11 Face Moisturisers that Will Make You Glow — All For Under $50
Great budget moisturisers often feel like a beauty unicorn. It’s not that there aren’t many (as this list will show you), it’s that the environments you find a great budget moisturiser in are often tricky to navigate. Whether you’re hunting in a supermarket, pharmacy, or K-Beauty retailer, overcrowded shelves, an absence of testers and no eager sales assistants can make it hard to distinguish between your next holy grail humectant and a skin reaction waiting to happen.
So, to help you out, we’ve unearthed some hidden gems in the budget moisturiser category and rounded up our favourites.
Weleda, Skin Food
Weleda, Skin Food ($27) is a rich salve frequently found in the kits of backstage makeup artists. The 100% natural balm gives a La Mer-worthy glow, without leaving a La Mer-worthy dent in your wallet. Formulated with chamomile, sweet almond oil, rosemary, glycerine and amino acids this super nourishing barrier repair product also makes a wonderful primer for dryer skin types. Bonus? It can be tapped on cheekbones over makeup for a fresh glow in a pinch.
Viviology, Ceramide Moisturiser
A smart, soothing moisturiser that will dial down inflammation and nip irritation in the bud overnight, for under $50? We didn’t believe it either, until we met this. Viviology, Ceramide Moisturiser ($45) is brought to you by dermal therapist and skin-svengali James Vivian. Containing squalane, polyglutamic acid, and ceramides, this plush hydrating cream makes for a perfect night cream, pre-makeup prep product, or day cream for dryer skin types. This is a lush for less must-try.
Cerave, Moisturising Cream
A few of the moisturising creams on this list I discovered while travelling and Cerave, Moisturising Cream ($14) is one of them. Stuck on a beach vacation without a moisturiser, I grabbed Cerave from the local pharmacy. As someone who uses five different products on their face morning and night, I was sceptical about a face and body moisturiser, but I shouldn’t have worried. Cerave won me over with its weightless, velvety texture and skin-soothing benefits. Fragrance-free the formula combines ceramides and hyaluronic acid to strengthen and hydrate, while leaving a non-greasy finish. Eczema-approved, this is a great winter product that will suit most skin types.
Avène, Xera Calm Lipid Replenishing Balm for Face and Body
Another travel discovery, Avene, Lipid Replenishing Balm for Face and Body ($40) is one of my favourite moisturisers of all time. The formula includes Ceramides and omega fatty acids that mimic the skin barrier, along with “I-modulia complex,” a biotechnological active ingredient derived from Avene’s thermal spring water that reduces itching, redness and irritation caused by skin reactions. The product is recognised by the European Dermatology Forum for the treatment of eczema and dermatitis and is gentle and nourishing enough to use on infants. It sinks into the skin leaving a perfect base for makeup and is pretty much a perfect daily moisturiser for normal to very dry skin types.
Some By MI AHA, BHA, PHA 30 Day Miracle Cream
We’re always sceptical about “miracle” product claims at POPSUGAR Australia, but this Korean beauty favourite, Some By Mi AHA, BHA, PA 30 Day s Miracle Cream ($40) certainly packs enough actives to work some serious magic.
Centella Asiatica is the star of the show here. The herb has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries as a wound healer and anti-inflammatory. At 70.78% you can expect the Miracle Cream to take redness and inflammation down a notch. Antimicrobial tea tree oil makes short work of any fungal acne while AHAs, BHAs and PHAs exfoliate the skin at multiple levels. With a refreshing gel texture, this lotion is a treat.
Skin Proud, Frozen Over Gel-to-Ice Hydrator
Feeling sticky? Need a cooldown? Skin Proud, Frozen Over Gel-to-Ice Hydrator ($32) will cool you down and quench your skin. Like magic, this moisturiser contains unique cooling technology and is packed with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to keep your skin hydrated all day. It’s gel-serum texture absorbs straight away, leaving your complexion quenched, hydrated, and never greasy, no matter how humid it gets.
Olay, Whip with UV SPF Face Cream Moisturiser
Released in 2019, the Olay, Whip, UV SPF Face Cream Moisturiser ($30) has become one of the brand’s best-selling products. Available with SPF in Regenerist and “Luminous” categories, they also have retinol and “Total Affects” lotions for night or days when you want a separate SPF. The range delivers hydration to the skin with Active Rush Technology, an active that holds and releases 1000x its weight in moisture throughout the day. Olay uses amino peptides to support the skin and deliver actives effectively. Meanwhile, it’s oil-free and shine controlling, making it a great sun-protection and anti-ageing option for those who don’t like the sensation of heavier lotions.
Antipodes, Baptist H20 Ultra Hydrating Water Gel
This certified organic gel moisturiser brings you the best of New Zealand native ingredients in a lush, cool blue gel. Baptist H20 Ultra Hydrating Water Gel ($47) combines antibacterial manuka honey, astringent harakeke gel (an ingredient derived from the polysaccharides exuded by plant leaves) with plant-based hyaluronic acid, glycerine, aloe vera and a host of other botanical antioxidants.
L’Oréal, Paris Revitalift Laser Range
The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser X 3 Day Cream ($43) comes from one of the most effective anti-ageing ranges at the pharmacy. But you’ll need a bit of a science lesson to understand why. The hero ingredient for L’Oréal is Pro Xylane. Pro Xylane is a sugar molecule that supports the function of “glycosaminoglycans” — polysaccharide compounds that exist in human tissue referred to as “GAGs.” GAGs sit between collagen and elastin in the dermis, absorbing water while providing cushioning protection (think of them as a sumo suit for the building blocks of your skin). L’Oréal’s Pro-Xylane increased the synthesis of GAGs by up to 400% while stimulating the production of four different types of collagen. This ingredient is complemented by fragmented hyaluronic acid, which penetrates the skin at a low molecular weight, resulting in a plumped and firmed appearance.
The Ordinary, Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
Think of The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturising Factors +HA ($17) as a “second skin” barrier repair product without the usual heaviness. The absorbent formulation relies on “natural moisturising factors” — skin-identical hydrating ingredients. Amino Acids, fatty acids, phospholipids, Lactic Acid, Sodium PCA, and Hyaluronic Acid mimic the natural structure of healthy skin.
QV, Ultra-Calming Face Moisturiser
QV, Ultra Calming Moisturiser ($13) is an ultra-hydrating gel-cream perfect for sensitised and oily skin types or those with dry skin who prefer a lighter texture. With Vitamin E, colloidal oatmeal extract and niacinamide QV’s product calms, soothes, hydrates and strengthens for less than $15. What’s not to love?