Best moisturisers to keep skin nourished and hydrated in winter

Posted by for Beauty

Is the colder weather is wreaking havoc with your skin? These expert-approved moisturisers will inject some serious hydration back into dry, winter skin. 

When the temperatures outside dip, our skin reacts. Cold and windy weather can aggravate even the oiliest of skin types, while central heating literally zaps the moisture out from our skin barrier. The result? Dry skin in winter is a common skincare complaint. 

But what does dry skin look like and how do you know if you have it? It might sound pretty obvious – but the symptoms of dry skin can vary from your skin actually feeling physically ‘dry.’ You might find that your skin is red, flaky or tight. There might be more visible fine lines than usual and your skin might also feel rough, itchy or flaky. 

So what can help? Of course, drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated is key. Then there are tips like avoiding long, hot showers (as these will strip skin of moisture) and being ultra gentle with your cleansing regime (no harsh or foaming soaps.) But where does using a good ol’ fashioned moisturiser actually come into it?

“Moisturiser is necessary to maintain the elasticity and flexibility of the skin’s upper layers,” says Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible. “It keeps the skin healthy and allows it to function effectively as a barrier.”

What to look out for when buying the best moisturiser for your skin type?

Moisturiser ingredients often fall into three main categories: humectants, occlusives and emollients. By understanding the benefits of each ingredient and deciphering your skin type can help you choose the best moisturising ingredients for you. 


Humectants are key in maintaining skin hydration; they act by attracting and chemically binding water in the skin. They have the ability to plump the skin and improve fine lines and wrinkles.

Look for: hyaluronic acid, glycerine, hex-anediol, butylene glycol and sorbitol.


Occlusive agents create a barrier over the skin and prevent water loss from the surface. These are good for dry and very dry skin or for use on the body as they often have a greasy, shiny finish. Avoid these if you have acne-prone skin as they could clog pores.

Look for: squalene, cocoa butter, shea butter, lanolin and beeswax.


Emollients act by replacing lipids and filling any gaps and crevices between the skin cells, helping to rebuild the skin barrier. 

Look for: ceramides, dimethicone, linoleic acid and caprylyl glycol.

Best moisturisers for dry skin

Most moisturisers will contain a combination of humectants, occlusives and emollients. Not sure which is right for you? As a general rule, if your skin is acne prone you should look for products higher in humectants but low in occlusive agents. If your skin is dry, look for more emollients and occlusives, as this will help hydrate your skin better. 

Best moisturisers for oily and acne-prone skin

Best moisturisers for combination skin

Best moisturisers for sensitive skin

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