Every comprehensive skincare routine starts with a quality moisturizer. While it’s tempting to just Google “best non toxic facial moisturizer” and pick the one with the best reviews, that may not yield the best results.
That’s because everyone’s skin is different and reacts differently to products. What works wonders for one person might irritate another person’s skin. When looking for the best best face moisturizer for you, there are two most important considerations to factor in:
- your skin type and
- the quality and efficacy of the ingredients in the moisturizer
Realize that not all moisturizers are created equal.
So, if you are struggling with finding a great moisturizer for your face, this article will help you make the best decision for whatever your skin needs.
How to Choose a High-Quality Natural Facial Moisturizer
When it comes to skincare and beauty products, there is no one size fits all product. You will find products marketed as:
- All natural
- Made with organic ingredients or
- Certified organic by a 3rd party certifying body
Should you choose an organic facial moisturizer over one that is not? It all comes down to you and what your personal preferences are.
But knowing the terminology and what it means is good to know.
The Difference Between Organic Moisturizers and Natural Moisturizers
First off, let’s cover the difference between these two types of moisturizers, since people often get them confused for one another but they’re very different. In skincare, the term “organic” refers to how a product’s ingredients are farmed.
From the very beginning, organic products’ ingredients must be prepared and grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics, or parabens/sulfates.
Organic products are good for you and also good for the planet.
What constitutes a “natural” moisturizer is much broader; it refers to moisturizers that use plant, mineral, or animal products instead of relying heavily on lab-created chemicals.
The term “natural” isn’t regulated, so brands can market their products as natural without having to back up their claims.
Can products marketed as “natural” still be effective?
But you want to investigate what the product is made of to know whether the product lives up to the hype.
Now that we’ve gone over some terminology, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to find the best natural facial moisturizer for you.
Here are some things to consider before you buy your next natural face moisturizer.
Step 1: Ignore the Marketing Hype and Fancy Packaging
Some less-than-reputable companies plaster their labels with words like “natural” that, while nice, don’t necessarily mean much. Ignore how beautiful and “green” the packaging might look. And forget the fancy ads and paid promotions on Instagram.
Instead, scrutinize the product’s full ingredient list.
We’re not talking just the “key ingredients” or “active ingredients.”
The whole ingredient list. You want to know everything that goes into your moisturizer is working for your skin and not harming it.
Step 2: Consider Any Skin Conditions You’re Looking to Solve
Do you have any specific skin concerns you need your moisturizer to treat? If so, look into what ingredients can help (and hurt) that skin problem. That will help narrow down your search and make it easier to know what to look for.
Step 3: Understand Your Skin and What it Needs
Everyone’s different, and our skin is no exception. Getting to know your skin can take time and trial and error. But knowing your skin type is a great first step.
Each person actually has two skin types –
- their genetic skin type and
- their environmental skin type
They both play a role in how your skin behaves and what kind of products it needs. One study found that factors like your skin’s melanin levels are heavily impacted by genetics, but traits like sebum production and skin humidity are more impacted by environmental and lifestyle factors.
How is this useful?
It helps you understand your skin’s natural state of being.
From there, you can pinpoint whether there are any irritants your skin’s being exposed to that might be affecting it negatively.
Here are the basic skin types. Keep an eye out for traits that sound familiar to you.
People with oily skin tend to have enlarged pores that often clog with blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes. Their complexion might be shiny and thick or dull. This often fluctuates depending on the time of year. Oily skin can also be brought on or worsened by stress, puberty, heat, or humidity.
Dry skin tends to have almost invisible pores with more visible lines and a rough or dull complexion. People with dull skin may have red, irritated patches and skin may not have that youthful, bouncy glow – thirsty skin isn’t as elastic as hydrated skin.
If the dryness gets severe enough, skin becomes susceptible to cracking, peeling, itching, irritation, or inflammation. It can take on a rough, scaly appearance.
Some people have naturally dry skin, but environmental factors can also suck the moisture out of people’s skin. These factors include:
- Dry, harsh, or cold weather
- Long, hot baths or showers
- Certain medications
- Moisture-stripping ingredients in soaps and skincare products.
