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Best face cream 2024: Top formulas for all skin types and concerns

Keep skin hydrated, healthy and protected with the best face creams for all skin types

The best face cream will be a powerhouse in any skincare routine. Whether you’re a firm follower of a 10-step process, or adopt a pared-back morning and evening routine, a face cream will be a non-negotiable in both.

At its most basic, a face cream will soften and moisturise the skin. Over time, however, it can help to tackle dryness, irritation, flakiness, and repair your skin’s barrier. A strong skin barrier will ensure that your skin is protected from free radicals and environmental stressors.

As such, the best face cream is a must-have in your skincare arsenal, and choosing a formula that’s best suited to your particular skin type will deliver superb results. We’ve tested a whole host of face creams, for dry, oily, combination skin and more, listing only the very best below.

And if you need more information on how to choose the best face cream for you, our helpful buying guide below runs through the key questions to consider to ensure you get the best face cream for your skin type. Click here to jump to our buying guide.

best face cream olay spf30

MOST POPULAR: Olay Collagen Peptide24 Day cream SPF 30

Olay’s daytime face cream is recommended for all skin types and ages. Alongside other deeply hydrating and moisturising ingredients, it contains peptides and collagen to help revitalise skin. It also has SPF 30, combining moisturiser and SPF into one simple step – it’s no wonder it’s the top choice for our readers.

Price when reviewed: £38 Check price at Boots

How we test face cream

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. To test the face creams we review, we use them on multiple skin types, trying out formulas of various consistencies, and noting any improvements to the quality of the skin following regular use. Where face creams are recommended for a particular skin type or use scenario, we test them appropriately to ensure we make an accurate recommendation.

When testing, we follow the instructions and evaluate the overall quality of the cream, the initial feel against the skin, and the effects of regular use over the longer term. We also note how well each product helps to repair the skin. Finally, we confirm the quantity of the product.

READ NEXT: Best face oil

The best face cream to buy in 2024

1. Olay Collagen Peptide24 Day Face Cream With SPF 30: The best overall face cream

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at Boots

Collagen is a buzzword in the skincare industry. It’s a type of protein that our body produces naturally, but it does decline as we get older. To support your complexion as you age, a formula with collagen that can actually permeate the skin is a smart move, such as Olay’s daytime face cream. After two weeks of consistent use, this face cream from Olay is built to show a marked improvement in your skin. Though it’s designed for mature skin, it’s great for younger faces too as it helps to prevent signs of ageing.

Tired, dull and dry skin will find relief through this cream that restores dewiness with the help of collagen peptides and vitamin B3. Not only that, but it protects your face from UV rays as well. With its SPF 30, you can rely on this cream as a great daily sunscreen. Just be sure to reapply or use a strong waterproof formula if you’re spending time in the water or an extended period of time out in the sun.

Key details – Best for: Sun protection and anti-ageing; Featured ingredients: Collagen peptides and B3; Format: Cream

Check price at Boots

2. Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream: The best face cream for dry skin

Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at Cult Beauty

Whilst it’s nearly impossible to find a face cream that works wonders for all skin types, we can personally attest that Weleda’s Skin Food comes pretty close. Its thick lotion glides onto skin and defeats the annoying – and oftentimes painful – effects that come with dryness, like flaking and tightness. It’s a perfect pick for winter weather and extremely dry skin types will find that it’s really suitable year round.

If the thick moisturiser is a bit too much for warmer months or oilier skin types, the brand has a light version that’s equally as effective. Fans of more natural and organic formulas will appreciate the composition of this particular face cream that can wipe out dehydration and irritation. What’s more, this isn’t just formulated for your face. Hands, feet and the rest of your body will benefit from its ingredients. Regardless, it’s still gentle (yet potent) enough to work as purely a facial moisturiser.

