster than the sun, so this twofer does double duty by offering SPF 20 protection and bringing on the hydration. Despite all the heavy lifting, the formula feels light as a feather. To make your skin look and feel better, it contains antioxidants and vitamins. Jack Black is one of our favorite men’s skincare brands, and this daily face moisturizer is one of the best options for guys.
2. Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 50+
If your skin is on the sensitive side, this is the moisturizer for you. Designed to be ultra-gentle on all complexions, it’s fragrance-free, non-irritating and won’t clog pores. It moisturizes and nourishes skin for a full eight hours. Plus, it keeps you safe from damaging UVA and UVB rays with SPF 50 and five filters to guard you against the sun.
3. Asystem Daily Defense Moisturizer + SPF
Asystem is a relatively new men’s brand, but we’ve already been impressed with their products, which include one of our favorite vitamin subscription services, pain relief products and skincare essentials. The Asystem Daily Defense Moisturizer + SPF boasts SPF 30 protection from UVA and UBV rays. The formula also contains powerful antioxidants, natural plant extracts and vitamins B, C and E to nourish your skin. In our testing, we found that it absorbed quickly and was effective in preventing sunburn even on especially bright days.
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4. GetMR. The Daily Sunscreen
GetMr. is another new skincare brand for men, and we recently had the chance to test out The Daily sunscreen and moisturizer for ourselves. If you’re serious about sun protection or have especially sensitive skin, then this is a great option for you. The Daily is a zinc oxide sunscreen that provides SPF 30 protection from UVA and UVB rays. Like all zinc mineral sunscreens, a little goes a long way, and it can feel a little thick on your face, even as it leaves your skin soft to the touch. We also appreciated the unique product design, as The Daily has a twist-open pop-up dispenser. The formula contains anti-aging ingredients such as antioxidants, niacinamide, plant extracts and natural almond and coconut oil.
5. Neutrogena Men Age Fighter Face Moisturizer
You can’t go wrong with a tried-and-true brand like Neutrogena. This tiny bottle packs a ton of age-fighting, energy-boosting ingredients to help nourish and hydrate dry skin. A healthy dose of retinol helps to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and we like using this oil-free moisturizer on our necks, around the ears and on our hairline as well, to decrease signs of aging. The best part: this moisturizer doubles as a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 15) to help reduce damage caused by being out in the sun. Though it’s dubbed the “Age Fighter,” this fragrance-free formula is super gentle and suitable for sensitive skin.
6. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
You should know CeraVe at this point, but if you don’t, let us introduce you. CeraVe is one of the most popular facial moisturizing lotions in the market for a reason. It’s super lightweight so it won’t feel muddy and weighed down on your skin, it’s great to use on various skin types and it spreads easily for effortless application. The facial lotion uses SPF 30 to keep your skin clear from any harmful sun rays and is best to be used in the morning before heading out of the house.
7. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer
Aveeno leaves skin looking and feeling radiant after just a week of daily use. It’s entirely oil-free so it won’t create any unwanted buildup in your pores and helps fight early signs of aging during use. Not only that, but Aveeno will reduce dark spots and dullness to make you look as if you’re glowing the way you should look in the sun. Because it’s SPF 15, we suggest you reapply during the daytime at least once.
8. NAELI Face Moisturizer
Reduce wrinkles and revitalize your skin with NAELI’s facial moisturizer. This lightweight moisturizer is packed with a hydrating peptide-rich formula that will transform your face and protect you from aging. It’s made with SPF 30 and increases skin elasticity, all in all, preventing wrinkles.
9. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
While it’s technically just considered sunscreen, we couldn’t leave this option out for consideration. It’s the #1 Dermatologist Recommended face sunscreen and works as applied over your current moisturizer. It doesn’t have all of the same moisturizing properties as your average moisturizer, but when it comes to protection, this stuff is the real deal.
The Best Moisturizers without SPF
If you apply face moisturizer at night, then there’s no reason to invest in face moisturizers with SPF protection. Instead, we recommend adding one of these anti-aging moisturizers to your medicine cabinet instead. Apply these night creams to a clean, dry face before bed. While you sleep, these face moisturizers for men will go to work nourishing your skin. We’ve included options for every price point, as you don’t need to spend a fortune on the best face moisturizers.
10. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men
Say “see ya” to tired, dull skin thanks to this moisturizer that will bring your complexion back to life. It’s packed with ingredients chosen to revitalize and re-energize skin, like caffeine, chestnut extract and soy. Antioxidants also help perk things up, courtesy of vitamins C and E, which improve radiance and skin texture, as well as fight off free radical damage, respectively.
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11. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre
“I completely swear by Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate,” says our e-commerce editor Tyler Schoeber, “I can’t even begin to explain the work it’s done so far for my skin. For me, it’s brought my skin routine down to a minimum by keeping my face breakout free and smooth after I wash it each time.”
Maybe some of you have seen Embryolisse before in your girlfriend’s makeup bag, because a lot of people who use makeup apply this cream at a makeup primer. But, don’t be fooled: this is one of the best men’s face moisturizers money can buy. It’s not the cheapest, but a little bit of this stuff goes a hell of a long way. You’ll notice softer, more supple skin in no time at all and can kiss breakouts goodbye.