One of the most common skin types, combination skin is dry or normal in some areas and oily in others – especially on the T-zone (the nose, forehead, and chin). People with combination skin may have blackheads, shiny spots, and pores that look slightly larger than normal.
For best results, combination skin may need different care or products in different areas.
Think of normal skin as the default – not overly dry or overly oily. No major imperfections, small pores, and no major sensitivities. Normal skin has the bright, healthy complexion we expect from the average face.
While those are the basic types, don’t overlook these additional skin types as well. Factoring them in combination with your basic skin type, you’ll get a more well-rounded idea of what your skin needs and how to care for it.
If you’re prone to redness, itching, burning, and dryness, you might have sensitive skin. If you suspect your skin is more sensitive than average or if you have frequent flare-ups, work on figuring out what specific ingredients or conditions irritate your skin. That way, you’ll have an easier time avoiding them.
As we age, our skin loses flexibility and elasticity and it becomes more fragile, more fine, and more prone to developing wrinkles and discoloration, Our skin’s regenerative capabilities begin to waver and we become more susceptible to environmental factors. That means a good skincare regimen (and a quality facial moisturizer) becomes even more important at this stage.
Skin that’s prone to breakouts and blemishes is often tied to oily skin or dry skin that’s not being adequately taken care of. You may naturally be acne-prone, but knowing your skin’s other characteristics will help you identify any environmental or behavioral factors that are aggravating your skin further.
Step 4: Skincare Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune
While you shop for a potential new facial moisturizer, keep your budget in mind. If a product works well for you, will you be able to afford to keep buying it? If you’re on a tight budget, take heart.
The price of clean, effective skincare and beauty products is becoming more affordable. Brands like Cocokind, Garner’s Garden and Butter Me Up Organics offer high quality products at reasonable prices.
While there’s certainly some truth to the adage “you get what you pay for,” not all expensive moisturizers advertised as organic and natural are the most effective.
By being realistic about your budget, you’ll make it easier to find the best option at whatever price point you’re working with.
Step 5: Examine Your Values to Guide Your Moisturizer Selection
- 100% vegan
- Certified organic ingredients
- Essential oils-free
- SPF moisturizer
- Palm oil-free
- Beauty products third-party certification (MadeSafe, EWG, USDA Organic, Ecocert, Certified Vegan, etc.)
- Clean formulations that are safe and effective
- Ethical sourcing
- Reusable or recyclable materials for containers and packaging
There’s a whole world of ethical skincare out there. By identifying your values, you can narrow your search and feel confident in your decision.
Active Ingredients You Want in Your Natural Moisturizer
The best non toxic facial moisturizers are full of natural, nourishing ingredients like high-quality oils and extracts.
Most moisturizer ingredients can be classified into the following categories:
Humectants draw moisture into the skin. They’re a valuable asset for oily or combination skin. Glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera are all humectants.
Occlusives help the skin retain moisture by creating a barrier over the skin. They’re effective for repairing extremely dry or damaged skin. Beeswax, oils, and silicone are occlusives.
Emollients maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier. This is helpful for dry skin and aging skin with lots of fine lines or wrinkles. Shea butter is a very popular emollient.
Rejuvenators heal damage from stress, UV rays, and other factors. We put our skin through a lot, so it’s important to give it a little TLC in addition to replenishing its natural moisture. Vitamin C can be considered a rejuvenator, since it helps repair and brighten skin.
Here’s a list of the good stuff you want to see on the ingredient list in a natural face cream:
Often paired with vitamin C to boost absorption, hyaluronic acid is used to reverse or stop signs of aging by helping with hydration and firmness. It’s great for wrinkled skin.
This lightweight plant oil can effectively treat dry skin without the greasiness or heaviness of some other oils.
Moroccan Argan Oil
Made from argan trees, this plant oil is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. However, it can be heavy and greasy in large quantities. It’s best reserved for very dry skin or used sparingly to get the benefits without the pitfalls.
A popular moisturizer for the whole body, this natural emollient delivers deep moisturization.
