Table of Contents
The SPY team has set out to find the best skincare products for men, and today we’re sharing the best men’s face moisturizers for every skin type. Over the years, the SPY team has tested dozens of moisturizers, from cheap drugstore brands to luxe Kiehl’s products, and we wanted to present guys with the very best men’s face moisturizers for 2022.
We know that a lot of guys are developing a skincare routine for the first time, and whenever SPY editors have consulted dermatologists on the most important skincare products, a good moisturizer is always on the list (preferably with SPF protection, but we’ll get to that later). Even if you only want to use a couple of basic products, face moisturizers for men deserve a place in your routine.
As great as it is to be a guy who doesn’t need a lot of products to maintain their appearance, not all of us got the “age like fine wine” genes. And as it turns out, even if you did, your skin is probably still pretty thirsty. Your skin actually needs moisture and hydration to stay fresh, balanced, and healthy — it isn’t all for vanity.
SPY is here to help you choose the most essential grooming products, including body wash, face masks, and the best men’s moisturizer for your skin. For reference, the SPY team generally likes to keep our overall skincare routine pretty simple. Too many steps make us feel like we’re doing homework. With that in mind, we chose face moisturizers that could easily be incorporated into your current regimen.
So after testing dozens of moisturizers, we’ve come up with our rankings for the 11 best men’s moisturizers you can get right now.
The Best Face Moisturizers for Men At a Glance
- Best Overall: Bravo Sierra Face Moisturizer — $8.99 on Amazon
- Runner Up: Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 — $18.00 at Jack Black
- Best Unisex: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane — $34 on Kiehl’s
- Best Value: Bulldog Original Moisturizer — $9 on Amazon
- Easiest Starter: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid — $11 on Amazon
- Easiest to Apply: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream — $17.50 on Amazon
- Best Combo: Cardon Daily SPF + Moisturizer + Cardon Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer — $22 and $29 on Amazon
- Best for Oily Skin: Atwater Skincare Moisturizer — $35 at Nordstrom
- Luxe Pick: Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer — $35 at Blu Atlas
- Cleanest Specs: Humanrace Ozone Face Protection Daily Moisturizer — $58 at The Detox Market
Why Should Guys Moisturize?
Remember, your skin isn’t just for looks, it’s a barrier. It’s your first line of defense against bacteria and potential infection. We’re not trying to scare you, but some of us need to remember that skincare is about your health and not your selfies.
According to board-certified multi-specialist physician Dr.Azza Halim, “Moisturizing the skin helps keep skin supple, maintains healthy skin barrier in order to minimize environmental damage, and premature aging.”
There are three steps to consider when it comes to having a complete skincare routine: washing/cleansing, hydrating/moisturizing, and protecting with SPF. These all help your skin stay free of bacteria and function the way it should.
Dry, unmoisturized skin cracks and gets irritated. Moisturized skin, however, keeps you looking fresh. Your face, neck, and ear skin cells maintain a shorter life cycle, constantly drying, shedding, and replacing themselves. That constant turnover makes those areas more vulnerable to excessive dryness and aging. When you start noticing signs of aging, it might be because your skin isn’t functioning like it’s supposed to.
The ultimate goal here is balance. Yes, that iridescent skin glow that everyone obsesses over is really nice to look at, but it’s also a sign of healthy skin that’s been taken care of. Bottom line — don’t treat your face skin like the skin on your elbows. While you’re at it, maybe throw one of the best men’s moisturizers there too.
Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Alicia Zalka, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine, and Founder of Surface Deep. We asked Dr. Zalka our burning questions about skincare, especially regarding sun exposure, the best face moisturizer for men, and SPF protection.
Below, you’ll find our top recommendations for men’s face moisturizers, as well as some additional insight from Dr. Zallka on whether or not you really need moisturizers with SPF protection.
Picking the Best Face Moisturizer for Men
Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on your skin type, budget, and skincare habits. Dr. Azza Halim breaks it down by skin type:
- “Oily skin still needs moisturizer after cleansing to properly balance sebum production, yet one should look for a water-based moisturizer to maintain moisture balance along with hydration and non-comedogenic.”
- “Combination skin is a bit trickier as it has areas of dry and oily “T-zone”, yet for this, one should also use a water-based moisturizer [to] address moisture, hydration and lipid balance without being too heavy.”
- “Dry skin is in need of heavier moisturizer that should be oil-based to help seal in moisture, and restore lipid balance and hydration. [It] should contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides.”
