10 of the Best Moisturisers for Autumn
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Autumn is almost here (whoop whoop!). And alongside the very welcome snuggly knitwear, boxsets, and prospect of Christmas (only four months!), is the slightly less welcome change that takes place on my skin.
You see, most of the year my skin is what I would term ‘pretty normal’- slightly oilier around my forehead and nose, and slightly sensitive on my cheeks…. With the odd breakout thrown in for good measure.
All this I manage to keep mostly in balance with my skincare capsule wardrobe and a hawk-like attention to any skin changes. But when autumn hits the sudden reduction in air moisture and temperature temporarily renders my skin one uncomfortable, sensitive mess for a few weeks every year without fail.
I’m pretty used to this sudden hissy fit thrown by my skin now though and so I have an arsenal of products at the ready and help my skin ease back to its normal self. And the main change I make? My moisturiser.
And that’s because the right moisturiser will achieve that golden balance between hydrating skin (topping up the water levels in its cells), and moisturising it (strengthening its natural protective layer that keeps all the good stuff in and the bad stuff out), thus soothing irritation and keeping skin glow intact.
It can take some shopping around to find a product with juuuust the right balance though, so here’s a rundown of the favourites I have used and loved in recent years, especially when it comes to the summer-to-autumn season change.
All are suitable for both day and night use, and since change of season skin is also often sensitive skin, most are fragrance-free too.
1. Paula’s Choice Omega + Complex Moisturiser*
One of my all-time favourite moisturisers, Paula’s Choice Omega + Complex Moisturiser is about as calming, moisturising and overall making-skin-look-great-ing as it gets.
Fragrance-free, this is created using essential fatty acids from ingredients like chia and flax seeds, and throws in some ceramides, moisturising squalane, and protecting antioxidants for good measure.
If I could find this is in stock anywhere, ever I would honestly own about 10 of these since it offers pretty much the perfect balance between hydration and moisture for me, and never fails to envelop skin with dewy goodness (without ever leaving any oily slick or shininess in its wake).
2. Cerave Facial Moisturising Lotion
A budget beauty hero, Cerave’s products are famous for their use of ceramides (lipids which naturally form part of the skin’s cells structure) and are a go to brand for sensitive, dry skin types.
Their un-fussy Facial Moisturising Lotion is fragrance-free, easily-absorbed, and promises up to 24 hours of hydration. It leaves my own skin comfortable and moisturised without fail.
Its one fault (to my mind) however, is the inclusion of dimethicone; an ingredient which shouldn’t clog pores or cause breakouts, but so often does on my own skin. As a result I don’t use this one every single day- more as a booster when my skin is particularly dry (although those whose skin tolerates silicones well should be fine).
3. Ren’s Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream
Specially formulated for sensitive skin, Ren’s Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream combines inflammation-fighting Omegas 3 and 7, with moisturising shea butter, softening glycerin, and a host of antioxidant ingredients to delicate skin from free radical (read: pollution, UV etc) damage.
A cult classic for good reason, Ren’s moisturiser is capable of soothing my irritated, dry change-of-season skin in days and is totally frangrance and colorant-free.
4. Bybi’s Night Nutrition*
Boasting some of the very best in skin-soothing, hydrating ingredients- from ceramides and essential fatty acids to vitamins- Bybi’s Night Nutrition may be billed as a night cream, but is definitely light enough to comfortably use in the day time too (and I do!).
In fact with a light as air, whipped texture, this moisturiser is all soothing creaminess without any of the greasiness or heaviness that makes layering further skincare/makeup a nuisance. Overall, one of my absolute favourites for dewy, healthy look.
5. Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing Cream
Pretty much my go-to moisturiser between the ages of about 22 and 29, this fragrance-free, lightweight moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid, mallow and cucumber to soothe, hydrate and plump up skin for a healthy, dewy glow (and an overall comfortable feel)…. A definite favourite.
Better still, Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing Cream also helps shield skin from externals stressors (like those stinky free radicals) with antioxidants like grape seed oil, vitamin C and vitamin E.
