The Best Moisturizers To Take Into Fall


October is undisputably the best month of the year. It's got everything: the best weather for getting dressed in (layers!), spookiness (boo!), Scorpios (sexy!), and Hygge (basic!). Everything, except for one thing: satisfied skin. This is the point in the season when my skin starts to shrivel up in patches. No matter how much hyaluronic acid I press into my face each morning, I am a flaky, waxy piece of sandpaper dusted with Chanel Les Beiges bronzer and sealed with lip balm. (That is a great bronzer, btw.) Empty tubes of Yu-Be Moisturizing Cream litter my bathroom floor, but I’m overcompensating; the result is a heavy sheen I can’t manage. My hair sticks to my face. My pores feel clogged—but for some reason, not hydrated.

What’s happening to my skin isn’t actually due to dryness. Rather, it’s the fact that the temperature is dropping, even if the humidity hasn't (yet). Right now, it’s windy one day and rainy the next. All which leaves me looking for a moisturizer that doesn’t feel thick, sticky or greasy, but keeps my skin in a balanced place through the season’s ups and downs. Day creams, water creams, serums… Everything that might fit the bar comes home from the office with me. Here are my favorites right now:

Elemis Biotec Skin Energising Day Cream

Apparently a big hit in London at the moment, this is the British answer to what my mom claims is my British problem. I.e. the dryness-prone English-heritage genetics I was born with. While I typically go for simpler-looking products, I love this moisturizer. Both a cream and an energizing serum, the two parts are separately contained until you massage them together into your skin. Under-eye circles and puffiness are reduced. Skin feels fresh. The finish is nice and matte. Moisturized.

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Not just for the name do I like this guy. For one thing, it comes in a pot with a convenient, air-tight pump. No scooping or fumbling with the lid. For another, it’s a fragrance-free cream you can use both day and night that eliminates dry patches and redness. But it’s never heavy. As it suggests, Lala Retro is modeled after your grandmother’s “retro-style” creams—minus the decades of less ingredients and marketing. I’d say it’s a comfort to use.

Avène Tolerance Extreme Cream

For years now this cream has stayed consistently in my everyday routine. With a fluffy texture that helps prime skin for makeup, it’s especially great during the deeper winter months. When I’m flying it’s my go-to because it’s small enough for TSA, air-locked, and keeps my skin from reacting across climate changes. If my mood is leaning toward a cheaper, slightly stickier (but still French) version, Embryolisse does the trick.

Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer

As classic as ever, Kiehl’s Crème de Corps tops my list of favorite body moisturizers. But my skin never got along with the facial ones. Despite endless recs I’ve had to, sadly, stay away from the Ultra Facial Moisturizer and its overnight counterpart. But this! The Skin Rescuer is, dare I say? ..the best lightweight texture compared to any day cream I’ve used. On top of that, it’s visibly soothing, healing, and plumping. It’s not irritating in the least, nor does it feel like an added layer on the skin.

January Labs Revitalizing Day Cream

Another serum-like cream. Probably why my skin absorbs it so quickly. Thanks to hyaluronic acid, B vitamins and fatty acids, it’s super hydrating—but again, in the way a serum might be, not like a wax-loaded moisturizer. It’s also packed with antioxidants and botanical extracts to help protect the skin from pollution, sun, the howling wind… The usual suspects.

Sisley Black Rose Cream

Back in June I adopted this cream into my life. It’s been with me ever since. The lightweight, watery texture gives it the appearance of a lightweight moisturizer; surprise, it’s not! In terms of hydration, it’s pretty sufficient year-round, morning or night. Admittedly, if I had to choose—and given the price point, I do—the Black Rose Mask would win over the moisturizer. But both are good. Both are great.

Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer

Oh, Tata. Always the loveliest products. Those pretty green bottles, as Natasha Lyonne puts it, “They class up the joint, which I like. I like a good-looking bottle.” Bottle aside, this moisturizer in particular is good for this time of year due to its suuuuper silky soft, light texture that targets the driest skin. Even if you’re not a dry skin type, use it for some extra moisture through the holidays. Smells terrific too. Very citrus-y. Not to mention all-natural!

Vichy Thermal Rich Cream

Were you aware you can buy Vichy at Target? I wasn’t. Not until recently, the discovery of which led me to this cream. It’s not a water cream, nor is it intended as a day cream, necessarily. But it’s a comprehensively nice moisturizer that’s not tacky or itchy, goes under makeup pretty well, and delivers hydration for hours on end. Well worth the $24.50.

Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream

Despite the fragrance in this cream, it’s a really nice moisturizer. While working on fine lines, it allegedly protects skin from (wait for it) toxins. And it really makes your face feel like a SOFT BABY’S. So soft. Clarins also makes different versions for each skin type. Pick yours, smooth it on, and go carve a pumpkin.

—Anna Jube

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Moisturize, yes—but how can you also stay matte? Read here.