Choosing the Right Moisturizer for Skin Type


Finding the right moisturizer for your skin can feel a lot like dating—you have to “date” a few to find the right one. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a keeper right off the bat. Other times, you know from first application it’s not the right match. And when it gets too overwhelming, you may just settle. “The key to finding the right moisturizer is knowing your skin type,” says Kristine Schmalenberg, Executive Director, Clinical Testing. “This helps narrow down your options so your skin can thrive.” Here’s everything you need to know to help you find your moisture match.

Different Types of Moisturizers

It’s important to understand the role of a moisturizer and the different types available. Of course, moisturizer is essential for well-hydrated and healthy-looking skin. Daily application helps prevent dryness and maintain plumpness, can help improve the appearance of fine, dry lines, and some moisturizers can even help protect from external stressors, like pollution  . Understanding the different types of moisturizers can also help when finding the perfect match for your skin type.


  • A rich moisturizer contains emollient materials like oils, butters, and lipids. They form an occlusive layer on skin’s surface to help lock-in moisture and prevent moisture loss. They also work within skin surface to help strengthen its moisture barrier. These types of moisturizers may be slightly heavier in texture.


  • A lightweight moisturizer typically uses humectants, like Hyaluronic Acid, and is designed to attract and bind water to the skin. Other humectants that work great on skin are ingredients like Plant-based Glycerin. These types of moisturizers may be lighter in texture and possibly oil-free.

How do you know what moisturizer is right for you?

In a sea of moisturizers, it can be challenging to know how to choose the right one. So, understanding ingredients and what works best for your skin type is essential. Humectants are great for oily or combination skin because they bind moisture to hydrate skin without the heaviness. Emollients, like oils and butters, are great for dry, normal, and even sensitive skin because they boost moisture by creating a soothing, protective layer on the skin’s surface. Salicylic Acid is another ingredient you may want to look for in a moisturizer for oily skin because of its pore-purifying benefits. If you have mature skin, look for exfoliants, like retinoids. And don’t forget daily SPF to protect your skin.

Moisturizer for Oily Skin

A sure sign you’re an oily skin type? Your skin is shiny all over and may appear “thicker” (oily skin tends to accumulate layers of dead skin that makes it look denser). Another sign is that you may have visibly enlarged pores or be prone to blackheads and blemishes in the T-zone (the T-shaped area on your face that includes your forehead, nose, and chin). 

For this skin type, its best to avoid rich, heavy, occlusive moisturizers that blanket skin and opt for ones that are lighter in weight and have a gel-cream or serum-like texture. Ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, a humectant, and Niacinamide, which helps regulate sebum, are good ingredients to look for in a moisturizer for oily skin. You may also want to consider an oil-free and non-comedogenic (read: won’t clog pores) formula.


 Meet our favorite moisturizers for oily skin:

GinZing™ Energizing Gel Cream is our best moisturizer for oily skin. The gel-cream formula absorbs quickly and delivers 72-hour hydration. Vitamin C helps brighten skin over time while Niacinamide helps improve skin’s moisture barrier.

Clear Improvement™ Pore Clearing Moisturizer delivers all-day hydration to oily and blemish-prone skin. It also helps clear skin of existing breakouts and prevent new ones from forming. A combination of 1% Salicylic Acid and Bamboo Charcoal help gently exfoliate and unclog pores for a clearer look and feel.

Moisturizer for Dry Skin

If your skin feels like it's two sizes too small, you’re probably dry. “Dry skin can be uncomfortable. It may feel tight and could even peel or flake,” says Lizz Starr, Executive Director of Product Development. “It can also appear dull, and fine lines and wrinkles may look more pronounced.”

For this skin type, the richer the moisturizer, the better. Occlusive and emollient-infused moisturizers, with ingredients like ceramides, plant lipids, and Squalane help seal in essential moisture.  Hot tip: pick a cream loaded with humectants, too, like Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid, because they bind moisture for plumper-looking, hydrated skin.


A good moisturizer for dry skin:

GinZing™ Ultra Hydrating Energy-Boosting Cream. This super-rich moisturizer wakes up skin with instant radiance and 72-hour hydration and helps bridge the gap between skin cells to ensure moisture is locked in.

Plantscription™ SPF 25 Power Anti-Aging Cream is a Hyaluronic Acid-infused moisturizer that delivers youthful hydration, UV protection, and a radiant look—all in one.

Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

The telltale signs your skin is sensitive: it can be prone to visible redness and irritation; and may be reactive to some ingredients. This skin type needs a moisturizer that hydrates, calms, and soothes the look of skin. “Oftentimes with sensitive skin, you have a weakened moisture barrier, so it’s important to use a moisturizer that not only soothes and calms the look of skin, but also helps support a resilient barrier,” says Schmalenberg.

Texture and consistency of the moisturizer are not necessarily factors for sensitive skin—what matters most are the ingredients. Moisture-boosting humectants such as Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid, and skin-comforting emollients—like ceramides and Squalane—get along great with sensitive skin. At Origins, we’re also fans of infusing skin-soothing mushrooms as a key ingredient in our moisturizers suitable for sensitive skin.

Our best-selling moisturizer for sensitive skin:

Mega-Mushroom Fortifying Emulsion is a featherlight, skin-quenching, moisturizer that strengthens skin’s barrier and rapidly reduces visible redness. Reishi Mushroom and Chaga help visibly soothe skin while Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin bind moisture.

Moisturizer for Combination Skin

Combination skin is somewhat of a hybrid. “When you have this skin type, you’re both dry and oily,” says Starr. “You tend to be oilier around your T-zone and dry along the cheeks.” You may even have visible pores and be more prone to blackheads.


The ideal moisturizer for combination skin is a lighter cream or gel-cream that hydrates oily spots without adding shine. Ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, which helps bind moisture, and Niacinamide, which hydrates as it helps regulate oil, are beneficial for this skin type.

Our favorite moisturizer for combination skin:

Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Hydra Burst Gel Lotion is a featherweight gel-to-water formula, with Niacinamide and Reishi Mushroom, that goes deep within skin’s surface to boost moisture and visibly fortify skin. It absorbs quickly and is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores.

Moisturizer for Normal Skin

If your skin is not too oily and not too dry, you’re considered to have a normal skin type. This skin type also usually has less visible pores and does not experience persistent sensitivity.


The best moisturizer for normal skin will help maintain its hydration and oil-to-water balance. The good news: you can use almost any moisturizer. The not so good news: so many options can make choosing the right moisturizer overwhelming. One way to narrow your selection is choosing a moisturizer based on a concern. Is your skin maturing?  Looking for sun protection? Pinpointing your skin’s needs, aside from daily hydration, will help you find your best fit.

A great option for mature skin (plus the bonus of SPF):

Plantscription™ SPF 25 Power Anti-Aging is our best cream if you’re starting to see lines. It delivers youthful hydration, UV protection and a radiant look—all in one.

Final thoughts on how to choose the right moisturizer.

Knowing your skin type is the cornerstone to any successful skincare regimen —moisturizer included. When regularly applying a moisturizer with skin-compatible ingredients, your skin should feel hydrated and look healthy. If your skin changes (seasonal shifts, environmental factors, and age can affect or change your skin type), make sure your moisturizer changes, too. Because the right match makes all the difference.

Still struggling with choosing the right moisturizer?  Our Skin Quiz can help pinpoint your perfect fit or check out our Top Skincare Routines to find your best match.