Hydrating squalene boosts collagen production thanks to its high antioxidant content. This makes it effective for fighting skin damage and signs of aging.
Bakuchiol has been touted as a plant-based retinol alternative. Like retinol, this plant extract is excellent for its anti-aging properties.
Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil
This oil from the pulp of the sea buckthorn berry is rich in antioxidants, making it moisturizing and protective for the skin.
Licorice root is an anti-inflammatory that’s often used to lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
Ceramides are within a class of fatty acids called lipids naturally found in skill cells. Most of your epidermis is naturally made of ceramides. As we age, skin loses some of its ability to produce fatty acids. Replenishing them via a moisturizer can help soothe irritated, dry skin and visibly aging skin.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Niacinamide is a powerful anti-aging ingredient that works by increasing ceramide synthesis. It can also fade brown spots and hyperpigmentation. If you struggle with frequent breakouts, rosacea, or atopic dermatitis, consider choosing a moisturizer with niacinamide – it can also help with those conditions.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea is well-known for its dense antioxidant content, and green tea extract is no exception. This helps protect the skin against environmental stressors like free radicals. It’s also one of the few ingredients on this list that most people instantly recognize, which can help set some people at ease who are wary of unfamiliar chemicals in their skincare products.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip seed oil is suitable for all skin types, which is fortunate because it affords such a wealth of benefits. It brightens and balances the tone of the skin, heals blemishes, reduces acne over time, helps prevent signs of aging, promotes skin elasticity, and supports collagen production.
Consider moisturizers you’ve used in the past and check their ingredients list. What worked for you? What didn’t? This will help you narrow your search earlier, rather than starting from scratch.
Anatomy of a Great Moisturizer
For an example of what a great moisturizer looks like, we’re taking a look at the Annmarie Rejuvenating Facial Oil.
In this in-depth overview, we’ll go over what makes this moisturizer so effective.
This should give you an idea of how to vet products on your own.
Let’s get started!
Annmarie Skin Care Rejuvenating Facial Oil
This luxe facial oil is suitable for all skin types, including dry and sensitive skin. With an ingredients list packed full of natural oils, this formula means business.
|Herb-infused oil [Simmondsia chinensis] (jojoba) seed oil||This lightweight plant oil treats dry skin without greasiness or heaviness, making it the perfect main ingredient for a versatile facial oil.|
|Clitoria ternatea (blue butterfly pea) flower extract||With a high concentration of polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants, this facial oil’s hallmark ingredient repairs damage and protects the skin.|
|Sclerocarya birrea (marula) seed oil||Marula seed oil imparts light moisturizing properties along with a delightful fruity, floral scent.|
|Moringa oleifera (moringa) seed oil||Moringa seed oil’s high oleic acid content makes it ideal for dry and mature skin types.|
|Adansonia digitata (baobab) seed oil||Packed full of skin-loving omega-3 fatty acids, baobab seed oil prevents moisture loss and improves the skin’s natural texture and elasticity.|
|Carapa guianensis (andiroba) seed oil||Andiroba seed oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help soothe and ease irritated, sensitive skin.|
|Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) seed oil||Harvested from the tamanu nut tree, this seed oil fights bacteria that cause acne, so it moisturizes while preventing your next breakout. It’s also used to fade acne scars faster than usual.|
|Schinziophyton rautanenii (mongongo) kernel oil||Mongongo kernel oil’s high linoleic acid and magnesium content bring out your skin’s natural glow.|
|Rubus idaeus (raspberry) seed oil||In addition to providing some UV protection (still wear sunscreen, though!), raspberry seed oil encourages skin cell regeneration. In time, this helps soothe irritation and inflammation.|
|Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry CO2) fruit extract||Made from the pulp of the sea buckthorn berry, this oil is both moisturizing and skin-protecting. It’s also packed full of antioxidants, which repair damage and promote a healthy glow.|
|Nigella sativa (black cumin) seed oil||Black cumin seed oil clears clogged pores while helping fade hyperpigmentation and softening fine lines and wrinkles from the aging process.|
|Copaifera officinalis (copaiba) resin oil||Copaiba resin oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties promote rapid healing and rejuvenation, supporting your skin’s natural healing processes to stay glowing and healthy.|
|Tanacetum annuum (blue tansy) flower oil||Aside from sounding absolutely adorable, blue tansy flower oil calms and revitalizes irritated skin, leaving it soothed.|
|Helichrysum italicum (immortelle/life everlasting) flower oil||This gentle flower oil is ideal for sensitive skin. It adds moisture and delivers antioxidants to the skin for damage repair and a healthy glow.|
|Citrus aurantium (neroli) flower oil||Derived from oranges, neroli flower oil reduces scars and discoloration from age spots and acne. It’s also safe for sensitive skin, so anyone can benefit from it without fear.|
Because the Annmarie Skin Care Rejuvenating Facial Oil has a multi-faceted array of oils in its formula, you can easily see the benefits it offers. Also note that none of these ingredients are a waste of space or are simply filler, which is exactly what you want.
Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Your Moisturizer and Skincare Products
Here’s what you never want to see in your natural products:
- Petroleum (mineral oils, paraffin, petrolatum, white oil)
- Fragrance (Parfum)
- Propylene and Butylene Glycol (PEG) [Dihydroxypropane, Propanediol, Methyl Glycol, Trimethyl Glycol, Butanediol, Dihydroxybutane]
- BHA and BHT (Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
- Synthetic dyes
- Parabens (Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isopropylparaben)
- Formaldehyde (DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium-15, Bronopol, 5-Bromo-5-ni- to-1,3-dioxane and Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate)
- FD&C colorants and dyes
- Phenoxyethanol (ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, 2-Phenoxyethanol, phenoxyethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether)
Ingredients like these are incredibly common in facial moisturizers, which is exactly why you want to check every ingredient in the moisturizers you’re considering buying.
Types of Facial Moisturizers
Now that we know what natural ingredients to look for, let’s take a look at the different types of moisturizers available on the market.
These are single oils in their pure form, like argan or jojoba oil. Each specific oil offers its own moisturizing and skincare benefits, from fatty acids and vitamins to antioxidants. Facial oils also mimic the skin’s natural sebum production, making them ideal for combination or oily skin. They can be applied before another moisturizing cream or balm, or mixed directly into other skincare products and applied at the same time.
Oil blends behave similarly to straight oils. But since you’re purchasing a blend, you reap the benefits of multiple oils’ skincare properties.
Balms are solid oils that melt into a liquid on your skin. Unlike creams, they generally don’t contain any water. Because they’re so potent, a little product goes a long way.
Balms are excellent for people with very dry, cracked skin or who live in cold, dry climates. Depending on the balm, they may be too moisturizing and heavy for other skin types.
Creams moisturize while protecting your skin from damaging environmental factors. If you layer a cream on top of a facial oil, the cream can also help seal in the oil for better absorption. Keep in mind that if you have a balm that you love already, you most likely won’t need a cream (and vice versa).
Lotions tend to have light, creamy consistencies that offer less heavy-duty moisture than balms and creams. Depending on the formula, a lotion can be excellent for oily or combination skin.
Gel creams tend to have oil-free formulas designed to replenish skin’s moisture without that heavy, greasy feeling. This makes them ideal for oily skin.
Keep in mind that some of this comes down to preference. If a multi-step skincare routine feels luxurious for you, consider using an oil and a regular moisturizer. If you prefer a more straightforward approach, look for a single moisturizer that can do it all.
Best Non toxic Facial Moisturizer Recommendations
Now that you understand what you need from your moisturizer, here are some of the best natural facial moisturizers from ethical and trusted beauty brands that stand behind their products.
Find one in your price range that’s formulated for your skin type and go from there.
This lightweight everyday facial moisturizer is packed full of seaweed, shea butter, and omega fatty acids to protect the skin against environmental pollutants and irritants. It’s perfect for layering under sunscreen or makeup. The lightweight formula is ideal for normal or combination skin types.
Seabiotic® Water Cream – This is a brand new moisturizer from Osea Malibu. It is a nutrient-rich, weightless water cream that’s clinically proven to deliver up to 72 hours of deep hydration.
