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14 Best Alcohol-Free Moisturizers for Every Skin Type

Brand courtesy / First Aid Beauty
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Although alcohol is used in skincare to fight bacteria, keep ingredients stable and boost their absorption, it may also destroy the skin’s surface and cause dryness by stripping the skin of moisture. So if you’re experiencing dryness, irritation, or sensitivity after your skincare routine, check if your products contain alcohol. If they do, it’s time to make some changes and use alcohol-free alternatives.

The good news is that you don’t have to change all your products at once. Starting with these best alcohol-free moisturizers is enough to keep skin hydrated, plump, and out of irritations.

Is alcohol in moisturizers bad for my skin?

Welp, it mostly depends on the alcohol type and how sensitive your skin is. There’s bad alcohol that may dry the skin and cause irritations. And there’s good alcohol. No matter how backward it might sound, there’s a type of alcohol, known as fatty alcohol, that’s good for the skin and is better to have it in your product than not. After all, a product still needs alcohol to keep ingredients stable, but it doesn’t have to be the one that causes dryness and irritations. 

According to FDA, the alcohol-free label is given when the product doesn’t contain ethyl alcohol, aka the bad alcohol. Thus if a product has only fatty alcohols, it’s still eligible to have the alcohol-free label. So instead of running away from every moisturizer with a trace of alcohol, pick the ones with only fatty alcohol. Fatty alcohols, like cetearyl alcohol, are the good guys because they keep ingredients stable without causing irritations. They are derived from the fatty acids in plant/vegetable oils and help skin feel smoother and softer by adding moisture.

How to choose the best alcohol-free moisturizer?

You should pick a moisturizer that’s free of bad alcohol. As long as the moisturizer contains only fatty alcohol (cetearyl, lauryl, stearyl, and oleyl alcohols) and does not contain drying alcohol (like isopropyl, ethanol, or isopropanol), it’s still alcohol-free, so you’re good to go! 

Besides, you should consider your skin type when choosing your moisturizer. For instance, if your skin is oily, you need non-comedogenic moisturizers that won’t clog pores. Sensitive skin types should pick an alcohol-free moisturizer that’ll help consolidate the skin barrier and reduce irritations, while dry skin should opt for highly hydrating formulas.

The best alcohol-free moisturizers

Are you ready to reap the benefits of the best moisturizers without alcohol that won’t dry out your skin?

Clinique NEW Moisture Surge Intense 100H Hydrator

Best overall

Clinique NEW Moisture Surge Intense 100H Hydrator

This moisturizer is literally able to keep your skin hydrated for up to 100 hours. Clinique NEW Moisture Surge does that thanks to hyaluronic acid and their exclusive ingredient, aloe bio-ferment, which helps skin retain moisture. It has an oil-free and lightweight formula, which makes it also suitable for oily skin, plus a gel texture that pamper skin every time you smear it on. Besides, this moisturizer is free of bad alcohol and fragrances, so even if you’re on the super-sensitive side, it’s perfect for you. In the end, everyone loves Clinique products, and this moisturizer seems to be the next hit.

Elta MD Occlusive Moisturizer

Best for very dry skin

EltaMD Moisturizer

EltaMD Moisturizer, the mother of occlusive moisturizers, stands as the best alcohol-free moisturizer for dry skin that retains 90% of skin’s moisture for at least 12 hours — yep, it’s that good. If you fancy simple formulas you’ll love this waterless moisturizer even more as it packs only two ingredients: petrolatum and paraffin (a derivative of petroleum). Just to recap, petrolatum is touted for its ability to form a barrier that seals moisture in, being one of the best hydrator for very dehydrated skin. So this moisturizer is super effective at delivering intense hydration while instantly soothing irritated, cracked, rough skin.

SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair

Best for redness

SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair

So far, one of the best alcohol-free moisturizers comes from SkinCeuticals. This restorative cream works to reduce redness and other post-treatment damage while supporting skin barrier function. It uses soothing ingredients such as beta-glucan and Gotu kola extract to calm and protect the skin, plus Centella asiatica that also hydrates and relieves inflammations.

Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer

Best for oily skin

Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer

Or, if you have oily skin or don’t like products that make your skin feel greasy, try this oil-free moisturizer by Juice Beauty. It’s made with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, avocado, and cucumber extract, which hydrate and soften the skin, plus natural antioxidants like pomegranate and sage leaf, to protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation. Plus, this one is easily spreadable and feels weightless and non-greasy, so it’s ideal for combination and oily skin types.

Biossance Repair Moisturier

Best for mature skin

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Moisturier

Without a doubt, Biossance Repair Cream is one of the best alcohol-free moisturizers out there. Not only is EWG-certified but has a rich formula full of skin-loving ingredients that hydrate, replenish, and nourish your complexion to get the best version of it. It moisturizes and plumps skin in an instant due to hyaluronic acid and shea butter, while squalane, omega fatty acids, and ceramides strengthen the skin barrier. All these compounds lead to fewer wrinkles and fine lines, so if you have mature skin, give this alcohol-free moisturizer a shot.

Pai Alcohol-free Moisturiser

Best for sensitive skin

Pai Love & Haight Moisturiser

Pai Love and Haight Moisturiser is the one you want if your skin is sensitive. Because it’s formulated with gentle ingredients, and almost 80% are organic, this moisturizer is very unlikely to cause irritations. More than that, it keeps skin hydrated and nourished with avocado, jojoba oils, shea butter, and squalane. “This moisturizer is amazing. I have sensitive skin and deal with reactive skin in the rosacea family. Before Pai, my skin was itchy and painful. Now, it feels great. I have dry skin as well, so Love and Haight is perfect for me,” one reviewer says on Pai.