12. Baxter of California Oil-Free Face Moisturizer for Men
Many men make the common mistake of thinking if they have oily skin they can skip moisturizer, but that isn’t so. Oily skin can still get dry, which actually signals the body to produce even more oil. That’s why a great moisturizer is crucial, and this one by Baxter of California is designed for normal to oily skin. It used plant-based moisturizers to restore the skin’s moisture barrier, it absorbs super fast and leaves a matte finish.
13. Lumin Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm
If you’ve been following us at SPY for a while, you’ll know that we’re kind of obsessed with Lumin at this point. This hydrating moisturizing balm is a cream ready to keep your face as hydrated as it can be. Simply rub it over your face before bedtime and get the dry areas on your face when you wake up. Post-shower, place a little on as well since your skin begins to dry up after it’s wet. In no time, you’ll notice Lumin’s magic while it fixes dehydration, sun damage, oil regulation issues and weak skin barriers.
14. Lab Series Pro LS All-in-one Face Hydrating Gel
True to its name, this all-in-one moisturizer ticks off so many boxes: The cooling formula chills skin, especially on hot summer days that will be here any minute; it leaves skin looking and feeling fresh with a matte finish by keeping excess oil under control; it soothes skin; and, of course, moisturizes. The gel formula feels light, so it’ll never weigh down on your skin.
15. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
This French formula works its magic quickly: it only takes one hour for it to help restore the skin barrier. It’ll keep your face hydrated for up to 48 hours without clogging pores. The oil-free formula is silky soft and sinks right into skin. It contains prebiotic thermal water, ceramide-3, niacinamide and glycerin to boost the overall health and moisture levels of your skin.
16. Bulldog Age Defense Moisturizer
If your face is showing signs of aging (read: sagging skin, wrinkles or general dullness), you’ll want to check out the Bulldog Men’s Age Defense Moisturizer. This super hydrating cream uses ingredients like rosemary, echinacea and vitamin E, boosting the antioxidants and skin-nourishing benefits for your skin. If you’re looking for clean beauty products, this moisturizer is vegan-friendly and certified cruelty-free.
17. Hims Wrinkle Cream
For those of you worrying about wrinkles and aging, look no further than Hims’ wrinkle cream. This moisturizer is designed to smooth your skin out to make you feel years upon years younger. Sun got your skin at all? No worries, this cream will also reduce any sun damage you might have brought upon that mug of yours. Aging doesn’t have to be so scary when you have a product as effective as this.
18. Rugged & Dapper Age & Damage Defense Moisturizer
One of the best-reviewed men’s moisturizers on Amazon, the Rugged & Dapper face cream works for all ages and most skin types, from oily to acne-prone to sensitive. The ingredient list includes peptides to boost collagen, and botanical hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and jojoba to help to calm and soothe the skin, making this a great lotion to slather on after shaving, or after a particularly strenuous workout. The formula absorbs quickly and won’t leave your face shiny or greasy.
19. Bevel Moisturizing Face Gel
Bevel’s moisturizing face gel is just what your skin needs as the ending game to your skincare routine. It isn’t greasy and stays completely lightweight on your face, so you won’t feel it weighing your skin down after application. Additionally, users say it smells good, which is something you don’t hear much from moisturizers. If you’re looking for a quality face moisturizer that also prioritizes quantity, you’ve found it.
20. Oars + Alps Face + Eye Cream
Using ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil, Oars + Alps face and eye cream works at boosting your skin’s appearance and locking moisture inside for skin softness unlike any other. It also uses aloe and vitamin E to fight any aging-related issues that might occur over time as you continue to get older. As you might have imagined, this cream absorbs quickly and is lightweight upon application.
Read More: The Best Under-Eye Creams for Dark Circles
22. MARLOWE. No. 123 Men’s Facial Moisturizer
If you’d rather go bare-faced than face the idea of putting on some goopy face cream, you’ll want to check out MARLOWE’s lightweight moisturizer. Because it’s water-based and full of natural ingredients (think green tea and willow bark extracts), it glides on smoothly and easily and absorbs in seconds. It doesn’t leave behind an oily residue and reviewers say it won’t flake off either. A bonus: we like this face cream’s light, clean scent — a mix of fresh citrus and woodsy notes — that will get you some attention even if you decide to skip the cologne.
Frequently Asked Questions About Face Moisturizers
Your top questions about sun exposure, anti-aging ingredients and SPF protection, answered.
Our favorite face moisturizer for men comes from Kiehl’s. The brand's famous Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men keeps your skin hydrated and fights the effects of aging. If you're looking for a moisturizer with sunscreen, then we recommend Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 50+.
If you ask a dermatologist (and we asked several), they will all tell you that, yes, you should absolutely use facial moisturizers with SPF protection. Nothing ages you faster than sunlight, and it's recommended to use a daily sunscreen to protect the sensitive skin on your face.
Dermatologists recommend looking for face sunscreen that offers SPF 30 or higher. You may need to reapply during long days in the sun.
The best face moisturizers contain natural oils such as almond and coconut oils. In addition, look for natural plant extracts, antioxidants, Vitamins C, B and E, and anti-aging ingredients such as niacinamide.
If you're more interested in anti-aging, then apply facial moisturizers at night to a clean, dry face. If sun protection is your primary goal, then apply in the morning. For maximum hydration and protection, apply once in the morning and at night.