Ah, the humble moisturiser. Never has a category been so much a part of our lives and so overlooked at the same time. While we dabble in new serums, exfoliators and masks, the elder statesman of the lot – the moisturiser – is often untouched, a tub of Nivea (or something similar) that has been passed down from father to son.
Not that that is a bad thing; moisturisers, after all, are simply meant to create a seal on the skin, preventing water loss and allowing the skin’s barrier to repair overnight. A water and oil emulsification, moisturisers are not known to contain actives, often consisting of mineral oils, waxes and oil occlusive ingredients to trap all the good ingredients from the products you've applied before your moisturiser.
With all the advancements in skincare science and the grooming-hungry men out there (guilty), moisturisers have had a renaissance of late. No longer satisfied with old school formulations, men have been demanding more from their creams, emulsions and lotions – particularly because so many of us opt for a simple one-step skincare routine that only includes a moisturiser.
Now we can find creams that are packed with goodness; ceramides, peptides, vitamins, minerals – even acids – for a product that acts more as a treatment than anything else. We have waded through the murky waters of this category and fished out the innovative, the easy-to-use and the efficacious.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
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Teoxane deep repair balm, 30ml
Don’t let the name fool you; Teoxane’s most potent skin treatment is a silky moisturiser packed with healing actives. Formulated for post-treatment skincare, when the face is inflamed and reactive, the product is designed to soothe the barrier and saturate the skin in hydration (specifically via its patented RHA – resilient hyaluronic acid). For any city dweller, sensitive sort or sun seeker, this moisturiser is the answer to a calm complexion.
Buy now £34.00, Teoxane
Saunders & Long facial moisturiser, 15ml
Founded by duo Nick Saunders and Jonny Long in collaboration with the former co-president of Kiehl’s, we love this brand not just for its sleek packaging but smart skincare formulas too. Squalene-based, this moisturiser is a healthy mix of vitamins A, C, E and B3 to nourish the skin without irritation; no surprise, considering the chemist used to work for grooming heavyweight Kielh’s. Get in before the brand, still in its infancy, becomes a classic, so you can brag to your friends you were there first.
Buy now £22.00, Saunders & Long
Sisley velvet nourishing cream, 50ml
Aptly named, this ultra-luxe cream leaves your skin feeling like velvet thanks to a heady mix of botanicals, shea butter and omega-rich oils. It rejuvenates the lipids (essentially natural fats) in the skin, which help maintain a protective barrier against environmental aggressors while keeping moisturise levels up. It is almost mask-like in its thickness, but don’t let that frighten you; the product absorbs beautifully and immediately softens the complexion. If dry skin is your situation, this is your solution.
Buy now £143.00, Space NK
Augustinus Bader the cream, 50ml
Yes, it's eye-wateringly expensive, but this is arguably the most celebrated product of the year and offers real results. Augustinus Bader’s “the cream” has gone from becoming an insider’s secret to an industry saviour, slathered on the faces of celebrities, influencers and editors alike. Inspired by professor Bader’s years of research on healing solutions for burns victims, the cream triggers the skin’s natural renewal and repair systems. Reawakening dormant stem cells, it essentially boosts your skin into healing mode. The result? Brighter, fuller and generally better skin with reduced fine lines and hyperpigmentation. If you’ve got some stubborn issues, trust the science behind this cream to do its job.
Buy now £205.00, Augustinus Bader
The Inkey List ceramide night treatment, 30ml
A night time moisturiser that caters to dehydrated and dull skin, this treatment contains a three per cent blend of ceramides, which are essentially lipids (aka natural fats) found in high concentrations on the skin. As they make up 50 per cent of the skin’s composition, they play a vital role in your complexion's health and appearance. It’s basically a protein shake for your face, infused with biological building blocks that strengthen and shape up your skin. Permanently look hungover? This is the cure.
Buy now £14.99, Cult Beauty
La Mer the moisturising matte lotion, 50ml
Hello, our oily friends, to whom moisturisers are synonymous with a greasy, shiny appearance that do nothing more than clog pores. Men can often struggle with more sebum (i.e. unhealthy, natural oils on the skin) so a countering cream is always key. Fear not, for La Mer’s offering leaves one looking just that; matte. The lightweight formula absorbs like a dream and is infused with the brands signature miracle broth, a calming blend of algae that can soothe acne, alleviate redness and diminish oil production.
