As the final step in your routine, your moisturizer’s main job is to seal in all the skin-nourishing goodness of the products that came before it. But if you’ve ever applied one to see it immediately turn into little balls and flake off your face, you know things don’t often go to plan. Not only is this extremely annoying (it’s virtually impossible to blend makeup onto Pilly Moisturizer), but it’s also a huge waste of product. So what gives? Apparently, it all depends on the formula you use and how you apply it.
According to board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, the best way to avoid pilling is to opt for a lightweight moisturizer that doesn’t contain “heavy ingredients.” For example, you want to avoid occlusives like shea butter, which is naturally thick thanks to the fact that it contains barrier-strengthening fatty acids. In general, lotion-textured moisturizers tend to be lighter than creams, so if pilling is an issue, go for one of these formulas.
Pilling can also occur if you apply too much product, adds Joshua Zeichner, MD. In most cases, less is more – you really only need a pea-sized amount of serum and a nickel-sized dollop of moisturizer to do the trick. work. Plus, if you don’t let your products dry enough before layering, they’re likely to mix and get dirty…which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
Below, shop six dermatologist-approved moisturizers that always play well with other products, and will make mixing (and layering) a breeze.
The Best Moisturizers That Layer Perfectly
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Extra-Dry Gel-Cream — $18.00
No shock here. This moisturizer has been a go-to for dermatologists and beauty lovers for years thanks to its supercharged hydrating formula that contains both glycerin and hyaluronic acid. These two powerful ingredients are essential to keep your skin supple and hydrated for hours. The cream is also great to use any time of the day and has a gel-like consistency that “sinks right into the skin,” says Dr. Jaliman.
SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Moisturizer — $120.00
What makes the moisturizing serum so unique and worth its high price is its use of five different “moisturizers”. This includes vitamin E (a vitamin that protects against radical damage), hyaluronic acid (a powerful moisturizer) and a special peptide complex that helps smooth out fine lines. Plus, its lightweight formula provides up to eight hours of hydration and “absorbs directly into the skin,” says Dr. Jaliman.
Mad Hippie Face Cream — $26.00
Looking for a simple cream to pair under your no-makeup makeup? This one from Mad Hippie does not disappoint. “It applies and absorbs very quickly into the skin,” says Dr. Jaliman. “It’s very light but hydrating. It also contains glycerin which is an excellent moisturizer. Not to mention, the cream is loaded with peptides (amino acids that help boost collagen) and niacinamide (a vitamin that helps brighten and brighten skin). Together, these ingredients help make your skin look smoother with every application.
Banila Dear Hydration Moisture Boosting Cream, daily face hydration — $25.00
Our business editor has been testing this moisturizer for two months, and it’s become her go-to, especially on days when she wears makeup and SPF (or even just SPF). This ultra-hydrating moisturizer contains extracts of rose eclipta prostrata (a plant native to Korea that is rich in antioxidants and helps calm any redness or irritation) and nelumbo nucifera flower water that acts as a barrier between your skin and harmful pollutants. The best thing about this cream is that it’s ultra-lightweight while infusing maximum hydration and it won’t overwhelm the rest of your skincare or makeup.
Simple Kind To Skin Water Boost Hydrating Gel-Cream — $6.00
Besides its affordable price, this moisturizer is a derm-fave thanks to its incredibly lightweight formula. The cream “dries with a weightless feeling on the skin” and has a “lightweight consistency that is unlikely to cause pilling,” says Dr. Zeichner. It also contains several different minerals and eucalyptus oil, which is known for its moisturizing and antioxidant properties that help fight inflammation.
RoC Multi Correxion Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Aging Daily Face Moisturizer – $27.00
If you love minimalist skincare, this moisturizer deserves a place in your beauty cabinet. Not only does it give your skin a major moisture boost, but it also provides protection from the sun’s rays. The cream contains both hyaluronic acid and SPF 30 to really boost your skin’s moisture barrier and give you all-day sun protection.
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