A good moisturiser is a skincare staple. Second only to thoroughly cleaning the skin with a great cleanser, a moisturising cream is the most important step in your routine to ensure you're flooding the skin with hydration and vital antioxidants. Plus, a good one will act as the final step in protecting your skin against environmental aggressors during the day and will help your skin cells recharge and rejuvenate overnight.
The problem with many moisturisers, however, is that they can be the most expensive element of a good skincare routine. With clever active ingredients and luxe textures, you can expect to pay a little more for your final step, but that doesn't mean you should have to.
There are now some seriously amazing dupes out there from more affordable brands—all of which offer a high-quality product without the enormous price tag.
La Mer's classic moisturiser is a beauty icon and always will be, but it's definitely on the pricier end of the scale. If it's a super-rich, comforting cream you're after, this Avène option will be for you. Incredibly gentle and yet brilliantly hydrating, it's a great cream for under £20.
Every skincare routine craves vitamin C—the ultimate antioxidant for brightening and protecting skin from pollution. The Origins cream has a lovely light gel texture that isn't too pricey. But if you're looking to keep the price down, The Body Shop's option is also brilliant.
If you suffer from blemishes and breakouts, you still need to moisturise. However, finding a suitable formula can be a challenge. Dr Barbara Sturm's clarifying cream aims to control excess oil and moisturise without clogging pores. If you don't have the extra cash to spend, La Roche Posay's Effaclar Duo + is also an iconic lightweight lotion for acne.
Another ingredient every skincare routine benefits from is hyaluronic acid. While there are some amazing higher-end formulas out there (such as this one by Dr Dennis Gross), you don't have to pay an arm and a leg to get cushiony soft, hydrated skin. See, for example, Neutrogena's version, which floods skin with moisture.
Skin that needs a little TLC would benefit from a targeted moisturiser that repairs and protects. Both Tata Harper's Repairative Moisturiser and Weleda's Skin Food Light offer this in clean formulas, but the latter is friendlier in price.
Oily skin still craves moisture but in the form of a super-lightweight texture. Opt for a gel moisturiser that will hydrate yet never feel heavy, such as Clinique's Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly or the slightly more affordable Bioderma Hydrabio Gel Cream.