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, post-shave 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 your cleanser 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.

  • Best Oil-Free Moisturiser: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, £35 at
  • Best Moisturiser For Dry/Dehydrated Skin: Zelens Shiso Hydrating Gel Cream, £65 at
  • Best Budget-Friendly Moisturiser: CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion, £16.50 at
  • Best Moisturiser For Acne/Blemish-Prone Skin: Ameliorate Balancing Facial Moisturiser, £22 at
  • Best SPF Moisturiser: Horace Mattifying Face Moisturiser, £15 at
  • Best Anti-Ageing Moisturiser: Horace Face Firming Gel, £24 at
  • Best Vitamin C Moisturiser: You’re Looking Well Day Cream, £42.50 at

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 (£9) to the more rarefied La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream (£165), 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.

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 us. In this piece, as in most of our other grooming guides, you’ll find the expertise of Adrian Clark, a writer with 25 years of experience variously editing the grooming pages at ShortList, and writing about men’s beauty for The TelegraphThe Face and The Guardian. He has personally tried every moisturiser on this list, or else has asked a trusted friend with a specific skin tone or complaint to feed back for him. When assessing a moisturiser, he primarily considers its efficacy — whether it produces brighter, better-hydrated skin.