First things first: yes, the best men’s moisturisers can sometimes differ from the female equivalent, at least in a traditional sense. An essential part of any skincare routine, no matter your gender, the best moisturisers for men contend with damaging free radicals, razor burn and all sorts of other day-to-day beatings your skin can contend with.

Among the most important grooming products you can buy for your medicine cabinet, a great moisturiser will make you as presentable as a failsafe deodorant and hydrate you after cleansing as thoroughly as a body lotion after a shower. Different formulations can work different kinds of magic, too. An SPF moisturiser should work as well as a sunscreen, a sensitive moisturiser can offset irritated skin complaints and something more thorough can even contend with signs of ageing such as crows feet and other fine lines. Aside from all that, your new moisturiser should leave your skin feeling more comfortable, particularly following a blast from a beard trimmer or an exfoliator.

But which to buy? Read on to discover the top picks from our grooming experts.

There’s little worse than lathering on any product with the worry it might actually aggravate any existing skincare issues. Luckily for those with oily or combination skin, grooming brands have plenty of finesse in working to the benefit of oily or combination skin. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream gets a hearty recommendation from us on this front.

What is a moisturiser and why do I need it?

A moisturiser should be the first tool in your arsenal for avoiding dry and tired skin. When combined with a good face wash it helps to rehydrate your skin’s outer layers so you look your best around the clock. This is especially the case when it comes to your face as it’s more exposed to the elements than any other part of your body. Need some more motivation to lather your face every morning? SPF moisturisers help to protect your face from sun damage, accelerated ageing and related skin cancer risk.

How do I choose a moisturiser?

We’ve tested hundreds of moisturisers in recent years, so our picks below represent the very best available. With prices ranging spanning from the eminently affordable Q+A Zinc PCA Daily Moisturiser (£8) to the more rarefied Tom Ford Research Creme Concentrate (£320), there’s no need to worry about your budget. So what should you be paying attention to? Really, the answer lies with what skin type you have…

  • Normal skin: Hydration is all-important here, and that usually means a water-based moisturiser that’ll quickly be absorbed without leaving much in the way of residue.
  • Dry skin: If your skin is dry or flaky, then you’ll want a moisturiser that caters to it with added oils and water for intense hydration.
  • Oily skin: You don’t want to add much shine to oily skin, so that means focusing on mattifying ingredients and those that can combat excess sebum.
  • Ageing skin: Most anti-ageing creams will make themselves known via their branding, but you can also check for ingredients such as retinol to lessen the signs of a misspent youth.
  • Sensitive skin: Moisturisers for sensitive skin are all about avoiding irritation, so be on the lookout for a lightweight formula that majors on antioxidants – soothing ingredients such as aloe vera can also help.

What time of day should I use moisturiser?

We recommend using these moisturisers twice a day, in the morning and the evening. A daily routine would be to wash your face with a mild cleanser and follow this with one of our picks below. However, this can differ depending on product, skin type, time of year and even environment. Since your skin hydration needs will vary according to the weather, you’ll want to tailor the contents of your wash bag to the seasons.

What moisturiser is best for tattoo aftercare?

Careful, this is a common misconception. Bepanthen, which is an ointment rather than a moisturiser, is the recommended product for tattoo aftercare and you’ll want to apply it every three to six hours for around a fortnight after you’ve been inked. So as much as these moisturisers will revitalise your mug, they’re no good for keeping your tats in tip top shape.

What other grooming products work best with a men’s moisturiser?

To each man his own, but we’d recommend pairing your moisturiser with a good men’s face wash at the very least. Then have a think about mixing an exfoliator into the process that’ll diminish dirt and get shot of dead skin cells and an eye serum to target more delicate skin in this area. And if you’re in need of a more intensive refresh? Then, as a special treat for getting your skincare regime in order, try slapping on a face mask.

How do we test moisturisers?

We’ve tried a fair few moisturisers in our time at GQ and that means there are few better arbiters of skincare quality than our editors. When assessing a moisturiser, of course, we’re looking at its efficacy to see whether it produces brighter, better-hydrated skin. Since everyone’s skin is slightly different, we’re mindful to test products for combination, acne-prone, dry and all manner of other skin types as well, whether you’ve got serious money to spend or want something that’s both affordable and effective. With over 50 moisturisers tested, we’re confident you’ll find a product that’s perfect for you.