The Seabiotic® Water Cream is formulated for all skin types and it’s free of essential oils and fragrance.
The star ingredients are:
- Seaweed and
- a microbiome-friendly Pre + Probiotic (the probiotic in this formula is non-viable. This means it is not a live organism).
This breakthrough formula will leave your skin soft with a silky, smooth finish.
This daily moisturizer from Alpyn Beauty proves a single product can deliver anti-aging properties without skimping on other benefits. Its well-balanced formula packs in ingredients with a wide range of skin benefits. Hyaluronic acid and squalane pack in moisture while bakuchiol provides gentle, plant-derived vitamin A for fine lines and wrinkles.
Ceramides protect the natural skin barrier and vitamin C brightens the overall complexion.
The moisturizer goes on velvety and absorbs, leaving a matte finish ideal for wearing under makeup. It’s also made completely free of parabens, palm ingredients, sulfates, synthetic dyes, colors, or fragrances, and a whole host of other ingredients you want to avoid putting on your skin every day. The packaging is even recyclable!
Suitable for all skin types, this is a fantastic option if you want to address a handful of skincare concerns while adhering to a lot of values in your skincare routine.
This well-rounded blend starts with jojoba oil infused with antioxidant-rich butterfly pea flowers. Then Annmarie Skin Care packs in a whole host of other beneficial oils to incorporate anti-aging, soothing, and rejuvenating properties. Blue tansy and helichrysum oils offer a touch of luxury and glow.
You can use this oil on its own or paired with a cream, balm, or lotion. Thanks to its impressively well-rounded formula, it’s suitable for all skin types, including dry and sensitive skin.
This avant-garde cream incorporates classic skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vegan collagen, and squalane with a healthy dose of unexpected ingredients as well – whole-plant hemp extract, butterfly ginger extract, turmeric, and ashwagandha, to be specific. These work in tandem to deliver a luminous, healthy glow.
The formula is also hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, and Certified Plastic Neutral, making it an easy choice for those looking for a nontoxic facial moisturizer they can be proud to use.
This rich cream manages to avoid being greasy. But since it’s quite rich, it’s best for those with skin that’s on the drier side. It’s also a good option for those with sensitive skin, since CBD tends to soothe irritation.
The Malu day cream combines broad-spectrum sun protection, modern skincare ingredients, and traditional Hawaiian remedies like the antioxidant noni and nourishing laukahi. The inclusion of jasmine oil leaves a luxurious, sensual scent without artificial fragrances. And the cream doesn’t leave a white tint on the skin, which is ideal for darker-skinned users. Even better? Every ingredient is reef-safe.
This option is best suited for normal skin and aging skin.
This multitasker blends 9 oils with a host of plant extracts to offer an extra boost of hydration for supple, dewy skin. Bakuchiol, cacay (for vitamin A), and amla (for vitamin C) combine to smooth, soften, and replenish the skin. Schisandra firms skin texture while squalane moisturizes deeply and thoroughly. This pick is best suited for normal or dry skin.
A hydrating blend of shea butter and coconut oil lends a richness to this balm. Rosehip seed oil provides essential fatty acids and organic argan oil prevents wrinkles. Camellia oil, beeswax, frankincense, rose, and ylang ylang provide additional benefits, round out the formula, and provide an irresistible scent.
Even though this balm is made with gentle, natural ingredients, it may be too harsh for extremely sensitive skin or people who prefer to avoid skincare products with noticeable smells. And since it’s a balm, it might not be the right choice for oily or normal skin. But those with dry or combination skin will benefit from the robust moisturizing formula.
This waterless balm is designed for use all over the body – anywhere your skin needs a serious moisture boost. Because the highly concentrated formula is so robust, it’s better for spot-treating dry spots or for very dry skin, rather than applying to your entire face every day.
Shea butter and beeswax protect the skin and seal in moisture. Chia, apricot, and sunflower oil provide a spectrum of nutrients. And a touch of orange blossom essential oil adds a delightful, invigorating scent.