To help you out, we’ve gathered the best face moisturizer for men with every skin type and preference. Every single face moisturizer featured in this article has been tested by a member of the SPY grooming team, and you’ll find many of the products below in our own medicine cabinets.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best face moisturizers for men, including options with and without SPF. These range from premium products with all-natural ingredients to drug store mainstays. Keep scrolling to learn more about how we test grooming products like face moisturizers.
Why It’s the Best: It’s affordable, easy to apply, and leaves skin feeling moisturized all day without having to reapply 1-2 hours later because your skin feels dry again.
- Formulated with Aloe Vera, Ginseng, and Blue Aglae
- Silicone free
Bravo Sierra Face Moisturizer lives up to its tactical name. It’s a lightweight composition that leaves out parabens, silicones, sulfates, and any animal byproducts. Bravo Sierra field tests its products with members of the U.S. Military and continues to improve its formulas based on their feedback.
To be honest, we’re pretty skeptical of men’s skincare products that sound ultra-masculine, but then Bravo Sierra face moisturizer backed it up with performance. It scored the highest in nearly all of our testing categories. There’s a mild scent, but not enough to deter and it’s not too flowery either. It’s like a nice aftershave or cologne. It’s not too thick and didn’t leave any residue behind. We’d gladly keep a tube of this face moisturizer at home as well as in a travel bag. In terms of the best face moisturizer for men, we were utterly impressed.
- Lightweight formula
- Easy to apply
- No greasy residue
- Doesn’t double as an SPF
Why We Chose It: Easy application, mild scent, smooth texture, and a built-in SPF make this a powerhouse moisturizer.
- 3.3-ounce, more available
- SPF 20
- Vegan and cruelty-free
Jack Black gives us a moisturizer made with certified organic ingredients that looks and feels like a premium skincare product. They’ve formulated their version of a face moisturizer with blue algae and sea parsley to deliver more vitamins and minerals that help keep your skin soft and supple.
We’re big fans. First, the 3.3 fl oz bottle offers a pump mechanism, and something about that easy dispensability makes us want to use it more. We appreciate a moisturizer with SPF, especially if you’re someone who constantly forgets that skincare step before rushing out the door in the morning. It’s even better because the SPF doesn’t give this moisturizer a greasy consistency.
The texture is just perfect: not too runny so you have to catch it in your hands before it drips off your cheeks and not so thick that it’s unspreadable. The scent is mild and dissipates quickly.
- Doubles as sunblock
- A mild scent that feels fresh
- 3.3 Fl oz and larger sizes get pricey
- SPF 20 only offers mild sun protection
Why We Chose It: Kiehl’s has been a major player in the skincare and grooming space for men. Kiehl’s moisturizer always comes heavily recommended among our peers.
- Squalane and Glycerin
- Balances skin’s moisture levels
Kiehl’s developed this moisturizer to do more than just moisturize skin, it helps strengthen your skin barrier and helps your skin retain more moisture for softer skin. Squalane and Glycerin are the two key ingredients to protect and restore skin. They developed this for all skin tones and types, including sensitive skin.
This was by far the lightest feeling moisturizer we tested. Kiehl’s lives up to its claims for long-lasting moisturization and protecting our skin. We also appreciate a fragrance-free product. We’d rather have something that’s working and not just smelling like it is.
- Works on dryer skin
- Lasts all-day
- Pricier per ounce
Why We Chose It: Another one of the best moisturizers for men with natural ingredients at a very affordable price.
- Formulated with Aloe Vera, Camelina Oil, and Green Tea
Bulldog wants to be your loyal skincare companion; man’s face’s best friend. They’ve created one of the best men’s moisturizers using natural ingredients like aloe vera, camelina oil, and green tea to help men’s skin get the moisture it deserves without any of the greasiness.
We can definitely tell Bulldog is thinking about how this moisturizer feels on our skin. It’s light and smooth. The aloe is at play with a soothing sensation after application. The scent reminds us of an upscale spa, which never disappoints when you’re finishing up your morning skincare routine.
Bulldog’s moisturizer lasted all day (without feeling like it was there all day) and left the skin feeling refreshed. We can see why loyalty is a part of their branding.
- Light and quick-absorbing
- The scent is powerful if you’re used to scent-free
Why We Chose It: Neutrogena is a staple name in over-the-counter skincare products.
