Picks

After a Long Hunt, I Found the Perfect, Under-$25 Winter Moisturizer

Benton Aloe Hyaluron Cream

‘Tis the season where just about everyone is in the market for a deeply hydrating, daily moisturizer to combat winter tightness and flakiness. But from what I’ve gauged from conversations with friends, Instagram followers, and colleagues, you dry-skinned people will not accept just anything. You’re looking for, it seems, a moisturizer that is intensely replenishing but not at all greasy (a lot of you have complained that Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid moisturizer makes your makeup pill, although I’ve personally never had this issue) and in an ideal world, you’d like to spend less than $25 without sacrificing quality.

For the past few months, I’ve searched high and low for a moisturizer that checked these boxes. Frankly, it was not exactly an easy feat — a lot of creams I tried and loved (like Make Pre:em’s Safe Me Relief Cream) were on the slightly more expensive side (around $30). But after spending some time sleuthing Reddit forums, I discovered Benton’s Aloe Hyaluron Cream, a $19 ($16 on Amazon) moisturizer that one Redditor described as “a tall glass of water for your skin.” And after reading equally promising reviews on Soko Glam, I decided to take the plunge.

Needless to say, it was love at first application. This cream is packed with seven different types of hyaluronic acids, which means it’s capable of delivering high impact, long-lasting moisture into the pores (unlike, say, Benton’s Steam Cream, which only has one type of hyaluronic acid). It also contains about 40 percent aloe vera leaf water, which helps soothe any kind of flakiness, redness, or irritation from the dry, winter air. The first time I used this product my skin was incredibly parched and dull (I blame my daily exposure to both intense heating in my office and bedroom and harsh wind chill from outside). I applied it as the final step in my evening skin-care routine (after essences and serums) and the following morning I woke up to smooth, soft, bouncy and even-toned skin — my skin really looked and felt so good. Historically, even my most intense creams (like Drunk Elephant’s Protini Cream) struggled to keep my skin moisturized despite the horrific elements it faces on the daily. This does. After long, dry evenings in front of my TV (which just so happens to sit beside my heat-blasting radiator), putting this on is now the only relief I know.

This cream is, and I can’t stress this enough, for wintertime only. It is simply too thick for summer. And if you have intensely oily skin, this might not be ideal for you even in wintertime — I’d try Cosrx’s Overnight Rice Mask instead, which is around the same price, and a lot lighter. But if, like me, you have dry, sensitive, irritated skin that winter makes a lot worse, this is a must have. I use a tiny, pea sized amount in the mornings and a slightly larger, pearl sized amount in the evening, and I wake with plump, refreshed, clear skin. My winter savior.

Other Moisturizers I Love

COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

For oilier skin types, you might prefer this hydrating yet ultra lightweight moisturizer from Cosrx. Although it’s technically an “overnight spa mask,” I know many people who swear by it as a day cream.

Make P:rem Safe Me. Relief Moisture Cream (1. 80ml + 20ml + toner 40ml)

This is the aforementioned, slightly more expensive cream. It’s incredibly hydrating, but a little less rich than Benton’s.

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

This rich yet non-greasy cream is one of my favorite products from plant based brand Biossance. It’s packed with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E to help replenish, nourish, and hydrate the skin. If you can shell out the near $60, it’s certainly worth it!