The 15 Best Drugstore Moisturizers Under $20

Aside from sunscreen, moisturizer is arguably the most crucial part of any skincare routine. Whether you’re looking to banish rough patches, soothe sensitive skin, or simply to keep your hydration levels in check, the quest for the perfect formula can be frustrating, to say the least — and it can end up taking a toll on your patience and your wallet.

Although there are a lot of different moisturizers with their fair share of bells and whistles, a few characteristics should be standard. “A good moisturizer should absorb right into the skin and relieve any tightness or dryness,” New York City-based dermatologist Lokita Singh has previously told Allure. “It should be lightweight so you can’t feel it as a distinct layer on the skin.”

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Certified by the National Eczema Association, the ceramides in CeraVe Moisturizing Cream tackle dehydration, while the hyaluronic acid draws in moisture. This gentle cream, which won a 2018 Best of Beauty Award for being the best sensitive-skin moisturizer, also guarantees a huge bang for your buck because a 16-ounce jar retails for under $20.

$19 (Shop Now)

Differin Oil Control Moisturizer with Sunscreen

Think of this oil-free moisturizer as a sidekick for the Allure Best of Beauty Award-winning Differin Gel (one of the most revolutionary acne breakthroughs in years). Not only is this moisturizer noncomedogenic, but it actually absorbs excess oil. Plus, this formula contains an SPF, so it thwarts breakouts and UV rays.

$14 (Shop Now)

Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion

Cetaphil is well-loved in the skin-care community for its super-gentle formulas that are safe enough for even the most sensitive skin — and the brand’s lightweight hydrator is no exception. It’s spiked with moisture-locking hyaluronic acid and glycerin, so itchy, irritated skin doesn’t stand a chance.

$16 (Shop Now)

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV

I’ve already raved about the magic behind this Best of Beauty Award-winning hydrator and how it effectively moisturizes deep into the microbiome, which is the top layer of the skin’s physical barrier. But I also have to give it props for its UV protection, which is a broad-spectrum SPF 30.

$20 (Shop Now)

Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream

New York City dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali recommends Neutrogena’s Bright Boost Gel Cream because of its exfoliating poly-hydroxy acids and mandelic acid, an ingredient that brings down redness and corrects pigmentation issues.

$20 (Shop Now)

Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer

Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer has earned an impressive five Best of Beauty Awards — and with good reason. It mixes together free-radical-fighting antioxidants, SPF, and soy (which dermatologists say can brighten areas of hyperpigmentation) in a lightweight lotion.

$14 (Shop Now)

Bliss What a Melon Water Jelly Hydrator

Housed in Bliss What a Melon Water Jelly Hydrator’s bright pink jar is a jelly of the same hue that feels like water as you massage it into your cheeks. The end result: skin that feels bouncy and hydrated.

$20 (Shop Now)

E.L.F. Cannabis Sativa Happy Hydration Cream

The star ingredients in E.L.F.’s rich cream are hemp oil, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and vitamins that work to diminish the appearance of fine lines. The brand also added moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid, brightening and smoothing niacinamide, and nourishing vitamin B5 for a powerhouse blend that improves your skin’s overall appearance.

$12 (Shop Now)

Alba Botanica Hydration Sensation Gel Cream

Relieve parched skin with this lightweight cooling gel. Alba Botanica Hydration Sensation Gel Cream contains three types of hyaluronic acid, skin-coddling oils, and soothing blue lotus flower.

$15 (Shop Now)

Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Overnight Face Cream

Dove’s DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Overnight Face Cream, which contains nourishing shea butter and glycerin, will pamper and soothe your dry skin as you sleep.

$15 (Shop Now)

Sweet Chef Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost

Quell dryness and and soothe distressed skin with this thick cream. Sweet Chef Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost blends together hyaluronic acid and kale, a “superfood,” which touts major moisturizing properties.

$19 (Shop Now)

Physicians Formula Rosé All Day Moisturizer SPF 30

Aside from moisturizing, this lightweight, oil-free lotion contains vitamin C to brighten skin and an SPF of 30 to prevent sun damage. Wear it alone or comfortably under makeup to enhance your glow.