- Hyaluronic Acid
Neutrogena brings us an oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid. If you’re not familiar, hyaluronic acid is a hydrator that is normally found in the skin. It binds to water and basically allows your skin to retain more and stay supple.
Neutrogena gives us the best face moisturizer for men who hate that heavy feeling on their skin. In fact, the consistency is actually a bit looser than other gel-based moisturizers. They say it quenches dry skin and we have to agree based on our testing. It was like dunking your face in the perfect temperature water and keeping it there all day. Sometimes your skin needs that quench.
- The light, gel texture
- Easy to apply
- The accessible price point for skincare newcomers
- Silent on vegan and cruelty-free practices
Why We Chose It: Tiktok told us to and they weren’t wrong about the value and easy application.
- Non-Comedogenic (won’t clog pores)
CeraVe uses a formula that incorporates hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help rebuild your skin barrier, which is why we want to moisturize our skin in the first place. This is perfect for normal to dry skin and since it’s safe for your face, you can use it as an all-over body lotion.
CeraVe also uses MVE Delivery Technology for controlled release throughout the day. While we couldn’t feel an exact timed release throughout the day, there was no dry feeling by the afternoon.
Something about reaching into a personal tub of CeraVe brings us comfort. It’s giving “I put this on everything” vibes. Truthfully, we would. It’s easy to access and use.
The texture is rich and smooth. There’s no stickiness and we got the moisturization our skin craved after a typical morning shower. Best of all, the cream wasn’t heavy and didn’t feel like it was clogging pores.
- Light Weight
- Easy to apply
- Not confirmed to be vegan or cruelty-free
Why We Chose It: Cardon is one of the newcomers on this list but impressed us with cactus-based products that easily fit into our skincare routines.
- 1.2 and 1.7-ounce
- SPF 30
- Infused with Cactus Extract
Cardon’s founders started their business by asking their business school peers (the guys that is) about skincare and SPF protection. With their knowledge of Korean skincare and beauty, they set off to create the SPF + Moisturizer first, followed by a full line for men that is completely performance-driven.
We’re always fans of a combo moisturizer and SPF. If you take the extra steps out of a routine, you’re more likely to keep doing the routine. The Cardon SPF + Moisturizer feels more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen. There’s no greasiness and you can barely tell it’s there aside from a slight upscale sunscreen scent. That is, it doesn’t smell like summer weekend pool sunscreen, you know the stuff.
The Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer can stand on its own as well. The gel base gives it a consistency that’s easy to work into the skin. There’s a light and refreshing feel after application that must be due to the cactus extract.
- SPF is light and broad spectrum
- Gel moisturizer soothes and moisturizes
- Both last all day without reapplication
- The SPF + Moisturizer takes effort to dispense
- The duo prices are a bit high
Why We Chose It: It came highly recommended as the best moisturizer for oily skin.
- Vegan and Cruelty-Free
Atwater is a new skincare brand, and the company developed this face moisturizer specifically for oily and combination skin. If you’ve got either type, most moisturizer generally makes things greasier. Atwater developed a lightweight solution to deliver moisture that oily skin still needs without clogging pores and making more of a mess. Their online reviews are testaments to that success.
Our product tester personally experiences the effects of combination skin. Sometimes his skin is dry and other times it oils up to a bright sheen, and he found that the consistency of Atwater’s facial moisturizer is great for combination skin types. Just tfhick enough to act like a great face moisturizer, but not so loose that it’s dripping while it’s applied.
We’d like to see the floral scent drop down a few ticks. We prefer a product that is mild in scent or has none at all. However, if you’re in need of a moisturizer for oily skin, don’t let scent stop you — it works very well.
- Workable consistency
- Smooth texture
- Powerful Scent
Why We Chose It: We wanted to see what a moisturizer made in NYC was all about.
- Vitamin C and Seaweed Extract
- Anti-Aging Formula
Blu Atlas has created one of the best anti-aging face moisturizers that delivers moisture and hydration to your skin by way of some of their key ingredients including Vitamin C, Seaweed Extract, and Mango Seed Butter. Together, these ingredients work to protect your skin from irritants like sunlight and pollution as well as regulate and maintain oil production.
These ingredients also work together to provide you with a luxe face moisturizing experience. The consistency reminds us of whipped butter and it sort of feels the same way as you work it into your skin. Not in a bad way, though — whipped butter is great. This product feels expensive and it leaves your skin feeling velvety without the heaviness of some thicker products. This is something you keep on the counter to impress your friends. That’s why it got our most luxe ranking.
