February has just begun, and that means we’re only partway through the time of dry, frigid temperatures here in Northeast Pennsylvania.
I’ve said it before, but it’s our skin that pays the ultimate price for the winter weather.
I’ve imparted tips and tricks to keep skin hydrated and healthy throughout the season (no hot water; exfoliate away the dead skin; add in a facial oil) and even what ingredients to look for in winter skin care (ceramides, hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil).
However, judging by emails, DMs, texts and phone calls I get this time of year, you all want to get right to the point: what’s the best winter cream?
Creams, like most skin care, are not one-size-fits-all, but there are a handful of creams that I’ve tried, my friends have tried or that have been recommended to me by the pros that I would consider the best of the best in winter skin care.
These are some of the thickest, richest creams to keep your cute face protected this winter no matter your skin type, budget or preference.
Best for very dry skin
I’m a firm believer in the power of a great facial oil and a very thick cream. In Your Face Skincare The Cream truly is a dream mix. An ultra-rich and velvety blend of oils, botanicals, antioxidants and omega fatty acids, this cream is made to quench even the driest skin.
Best for sensitive skin
When you think of a rich night cream, you think of this consistency. Colloidal oatmeal is the hero ingredient for dry, irritated skin in the fragrance- and dye-free formula of First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. It also includes shea butter, ceramides and antioxidant boosters for all-over soothing, brightening and hydrating.
Best for lines, wrinkles
Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream helps replenish ceramides for healthy, dewy skin. It’s also filled with amino acids to strengthen elasticity and Tatcha’s super blend of botanical extracts and oils and antioxidant-filled Japanese purple rice for overall bounce. All of this equals super dewy, plump and healthy skin.
Best for oily skin
Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer’s lightweight formula hydrates like a thick cream with the texture of a gel. Papaya enzymes deliver gentle exfoliation to reveal glowy skin. Made without silicones (which can clog pores), four types of hyaluronic acid, a humectant, help draw moisture from the air into your skin for plump hydration without any greasiness.
Best vegan cream
Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer is packed with butters and oils as well as Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba and aloe vera, all of which thrive in extremely dry environments. Fragrance- and dye-free, it’s also great for those with super sensitive skin.
Best classic cream
An OG, Nivea Creme smooths and softens skin. This creamy, rich moisturizer also locks in hydration with occlusives such as mineral oil and petrolatum, which creates a protective barrier on your skin. According to Anna Cordaro, hairstylist/makeup artist and owner of Sacramento-based Coyote Beauty, this cream is a great drugstore dupe for beloved, uber-expensive La Mer Creme de La Mer. It MUST be the version in the flat, blue tin, however.
Best drugstore cream
Inside ELF Cosmetics’ Holy Hydration Face Cream is about every skin-loving ingredient you could imagine, from hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5, which work together to draw in moisture and retain it; niacinamide to brighten; squalane for moisture and elasticity; and peptides to strengthen skin. There’s also a fragrance-free version for those with more sensitive skin.
Best natural formula
Using Ayurvedic methods, Verdic Botanicals Radiance Face Cream’s decadent, handmade blend of oils helps prevent blemishes, while the wheat germ oil, manuka, black cumin seed and ashwaganda help prevent lines, wrinkles and stressors. Plus, it’s 100% cruelty-free and vegan.
Made with viola tricolor, calendula and chamomile in a rich base of oils and beeswax, the super rich Weleda Skin Food cream can be used as a moisturizer; a spot treatment for rough, dry patches; a makeup primer; a hydrating mask; a hand cream or an eye cream.
Best night cream
A thicker version of Glossier’s famed Priming Moisturizer, Priming Moisturizer Rich is a blend of shea and murumuru butters plus ceramides and fatty acids melt into skin to reinforce skin’s moisture barrier over time and lock in moisture as the final step of your nighttime routine. Plus, it’s made with the lightest, airiest lavender scent, perfect for a bedtime.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT