Are you looking for the perfect moisturizer that’s safe for your skin type? Here’s our guide to the best hydrating moisturizers for sensitive skin.

Our Recommendations

1. Tolérance Extrême Emulsion

Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion

Avène Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization

Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion

This gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer contains six simple but effective ingredients that soothe and moisturize the skin without leaving behind a greasy feeling.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing and applying any serums or treatments, apply the moisturizer to the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with sunscreen during the day.
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This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is perfect for combination, oily, and sensitive skin types. Two key ingredients are the Avène thermal spring water, which soothes and softens the skin, and squalane, which hydrates and acts as an antioxidant.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Dye-free

Cons

  • May not be moisturizing enough for drier skin types

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this gentle moisturizer contains glycerin and capric triglyceride, which both further help hydrate the skin.

Avène Thermal Spring Water, Squalane, Behenyl Alcohol, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Sodium Acrylates C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Water

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Moisturizers: The Slippery Road"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

2. Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid

La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid

This product is a moisturizer and mineral sunscreen in one, and is great for daily use. SPF 30 protects the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, and hyaluronic acid works to hydrate.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: In the morning, after applying your moisturizer, apply the sunscreen to your face, neck, and chest. Reapply at least every 2 hours. Since this is a moisturizer as well, it may be used without a moisturizer (although drier skin types may prefer to use an additional moisturizer).
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This sunscreen is formulated with hyaluronic acid, which helps maintain moisture levels in the skin. It also contains glycerin and vitamin B5 (panthenol), which further moisturize and soothe the skin. This sunscreen uses 100% mineral filters (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), which are generally better tolerated by sensitive skin.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist tested

Cons

  • Not water resistant (use a water resistant sunscreen when swimming or sweating)
  • May leave a white cast on some skin tones

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this sunscreen contains senna alata, a tropical leaf extract. This ingredient provides antioxidant protection, defending against free radicals that can accelerate the development of signs of aging.

Titanium Dioxide (5.5%), Zinc Oxide (10%), Water, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Peg-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triethylhexanoin, Silica, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Panthenol, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Stearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Chlorphenesin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Alumina, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Tocopherol, P-Anisic Acid, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Carbonate, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Maltodextrin.

3. Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Nightly Moisturization

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer

This gel-cream moisturizer is one of the best La Roche-Posay products for sensitive, dry skin. It contains intensely moisturizing ingredients, and has been formulated without potentially irritating ingredients.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Nightly Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing and applying serums and treatments, apply to the face, neck, and chest.
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This night moisturizer is packed with ingredients that help restore the skin’s moisture barrier. The shea butter is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant effects, and is intensely moisturizing. Glycerin, squalane, and vitamin E also help moisturize and soothe the skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the packaging

This moisturizer has been tested on allergy-prone skin, and is free of any ingredients that may potentially cause irritation, including fragrance and drying alcohols.

Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Squalane, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Pentylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 20, Tocopherol, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Allantoin, Toluene Sulfonic Acid, Dimethiconol, Xanthan Gum, Carnosine, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.

4. Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer

Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer

This creamy moisturizer provides the deep hydration that drier skin types need. It also contains replenishing ingredients that fight the signs of aging and improve the skin’s texture.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing and applying serums and treatments, apply the moisturizer over your face, neck, and chest.
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This product is one of the all time best Paula’s Choice moisturizers. It contains a beneficial blend of emollients, peptides, antioxidants, and other replenishing and moisturizing ingredients that deeply hydrate the skin to soften and smooth. It is also suitable for sensitive skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Soothing

Cons

  • No SPF for daytime use

One of the main ingredients in this moisturizer is hyaluronic acid, which attracts and maintains moisture to the skin. It also contains moisturizing evening primrose oil, a non-fragrant plant oil containing antioxidants that protect the skin.

