no more smelly gunk
November 2, 2011 11:26 PM   Subscribe

Looking for the perfect simple, rich, unscented night moisturizer.

I've found the perfect hand moisturizer and the perfect eyeliner, but I can't find a good night moisturizer. I like Pond's Dry Skin Cream except it smells terrible.

My skin isn't especially sensitive, and though it's oily I don't really care if it's shiny at night. I want something that's very rich, especially for the eye area, but I don't want to use one of the separate eye treatment that come in those tiny little tubes and require me to carry one more thing with me when I travel.

I hate perfumed things, so the smell should be nonexistent or at least really light. I do tend to like the smell of Aveda's products, but they're very much the exception.

And finally, this may be the weirdest/pickiest requirement: I want simple, preferably elegant packaging, and no extra crap - no wrinkle fighting, no antioxidants, no firming effect. Just a simple, rich, non-smelly moisturizer to put on my face at night.

posted by you're a kitty! to Shopping (33 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not elegant packaging, per se, but I swear by Cetaphil cream at night. No bells and whistles, no firming, no blahbidiblah--just super-moisturized, soft, glowy skin in the morning. I started using it on my dermatologist's recommendation*, for what that's worth, and now I'm hooked. Also, it is unscented and available everywhere.

*(Not your dermatologist, obvs.)
posted by anonnymoose at 11:54 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Btw, you might also try some of the L'Occitane shea butter creams if you want a powerful moisturizer in a more elegant package. The smells might be more pronounced, though.
posted by anonnymoose at 11:56 PM on November 2, 2011

I like the unscented version of Palmers Cocoa Butter. It's thick, rich and sinks in quickly without leaving your skin greasy and makes your skin so very soft and smooth. The only downside is that the unscented one smells like cocoa butter - ever so slightly chocolate-y. It's available in various sizes (mega pump pack, purse tube etc) and versions (with Vitamin E, peppermint Foot Balm etc etc) and is relatively cheap.

I have a big pump pack and use it primarily as a body cream but it works just as well on my face. My husband often steals it for his face as he finds it very soothing.
posted by ninazer0 at 12:05 AM on November 3, 2011

Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Night Cream. Their line of sensitive skin products went on the market recently and all the ones that I've tried smell like nothing - not even the weird unscented scent that some things have. Their a little bit on the light side, but they're no frills except for the sensitive skin part.
posted by asphericalcow at 12:05 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nivea. The blue one. Brilliant.
posted by taff at 12:54 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture. I also hate using scented products on my face, and I've been a devoted fan for many years. Some stores (like Target) stock it with the makeup rather than with the skin care products. I actually use the Wal-Mart knock-off version right now, but the packaging is definitely inferior to Neutrogena's, especially for travelling. Also, I supplement it with Paula's Choice antioxidant serum in the winter if I have any especially dry spots. All Paula's Choice moisturizers are fragrance-free.
posted by neushoorn at 12:55 AM on November 3, 2011

I bought Nature's Gate Oh What A Night face cream after reading a bunch of effusive reviews on Makeup Alley and I like it
posted by joshuaconner at 1:08 AM on November 3, 2011

Try Paula Begoun's Beautiful Body Butter - smells like cocoa (for me, this is not a bad thing at all). Her moisturizers are all unscented and smell better for it. Available online at Cosmetics Cop.
posted by Currer Belfry at 3:35 AM on November 3, 2011

I really like Jason Vitamin E Creme - it's fragrance-free and hype-free, and great for dry skin (if your skin doesn't need big-guns moisture, it might not be for you). Never used it around my eyes, but I wouldn't hesitate to. The tub-style packaging is not ideal, but you could easily scoop some out into another container for traveling.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:18 AM on November 3, 2011

I use -- and LOVE -- Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream. While, IIRC, it's super easy to find it in jars of various sizes, I found it a few years ago in a 2 oz tube at one of the local drugstores. It's perfect, I think. It's very rich, totally fragrance free, and one of those little tubes lasts me a good two or three months (with nightly and, in the winter, also daily use).
posted by LittleKnitting at 5:15 AM on November 3, 2011

Another vote for Cetaphil Cream!
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:27 AM on November 3, 2011

I love DML Forte. I have dry but acne-prone skin, and it's the only thing that's able to keep my skin from drying out in the winter other than petroleum jelly but doesn't cause me to break out. It's unscented, rich but not greasy, and simple.
posted by mbidi at 6:40 AM on November 3, 2011