- Texture and application
- Pleasant scent
- Lasts all day
- Pricier per ounce
Why We Chose It: One of the cleanest formulas developed under the supervision of Pharrell Williams.
- SPF 30
- 15% Zinx Oxide
Humanrace offers a broad-spectrum sunscreen and daily moisturizer in this product. Humanrace’s mission is to help everyone take better care of themselves by developing clean products to help them do it. Humanrace has been one of the more hyped celebrity skincare brands and we were very excited to try it.
The product design, the specs, and Pharell Williams made us very excited to get our hands on the bottle. After that, things took a slight turn. The product definitely feels more like sunscreen. It’s thicker and takes some effort to rub all the way in. We noticed residue left behind in beard hair after doing what seemed like a good job of applying.
We could feel the product left on the skin, like a kid who unwillingly just got slathered in sunblock. That being said, the ingredients and the makeup of the product definitely impressed us. We’d use this purely as a sunblock on a heavy outdoor day.
- Clean ingredients
- Beautiful design
- Broad spectrum SPF protection
- Greasy and leaves residue behind
- Very expensive
Should You Use a Men’s Face Moisturizer With SPF?
More and more face moisturizers now do double duty as face sunscreen. And not to generalize too much, but most guys probably want to keep skincare as simple as possible. So does that mean the best men’s face moisturizers will also protect your mug from the sun? If you want your face moisturizer to do double duty, then the answer is yes. That’s why a lot of guys opt for face moisturizers with SPF.
Dr. Zalka recommends applying sunscreen to our skin every day. For your face, she specifically recommends products with SPF 30 or higher for maximum protection. If you want to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun — and do everything you can to fight premature signs of aging — then applying moisturizers with SPF protection is a must before you step out into the sun. That’s even true during the winter or on cloudy summer days. Dr. Zalka even says, “hazy and cloudy days still allow ultraviolet rays (which are a form of radiation, don’t forget) to be absorbed by your skin.” Meaning, yeah, even if you wake up and the sun isn’t shining, you should still throw on some sunscreen.
On the other hand, moisturizers without SPF are great for wearing after showers and before bed. In fact, that’s a great test if you aren’t sure which type of moisturizer to buy:
- If you typically apply facial moisturizers in the morning, then you’ll definitely want moisturizers with sunscreen.
- If you apply moisturizers at night so your skin can recharge while you sleep, then you’ll want to invest in anti-aging moisturizers for men.
How We Chose the Best Face Moisturizer for Men
We spent several weeks adding each moisturizer into our morning routine. It usually takes 1-2 days of testing skincare products to register any new effects they have on the skin. Each product can also take weeks of continuous use to deliver its promised benefits. We’ll continue testing the best face moisturizers for men to keep this review accurate. In terms of scoring, here’s what we considered:
Chemicals – Each moisturizer scored higher for every chemical that didn’t make it into the formula. Keep in mind, that some chemicals are necessary for product formulation to preserve products and for them to actually work. Regardless, the best face moisturizer for men has done away with the bad stuff.
Animal Friendly – We scored higher for moisturizers that didn’t use animal products or test on animals. In today’s era, we can do without.
Sun Protection – Because sun protection is key to protecting your skin, we scored products with built-in SPF higher.
Consistency and Spreadability – Face moisturizers that were easy to use and didn’t leave a greasy after-feel scored higher as well.
Why Trust SPY When Choosing the Best Face Moisturizer for Men
Finding effective grooming products is what SPY does best. We spend hours researching online and in person looking for the best new and familiar brands to see if the reviews are legit.
You can also take comfort in knowing that SPY has male writers on the team who actually care about their skin and chase that skin glow. We’re also not afraid to be truthful because we want to make sure the best moisturizers for men actually make it into your skincare routines.
Other than moisturizers, SPY has reviewed every other vertical in the men’s grooming space. Recently, we reviewed the best beard balms, the best skincare products under $20, and even the best skincare brands, so you can build yourself a comprehensive skincare routine.
If you’re interested, you can read more about How We Test Products at SPY.
About the Author: David Komisarchik
SPY writer, David Komisarchik, is a New York transplant from Denver, Colorado. Starting with style content on social media, David enjoys creating photo, video, and written content to help guys look and feel their best.