Key details – Best for: Excessively dry skin and all skin types; Featured ingredients: Chamomile, pansy, and calendula; Format: Thick cream

Check price at Cult Beauty

3. Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream: The best gel cream

Price when reviewed: £7 | Check price at Boots

If your heart is set on a lighter weight consistency, it’s worth opting for a gel cream. Though these delicate formulas can sometimes be known to leave a greasy or sticky residue, they’re still reliable picks for deeply hydrating your skin, at least when it comes to Simple’s Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream. The budget-friendly formula combats dryness caused by a wide range of factors, including pollution and stress, without leaving your complexion with too much moisture or oil.

It’s primarily concocted for dry skin, but sensitive skin types shouldn’t have any problems using it either as it’s free from strong, potentially irritating chemicals. As mentioned, it doesn’t have a heavy texture, so it perfectly serves the purpose of a good day cream, infusing the skin with plant extracts and minerals thus leading to supple and soft results. For something slightly thicker, there is even a night cream version.

Key details – Best for: Super dry skin; Featured ingredient: Plant probiotics; Format: Gel-cream combo

Check price at Boots

4. Drunk Elephant Lala Reto Whipped Cream: The best high-end face cream

Price when reviewed: £52 | Check price at Cult Beauty

Comfortable spending a little more on your face cream? Drunk Elephant is a fan-favourite brand for a reason and though it sits at a higher price than others, it pays off. Most of us love the feeling of a thick face cream but don’t enjoy anything that leaves our complexions feeling excessively greasy. The brand has found the perfect happy medium. The whipped cream feels lightweight in the hand and on the face but provides the same effects of a good thick facial moisturiser.

Inside the formula is a hearty mix of ingredients that are all superstars in their own ways. There are six oils featured, including hydrating marula oil, as well as vitamin C and fatty acids for soothing, nourishing and restoring the dewy, glowy skin that may have been hiding for some time.

Key details – Best for: Dull, dehydrated skin; Featured ingredient: Ceramides and a combination of oils; Format: Light, whipped cream

Check price at Cult Beauty

5. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: The best reparative face cream

Price when reviewed: £16 | Check price at LookFantastic

Your complexion can go through phases and some days are better than others. For the times when you need major relief and aren’t sure how to troubleshoot irritated, upset skin, First Aid Beauty is a good starting place. It can be tough finding a cream that won’t worsen skincare issues (including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis), but this one fits the bill. It’s suitable for sensitive, acne-prone and dry skin types, helping to repair your skin’s barrier and get it back to where it once was.

Though it provides a burst of immediate moisture, it fortunately won’t cause greasy, oily residues or feel heavy on your face. It has a nice lineup of ingredients, including shea butter and ceramides, that are all destined for soothing and bringing instant relief. Depending on your skin concerns and usual behaviour, this can double as a day and night cream and be applied as often as your complexion needs.

Key details – Best for: Skin in need of tender loving care; Featured ingredients: Shea butter, eucalyptus, oatmeal and ceramides; Format: Cream

Check price at LookFantastic

6. Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Refining Moisture Cream Complex: The best anti-ageing face cream

Price when reviewed: £37 | Check price at Boots

There is absolutely nothing wrong with fine lines and wrinkles. Ageing is normal and part of life, but if you’re still interested in lessening the effects, an anti-ageing face cream is likely on your list. Elizabeth Arden’s Visible Difference Refining Moisture Cream Complex makes the cut because it’s not only ideal for mature skin types looking to smooth their texture (which, according to tests it can do), but it can soothe, tone, moisturise and soften skin too.

This cream has no trouble serving as a thick barrier for keeping good ingredients in and protecting your skin both for day and nighttime use. Because of its multitasking abilities it easily becomes a long-standing favourite on bathroom counters. Its price is slightly higher than your average drugstore face cream, but it’s relatively budget-friendly for an anti-ageing moisturiser. It does have a light fragrance, which may be pleasant for some but possibly irritating for extra sensitive skin types.