100% Pure Alcohol-free Moisturizer

Best organic

100% Pure Restorative Extra Riche Moisturizer

If you are a fan of natural skincare, then 100% Pure has one of the best alcohol-free moisturizers for you. It offers rich moisture, soothes inflammation while infusing skin with nutrients, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. Everything inside this product is organic and contains lots of soothing ingredients, such as shea butter, coconut, jojoba, and cedarwood oils. Plus, it doesn’t have alcohol but an additive composed of cetearyl alcohol and fatty acids of olive oil to soften skin while providing a smooth finish. Finally, this moisturizer is suitable for all skin types, especially for dry and sensitive.

Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Moisturizer

Best for acne

Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Moisturizer

This one is really good at clearing up breakouts and balancing acne-prone skin while keeping your skin well hydrated. Murad Clarifying Water Gel is a non-comedogenic, oil- and alcohol-free moisturizer that has it all, from anti-acne ingredients such as salicylic acid and niacinamide to antioxidants, exfoliants, and even skin brightening agents. Besides, it improves skin hydration thanks to glycerin and hyaluronic acid, while pinus densiflora leaf extract gives antibacterial benefits to effectively kill acne-causing bacteria. So if you’re looking for the best moisturizer without alcohol for your acne-prone skin, give this Murad product a try!

CeraVe Facial Moisturizer

Best for skin barrier

CeraVe Facial Moisturizer

CeraVe offers a budget-friendly moisturizer and a dermatologist-recommended solution for those who aim to strengthen their skin barrier. Free of fragrance and denatured alcohol, this moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid and three types of ceramides that help restore and consolidate the skin’s protective barrier. It doesn’t feel greasy, having a lightweight texture that gets absorbed really quickly, so it’s almost impossible not to like it — it’s a best-seller on Amazon for a reason.

Chanel Le Lift Creme De Nuit

Best luxury

Chanel Le Lift Crème De Nuit

On the luxurious side, there’s Chanel moisturizer which is another excellent alcohol-free alternative ideal for your PM routine. It has a formula rich in natural ingredients with soothing properties that work to revitalize and hydrate your skin while you sleep. Among the active ingredients, there’s botanical alfalfa extract (a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, D, E, and K, polyphenols, amino acids, and minerals), squalane, shea butter, and lactic acid. This formula targets dryness and dehydration, reinforces the skin, and boosts its overall condition.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Best for relieving irritations

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is a dermatologist-tested moisturizer made with colloidal oatmeal, a potent emollient known to relieve itching and irritations that eczema or other skin sensitivities may cause. It softens and soothes due to allantoin, a natural extract from the comfrey plant, and helps strengthen the barrier with ceramides and shea butter. And it does all that without denatured alcohol, artificial colorants, or fragrances. And if it wasn’t enough, it also has antioxidants to protect the skin from external aggressors, making it an all-in-one solution.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer

Best for night

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer

Or you can try this high-rated night moisturizer by La Roche-Posay. It has a soothing gel-cream texture that feels like a dream and a formula that gives long-lasting hydration and helps restore the barrier with squalane, niacinamide, shea butter, carnosine, and vitamin E. Because it’s made without any ingredient that may cause irritation or sensitivity, such as preservatives, parabens, fragrance, or drying alcohol, this moisturizer is suitable even for allergy-prone or very sensitive skin. More than that, it’s dermatology tested, oil-free, and non-comedogenic, so there’s no chance your skin won’t love it. 

ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Marine Cream

Best with SPF

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30

For the best moisturizer without bad alcohol that also offers SPF protection and anti-aging effects, there’s no better option than Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. It’s a multitasking moisturizer that improves skin hydration, reduces wrinkles and fine lines, and protects the skin from sun damage with SPF 30. Are you ready to get socked? This moisturizer has been clinically proven to increase skin hydration up to 253% in just one hour and improve aged skin in just 14 days. That’s how good it is!

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Moisturizer

Best drugstore

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Moisturizer

On the budget side, Neutrogena offers a skincare multi-tasker and one of the best moisturizers without denatured alcohol. Besides keeping the skin deeply hydrated throughout the day, it also provides SPF protection and anti-aging benefits, thanks to retinol, vitamin B5, and E. Its gentle formula, oil-free and fragrance-free, won’t ever clog pores, making it suitable for all skin types.

Who wrote this?
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana is a sociologist and feminist with a shared passion for literature, psychology, and skincare, the combo that made her determined to start Women's Concepts. With over five years of experience in dermatological research, she has now become a certified skincare consultant keen to convince others of the importance of a diligent routine. Her close relationships with dermatologists around the globe, along with years of researching, analyzing studies, and hand-testing products on a daily basis, made Ana one of the best persons you can get advice from.
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Women's Concepts relies on the latest scientific research to provide accurate, complete, and fact-based information in skincare, on which we're willing to stake our reputation. Our team includes skincare experts who are highly regarded in their fields and committed to upholding the best standards of research. We spend quality time vetting every single product we recommend and double-checking all the facts shared on Women's Concepts. We always stand on the side of inclusivity, and our mission is to help everyone fix their skin issues as they arise and leverage the products they buy to achieve their goals. You can view our expert review board and everything about our editorial guidelines here.
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