Buy now £195.00, La Mer
Allies of Skin peptides & antioxidants firming daily treatment, 50ml
It’s rare to find a moisturiser, which are typically low in potent ingredients, so jam-packed with skin-changing actives. Allies of Skin’s latest treatment is more a serum-in-cream, which is perfect if you want to combine a few skincare steps but crave the same results. A 16.5 per cent repair complex (essentially a mix of peptides and amino acids) works to rebuild epidermal integrity while a slew of antioxidants brighten the skin’s surface. A fresh-faced, glowing complexion in one simple step.
Buy now £112.00, Space NK
Malin & Goetz advanced renewal moisturiser
This brand is usually bang on with its skincare line and this moisturiser is no exception. A clever complex of natural extracts and synthetic actives, the cream is a good all-rounder for someone who doesn’t know where to start. The gentle, lightweight formula is free from all the nasty stuff, creating a nice seal on the skin without any residue. If you are bearded and struggle with a heavy cream getting stuck in your stubble, give this a pump.
Buy now £65.00, Malin & Goetz
Tata Harper creme riche, 50ml
If you are just as interested in sustainability as you are science, you will love Tata Harper, who grows her eponymous brand from a farm in Canada. The cream is rich and heavy, full of fatty acids and nourishing botanicals that leave the skin feeling soft, supple and super hydrated. There are a few very gentle actives that help smooth the complexion, so if tackling texture is on the agenda this is a good option.
Buy now £170.00, Cult Beauty
Weleda moisture cream for men, 30ml
A quick, easy to use classic that has done its job – and done it well – for decades, this cream is a soothing mix of waxes and oils to address a disrupted skin barrier. If your skin is red, itchy, sensitive or even reactive, chances are your barrier isn’t too well intact. There is a reason the women's version (equally as good) is called “skin food”; it literally drowns the skin in nutrient-rich extracts. The men’s version, with more or less the same ingredients, is also targeted to the bearded man, meant to soothe inflammation that a frequent shaver might experience.
Buy now £17.95, Weleda
Orveda rich brew botanical, 50ml
To call this cream opulent would be an understatement at this price, but it’s texture is deliciously rich, the active levels are insanely high for this category and the natural scent will make you want to slather it on pulse points. You start to realise why Orveda’s rich brew botanical can justify its price – it’s superior in every category. A combination of ten actives at 17 per cent that include prebiotics and bio-fermented tea, the cream is really more of a treatment than a finishing step. A real must-have if the bank doesn’t break.
Buy now £350.00, Orveda
Jordan Samuel the performance cream, 60ml
Jordan Samuel’s products have been a grooming editor secret for many years, with a hydrate serum and retinol oil that will change your life (and skin). Until recently, the brand has only been available stateside, so we all threw our hands up with joy when Cult Beauty brought the JS range over. A star of the collection, the “performance cream” is a mix of youth-enhancing peptides, nourishing botanicals and calming actives. It was inspired by the founder’s time as a ballet dancer, so it might be a great post-workout or gym back addition.
Buy now £34.00, Cult Beauty
Drunk Elephant protini polypeptide cream, 50ml
Another easy all-rounder, Drunk Elephant’s protini polypeptide cream is packed full of – you guessed it – nine signal peptides to support the skin’s natural collagen. If its dull, dehydrated and ageing skin that annoys you, D.E’s well-formulated cream – neither light nor heavy – is a solid start for great skin. In accordance to the brands guidelines, it is free of fragrance, silicones and essential oils and blends natural extracts with hardcore synethics, making it a holistic way to ad
Buy now £57.00, Space NK
Pietro Simone bio-recovery, 80ml
Drawing upon his rich Italian heritage and all the wonderful natural ingredients found in the region – tomato, apple, grapeseed, almond and edelweiss – super-facialist Pietro Simone has formulated a divinely rich cream to act as an antidote to skin stress. Think that’s impressive? The cream has a slow-release complex, meaning it continues to feed the epidermis with fortifying nutrients for many hours after application. It’s strong skin made smart.
Buy now £195.00, Pietro Simone
La Roche-Posay effaclar duo (+), 40ml
You wouldn’t typically lean on moisturiser to clear up any spots or blemishes, but this one does just that. A blend of lipo hydroxy acid, niacinamide and salicylic acid work to unclog and dissolve dirt while procerad deals with pesky post-inflammatory pigment very well. If you are suffering from a few spots and hyperpigmentation, this cream will ease everything up and even tone. It’s hypo-allergenic too, so don’t worry about any nasty reactions you can sometimes get from more “natural” creams.
Buy now £17.00, La Roche-Posay
The verdict: Men’s moisturisers
For something light, hydrating and reparative, Teoxane’s deep repair balm is immediately soaked up by the skin, but that doesn’t mean the firming qualities of Allies of Skin, soothing abilities of Weleda, mattifying complex of La Mer are to be missed. Slather up, boys.