There’s a lot of buzz these days about “natural” and “clean” beauty brands, including skincare products like face moisturizers. But it is not because a product claims to be natural that it is. “There’s no industry standard definition of what ‘natural’ means for beauty products in general,” says Birnur Aral, Ph.D., director of the Good Beauty, Health and Sustainability Lab. Housekeeping Institute. When it comes to skincare, Aral says the term “natural” can imply that the product is formulated without certain “of concern” ingredients like parabens, fragrances, or chemically treated ingredients like petroleum. It can also mean that the product is made with “naturally derived” ingredients like botanical extracts or plant oils with minimal chemical processing, or with certified organic ingredients.
But with so much variation (and misinformation) on what categorizes a face moisturizer as “natural,” it’s hard to know where to start. GH Beauty Lab scientists have carefully selected this list of the best natural face moisturizers, based on trusted third-party natural and organic product certifications. as well as a deep dive into each product’s ingredients and claims to ensure they live up to their claims. Here, the best natural face moisturizers you can trust for all skin types, including sensitive, dry, oily, acne-prone, aging skin and more.
Our top picks:
For more information on what makes a face moisturizer “natural” and shopping tips to keep in mind when looking for the best natural moisturizer for you, scroll to the bottom of this article.
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Best natural face moisturizer for dry skin
Skin Food Original Surgras Cream
- Intensely nourishes the skin
- Good value for money
- Formulated in an eco-conscious way
- May be too heavy for oily skin
Weleda’s signature face moisturizer is nearly 100 years old and a longtime GH Beauty Lab scientist. Packed with rich botanical oils like sunflower and sweet almond as well as floral extracts, its natural claims are backed by third-party certification. GH Beauty Lab experts rewarded the brand’s century-old heritage of growing plant-based ingredients on its own farms and eco-friendly manufacturing practices. “The thick texture of this cream really helps relieve my extremely dehydrated dry skin,” says GH’s beauty director. “I turn to it for intensive nutrition and love that it’s reasonably priced for such a quality product.”
• Key ingredients: Glycerin, sweet almond oil, sunflower oils
• Certificates: NATRUE certified natural
Best natural face moisturizer for sensitive skin
Sensitive Care Face Lotion
- Great value
- Gentle formula
This Weleda facial moisturizer created for sensitive skin is made with a short list of ingredients, including soothing sweet almond and plum seed oils, as well as softening glycerin. The formula is fragrance-free, a common irritant. “This gentle moisturizer comforts my eczema-prone complexion even when I have breakouts and doesn’t cause any irritation,” notes GH’s beauty director.
• Key ingredients: Glycerin, sweet almond oil, plum oils
• Certificates: NATRUE certified natural
Best natural face moisturizer for the night
Skin Dew Coconut Water Cream
- Works day and night
- Made with plant-derived oils, waxes, extracts and butters
One Love Organics is a beloved brand of beauty editor GH for its skin-smoothing formulas. This thirst-quenching cream, ideal for nighttime use for all skin types, is based on botanical ingredients such as coconut juice, sunflower seed oil and vegetable butters and waxes. “Virtually weightless but deeply moisturizes my dry patches,” one reviewer commented. “Perfect for day and night.”
• Key ingredients: Jojoba, glycerin, vitamin E
• Certificates: ECOCERT certified natural
Best Natural Face Moisturizer with SPF
Mineral SPF 30
- Contains only mineral-based sun active ingredients
- Non-greasy matte finish
- Mineral active ingredients can leave a film on the skin
Nelly Devuyst moisturizing face cream Made with 100% natural mineral sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are backed by two reputable third-party natural product certifications. “Surprising!” one reviewer raved. “It doesn’t leave a greasy feeling and is actually mattifying.”
• Key ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, tea extract
• Certificates: COSMOS and certified organic ECOCERT
Best natural face moisturizer for oily skin
Vitamin C Moisturizing Cream Gel
- Lightweight gel formula
- Good value for money
- May not be nourishing enough for dry skin
Oily skin also needs hydration: Keep oily skin soft and balanced with this lightweight gel-cream formula from Avalon Organics, which is certified natural. From a line favorite of GH beauty editors, the moisturizer is infused with skin-brightening and protective antioxidant vitamin C in an aloe juice base. “Excellent texture that isn’t heavy at all,” remarked one reviewer.