$17 (Shop Now)

L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care

If you’re not a fan of heavy, creamy textures, you’ll love L’Oréal Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care. This liquid moisturizer, which contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and calming aloe water, soothes dry patches and leaves skin feeling soft and silky without a sticky finish.

$18 (Shop Now)

Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream

Honest Beauty’s thick, non-greasy cream sweeps on to feel cool and massages into skin to leave it bouncy and noticeably moisturized. Skin is petal-soft with zero stickiness.

$20 (Shop Now)

Clean & Clear Watermelon Gel Moisturizer

It may be baby-pink and smell sweet like Jolly Ranchers, but Clean & Clear Watermelon Gel Moisturizer is as hardworking as it is delightful. It contains sodium hyaluronate to leave skin hydrated and feeling refreshed as you apply it. The best part: It costs only $6.

$6 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

6 Things You Need To Know About Celebrity Makeup Artist Nikki Wolff’s Skincare Routine

Follow this beauty on Instagram @Nikki_Makeup

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #43 series on my blog.

What do you love the most about your skin? 

“I’m very grateful for my skin texture. I find that it’s smooth and I don’t get many bumps under the skin or enlarged pores.”

What one skin issue do you wish you could fix? 

“I was silly as a young girl and spent far too much time in the sun without wearing enough protection, so I’m now paying the price, later in life, with pigmentation. Pigmentation is often impacted by genetic and hormonal factors, but taking care of your skin from an early age is definitely preventative – and we all know prevention is better than cure! I recently had a baby, and developed quite a bit of melasma. I’ve been treating it since his birth with a high concentration vitamin C serum, but I guess it’s a small price to pay for my little bubba.”

What’s your favourite skin product, and why?

“Masks for me are more of a skincare essential than a skincare treat. I use different ones to achieve different results depending on my skincare requirements at the time, so I jump between hydrating, brightening, plumping, exfoliating or quick and easy sheet masks, depending on how much time I have and the desired effect. My favourite mask for plump, firm skin is the RéVive Masque de Volume; for brightening, I love the Rodial Vitamin C Energising Sheet Mask; for exfoliation, my favourite is the Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Facial; and for deep overnight hydration, it’s the Orveda Glow Activator.

What was your first skincare purchase? 

“Back when micellar water wasn’t the popular make-up remover it is now, I used to pick up Bioderma Micellar Water from pharmacies in Paris whenever I travelled there for work in the early days of my career. I used to use it on myself and keep it in my make-up kit as my go-to cleanser, and I still do today, although now it’s a lot easier to get hold of!”

What’s the one product you wouldn’t be without? 

“My Sensai Cellular Performance Total Lip Treatment without a doubt. I use it every single bedtime, religiously, and when I wake up I can still feel it getting to work on nourishing my lips for the day ahead.”

Take us through your Sunday skincare routine:

“My busy lifestyle – especially with my new baby boy – doesn’t always afford me much time for self care, so when Sunday arrives, I do try to give my skin the attention it deserves. Whenever I can find a little extra time, whether it be on a Sunday or a stolen 20 minutes when my baby naps, I take a moment out to give myself a facial massage. I love the Chantecaille Advanced Bio Lifting+ Massage Tool, as I feel it really grips the contours of my face and is easy to use. It also feels great to massage out any areas of tension, especially my jaw, which is where I hold tension most. I’ll always take the tool down my neck afterwards just to ensure I’m helping to aid lymphatic drainage and get rid of all those toxins!”

“If I’m not using any tools, then when I apply my moisturiser I’ll take a moment to massage and gently pinch the skin, which helps to improve blood flow and give a brightening and plumping effect. I’m always pleasantly surprised at the immediate difference this extra bit of TLC makes to the texture and tone of my skin. Another tool that I swear by is the Face Sculpting Beauty Tool from Aliso Organic Beauty, which uses sonic vibration technology to simulate a facial massage to give you the same effect with minimal effort – it’s quite a beautiful tool in its simplicity.”

“As it’s been a long while since I’ve been able to have a salon facial, every few weeks I use the Meso Melt Infusion System from Sarah Chapman, which is a skin-rejuvenating microneedling tool. It helps to infuse all the beautiful ingredients from my favourite serums into my skin. It’s as close as you’ll get to a professional microneedling facial at home, and endlessly personalisable!”

VOGUE article