6. Haeckels Eco Marine Cream*
Combining olive fruit oil, grape seed oil, aloe leaf extract, and vitamin E (along with a whole host of other moisturising goodies), Haeckels’ Eco Marine Cream has saved my skin from chemical peel-related disaster on more than one occasion; soothing, nourishing and moisturising it back into hydrated, glowing comfort.
The one potential down side? This does contain essential oils; great for those whose skin can tolerate them, but possibly irritating to the most sensitive of skin types. My own skin drinks this up though, with no sign of irritation in sight (despite being quite sensitive).
7. Fourth Ray Watermelon Face Milk
Ok so not a moisturiser technically- more something in between a serum and a lotion- but a skin saver nonetheless. Formulated with just enough hydration (courtesy of cucumber water and aloe) to keep skin plump and dewy, as well as enough moisture (thanks watermelon seed oil) to seal in all that goodness, Fourth Ray’s Watermelon Face Milk is also something of a bargain at $14/£10.55 for 30 ml.
Although the watermelon version is my favourite, these are also available in a whole host of varieties for all different skin types; from white tea and avocado to coconut and papaya… An all-round beauty win!
8. Espa 24-Hour Replenishing Moisturiser
A long-time favourite of mine, Espa’s 24-Hour Replenishing Moisturiser offers the light texture of something really hydrating and easily-absorbed, with the moisturising ingredients my skin needs when the weather starts to cool (like jojoba, sweet almond and coconut oils).
This does contain essential oils however (including myrrh and frankincense), so the most sensitive skin types may want to avoid. For those who like their products with a hit of soothing aromatherapy, as well as some hydrating, moisturising goodness, this is something of a winner.
9. Bybi Babe Balm*
If all skincare measures have failed, however, and skin has gone over the uncomfortable mark and is now in the full-on the flaky, red phase, I sometimes need something slightly richer than just a moisturiser to get it back on track. When that happens to my skin (generally when I’ve overdone it with the retinol, or something similarly silly), I go balm.
With a thicker, more emollient (skin-softening) texture, balms are essentially heavier versions of moisturisers and can help to heal up irritated, dry skin fast.
One of my favourites is Bybi’s Babe Balm. Made with just 17 ingredients (including shea butter, squalane, pequi fruit oil, and coconut oil), this thick balm warms between hands to an oil texture. Massaged over skin this locks in moisture and leaves skin soft and nourished.
As a bonus, because it’s a multi-purpose balm it can also be used for a myriad of beauty uses (for inspiration, browse my 10 Ways to Use Bybi’s Babe Balm here).
10. Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Oil
Alternatively, sometimes a simple face oil is all you need to lock in and restore moisture levels. I use these more when my skin is on the dry side, rather than the dehydrated one, and I love the glow they offer. My favourite is any type of Marula oil for its soothing, moisturising, antimicrobial, antioxidant properties, including Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula luxury Facial Oil, or The Ordinary’s impressively affordable 100 % Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil.
Bonus Round: The Cleansers
Although I count moisturisers as pretty much the top way to save skin change-of-season irritation and dryness, I’m also a big believer that the right cleanser sets skin up properly from the get go.
Since now is a time to go gentle on skin, and avoid as much moisture loss as possible, this is generally when I use my oil or balm cleansers the most. And my current favourite is The Inkey List’s Oat Cleansing Balm, a genuinely fantastic cleanser which to be honest The Inkey List could probably get away with charging about five times as much for (please don’t though..!).
Containing soothing oat kernel oil- a wonder ingredient for redness-prone, sensitive skin- as well as oat powder, this non-foaming balm cleans without stripping, and instead leaves skin comfortable and moisturised (yet residue-free).
Oilier types might prefer something a little less oil-heavy though, like Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser, a non-foaming gel cleanser that thoroughly removes dirt/makeup/SPF while aloe leaf juice powder helps to hydrate and soothe.
And for those who like their cleansers with a bit of foam, but still on the very gentle side, I’m a big fan of Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser.