The price of skin products scares me.
July 7, 2006 6:38 AM   Subscribe

What moisturizer should I buy?

I'm looking for a decent moisturizer that won't make me oily. I have normal skin with no major issues save for the occasional hormonal pimple. My most recent products (Dove face wash for sensitive skin and Dove moisturizer) have been making me greasy! The salesperson in Sephora couldn't seem to find anything to sell me that cost less than $35. There has to be a decent moisturizer out there that doesn't cost a fortune. What is it?
posted by rglass to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (35 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Your skin sounds kinda like mine, and I've been using Neutrogena Deep Clean Face Wash and Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture since early high school (I'm 27 now). The comments on the moisturizer mention that its a bit greasy, but I would imagine thats because they used too much - I just use one squirt, rub it into my hands, and then spread it over my face.
posted by AlisonM at 6:48 AM on July 7, 2006

[I'm assuming you're referring to facial moisturizer.] I have oily skin, and my favorites are:

Neutrogena Oil-Free moisture with SPF 15 (I actually use the tinted version but I can't find it on the website); and

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 (which is slightly lighter than the Neutrogena, I think).

The key to both of these is a light hand. They're both relatively cheap (especially since one bottle lasts me about 6 months, since I use so little at a time) and available in any drug store.
posted by CiaoMela at 6:54 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

I have similar skin and I use Murad Perfecting Day Cream. It's a great cream, but it's over your price range and borderline too heavy for summer, at least for me. I plan to try their Pomegranate Moisturizer next. It's a little lighter and a lot cheaper. As an aside, I've found the Murad products in general to be a little pricey, but really high quality. I've got pretty sensitive skin, and nothing from the Murad line has irritated it at all. YMMV.
posted by robinpME at 7:04 AM on July 7, 2006

My skin is oily, and I use Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer at night and Cetaphil's Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 with ParsolĀ® 1789 during the day. Both work really well and don't make my face ultra greasy. I also carry oil bloating sheets, and use one everyday around lunchtime to control oil.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:07 AM on July 7, 2006 [2 favorites]

I've been using Neutrogena products for a few years or so, and they were recommended to me by a ritzy-spa esthetician who suggested Neutrogena as a less expensive alternative to the mega-expensive stuff that was her first recommendation. I use the Oil-free moisture for combination skin (less than $10), and at night I use the Rapid Clear Acne defense face lotion (also less than $10) instead of the oil-free moisture. I also use the (orange colored) transparent facial bar and Pore Refining Toner. In the shower I use the Blackhead Eliminating scrub, but you don't want to use harsh exfoliants like that very often.
posted by mojabunni at 7:07 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

I have oily skin with acne that I treat with other products.

As far as moisturizers go, I second Cetaphil Moisturizer with SPF 15 and Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle Lotion with SPF 15. I also love Purpose made by Johnson and Johnson. That is what I use now, and it is not greasy or oily, and does not cause breakouts. It's excellent, and will run you around 12 bucks.

Body Shop also has a great one for oily skin that I like, and a stronger one with green tea to help combat breakouts.

I will never pay top dollar again for cosmetics or skincare. In my opinion the stuff sold in drugstores is just as good.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:23 AM on July 7, 2006

I use Walgreen's version of Oil of Olay sensitive skin SPF 15. I have normal skin with a greasy nose and flaky-dry forehead, and all three sectors seem to agree with it. At $3/bottle, it can't hurt to try, and it makes a decent hand lotion if it doesn't work for you.

Note that just about any product change will likely cause a breakout, so give whatever you try 2-3 weeks to normalize unless it's actually giving you a rash or something.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:26 AM on July 7, 2006

(Going on the assumption that you want a facial moisturizer...)

I've been using L'Oreal's Futur-e moistuizer for years. It's light, non-greasy and non-sticky, SPF 15, costs about $10 and can be found at most drug stores ( and cosmetic stores. Plus, one bottle usually lasts me about a year.
posted by geeky at 7:27 AM on July 7, 2006

I have had consistently good results with Olay Complete for sensitive skin.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 7:30 AM on July 7, 2006

I concur with Sprout. I've been using Olay Complete for sensitive skin for, well, forever. I've tried more expensive brands (some were much more expensive), and I've always come back to the Olay. Nevermind the costs: I've never found anything better.
posted by penchant at 7:36 AM on July 7, 2006

First, check out the list of highest-rated moisturizers at MakeupAlley. Their hive-mind is a fabulous resource.

Be sure you're using something with at least SPF15 during the day. I'm fond of Clean 'n Clear's Morning Glow moisturizer, because it contains silicones that create a mattifying effect, and the sunscreen dosn't make me oily in the summer. I like the Olay Complete Sensitive Skin with SPF15 during colder months, but it's too heavy for me during humid summers.

Using a product with Retinol at night (even if you're young!) will improve cell-turnover and give you fabulously glowy-looking skin. Neutrogena and RoC both make affordable drugstore versions; look for the products that scream ANTI-WRINKLE.

Finally, try ditching your Dove cleanser first before you start experimenting with moisturizers. If your cleanser is too harsh, your face will react by producing more oil to overcompensate. Try a gentle cleanser like Purpose or Cetaphil, and a lighter hand with your moisturizer.
posted by junkbox at 7:43 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

My fancy pants derm (where all the hockey-player's wives and footbal player's wives and news anchors go) recommends Purpose for my skin, which sounds like yours. I use both the cleanser and the SPF 15 lotion, and I travel with the bar soap.

For a higher-end suggestion, all of the Skin Medica products are excellent. Just excellent. But expensive.

I have used the C.O. Bigelow products as well, and I love them, but cannot use them while on Retin-A.
posted by oflinkey at 9:01 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Your skin sounds like mine! I have very sensitive skin, and I am very pale. I use Aveeno Positively Radiant. It's about $15, and I was hesitant to buy it. Now I love it! My skin is smoother, and less oily. I found it at Walgreens, and I'm sure it's at any major drugstore. However, when I wash my face I just use the large bottle of Cetaphil. I haven't had any problems, and my skin looks better than ever. Just make sure that you wear at least SPF 15 everyday, as it is SO important!
posted by thesiameseffect at 9:04 AM on July 7, 2006

Hah, I just came in here to comment and thesiameseffect right here at the end already said almost exactly what I was going to write (same products!) so you can count me as a second vote for Aveeno/Cetaphil. Positively Radiant also comes in a non-sunscreen version, but I use the SPF 15: if you get it make sure it's the one with the sunscreen, the packaging looks very similar and they're easy to confuse.
posted by Melinika at 9:18 AM on July 7, 2006

Has anyone tried any of the Philosophy products? I love the packaging but haven't heard anything about the quality.
posted by rglass at 9:18 AM on July 7, 2006

Also Cetaphil cleanser and Neutrogena Sensitive-skin, oil-free here. Exfoliation? Vigorous scrub with a washcloth. I also use Kiss My Face's Peaches & Cream AlphaHydroxy moisturizer at night.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:19 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Third vote for Aveeno. My sensitive skin only likes Aveeno products.
posted by orangemiles at 9:29 AM on July 7, 2006

I also like Neutrogena Oil-Free moisture with SPF 15.
posted by k8t at 9:30 AM on July 7, 2006

Oil-free moisturizers actually make my oily skin very shiny -- I think it has to do with the glycerine they contain. So I use Oil of Olay sensitive/unscented. It contains oil, but not much.
posted by wryly at 9:52 AM on July 7, 2006

I have oily skin but few breakouts, and I use Olay Complete for Combination Skin ... it's a little more geared towards slightly oily skin and prevents the greasies.
posted by tastybrains at 9:52 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Wryly wrote: So I use Oil of Olay sensitive/unscented.

Me too. It's good for my combination skin. A whole bottle can last me a year or more because it only takes a little dab. I have used other products but like others mentioned, I keep coming back to Olay. Unscented is great because you don't have to deal with the stink of some other products.
posted by cass at 9:59 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

I second the overcleansing might actually be your issue. When someone has skin that is to one extreme or the other (too dry or too oily) they often use products to right that situation. Instead they end up over correcting and throwing their face into a PH imbalance.
posted by nadawi at 10:14 AM on July 7, 2006

My wife wants to get products by Arbonne. Is this stuff worth what it costs? It looks like it might be network-marketed, which makes me nervous to begin with.
posted by craniac at 10:16 AM on July 7, 2006

Nivea Soft. It's both the cheapest and the best. The pricier ones only make you pay extra for brand/scent/feel/texture but they're only worth it as an indulgence really. I once went nuts and splashed out on a Chanel non-oily moisturising gel and it felt so nice, it smelled so good, but as for the rest, nothing that a regular tub of the stuff from the nearest supermarket wouldn't do.
posted by funambulist at 10:26 AM on July 7, 2006

I cleanse with Oil of Olay face wash for sensitive skin and moisturize with Cover Girl tinted moisturizer, which adds just enough color to eliminate the need for foundation. That being said, I do usually need to blot later in the afternoon.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:46 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

My wife wants to get products by Arbonne. Is this stuff worth what it costs? It looks like it might be network-marketed, which makes me nervous to begin with.
whoops, just saw the link, so never mind.
posted by craniac at 10:52 AM on July 7, 2006

You're not looking for it, but I'd also reccomend the Neutrogena Ultra Dry Touch sunscreen. I have oily, pasty white skin that burns like nobody's business, and this stuff works great (SPF 55!) for keeping my face from getting burnt up while not getting really shiny.
posted by rossination at 11:01 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Previously asked here, but by someone with dry skin. My answer was for my own favorite. It's a big bottle, for $9.25. But they make a wide range of lotions.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:01 AM on July 7, 2006

re: Philosophy products -- I think that there are drugstore products that are just as good for less $$$. Not horrible, but not necessarily worth the price; you pay extra for that cute packaging! Although Dr. Leslie Baumann's book The Skin Type Solution (very popular with people who have problematic skin) recommends Philosophy's When Hope Is Not Enough SPF20 as a good moisturizer for daytime.
posted by junkbox at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2006

I personally like the Neutrogena Healthy Skin moisturizing cream (they make one with and one without sunscreen).

However, one important thing to remember is that different skins require different moisturizers. A friend of mine swears by Udder Cream, which just sits on my skin without soaking in. Another friend recommended Lubriderm for my sensitive and flaky skin; again, even after a couple of hours you could have fried an egg on my forehead. The moisturizers I like, these friends can't use (cause breakouts or redness for them).

The moral of the story: be prepared to try several moisturizers, even with strong recommendations for one or another, before you find one that works well for you. Drugstore brands sometimes come in trial size and generally aren't that expensive, but don't get the huge tub size right off. You're looking for:

1) Skin feels good the next morning, soft and smooth.
2) No breakouts or zits or redness the next day.
3) No grease on the surface of your skin half an hour after applying.

Once you find one you like, take note of the ingredients. Does it have silicone (anything ending in "-icone" usually is a silicone)? Certain oils? Herbal ingredients? Glycerine? I myself seem to do well with anything that emphasizes phospholipids. Look for ones with similar ingredients if the one you have isn't quite right or if it's discontinued.
posted by jaed at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2006

I have normal to dry skin (really dry during winter) and I swear by this stuff (Merino Lanolin Moisturizing Lotion). This is the only moiturizer I've ever used that didn't feel greasy to me.
posted by culberjo at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2006

Also check out Paula Beguin's reviews. I couldn't find anything I was satisfied with and so just started using her products, which I like a lot so far.
posted by evening at 1:58 PM on July 7, 2006

Has anyone tried any of the Philosophy products?

I use their Hope in a Jar moisturizer and I like it a lot, however it's a bit too much for the hot days and it doesn't have sunscreen in it, which I don't like, so I'm not completely in love with it (it did make a noticeable improvement to my skin's softness and appearance, though). I like the Aveeno products as well.
posted by biscotti at 3:13 PM on July 7, 2006

I've found that Kiehl's Blue Herbal Moisturiser is the only thing that doesn't turn my face into a greasy mess, but as jaed says, trial and error with different products is the only way to go.
posted by jack_mo at 4:22 PM on July 7, 2006

i wrote off face moisturizer for years because i have the oiliest skin imaginable until someone made me try l'oreal hydra-renewal. it's the best ever, and whenever i get close to running out i panic and restock asap. nothing else compares, including l'oreal's other moisturizers (i tried their active lotion, didn't like it at all).

seriously. try it.
posted by ifjuly at 3:48 AM on July 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

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