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. 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. 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, providing both chemical and mineral sun protection. 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.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
2. Oars + Alps Everyday Anti-Aging Face Moisturizer with SPF 37
Another option that provides both chemical and mineral sun protection, this face moisturizer protects your skin from the sun while also defending against signs of aging. It’s oil-free and non-greasy yet highly moisturizing to keep your skin feeling fresh and hydrated without shine. This is a great option to expedite your morning skincare routine since it offers sun protection, moisture and anti-aging all in one.
Oars + Alps Everyday Anti Aging Face Moisturizer with SPF 37
3. Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 50+
MOST SPF PROTECTION
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.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 50+
4. 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.
SAVE 15% WITH CODE SPY15
Asystem Daily Defense Moisturizer + SPF
5. 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.
GETMr. The Daily Sunscreen
Starting At $24.00
6. Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Tinted Moisturizer with SPF
Sometimes it’s nice to get a touch of coverage with your morning moisturizer. Not only does this one provide a warm, luminous tint, but it’s also lightweight and deeply hydrating with SPF 30 to protect you from sun damage. It has corrective antioxidants to help smooth skin texture, and it helps boost collagen and elastin production to defer signs of aging.
Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Tinted Moisturizer with SPF
7. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
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.
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
8. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
BEST FOR LAYERING
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.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
9. Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40
We love all Supergoop! products for protecting us from the sun and feeling all-around great on skin. It’s super lightweight and easily melts into the skin for a barely-there feel that you’ll appreciate if you don’t like anything thick or sticky on your face. It has SPF 40 to protect your skin along with moisturizers, antioxidants and skin-repairing actives harvested from blue-green algae.
Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40
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. Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm
If you’re not sure what your skin type is, this Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm is a safe bet. It’s formulated with naturally-derived ingredients and is paraben-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free and vegan, making it safe for all skin types and even the most sensitive skin. The texture is almost like a serum, meaning it absorbs quickly with a matte finish. You can use it as a base layer underneath your SPF or alone for calming, lightweight hydration.
Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm
11. Bulldog Original Moisturizer
For something that feels a little more masculine than other moisturizers, Bulldog products are the way to go. This original moisturizer is simple, but it gets the job done. It combines natural oils for a calming, masculine fragrance, without any parabens or artificial colors. The formula is affordable, quick-absorbing and best for normal skin.
Bulldog Original Moisturizer
12. 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.
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre
13. Baxter of California Oil-Free Face Moisturizer for Men
BEST FOR OILY SKIN
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.
Baxter of California Oil Free Face Moisturizer for Men
14. 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.
Lumin Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm
15. 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.
Bevel Moisturizing Face Gel
16. 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.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
17. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel-Cream
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost line feels like a fresh burst of cooling hydration melting into your skin. This gel-cream face moisturizer is just slightly richer than some of the other products, ideal for extra dry skin, and it still feels super light and supple. The hyaluronic acid attracts and locks in moisture to quench and restore the skin’s natural barrier, leaving your face smooth and refreshed.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel-Cream
18. Lord Jones Whole Plant Formula Acid Mantle Repair CBD Moisturizer
This moisturizer is packed with 250mg of CBD, ceramides and hyaluronic acid to soothe and replenish skin. It’s safe for nearly all skin types to support all-day hydration. If your concerns include dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles, this is a particularly good face moisturizer for men. It gets great reviews, and the minimalistic product design will look great perched on a shelf in your bathroom.
Lord Jones Whole Plant Formula Acid Mantle Repair CBD Moisturizer
19. 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.
Rugged & Dapper Age & Damage Defense Moisturizer
20. Geologie Extra Strength Acne & Wrinkle Fighting Cream
Acne can be a lifetime problem, so there’s no shame in finding products to help treat and control it well into adulthood. Not only does this Geologie cream control acne, oil and reduce blemishes, it also has anti-aging properties. The combination of retinol, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid rejuvenates skin while you sleep to battle visible signs of aging and recurring breakouts. Like all Geologie products, it’s extremely customizable to your particular skin needs.
Geologie Extra Strength Acne & Wrinkle Fighting Cream
21. 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.
ON SALE NOW!
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men
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.
MARLOWE. No. 123 Men’s Facial Moisturizer
23. Ceylon Facial Moisturizer
BEST TEXTURE PERFECTOR
Uneven skin texture can be extremely frustrating and difficult to treat, especially without drying out the skin since our faces can be extra sensitive. Luckily, this Celyon moisturizer hydrates with hyaluronic acid and calms with niacinamide while also improving texture thanks to the Alpha Hydroxy Acids, which gently exfoliate the skin over time. If you want clear, smooth and quenched skin, this is the one for you.
Ceylon Facial Moisturizer
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.