A good moisturiser is a skincare staple. Second only to a great cleanser, a moisturising cream is an important step in any skincare routine to ensure you're flooding your skin with hydration and vital ingredients. Plus, a good one will act as the final step in protecting your skin against environmental aggressors during the day and will help your skin cells recharge and rejuvenate overnight.
The problem with many moisturisers, however, is that they can be the most expensive element of a good skincare routine. Moisturisers often have clever active ingredients and luxe textures, so you can expect to pay a little more, but that doesn't mean you should have to.
Keep scrolling to shop 17 high-end moisturisers as well as their affordable alternatives.
Shop the Best High-End & Affordable Moisturisers:
If you love: La Mer Moisturizing Cream
La Mer's classic moisturiser is a beauty icon and always will be, but it's definitely on the pricier end of the scale. Formulated with the brand's iconic Miracle Broth, it promises to smooth and soothe skin while delivering a stellar glow.
Try: Nivea Creme
If it's a super-rich, comforting cream you're after, Nivea's original Creme is widely considered a good dupe to La Mer. No, it might not have the same luxe feeling, but it does carry similar nourishing benefits. Incredibly gentle and seriously hydrating, it's a great option for drier, mature skin types.
If you love: Origins Ginzing Oil-Free Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer
Every skincare routine craves vitamin C—the ultimate antioxidant for brightening and protecting skin from pollution. This Origins cream has a lovely light gel texture and is formulated without pore-clogging oils, making it great for oily skin types.
Try: The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser
While Origins' vitamin C moisturiser isn't as pricey as some options on this list, it does run over £25, which isn't a sustainable expense for those who use their moisturiser morning and night. To help keep costs down a little, this option from The Body Shop is equally as brilliant.
If you love: Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream
Rose is a great ingredient for sensitive or dry skin, and Sisley's beloved gel-water cream is divine. In fact, it's considered to be one of the most popular moisturisers amongst celebrity facialists and makeup artists thanks to its instantly plumping, glow-boosting finish.
Try: PIXI Rose Ceramide Cream
Sure, Sisley's cream is great, but very few have the budget to blow £178 on a moisturiser. To reap the skin-loving benefits of Black Rose, try this Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream, which is very similar in texture and scent.
If you love: Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Face Cream
If you suffer from blemishes and breakouts, you still need to moisturise. However, finding a suitable formula can be a challenge. Dr. Barbara Sturm's clarifying cream aims to control excess oil and moisturise without clogging pores. The brand is a favourite amongst celebs such as Emily Ratajkowski, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Hailey Bieber, so you know it's good.
Try: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
If you don't have the extra cash to spend, La Roche Posay's Effaclar Duo + is also an iconic lightweight lotion for acne. In fact, this stuff is so good that dermatologists often recommend it for patients prone to aggressive breakouts.
If you love: Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion
Another ingredient every skincare routine benefits from is hyaluronic acid. This lightweight cream delivers a plumping glow without any greasiness.
Try: Naturium Niacinamide Gel Cream 5%
The truth is hyaluronic acid isn't an expensive skincare ingredient, so you shouldn't have to pay an arm and a leg to get cushiony-soft, hydrated skin. See, for example, Naturium's version, which floods skin with moisture and has a similar lightweight gel texture.
If you love: Tata Harper Repairative Mositurizer
Skin that needs a little TLC would benefit from a targeted moisturiser that repairs and protects. Tata Harper's Repairative Moisturiser contains a bunch of vitamins and antioxidants to protect skin from potentially damaging aggressors.
Try: Weleda Skin Food Light
Weleda's Skin Food Light offers the same cushiony, glowing results as the above moisturiser, just without the intense (and pricey) antioxidant protection. This is the lighter version of the classic moisturiser, which is ideal for oilier skin types and is also adored by makeup artists for skin prep. Plus, it is one of Hailey Bieber's favourite moisturisers too.
If you love: Ren Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm
An ultra-soothing overnight treatment (that can also be worn all day for dry, sensitive and easily irritated skin types) packed with a blend of barrier healing oils – think olive, almond, borage and linseed – the only thing not to like is the price. And we hear you. At almost £50 for 30ml, it's not the most budget-friendly. Fortunately, we have an alternative.
Try: Naturium Marshmallow Root Balm
Build the strength and integrity of your skin barrier with this soothing cream balm, stuffed full of hydrating, calming ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, milk thistle and centella asiatica – an ingredient you might better recognise as 'cica'.
If you love: Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly
Oily skin still craves moisture but in the form of a super-lightweight texture. Opt for a gel moisturiser that will hydrate yet never feel heavy, such as Clinique's Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly.
Try: Bioderma Hydrabio Gel Cream
It might not have the same luxurious packaging or texture of the Clinique Jelly, but Bioderma Hydrabio Gel Cream is a winner for oily skin that needs some hydration.
