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14 best men’s moisturisers that soften skin and lock in hydration

From daily SPF to oily skin saviours, there’s a formula to keep skin soft and looking bright

<p>We applied these morning and night to see how they felt on the skin immediately and after a few hours of wear</p>

We applied these morning and night to see how they felt on the skin immediately and after a few hours of wear

Of all the products a man can have in his grooming armoury, a decent moisturiser is probably the most important. With skin relying on moisture to feel comfortable and function correctly, and with everything from central heating to alcohol and harsh detergents conspiring to dry it out, it’s the bedrock of any good skincare regime.

Not only will a moisturiser prevent skin feeling dry, tight and itchy, it’ll also act as an insurance policy against premature ageing by ensuring its protective lipid barrier is maintained. And, choose one with a built-in sunscreen and you’ll also be guarding against sun damage and photo-ageing. Even skin that’s on the greasy side can benefit from a moisturiser as long as it’s one suited to oily skin.

To get the most of your moisturiser, apply first thing in the morning after cleansing and again last thing at night (it’s while we are sleeping that skin loses most of its moisture) and apply when skin is still slightly damp to help lock it in.

If you suffer from particularly dry skin, Consultant Dermatologist Mary Sommerlad at leading skincare clinic Sk:n suggests gently exfoliating before applying. “No matter how many creams are applied, dry skin will stay dry without some light exfoliation,” she says, recommending a wet washcloth to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. “Once the skin is perfectly buffed, the moisturiser will penetrate and really get to work,” she says.

She also recommends switching moisturiser depending on the season or how dry skin feels and checking labels for hero ingredients that help with hydration. “Look out, especially, for moisturisers that contain hyaluronic acid, as this ingredient helps to prevent skin from drying out,” she adds.

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With a recent survey conducted by Clarins showing that dry skin is men’s biggest skincare concern and a quarter of them are worried about fine lines and wrinkles, a man’s best friend may well be his moisturiser. Here’s our pick of the most impressive – from the best moisturiser for dry skin to the perfect cream for guys over 40.

How we tested

The basic challenge here was “do these products make skin feel soft, supple and hydrated?” To test that we applied morning and night and based our judgement on everything from how skin felt immediately after application (and several hours later) to consistency, smell and – as ever – price and value for money.

The best men’s moisturisers for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Bulldog original moisturiser: £3, Sainsburys.co.uk
  • Best for dry, itchy skin – CeraVe moisturising cream: £10.40, Justmylook.com
  • Best for travel – ShakeUp cosmetics hydrate in a hurry: £15, Shakeupcosmetics.com
  • Best multi-tasker – Lab Series instant fix BB tinted moisturiser SPF35: £38.95, Fragrancedirect.co.uk
  • Best designer fragrance moisturiser – Dior Sauvage moisturiser for face and beard: £46, Boots.com
  • Best budget anti-ageing moisturiser – Nivea men anti-age hyaluron face moisturising cream SPF15: £6.48, Superdrug.com
  • Best for men over 40 – Dr Dennis Gross ferulic + retinol anti-aging moisturiser: £72, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best luxury moisturiser – La Mer crème de la mer moisturising cream: £217.45, Allbeauty.com
  • Best for prolonged hydration – Dermalogica skin smoothing cream: £39, Dermalogica.co.uk
  • Best daily SPF moisturiser – LifeJacket daily protection SPF30 moisturiser: £15, Lifejacketskinprotection.com
  • Best for oily skin – Heath Oil control moisturiser: £15, Boots.com
  • Best gradual tan moisturiser – Renforth & Goddard man polish subtle tinted everyday gradual tanning face moisturiser for men: £15.95, Superdrug.com
  • Best natural moisturiser – Weleda moisture cream for men: £12.45, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best multi-buy moisturiser – Harry’s daily face lotion: £6, Harrys.com

Bulldog original moisturiser

Best: Overall

Rating: 9.5/10

Quickly absorbed, non-greasy and featuring skin-saving antioxidants and soothing aloe vera, this everyday skin hydrator impressed us with both its performance and price. There’s an honest, back-to-basics, no-fuss functionality about it that we really loved, while the scent was subtle and the texture Goldilocks perfect, being neither too thick, nor too runny. Best of all, it’s widely available in supermarkets so you can just throw one in your basket while shopping.

