Dry, Sensitive Skin? These Are the 15 Moisturisers That Will Suit You Best

Sensitive skin is never fun—and when you’re battling a combination of redness, irritation, itching, and inflammation, sometimes the last thing you want to do is apply more products to your face. Once a flare up starts, the first thing you should do is strip your routine back to the basics of cleansing and moisturising. Next, try to identify the cause of the sensitivity before focusing on soothing and repairing your skin with sensitive skin-suitable products. 

Gentle cleansers, cooling mists, and calming serums with ingredients like cica and niacinamide will help to reduce sensitivity and redness, but actually, a good moisturiser can make the biggest difference. According to dermatologist Zainab Laftah, if you have sensitive skin, regular hydration is crucially important. "This will optimise the skin’s barrier function and reduce the risk of skin inflammation and sensitivity,” she explains. When you’re super sensitive, it usually means your skin’s barrier has become compromised, which means it’s much more sensitive to things like external aggressors or active ingredients. This is why moisturising is so important for sensitive skin types—by restoring and repairing your skin barrier through gently moisturising ingredients, you can help to improve your skin’s resilience.


(Image credit: @rosiehw)

It’s important to keep in mind that it has to be the right moisturiser to actually soothe and calm sensitive skin—the last thing you want to do is cause more irritation. Avoid formulas which have large amounts of fragrance, essential oils, and chemical exfoliants like glycolic or salicylic acids. "Chemical exfoliants can reduce the oil content and the outer dead skin cell layer which may affect the barrier function,” explains Laftah. "Therefore these should be avoided when the skin is inflamed.” Instead, she recommends looking out for humectants like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid which increase skin hydration by drawing moisture from the environment into skin. "To optimise the skin barrier function further, add in an occlusive, for example shea butter, to help lock in this moisture,” she adds. "My top tip is initially applying a hydrating mist before the moisturiser to help improve absorption.”

So, where to start when you’re looking for the best moisturisers for sensitive skin? Right here. Scroll down to discover our roundup of the 15 most soothing, calming face creams.

Shop the 13 Best Moisturisers for Sensitive Skin:

1. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream

2. Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream

3. Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Gel Moisturiser

4. Dr Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream

5. Dermalogica Calm Water Gel

6. Typology 9 Ingredient Face Moisturiser

7. Skin + Me Soothe + Smooth Rich Moisturiser

8. CeraVe Moisturising Cream

9. Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

10. Cultured Biomecare Calm Cream

11. Beauty Bay Colloidal Oatmeal + Oat Lipid Rich Moisturiser

12. e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream Fragrance Free

13. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

14. Skin Rocks

15. No7 Derm Solutions 100-Hour Hydration Cream

This story was previously published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Next Up: Trust Me—These Are the Best Cleansers for Sensitive Skin

Freelance Beauty Editor

Grace Day is a beauty editor and content creator. She has over 10 years of beauty-industry experience, spanning editorial, retail, and e-commerce, which gives her a unique understanding into how people shop for their beauty routines. While studying for a history degree (specialising in the history of beauty) and working as a beauty adviser in department stores, Grace started writing her own beauty blog in order to share the products she discovered while dealing with acne. After graduating, she moved to Beauty Bay as beauty editor and content manager. Grace is currently a beauty contributor to Who What Wear. She has also written for Hypebae and PopSugar and works as a brand consultant and copywriter.