• Key ingredients: Vitamin C, aloe, glycerin
• Certificates: NSF for Organic Claims
Best natural face moisturizer for acne-prone skin
Turmeric Glow Moisturizer
- Calms rashes
- Refillable packaging
This Kora Organics face moisturizer is a GH beauty editor must-have for acne-prone complexions. The formula is made with anti-inflammatory turmeric extract and comes in a refillable jar. “This moisturizer calms and doesn’t irritate my acne-prone skin,” says GH Beauty Assistant Catharine Malzahn. “In addition to keeping redness at bay, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help calm my rashes. This moisturizer lives up to its name: it keeps me glowing (and hydrated)!”
• Key ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Turmeric, Lactic Acid, Vitamin E
• Certificates: COSMOS for organic claims
Best natural face moisturizer for aging skin
Firming day cream with triple effect hyaluronic acids
- Smooths skin texture
- Improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Mix with multiple certified organic ingredients, Lavera’s moisturizer helps plump and smooth aging skin. It contains bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative to retinol, as well as reference hydration booster hyaluronic acid in addition to shea butter and vegetable oils to nourish fragile skin. “After just one use, I noticed significant improvements,” one reviewer marveled. “My skin is firmer and more elastic, the complexion is smoother and more even and wrinkles are significantly reduced.”
• Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, bakuchiol, shea butter
• Certificates: NATRUE certified natural and organic
How We Pick the Best Natural Face Moisturizers
GH Beauty Lab scientists formulated this list of the best natural facial moisturizers by first evaluating third-party natural product certifications for their standards and protocols, determining that COSMOS (natural or organic), ECOCERT (natural or organic), NSF (organic) and NATRUE (natural or organic) from the International Association of Natural and Organic Cosmetics are trusted as industry standards. The lab’s experts then reviewed facial moisturizers from brands that hold these certifications, analyzing each product’s ingredients, claims and reviews to ensure they met transparency and efficacy standards.
What is a “natural” moisturizer?
Although the term “natural” is unregulated, here’s what the claim could mean, depending on the product, Aral explains:
- Formulated without certain “ingredients of concern” such as parabens, synthetic fragrances or dyes, and no chemical sunscreen actives.
- Created without ingredients synthesized by heavy chemical processes or derivatives of petroleum-based raw materials.
- Contains “naturally derived” ingredients which are of vegetable origin and which have been obtained by minimal chemical treatment, such as botanical extracts, vegetable oils or butters and essential oils.
- Made with certified organic ingredients from agricultural products from organic farming.
What to look for when buying the best natural face moisturizers
✔️ Search third-party certifications. “Consumers looking for ‘natural’ or ‘clean’ beauty products like facial moisturizers should look for those that are as transparent as possible about the raw materials used in their formulation by obtaining trusted third-party certifications,” advises Aral. . “In this space, such recognized programs include those of COSMOS, ECOCERT, NSF and NATRUE.”
✔️ Beware of misleading marketing jargon. “Treat with caution when products use hyped claims such as ‘100% natural’, ‘chemical-free’ and ‘non-toxic’ without any accreditation, as they could be a sign of greenwashing,” says Aral. Greenwashing is a term that describes the tendency for brands to make exaggerated marketing claims related to being eco-conscious, sustainable, or “natural” without justification.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
For this piece, Birnur Aral, Ph.D., the executive director of the GH Beauty, Health and Sustainability Lab, led the background research to identify the best natural facial moisturizers, as well as providing expert commentary on natural skincare products and how to buy formulas you can trust. Aral has overseen GH Beauty Lab testing, including skincare products like moisturizers, for nearly 15 years and has been an active leader in conceptualizing many of the brand’s green initiatives, including GH Sustainable Innovation Awards and the annual Raise the Green Bar Summit.
For this piece, Aral teamed up with April Franzino, the beauty director of Good Housekeeping, who worked closely with Aral to translate GH Beauty Lab’s findings on the best natural face moisturizers and write a trusted guide for the category. Franzino has over a decade of experience working in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s beauty lab, and in his role over the past seven years, Franzino has reported extensively on GH Beauty Lab’s expert investigations of the movement of natural and clean beauty products.
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