The Best Drugstore Facial Moisturizers Under $20

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These great moisturizers won't break your bank

The best drugstore moisturizers under $20. Amazon

A great moisturizer should be a staple in every woman's closet. The good news is you don't need to spend a lot of money on a decent one. Even the best dermatologists recommend basic moisturizers you can find in the average drugstore. 

I've researched the very best drugstore moisturizers for the face and listed them here for you. You'll find many brands you know well on the list: Olay, Neutrogena, CeraVe, Eucerin. These are all respected brands when it comes to skincare.

Here's what I look for in choosing my "best list":

  • Moisturizers should contain something beneficial: either antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C or E, hyaluronic acid which helps skin soak up the moisturizing properties, petrolatum (Vaseline) that protects skin from losing moisture or retinol which helps cell turnover. 
  • Fragrance-free is a must for anyone with skin sensitivities. 
  • Day-time moisturizers are really just sunscreens. They contains some amount of SPF, but anything under 30 is not enough for your face. Supplement with a sunscreen of SPF or higher. 
  • Anti-aging moisturizers can be beneficial for women of all ages. They are preventative for those in their 20s and restorative to those in their 60s and up. 

Every moisturizer in this slideshow has passed with high marks the exacting standards of the best makeup artists, beauty editors and dermatologists in the business.

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CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion AM, SPF 30

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion. Amazon

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This is a great day-time moisturizer that includes enough SPF you won't have to double-up. There are many great things about this moisturizer: it's fragrance-free making it a good choice for anyone with sensitive skin, it has a lightweight texture and it has impressive additions including ceramides, niacinamide (an antioxidant vitamin B that is great for aging skin) and hyaluronic acid. 

What's more: it's the right kind of SPF. This one contains the mineral sunscreen zinc oxide, which is recommended for the broadest protection against UVA rays.  

Do not use a moisturizer with sunscreen at night. Opt for one without SPF, which can clog pores. Find out why in Can I Use a Moisturizer With SPF at Night?

Great for: aging, sensitive, slightly dry, slightly oily, normal and combination skin. 

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CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion PM

CeraVe PM. Amazon

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This PM version of CeraVe's very popular daytime moisturizer with SPF is wonderful for all the same reasons (except it doesn't contain SPF).

Contains ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid -- all of which do wonderful work to your skin as you sleep. 

Great for: aging, sensitive, slightly dry, slightly oily, normal and combination skin. 

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Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Night

Neutrogena Night Anti-Wrinkle Cream. Amazon

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Neutrogena is a well-respected drugstore brand and this is a great bet for a night-time moisturizer. It's fragrance-free and contains retinol, which is the very best anti-aging ingredient on the market today. It also contains green tea, 2 types of Vitamin E so packs a great punch for such an affordable drugstore cream. 

Best for normal to dry skin 

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Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Face Moisturizer

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. Amazon

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Hyaluronic acid is one of the hottest skincare ingredients on the market today. Wonderful for boosting your skin's ability to retain moisture, hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient for anyone with dry skin. 

A huge favorite among users, this moisturizer is an ultra-rich formula. It comes in fragrance and fragrance-free. If you have any skin sensitivities, opt for the fragrance-free version. 

The only con I've found is with the packaging. Any product with as many antioxidants as this one should not be in a jar form. Antioxidants need to be protected. Pumps are always better. 

Great for aging, dry and combination skin. 

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Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture. Amazon

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This is a very popular moisturizer for people with sensitive skin because it goes on light, doesn't have fragrances and leaves skin feeling wonderful. 

It gets great reviews online. 

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Eucerin Daily Protection SPF 30

Eucerin-Daily-Protection-SPF-30.png
Eucerin Daily Protection SPF 30. Eucerin

Buy it online from Amazon.com.

This is a dermatologist favorite and it is a great sunscreen. In fact, because it contains few bells and whistles, I would call this a "moisturizing sunscreen" and not a moisturizer. Why? It contains the mineral sunscreen ingredients needed to protect your face from the sun's harshest rays, but unlike many moisturizers, it contains no wonderful antioxidants. 

One con is that the zinc oxide will leave your skin a white-ish pale until it soaks in completely. 

Great for: All skin types

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Embryolisse Lait Cream Concentrate

lait-creme-concentrate.jpg

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Beloved by so many of what I call "Women in the Know," this facial moisturizer is a cult favorite among women who have amazing skin and great style sense. It's known as a "miracle cream" because it works to moisturize skin by day and night, but also acts as a makeup remover, can be used on the hands and even on baby's skin.

Best for dry, dehydrated skin. 

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Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Daily Moisturizer SPF 15

Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer. Amazon

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I include this moisturizer on my list because it gets very good reviews on all the sites. That said, there are many cons here: it contains fragrance, which is not good for anyone with sensitivities, the SPF is not enough to be used on its own and it contains no beneficial antioxidants. 

But if you are looking for a moisturizer that's universally beloved and is inexpensive, this is a good bet. 

Best for normal to combination skin. 

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Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer. Amazon

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This is a good choice for day-time use and because of its light texture it's wonderful under makeup. But SPF 15 is not enough to protect your face. You'll need to add a sunscreen to this. 

Best for sensitive, combination and normal skin. 

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CeraVe Healing Ointment

CeraVe Healing Ointment. Amazon

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This is the very best moisturizer for dry, cracked skin that needs to heal. It's great for anyone spending a lot of time outside in the winter skiing or just getting hit in the face with harsh snow, rain or hail. 

There are so many protective emollients in this product that it may feel greasy. This is why I recommend using it on your driest areas -- the hands, elbows, nose, lips and feet. 

Best for super dry skin that needs to heal.

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Olay Total Effects 7 in One, Anti-Aging Moisturizer With SPF 30

Olay Total Effects. Amazon

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This is a pretty decent daily moisturizer for people with combination, dry and normal skin. It's not as moisturizing as other brands, which means it won't feel super heavy or greasy. It goes on light making it perfect for use under makeup and it contains the right amount of SPF. 

It contains some nice additions including vitamin E, panthenol and niacinamide. It does contain fragrance, so stay away if you have skin sensitivities.