Everything Clinique makes is unscented. And their packaging is my favorite. They aren't the cheapest, but they aren't so much more expensive than some of the fancy drugstore brands.
posted by thebazilist at 6:54 AM on November 3, 2011

I really like Paula's Choice moisturiser, the one in the, uhm, blue pump bottle. The name escapes me right now. It's part of her anti-aging line. Definitely unscented, very rich, very effective, not overpriced, and it works.
posted by nerdfish at 7:21 AM on November 3, 2011

I like Boots Botanics Night Moisture Cream and /or their Organic Day Cream (which is pretty thick for a day cream and fine IMO to use at night). Boots Botanics are officially unscented but the scent is based on natural ingredients (similarly to Aveda) and is not overwhelming, at least not to me. It's not as cheap as something like Cetaphil but it is cheaper than Clinique, and easy to find without a trip to the mall (they have it at Target).

I actually totally get you on the packaging thing. I prefer nice, plain packaging for beauty products because, hi, a lot of this stuff gets stored in my bathroom in the open in full view of any guests who might need to use the facilities, so all else being equal, why not pick something that looks nice?

The Boots Botanics creams come in a simple frosted glass wide mouth jar inside a recycled cardboard box. The labels peel off the jar fairly easily, so you could even take those off to have just a simple frosted jar on display. The jar design lets you actually get all of the lotion out (unlike a pump), which I like. And the glass jars are nice enough that I've actually washed and saved a few of them to store things like buttons and jewelry in.
posted by BlueJae at 7:25 AM on November 3, 2011

Oh sorry I meant to type Boots Botanics are NOT officially unscented. But they don't stink.
posted by BlueJae at 7:26 AM on November 3, 2011

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Seriously. ZERO stink and it does the job perfectly. I cannot bear the feeling of lotion on my face or hands and this stuff sinks in and hydrates in seconds. It's a total revelation for me (I, too, hate stinky in addition to hating greasy feeling.)
posted by hecho de la basura at 7:53 AM on November 3, 2011

Cetaphil cream FTW
posted by radioamy at 7:55 AM on November 3, 2011

Do you live in the US with a Trader Joe's nearby? I use their Midsummer Night's Cream. It is not specifically for your face, but I use it that way at night really like it. It has no scent and it's something like $3.79 for a bottle.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:51 AM on November 3, 2011

(beware that googling "midsummer nights cream" yields a lot of shakespeare porn links)
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:52 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I asked my dermatologist to recommend a moisturizing cream, he gave me samples of Cetraben Emollient Cream.

Now I should say I'm picky about creams and moisturizers. I'm extremely sensitive to perfumes and chemical smells. I hate that oily/greasy feeling a lot of creams give. I don't like using a lot of --okay any -- products. I've got very sensitive skin.

Outside of it being hard to find on store shelves, I'm happy with this product. The ingredients seem pretty basic. There is absolutely no smell. It absorbs into the skin. I've recommended it to other people.

The instructions on the packaging -- a very simple tube -- say "apply to dry skin as needed" so I don't know if it would be too strong for the eye area, but I have used it on my neck and face (in addition to hands, arms, etc.)

People with eczema and skin conditions seem to like it.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the product.

This site claims it's suitable for use on babies and small children (although to be honest, I'd be paranoid about using anything on babies without an explicit okay from a doctor, but that's just me.)
posted by sardonyx at 8:52 AM on November 3, 2011

Another vote for Cetaphil Cream (not the lotion)
posted by AMyNameIs at 8:55 AM on November 3, 2011

Clinques Dramatically Different Moisturizer gel or lotion. No smell, no bells and whistles but it doesn't need them, it is my go to moisturizer. I also like their ones with bells and whistles too, but always end up coming back to the Dramatically Different.
posted by wwax at 8:59 AM on November 3, 2011

I really like Simple Replenishing Rich moisturiser - unscented and thick without being greasy.
posted by goo at 9:01 AM on November 3, 2011

This lotion from Escentials in Portland is AWESOME. It's so thick and rich. They sell a facial version, too, but I've never tried it. I use the regular stuff on my face.
posted by peep at 9:16 AM on November 3, 2011

Yet another vote for the Cetaphil cream--the kind that comes in a tub (I've gotten it for like 12 bucks at the drugstore.) It's very thick, rich, and is good for face and body. It's good around the eyes too (as a moisturizer and a make-up remover, actually). A little goes a LONG way, so when I travel I just get one of those tiny make-up sample pots and scoop some in and it's perfect.
posted by lovableiago at 10:06 AM on November 3, 2011

Nivea. The blue one. Brilliant.