CeraVe moisturising cream

Best: For dry, itchy skin

Rating: 9/10

An all-purpose moisturising cream (it can be used on the body as well as the face) this affordable skincare staple is specially formulated to help protect the skin’s natural barrier with three essential ceramides – natural lipids found in the skin – that support barrier function, and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture.

Fragrance-free and ideal for dry, eczema-prone skin, it feels instantly soothing, and is superb value for money so you don’t need to skimp on applying. It’s no wonder this no-nonsense brand is loved by skincare experts, influencers and journalists alike.

ShakeUp cosmetics hydrate in a hurry

Best: For travel

Rating: 8/10

Okay, so how’s this for a cool idea: a moisturiser aimed at men that comes in a solid stick form so there’s no mess, no chance of leaking and no need to even use your fingertips to apply?

One of the more interesting moisturisers we tried (and one of the most fun to use), you simply sweep the hyaluronic acid-infused stick over your face and are good to go. It performed well, felt refreshing as well as hydrating – that’ll be the cucumber extract. And we loved the compact size making it perfect for travel, festivals, office draws and gym bags, it’s a great way to hydrate on the go.

Lab Series instant fix BB tinted moisturiser SPF35

Best: Multi-tasker

Rating: 8/10

Much more than a moisturiser, this clever multi-tasker doesn’t just hydrate skin, it instantly enhances its appearance thanks to an oil-busting formula, a hint of tint that matches most skin tones and special blurring technology which evens out skin tone, minimises imperfections and reduces redness. On top of that it packs an SPF35 sunscreen too. True, it’s not the cheapest moisturiser we tested and it does have a very slight sunscreen-y smell, but few others did quite as much. Think of it as the Swiss army knife for skin.

Dior Sauvage moisturiser for face and beard

Best: Designer fragrance

Rating: 8.5/10

Infused with the best-selling Sauvage fragrance – though not overpoweringly so – this lightweight designer moisturiser is the latest addition to the ever-expanding Sauvage ancillary range. Formulated with 96 per cent natural-origin ingredients, it’s been designed to work equally as well on beards, stubble and freshly shaved skin, saving you the expense of a fragranced beard oil.

The heavyweight, 40 per cent recycled glass bottle with its cool logo’d cap scream luxury and if you’re a fan of Sauvage it’s a great way to layer the fragrance to add extra impact.

Nivea men anti-age hyaluron face moisturising cream SPF15

Best: Budget anti-ageing moisturiser

Rating: 9.5/10

Topping our best anti-ageing creams for men list, this cover-all-bases moisturiser from Nivea offers an affordable option for men wanting to hold back the years. The hero of the brand’s men’s anti-age range, it’s formulated with the highest-level hyaluronic acid in its men’s hyaluron range and is formulated to firm skin and reduce fine lines, while the addition of a sunscreen helps minimise future sun-induced skin ageing.

A lightweight cream, it’s suitable for pretty much all skin types, leaves a matt finish when applied and is great value for anyone looking for an anti-ageing moisturiser at an affordable price.

Dr Dennis Gross ferulic + retinol anti-ageing moisturiser

Best: For men over 40

Rating: 9/10

We absolutely loved this premium anti-ageing moisturiser from Dermatologist, Dr Dennis Gross. Featuring a raft of anti-ageing ingredients it takes a 360-degree approach to minimising the ageing process. Its ingredients aim to strengthen skin, calm irritation and counteract the effects of pollution (the antioxidant ferulic acid); smooth wrinkles and boost collagen (retinol); and tackle hyperpigmentation and age spots (gallic acid), making it especially good for more mature skin. Silky and light as a feather, it sinks into skin almost immediately, has a pleasant orangey smell and was one of our favourite moisturisers to wear.

La Mer crème de la mer moisturising cream

Best: Luxury moisturiser

Rating: 9/10

A legendary cream with a backstory worthy of a Marvel superhero – this was invented by an eccentric aerospace physicist Max Huber to treat burns he received during a laboratory experiment and features a mysterious “miracle broth” extracted from kelp. La Mer is pretty much the last word in luxury skincare.

The thickest, richest and most highly scented of all the creams we tried (it has a distinctive floral aroma), it’s perfect for drier skins and it instantly calmed irritation. However, due to its thick texture we preferred using it last thing at night rather than in the daytime – a lighter moisturising matte lotion (£220, Spacenk.com) is available if you find this too rich for your skin. Value for money is always subjective but if you’re a luxury lover you’ll love La Mer.