A combination of cannabis sativa seed oil and safflower, tea tree, and lavender oils combine into a formula that won’t clog your pores, but will reduce an oily complexion over time. Daily use helps your skin return to its natural balance of oil and sebum production. And it comes in 4 different scents: original (with tea tree, lavender, and peppermint), citrus, ginger clove, and lavender.
This product was formulated with dull, dry skin in mind. But it’s suitable for all skin types.
If you’re looking for a robust, eclectic blend to cover all your bases, this moisturizer from Butter Me Up Organics should be at the top of your list.
Aloe vera hydrates and soothes. Organic rosehip seed oil encourages skin’s natural repairing and restorative processes. Grapeseed oil, calendula, and olive oil gently hydrate. Rich coconut oil’s natural antibacterial and antifungal properties soothe irritated or acne-prone skin. Vitamin E encourages rapid healing and packs in even more moisture.
Chamomile and jojoba hydrate and relax the skin.
Together, green tea extract and gotu kola extract repair and revitalize the skin, leaving it glowing and dewy.
The end product contains no added fragrances, but has a lovely natural scent (they say it smells like cookies, which we’re certainly not mad about).
And you don’t have to sacrifice any of your principles to reap the benefits of this formula. Butter Me Up Organics’ line is cruelty-free, all-natural, and organic and contains no sulfates, phthalates, parabens, or synthetic dyes or fragrances. In fact, this moisturizer is safe to eat (though we don’t recommend it).
The combination of healing ingredients is ideal for dry or sensitive skin dealing with a lot of irritation or inflammation – including from conditions like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, or acne.
This light, yet nourishing moisturizer actively clears up acne as it develops, making it ideal for acne-prone skin. Its moderate richness level is suitable for normal, sensitive, or aging skin.
The formula includes aloe vera, avocado oil, sea buckthorn oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and more, for a well-rounded product that will leave skin feeling happy and soothed.
When you’re looking for a heavier night cream, either to battle winter skin or for dry skin year-round, this moisturizer is both gentle and effective. It’s suitable for all ages and is even safe for acne-prone skin. The formula includes avocado, sweet almond, and rosehip seed oils along with beeswax and green tea extract.
This lightweight formula is ideal for normal skin that doesn’t need a heavy layer of moisture. Celery superseed complex, Tsubaki seed oil, and squalane improve skin’s tone, texture, and firmness.
For sensitive, irritated skin needing a heavy dose of moisture that will soothe discomfort and tightness, look no further. A combination of unrefined shea butter, apricot kernel oil, pomegranate seed oil, rosehip seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, beeswax, calendula-infused olive oil, and more provide a broad spectrum of nutrients and protection for troubled skin.
This formula is rich and thick, so a little goes a long way. While ideal for dry, irritated skin, it may be too heavy for normal skin. Start slow and work your way up.
This heavy-duty cream is safe for all skin types, but was specially formulated with super-dry skin in mind. If you give it a try on normal or oily skin, start with just a small amount and see how your skin responds.
Cucumber extract, mango butter, sunflower seed oil, and an adaptogenic blend of mushroom extracts provide moisture while fading dark spots from acne scarring and hyperpigmentation. After each application, you’ll notice your skin brightening and looking youthful and dewy.
Use it, Test it And See What Works For You
Everyone’s skin is different, so even after you do all your homework and narrow your options down to a few fantastic natural or organic face moisturizers, you still won’t know if it’s the right choice for you until you try it.
Start with the option you think will be best and try it for at least 3 months to let the benefits fully set in. Skincare takes time to work, so give it a good shot before you move on to the next option. Unless, of course, you have a bad reaction to the moisturizer. In that case, stop taking it right away.
Also keep in mind that your skin changes throughout your life. Aging, lifestyle factors, and seasonal weather will all affect how your skin behaves and how it reacts to your skincare routine. Be patient with the changes and take note of how your skin reacts to your new moisturizer over time.
If you’re diligent, finding the best natural face moisturizer is a tricky process that involves a lot of research, comparison shopping, and self-reflection. But knowing your skin and armed with the information presented in this article will help you find a product you will love and that also works for you.