If you love: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
Loved by the likes of Victoria Beckham for its antioxidant, skin-loving benefits, Augustinus Bader's The Rich Cream undoubtedly has been one of the most talked-about skincare products of the last few years. But £230 is a lot of cash to part with for a moisturiser.
Try: Beauty Pie Youthbomb Biologic Collagen Peptide Cream
Price shown is members' price. While nothing can ever really compare to Augustine's Bader's technology, if you love super-rich, nourishing creams that also contain antioxidants, look no further than this wonderfully affordable moisturiser.
If you love: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream
Sunday Riley's C.E.O. moisturiser is a cult favourite amongst beauty editors and skincare buffs thanks to its lightweight but powerful antioxidant abilities. It also boosts hydration and glow and isn't thought to cause irritation as seriously as many other vitamin C formulas might. If you can afford to part with the cash, this is a great moisturiser to try.
Try: No7 Radiance+ Vitamin C Daily Brightening Moisturiser
However, if you're after a more affordable non-irritating vitamin C cream, this 99% natural, 100% vegan moisturiser makes for a great substitute.
If you love: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
Makeup artists regard this as one of the best moisturisers for prepping the skin before makeup. It really makes foundation glide on flawlessly and has a whole roster of vitamins (B, C and E) and hydrating hyaluronic acid to leave skin plump and hydrated. If you have the budget to buy this regularly and want something to prepare your skin for makeup, I highly recommend investing in this moisturiser.
Try: Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream
Price shown is members' price.We've sung our praises about Beauty Pie, and this moisturiser is one of the brand's best sellers. Not only does it have a similar consistency to Bobbi Brown's Vitamin Enriched Face Base, but the list of active ingredients is also pretty similar. Plus, if you're a member, it costs just a fraction of the price.
If you love: Lisa Franklin Pro-Effect Pollution Defence Moisturising Cream
Lisa Franklin's line of expert skincare is ideal if you live in a city where pollution is high. (Smog and smoke are not conducive to happy skin.) This moisturiser not only feels great on the skin, but it helps to shield skin from environmental damage.
Try: Nip + Fab Anti-Pollution SPF 30 Moisturiser
A more purse-friendly alternative is Nip+Fab's Nourishing SPF 30 Moisturiser. While I would always recommend wearing a dedicated SPF underneath your moisturiser, it gives an extra layer of protection against UV rays and pollution, too.
If You Love: Givenchy Le Soin Noir Cream
Over the last few fashion house's makeup offerings have no doubt become a fast favourite along with them being one of the few trusted luxury brands to deliver skincare that is more than just pretty packaging - case and point this algae rich moisturiser that has found it's way into the hearts of the french skincare obsessives.
Try: Q&A Snow Algae Intensive Face Cream
If you just can't tear yourself away from the marine powered skincare pool but want a more affordable fix, then try this ultra-nourishing option from Q+A.
If You Love: FaceGym Supreme Restructure Firming EGF Collagen Boosting Cream
Although the brand is beloved for its face-toning workouts - that garner almost instant results- and skincare products that work to improve radiance and support the skin barrier. At this price point, this is uber- moisturising Facegym option, is undoubtedly more of an investment buy for those long Sunday wind-down sessions.
Try: Boots Collagen Day Cream Spf30
If you are in want of a more affordable, yet equally nourishing cream that is perfect for college-boosting face massages - try this purse-friendly option from boots and be sure to thank me later. Oh and did I mention it is formulated with SPF30.
If You Love: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Based on the secret concoction that celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury created to give models her signature glow, Magic Cream is one of the best moisturisers for prepping skin ahead of makeup application. It's every bit as effective as it is luxurious.
Try: Embrolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
Lait-Crème Concentré is another backstage beauty favourite, beloved by models and makeup artists for its ability to soothe, calm, hydrate, and prep skin. It's a French pharmacy favourite and budget beauty essential.
If You Love: Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturising Cream
Famed for its ability to soothe and strengthen sensitive skin, this rich and nourishing moisturiser draws upon the benefits of ingredients like goat milk and avocado oils to do just that. Goat milk might sound like an unusual ingredient but it's famed for its ability to calm even the most irritated of skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
Try: Beauty Bay Colloidal Oatmeal Rich Moisturiser
Oat-derived ingredients such as oat lipids and colloidal oatmeal also have impressive benefits for sensitive skin conditions. The impressive reviews for this affordable moisturiser prove just how effective it is when it comes to soothing irritation and reducing redness.
If You Love: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Water Cream
This lighter, fresher take on Charlotte Tilbury's cult Magic Cream is great for oily, combination, and breakout-prone skin types, or for using during the summer months. It has a gel-cream texture which gives skin a radiant, dewy finish.
Try: Bubble Skincare Slam Dunk Hydrating Moisturiser Creme
This affordable moisturiser is also great for skin that sits slightly on the oily or combination side of the spectrum. It's lightweight in texture but still packs a punch of moisture thanks to glycerin, aloe, avocado oil, and shea butter.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
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.
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