Dermalogica skin smoothing cream

Best: For prolonged hydration

Rating: 9/10

It may not be the cheapest of moisturisers, but Dermalogica’s skin smoothing cream was definitely one of the best we tried. A best-selling hydrator, it’s formulated with a raft of antioxidants to combat skin stressors like pollution, moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid and “active HydraMesh technology”, which helps deliver 48hr hydration. An incredibly lightweight cream, it leaves the skin feeling incredibly soft and definitely lived up to its promise of continuous hydration.

LifeJacket daily protection SPF30 moisturiser

Best: Daily SPF moisturiser

Rating: 9/10

If you’re looking for a daily moisturiser that ticks pretty much all boxes in terms of sun protection, this one, from British grooming brand LifeJacket, is your man. Lightweight, non-greasy and fragrance-free, it packs a reef-friendly broad-spectrum SPF30 sunscreen, is cruelty-free, water-resistant and is suitable for sensitive skins too.

Just when you thought there were no more boxes to tick, it also happens to be excellent value for money, coming in a generously-sized 100ml tube. What’s more, the company is committed to tackling the rising number of skin cancer cases in men, so each purchase from its website comes with free seven-day access to the mole-checking app, SkinVision.

Heath Oil control moisturiser

Best: For oily skin

Rating: 8.5/10

If your skin tends to be on the oily side (or you just end up with a shiny schnoz at the end of the day) an oil-control moisturiser is an essential. This one, vegan-friendly and made of 95 per cent natural ingredients, has a fantastic texture and left our skin with a perfectly matte finish.

As well as containing tapioca starch to mop up oil, it also contains lemon myrtle to reduce oil production and salicylic acid to help keep pores clear, minimising the chance of zits. It hydrated really well, the fragrance is subtle and it kept skin shine-free for hours.

Renforth & Goddard Man Polish subtle tinted everyday gradual tanning face moisturiser for men

Best: Gradual tan moisturiser

Rating: 8/10

Made in Manchester, this moisturiser includes a tanning agent that develops gradually throughout the day and lasts for around 48 hours. There are three products in the range – a regular moisturiser without a gradual tan, one offering a subtle tint and a “strong tinted” version for those wanting a full Love Island look.

A great moisturiser if you want to give skin a healthy-looking hint of tan, it washes off with a face scrub so gives you total control over how long it lasts.  We loved the fact that we could control the depth of colour and its also packed with skin-friendly ingredients like aloe vera, ginseng, jojoba oil and antioxidant vitamins, and that it’s vegan-friendly too.

Great for the winter or for special occasions like weddings when you want skin to look its absolute best.

Weleda moisture cream for men

Best: Natural moisturiser

Rating: 8/10

Certified natural skincare brand Weleda is a company renowned for its commitment to sustainability and biodiversity, and its use of organic ingredients, so it’s a go-to for those into natural skincare. As well as featuring nourishing organic sesame seed and jojoba oils, this after shave, balm-like moisturiser is also formulated with marshmallow extract to soothe and calm skin, meaning it can also be used straight after shaving as a moisturising after shave balm.

Though perfect for most skin types, it’s fairly light in texture, so those with drier skin might want to opt for something a little heavier.

Harry’s daily face lotion

Best: Multi-buy moisturiser

Rating: 8/10

At just £6 a pop, Harry’s daily face lotion is already excellent value – especially given that it packs SPF15 sun protection – but the company’s online multi-buy option makes it even better value if you’re thinking of stocking up, with the price dropping to £5.50 if you opt to buy three bottles. A lightweight lotion, it’s quickly absorbed and, thanks to the addition of a subtle mint fragrance, was one of the most refreshing moisturisers we tried.

The verdict: Moisturisers for men

As a no nonsense, affordable daily basic we really couldn’t fault Bulldog’s original moisturiser, which is just as good for skincare aficionados as it is for total newbies. Only the lack of a sunscreen lets it down (if sunscreen is a must, Harry’s daily face lotion and LifeJacket’s daily protection moisturiser are great).

If you’ve a bit more money to play with, or ageing is a concern, though, we’d definitely recommend Dr Dennis Gross ferulic and retinol anti-ageing moisturiser, which we especially loved for its light texture and swift absorption.

The bottom line, though, is that it’s not what you use so much as the fact that you use something to keep skin hydrated. Use any of the moisturisers on our list and we reckon your skin will thank you for it.

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Keep your tash in check with the best beard oils from Tom Ford to Bulldog

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