The best face cream for sensitive skin

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Neutrogena

  • Sensitive complexions benefit from simple moisturizers with nourishing textures and few bells and whistles.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is a gift for easily irritated skin, packed with calming ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and shea butter.

After washing my face, moisturizing is my favorite skin-care routine step. In addition to delivering hydration, applying face cream is just plain fun. Plus, I have sensitive skin with rosacea on my cheeks, and my face is usually parched by the time I'm finished scrubbing all my makeup off at the end of the night. Moisturizer is essential.

But not all creams are created equal, especially where reactive skin is concerned. You want richly hydrating formulas made without potential irritants like added fragrance, alcohol, or parabens. I look for ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and shea butter combined with skin-soothers like colloidal oatmeal, nourishing oils, or ceramides.

As far as texture goes, I gravitate toward water gel moisturizers in the summer and thicker consistencies in the winter. Really, it's all about personal choice. But the five picks on this list are some of the most highly recommended picks on the market.

Here are the best face creams for sensitive skin:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Find all the best offers at our Coupons page.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

{{}}

View As: One Page Slides

The best face cream for sensitive skin overall

The best face cream for sensitive skin overall
Why you’ll love it: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is a holy grail moisturizer jam-packed with soothing hydrators like ceramides, shea butter, and colloidal oatmeal.

I don’t often fall in immediate love with skin-care products. It takes time to figure out exactly how your skin will react to a new serum or moisturizer. But I’ve been obsessed with First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream since the very first time I massaged it into my face.

FAB is one of the few brands I’ve encountered that practices what it preaches in terms of being gentle enough for even the most reactive skin types. Packed with soothing colloidal oatmeal, ceramide 3, shea butter, and the proprietary First Aid Beauty Antioxidant Booster, this cream works for all skin types, including those prone to eczema and rosacea.

Ultra Repair Cream is extremely hydrating but not thick. It blends down to a velvety smooth, non-greasy finish. I appreciate the large jar size because I’m not afraid to pile this stuff onto other areas that get dry, like my elbows or knees in the winter. The cream has a clean, inoffensive scent but no added fragrance.

This is a popular product — it has a 4.6 Sephora rating based on 6,100+ reviews and has been featured by countless publications including Byrdie, Marie Claire, Rank + Style, and Women’s Health.

Pros: Fragrance-free, allergy-tested, can be used on eczema and rashes, large size

Cons: Might not be hydrating enough for super dry skin

Buy First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream at Sephora for $32

The best drugstore face cream for sensitive skin

The best drugstore face cream for sensitive skin
Why you’ll love it: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is an expert-approved drugstore moisturizer that hydrates as well as its high-end counterparts thanks to hyaluronic acid.

I’m a big fan of the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range, and the Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturizer is no exception. My skin drinks hyaluronic acid like, well, water. Luckily, this lightweight face cream is absolutely loaded with the stuff.

This is one of my favorite summertime moisturizers because of the weightless texture, but it’s hydrating enough to use during any season. It’s also a great pick daytime pick for underneath makeup because it goes on wet but dries down quickly.

The hyaluronic acid has a nice plumping effect that instantly quenches rough, red patches. Oil-free and non-comedogenic, this is a great pick if you get greasy and shiny throughout the day.

Hydro Boost Water Gel is a fan favorite, with 4.3 stars on Amazon, based on 1,600+ reviews and comes recommended by dermatologists and beauty editors at The Strategist, Women’s Health, Reviews.com, and Marie Claire.

Pros: Affordable, lightweight, oil-free

Cons: Strong scent

Buy Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel on Amazon for $16.07 (originally $18.98)

The best luxury face cream for sensitive skin

The best luxury face cream for sensitive skin
Why you’ll love it: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is a luxe, airy, moisturizer suitable for all skin types.

The Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream sounds very similar to Neutrogena Hydro Boost on paper. It, too, is a light, airy cream packed with hyaluronic acid, albeit more luxe. When it sinks into the skin it becomes watery before drying down to an undetectable finish.

But if the strong scent of Hydro Boost turns you off or irritates your complexion, this is another fantastic option. The texture is even more weightless and the formula even more soothing. In addition to hyaluronic acid that claims to hydrate for up to 72 hours, the cream contains elderberry extract, ceramides, and silk proteins.

This is an especially great option for those with oily or acne-prone skin that reacts negatively to harsh ingredients.

“I have extremely dry skin and relatively sensitive skin. This is the only moisturizer that I find works. I can be flaky when I go to bed, put this on, and in the morning I am good as [new]. It doesn't clog my pores and interfere with any of my acne medications,” writes one Sephora shopper.

Overall, Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream has a 4.4 out of five stars based on 851 Sephora reviews. It has also been featured by Marie Claire.

Pros: Lightweight, minimal fragrance, works well under makeup

Cons: Pricey

Buy Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream at Sephora for $52

The best natural face cream for sensitive skin

The best natural face cream for sensitive skin
Why you’ll love it: Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream is an oil-based moisturizer that replenishes good fats that help to firm and hydrate the skin.

Like all of the brand’s products, Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream gets its hydrating properties from squalane oil. While probably not ideal for greasy skin types, it’s a godsend for dry, sensitive complexions.

In addition to squalane, this product utilizes omega fatty acids, ceramides, and acai berry sterols to replenish dull skin. These ingredients are useful for soothing redness as well as firming skin and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is a pricey option at $58 but it boasts a Clean at Sephora label and EWG certified and vegan.

This is a bit thicker than the other moisturizers on this list and, because of the squalane, has a bit of an oilier finish that I don’t find unpleasant when I’m feeling dry. For that reason, it might be a better nighttime or winter moisturizer.

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream has a 4.6-Sephora rating based on 215 reviews and has also been featured by Vogue.

Pros: EWG certified, vegan, cruelty-free, made with natural ingredients

Cons: Pricey

Buy Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream at Sephora for $58

The best priming face cream for sensitive skin

The best priming face cream for sensitive skin
Why you’ll love it: Glossier Priming Moisturizer is ideal for pre-makeup prep, but it lacks any of the common irritants that make other primers a bust for sensitive skin.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer was one of the first products the millennial-favorite beauty brand released on initial launch, and it remains a fan-favorite. Within the chic pink-and-white tube is a creamy, fragrance-free moisturizer that hydrates and preps the skin for makeup.

Unlike most primers, this fully doubles as a moisturizer that you can use on its own, day or night, thanks to an ingredients’ list that boasts hyaluronic acid, mushroom super hydrator, an anti-redness complex with tea and honey extracts, and an antioxidant blend of Vitamins A, C, and E plus radish root.

The lightweight texture and soothing ingredients help even skin tone and create a smooth base for base makeup to blend over the top. The squeeze tube is also said to be more hygienic than your typical jar packaging since you don’t have to keep dipping your fingers in to distribute the product.

“I'm 36 and this gives me doll-like skin. My pores and fine lines are non-existent and my skin has improved tremendously. So glad I found this,” writes one reviewer on the Glossier site. The product has a 5-star rating on the product review website Beautypedia and a 4.2 rating based on 1,400+ reviews on Influenster.

Pros: Lightweight, works under makeup, fragrance-free, cruelty-free

Cons: Might not be hydrating enough for dry skin

Buy Priming Moisturizer at Glossier for $22
Add Comment()
Comments ()
X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.