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Why should you add the best face moisturizer for men to your daily skincare routine?
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 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. The best men’s face moisturizer will protect your skin from wear and tear, and some of the top options will protect you from UV rays, too.
Aim to use a face moisturizer 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, the best face moisturizer for men, 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.
More and more face moisturizers now do double duty as face sunscreen. And not to generalize too much, but most guys probably 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:
Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on your skin type, budget and skincare habits. To help you out, we’ve gathered the best face moisturizer for men with every skin type and preference. Every single face moisturizer featured in this article has been tested by a member of the SPY grooming team, and you’ll find many of the products below in our own medicine cabinets.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best face moisturizers for men, including options with and without SPF. These range from premium products with all-natural ingredients to drug store mainstays. Keep scrolling to learn more about how we test grooming products like face moisturizers.
Kiehl’s has been in the business for over 150 years, and this is one of their most beloved products. Among its fans? Our editors, who tried it and found that “skin never feels as soft as it does after using this moisturizer.” Though it comes at a premium price, a little goes a long way, and the high-quality ingredients deliver lasting hydration. The ingredients include squalane, a moisturizing oil derived from olives.
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.
What sets Geologie apart is its customized skin care program. You tell them about you and your skin, and they’ll curate a customized skincare regimen for you. Of course, if you’re not ready to commit, you can just try their active moisturizer, which features powerful, proven skincare ingredients niacinamide, squalane, hyaluronic acid, and allantoin.
Disco’s skincare is formulated with natural, vegan ingredients and provides premium skincare at a modest price. This hydrating face moisturizer is designed to work with all skin types, and it has hydrating, anti-inflammatory ingredients to help slow the signs of aging.
Review: The Best Disco Skincare Products
This 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.
BEST DRUG STORE BUY
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 and is ideal for dry skin. The hyaluronic acid attracts and locks in moisture to quench and restore the skin’s natural barrier, leaving your face smooth and refreshed.
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.
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.
BEST OIL FREE
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.
BEST NATURAL PICK
There’s a good chance that in math and science class you were told to “show your work.” Caldera + Lab took that to heart, and you can peruse the “science” and “The proof” tabs on their site to see the clinical tests they’ve conducted. If you want natural ingredients that actually work, this brand has your back.
BEST FACE 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.
BEST FOR TIRED SKIN
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.
“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.”
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. We’re big fans of Lumin’s skincare products, which are a great option for guys who are new to skincare and looking for effective and affordable products.
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
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. If you’re looking for a quality face moisturizer that also prioritizes quantity, you’ve found it.
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.
Don’t be afraid — it’s not makeup, we promise. Stryx’s tinted moisturizer soothes your skin while also subtly covering blemishes. It’s a great option for acne, as it immediately boosts your appearance while fighting acne under the surface.
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. In our testing, we found that it absorbed quickly and was effective in preventing sunburn even on especially bright days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EXTRA STRENGTH SPF
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.
SPY takes grooming very seriously. We have an entire section on our site dedicated to this product category, and skincare is actually one of our editors’ favorite topics to write about. We’re also living through a golden age of men’s skincare and grooming products, which has led to a ton of new brands and products vying for guys’ attention. When building your own skincare routine, there are certain core products we always recommend — face wash, retinol cream, sunscreen and face moisturizers. And over the years, our editors, product reviewers and writers have tested and reviewed a lot of face moisturizers.
So how do we choose the best face moisturizer for men? In our years of testing and reviewing products, we’ve found that selecting the best men’s skincare products is more subjective than selecting, say, the best Bluetooth sunglasses or laptops. The type of product that’s right for you will depend on your skin type, age, personal preferences, budget and how important eco-friendly packaging and ingredients are to you. For this guide, we did our best to balance both subjective and objective factors.
We started by selecting the most important types of face moisturizer that we wanted to include: tinted moisturizer, moisturizer with SPF, moisturizer without SPF, natural options, affordable drugstore brands, splurge-worthy products, moisturizer for sensitive skin, etc. For some of these categories, the top option was clear. In others, we had to compare several similar products before arriving at our final secition. In addition, we considered the following criteria when reviewing new men’s face moisturizers:
We believe the best face moisturizers for men will satisfy all of these criteria, and we believe our top three picks — Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, and Geologie Active Recovery Hydro Gel Moisturizer — absolutely do.
Every single face moisturizer on this list has been personally tested by a SPY editor or product reviewer at some point in the last two years. Some of these products are new, while others have been available for many years. Keep checking back, as we’ll regularly update this guide as new products become available.
Updates: This article was last updated on Thursday, May 12, at which time we selected a new “Best Overall” face moisturizer for men — Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. We named this the top face moisturizer in our 2021 product awards, and it was selected by consensus among our editors based on the criteria above. In addition, we added Geologie Active Recovery Hydro Gel as one of the top options, as it’s performed well in our testing and has a great list of ingredients. We also removed products from brands such as Super Goop! and Paula’s Choice.
SPY has developed more formal testing guidelines so far in 2022, and we’re in the process of standardizing our selection criteria across all product categories. However, some of the products featured in this guide were tested prior to the implementation of our new product review guidelines. We will always be transparent about which products we have personally tested, and which products we have chosen to include based on customer reviews and brand reputation. In this particular article, we have had the chance to test every moisturizer featured here. Some of these moisturizers were provided by the brands for editorial review, while others we purchased ourselves.
When testing grooming products, we ask our reviewers to use the products over a period of at least two weeks. In many cases, we will use a particular product for 2-3 months before determining whether it’s effective or not. Our reviewer will determine if the product has had the desired effect, as well as how pleasing it was to use and apply. If we don’t feel that a product is effective, or if we believe it offers a poor value for the cost, we will make sure to share this information with our readers. For every grooming product you read about on SPY.com, there is another grooming product that didn’t make the cut.
When we’re trying out a new face moisturizer for men, we consider how effectively the product absorbs into the skin, the overall tactile sensation, and how long it lasts. Most importantly, we want to verify that the product actually does what it promises to. In the end, we selected 23 products from 22 different skincare brands. Collectively, we’ve tested dozens more face moisturizers that don’t appear on this list.
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 ask a dermatologist (and we asked several), they will all tell you that, yes, you should absolutely use facial moisturizers with SPF protection. It's recommended that you use 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.
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