I agree that Nivea is amazing, and the packaging is retro-cool, but it is heavily scented.

Cetaphil cream would probably be the closest to what you're looking for, but might I also suggest argan oil? I buy Simplers brand at my local co-op grocer (Whole Foods also carries it), it's about $15 an ounce but one squirt takes care of my face, neck and chest with barely enough residue left to rub into my cuticles. It doesn't smell at all, absorbs really nicely without leaving my pillow all greasy, and hasn't caused my sensitive, blemish-prone skin any problems at all. There are other brands at varying pricepoints, I just be sure to look for 100% argan oil.

It's also great on your hair (it's what the trendy MoroccanOil products are based on). And it can be used for cooking, though I haven't tried it--it comes in bigger bottles for culinary use and as far as I know there's no difference between the culinary and cosmetic forms of the oil, however I prefer a smaller bottle that won't go rancid and is tinted to prevent UV degradation.
posted by padraigin at 10:26 AM on November 3, 2011

Yet another vote for the Cetaphil cream. It's not sexy, but it totally gets the job done. I generally only use it at night, because it can be a little greasy feeling/looking (as people have been saying, a little goes a long way), but I'll use it during the day when winter rolls around. Especially now that the heaters have turned on and I can just feel the air sucking the moisture from my pores like a dry-mouthed vampiric gas cloud, that dowdy little Cetaphil tub is my best friend.
posted by Diagonalize at 1:40 PM on November 3, 2011

FYI, you can buy 100% shea butter (i.e., no fragrances, nothing) on eBay by the pound for pretty cheap. My wife uses it as her only moisturizer. Very effective, simple & natural, though it does have a detectable, somewhat nutty odor. Sellers we've bought from typically send a brick of the stuff, ziploc'ed and mailed inside a cardboard box, kind of how I imagine mail-order bulk hashish might look ;^) Since selling shea butter encourages folks to plant and tend trees, it's sort of an ecologically sound product, too, though of course that's offset somewhat by carrying it here from Africa.

There's a whitish kind, and a yellowish kind; one's from East and the other from West Africa, and I don't remember which is which. But I do know that the whitish kind is less fragrant and appears to have a lower melting point, so it goes on smoother and thins out more easily.
posted by richyoung at 1:59 PM on November 3, 2011

I like Skinactives' products quite a bit. Some of their products do have strong smells due to some of their ingredients- the (limited edition) facial moisturizer I use at night has a strong nutty/yeasty/vitamin smell, but no fragrance. However, the Canvas Base Cream has a very very light pleasant fragrance that dissipates quickly. It's rich and creamy and my skin feels really silky after using it, no greasy feeling whatsoever. Since it's priced really well I use it as a body cream, but would not hesitate to use it on my face if I didn't have half a dozen other things to play with. I's got very basic but high-quality ingredients: ie not based on mineral oil, paraffin or emulsifying wax as some of the products listed above, and minimum use of parabens. (There's nothing wrong with petroleum jelly or mineral oil, but they can be had for much less if you just buy them straight up.)
posted by oneirodynia at 3:48 PM on November 3, 2011

Nthing Cetaphil cream! I use it every morning and night on my face and a tub of it tends to last me almost six months.
posted by jabes at 4:12 PM on November 3, 2011

Another vote for Cetaphil: lotion for the spring/summer and cream for fall/winter.
posted by sarajane at 11:40 AM on November 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! I tried a few that I could find easily, and I really liked the Burt's Bees sensitive skin night moisturizer. It's a very nice, truly unscented night moisturizer, and I also recommend it to anyone reading this in the future.

The Cetaphil cream, however - holy hell that stuff is amazing! I'm in love with the texture, AND my skin doesn't even seem greasy in the morning, which amazed me. It does come in a big ugly tub, but as some of you suggested, you can scoop it into a different container. I'm buying a cute vintage jar on Etsy for daily use, which is totally cost-effective given the savings on even just the one tub!

Another problem solved!
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:52 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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