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate (Emollient), Butylene Glycol (Hydration/Slip Agent), Glycereth-26 (Hydration), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil (Non-fragrant Antioxidant Plant Oil), Cetyl Alcohol (Texture Enhancer/Hydration), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (Emollient), Cyclopentasiloxane (Texture Enhancer), Stearic Acid (Texture Enhancer/Hydration), Glyceryl Stearate (Texture Enhancer/Emollient), PEG-100 Stearate (Thickener), Glycerin (Skin-Replenishing), Cyclohexasiloxane (Texture Enhancer), Dimethicone (Hydration/Texture Enhancer), Panthenol (Vitamin B5/Skin-Soothing), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (Skin-Restoring), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (Skin-Restoring), Sodium Hyaluronate (Skin-Replenishing), Tocopheryl Linoleate (Vitamin E/Antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E/Antioxidant), Tocopherol (Vitamin E/Antioxidant), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C/Antioxidant), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C/Antioxidant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice-Derived Skin-Soothing), Sodium PCA (Skin-Replenishing), Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract (Roman Chamomile/Skin-Soothing Antioxidant), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Hydration), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C/Antioxidant), Linoleic Acid (Skin-Replenishing/Skin-Restoring), Linolenic Acid (Skin-Replenishing/Skin-Restoring), Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate (Antioxidant), Saccharide Isomerate (Hydration), Hydroxypropyl Guar (Film-Forming Agent), Allantoin (Skin-Soothing), Rosa Moschata Seed Oil (Non-fragrant Antioxidant Plant Oil), Polysorbate 20 (Emulsifier), Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose (Texture Enhancer/Stabilizer), Carbomer (Texture Enhancer), Sodium Citrate (pH Adjuster/Chelating Agent), Trisodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Batyl Alcohol (Stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Chlorphenesin (Preservative), Benzoic Acid (Preservative), Sorbic Acid (Preservative)

5. Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

This creamy moisturizer contains mineral-based SPF to protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It also contains hydrating and replenishing ingredients to soften dry skin.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization
Tested on animals: No
How to use: In the morning, after cleansing and applying any treatments, apply the moisturizer all over the face, neck, and chest.
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This SPF moisturizer uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two mineral sunscreens that are suitable for sensitive skin. It also contains a blend of antioxidants, ceramides, and peptides that help to soften, protect, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle

Cons

  • Some reviewers note it feels greasy on the skin
  • Not water-resistant

The ceramides in this moisturizer help to restore the moisture barrier and strengthen the skin, while the peptides help provide anti-aging benefits.

Titanium Dioxide 3.85%, Zinc Oxide 3.12% (mineral sunscreens), Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient/texture-enhancing), Isononyl Isononanoate (texture-enhancing), Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil (apricot oil/non-fragrant oil/emollient), Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration/texture-enhancing), Glyceryl Stearate (emollient/texture-enhancing), PEG-100 Stearate (emollient/texture-enhancing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Pentylene Glycol (hydration), Cetearyl Alcohol (emollient/texture-enhancing), Dimethicone (hydration), Glycine Soja Sterols (emollient), VP/Eicosene Copolymer (texture-enhancing), Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (oat extract/skin-soothing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Allantoin (skin-soothing) , Tocopheryl Acetate (antioxidant), Hydrogenated Lecithin (skin-restoring), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Ubiquinone (antioxidant), Ceramide NG (hydration/skin replenishing), Methicone (hydration), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (skin-restoring), PEG-10 Dimethicone (texture-enhancing), Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract (cucumber extract/skin-soothing), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient/texture-enhancing), Tribehenin (skin-restoring), PEG-10 Phytosterol (texture-enhancing), Sorbitan Stearate (texture-enhancing), Polyhydroxystearic Acid (texture-enhancing), Alumina (texture-enhancing), Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancing), Aluminum Stearate (texture-enhancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Chlorphenesin (preservative).

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. "Is Sunscreen Safe?"

    Accessed Aug. 4, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systems"

    Accessed Aug. 4, 2021.

FAQs

What is the best hydrating moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin?

Two excellent options for dry and sensitive skin types are the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer and the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer.

What is the best hydrating drugstore moisturizer?

If you’re looking for a drugstore moisturizer, try the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer, which is specifically formulated for sensitive, normal, and dry skin types. During the day, consider using the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid for sun protection.

What moisturizer is best for oily, sensitive skin?

If you have oily skin that is sensitive, a great option is the Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion. This super gentle daily moisturizer is lightweight and oil-free, and free of common irritants that may aggravate sensitive skin. 

The Bottom Line

There are a variety of super hydrating moisturizers on the market that are safe for sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, consider adding one of these moisturizers to your skincare routine.