Key details – Best for: Mature skin; Top feature: Forms occlusive barrier; Format: Cream

Check price at Boots

7. Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Day Cream: Best replenishing face cream

Price when reviewed: £62 | Check price at Jurliquebest face cream Jurlique

If your skin is quite dry, feels tight in the morning, or just needs a quick pick-me-up, then the Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Day Cream is an excellent choice. Thick in texture, the cream glides onto the skin and, after a few minutes, leaves it feeling hydrated, comfortable and protected. This comfortable feeling lasts all day, making this cream a real skin saviour in the winter months when cold air can strip the skin of its moisture.

Star ingredients include calendula for soothing irritation, marshmallow root extract to hydrate and soften and antioxidant Pansy extract for protecting against free radicals and environmental stressors that can contribute to premature ageing.

Though listed as a day cream, it’s suitable for use day and night, which makes it ideal for those who prefer to keep their routine simple. Furthermore, while the £62 price tag is expensive, this is for a generous 125ml – more than double the size of most creams in this roundup, and making it excellent value for money.

Key details – Best for: Dry, dehydrated skin; Featured ingredients: Calendula, marshmallow root extract, Pansy extract; Format: Cream

8. Lumene Nordic C [Valo] Overnight Bright Sleeping Cream: The best night face cream

Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at LookFantastic

Your day cream is squared away, but what about the formula you lather on at night? Skin in need of extra hydration will find this cream from Lumene extremely supportive. Best for evening use, the ingredient list is chock-full of well-known components like hyaluronic acid, as well as more unique bits like cloudberry seed extract. It also features the classic fan-favourite vitamin C. Altogether, it heals your face overnight and aims to heal and nourish your skin’s barrier.

Vitamin C is renowned for its ability to break you out of dullness spells and help with skin tone and appearance. It promotes radiant, dewy skin and will work hard to contribute to a smoother, healthier-looking complexion while you sleep. Despite its thicker consistency, many shoppers with oily and acne-prone skin types were able to handle it just fine though everybody is different—just test to see what’s best for you.

Key details – Best for: Overnight repairs and dry skin; Featured ingredient: Vitamin C, cloudberry seed extract, hyaluronic acid and Arctic spring water; Format: Thick cream

Check price at LookFantastic

How to choose the best face cream for you

Here are a few things to think about prior to purchasing a new face cream.

What types of face cream are available?

With the numerous options out there, a better question would be what kind of face creams aren’t available. Luckily, there are so many different formulas that all serve different skincare needs, including relieving dryness, minimising the appearance of fine lines or improving your skin’s texture.

The word “cream” can be deceiving, too. Face creams are available in a wide range of formats, from bouncy gels to liquefied lotions. Though face creams vary in what they’re mainly designed for, at the end of the day they all aim to serve a similar purpose: hydrating your skin.

READ NEXT: Best face serums

What features should I look for in a good face cream?

Don’t be discouraged by a bad face cream experience or the overwhelming number of options available. Start with these main features and you’ll be on your way to finding a face cream that works perfectly for your complexion and lifestyle. We highlight each feature listed here in our short product reviews below.

Ingredients: It’s important to pay attention to what’s inside of the face cream you’re considering. Every formula varies and you may want to seek out specific ingredients depending on what you’d like your face cream to do. Perhaps you want a dewier complexion or you’d like to target dryness. Regardless, research what components are best for helping you reach your skincare goals. Be cautious of any allergies you have to any ingredients too and avoid them.

Skin types: Your skin type will largely influence what kind of face cream will be good for you. Oily skin types still need to be moisturised, but the best face creams for those complexions will be different from the face cream formulas suitable for dry and combination skin.

Concerns: Aside from your skin type, it’s smart to think about the skin concerns you typically face. If you’re looking to treat spots and acne, opt for a face cream that has ingredients that will support your skin health rather than exacerbate the issue. Mature skin will also have different needs, as will anyone with eczema, rosacea or psoriasis.

Time: Though it’s not as important as the rest, the time of day you need the face cream will also influence the best type of format and formulation. Night creams tend to be thicker than ones used during the day.

Discover a wide range of quality face creams that will complete your skincare routine and encourage hydrated and healthy skin.

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