11 Best Moisturizers For Darker Skin: Reviews And Buying Guide

These listed moisturizers for black skin are specially formulated for extra care.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Schwarzburg, MD Dr. Schwarzburg Dr. SchwarzburgMD insta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness Aditi Naskar MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness Experience: 5 years
Fact-checked by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
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While everyone’s skin structure is the same, darker skin is distinguished by melanin levels and barrier repair function. Accordingly, it also needs special care. Here, we have listed the best moisturizers for black people. These have received a good number of positive reviews on trusted online platforms. Some of these are also dermatologist-tested. When we think of dark(er) skin tones, our minds immediately conjure up images of African skin. On the other hand, African skin does not always imply a darker complexion. It can be both dark and white (1). In this article, we have also given a brief explanation of the skin kinds that darker complexion people have. Scroll down to know more.

Note: According to a study, dark African-American skin had a higher incidence of transepidermal water loss than lighter skin (2). As a result, moisturization is very important if you are an African.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best Overall:Baebody Retinol Moisturizer CreamPrice on Amazon
Best For Sensitive Skin:CeraVe Daily Moisturizing LotionPrice on Amazon
Best For Cracked Skin:E.ra Organics Daily Face And Body CreamPrice on Amazon
Best For Daily Use:Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily MoisturizerPrice on Amazon
Best For Dry Skin:Garnier SkinActive Moisture RescuePrice on Amazon
Best Fragrance-Free:Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting CreamPrice on Amazon
Best Snail Cream:Seoul Ceuticals Multi-Function Anti-Aging Snail Repair CreamPrice on Amazon
Best Moisturizer For Oily Skin:L’Oreal Paris Skincare Hydra GeniusPrice on Amazon
Best Moisturizing Gel:Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing GelPrice on Amazon
Best For Blemish-Control:SheaMoisture African Black Soap Balancing MoisturizerPrice on Amazon

11 Top-Rated Moisturizers For Darker Skin

1. Best Overall:Baebody Retinol Moisturizer Cream

Key Ingredient(s): Retinol, Shea Butter, Vitamins B5 and E, Jojoba Oil, Green Tea

Retinol is an excellent ingredient for your skin if you are looking for an anti-aging cream. This moisturizing cream contains the ultimate hydrating ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil, along with antioxidants like green tea extract. This retinol in this moisturizer boosts the cell renewal process, gets rid of old skin cells, and promotes the growth of new skin cells. This helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes to impart a dewy glow.

Product Dimensions: 2.99 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Organic ingredients
  • Improves skin texture

Cons

  • Packaging issues (dispenser may malfunction, and lid might break).

Our Tester's Experience

"I have been using this cream for a year. It moisturizes the skin without settling into fine lines. It does not aggravate my skin concerns or cause breakouts. It gets absorbed quickly into my skin and its natural scent is not overwhelming. Overall, it is a solid choice for my daily skin care routine."


protip_icon Pro Tip
If you have sensitive skin then first apply a normal moisturizer on your face before applying the retinol moisturizer cream to prevent the risk of irritation.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 12,310 reviews claiming its efficacy.

2. Best For Sensitive Skin:CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Best For Sensitive Skin CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Key Ingredient(s): Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid

This lightweight lotion is suitable for those who have normal to dry skin type. It can be used on the face and body. This lotion contains ceramides. It helps replenish the low ceramide levels in your skin and keeps it feeling soft and moisturized. It ensures your skin stays hydrated for 24 hours and helps restore the protective barrier with ceramides 1, 3, and 6 II. It is hypoallergenic, so even those with sensitive or eczema-prone skin can also use this lotion. Check out this video of a reviewer’s experience to better understand the functions of this product.

Product Dimensions: 4 x 5 x 6 inches | Weight: 0.01 Ounces

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle formula
  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Approved by the National Eczema Association
  • Fragrance-free
  • Allergy-tested
  • Boosts skin hydration
  • Can be used by those who have eczema and sensitive skin conditions.

Cons

  • The pump dispenser might break during shipping.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 9,086 Amazon users have vouched for this amazing product.

3. Best For Cracked Skin:E.ra Organics Daily Face And Body Cream

E.ra Organics Daily Face And Body Cream

Key Ingredient(s): Aloe Vera and Manuka Honey

This face and body cream claims to keep your skin moisturized for 8-12 hours. It contains essential minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that keep your skin healthy. It helps treat severe skin issues, repair the damaged skin cells, stimulate cell growth, and restore the natural moisture barrier. The cream is made from a nourishing formula that also helps maintain the skin’s pH balance, stimulate collagen production, and improve elasticity. Here’s a personal review video detailing a tester’s experience to help you get a better understanding of the product.
Dr. Schwarzburg, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology suggests, “For creams designed for both the face and body, it is best to do a patch test beforehand as the sensitive skin on your face may be more sensitive than the skin that covers the rest of your body. This way you will know whether the product is right for you.”

Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 3 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 5.33 Ounces

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-oily
  • Fragrance-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Non-greasy
  • Gets absorbed fast

Cons

  • Some users may not like the thick consistency.

Our Tester's Experience

"I've been a loyal user of this cream since 2015 and I like its consistency for my acne-prone skin. It does not trigger my skin issues or make the drier parts of my skin look patchy. It offers great hydration to my skin and keeps redness at bay."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 6,252 reviews, this product has become a fan favorite among users.

Baebody Retinol Moisturizer Cream
Best Overall
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Best For Sensitive Skin
E.ra Organics Daily Face And Body Cream
Best For Cracked Skin
Dimensions 2.99 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches 4 x 5 x 6 inches 3.1 x 3 x 2.5 inches
Weight 1.7 Ounces 0.01 Ounces 5.33 Ounces
Rating
Reviews12,3109,0866,252
Price$19.95$11.34$27.7

4. Best For Daily Use:Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer

Key Ingredient(s): Soy

This is a daily moisturizer with SPF and is clinically proven to improve skin texture and tone in four weeks. It contains a Total Soy Complex (processed soybeans) that helps treat uneven skin tone and retain the integrity of your skin. The natural light diffusers in the moisturizer reflect light to smooth skin imperfections. It is hypoallergenic and does not irritate your skin. Not to mention, the product also helps promote natural skin radiance for a glowing complexion.

Product Dimensions: 1.97 x 1.97 x 5.91 inches | Weight: 0.04 Ounces

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Contains SPF 15
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No chemical solvents
  • Oil-free
  • Clinically proven

Cons

  • Strong fragrance
  • Contains mica

protip_icon Pro Tip
For better coverage apply generously and evenly 15 minutes before sun exposure and continue to apply in every 2 hours.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product is so liked by shoppers that it has gained over 1,996 great reviews on Amazon.

5. Best For Dry Skin:Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue

Key Ingredient(s): Vitamin C and Fruit Water (antioxidant complex)

This oil-free moisturizer can be an excellent choice for instantly locking in moisture. It contains vitamin C and a Fruit Water Antioxidant Complex that make your skin feel smooth, hydrated, and refreshed. This face lotion is suitable for all skin types. However, it is especially beneficial for ashy skin. It claims to lock in moisture for 24 hours and protects your skin from stress and pollution.

Product Dimensions: 2.48 x 2.48 x 3.63 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Contains alcohol
  • Contains artificial fragrance

6. Best Fragrance-Free:Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

Key Ingredient(s): Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, and Vitamin B3

This moisturizing face cream is formulated with vitamin B3 and hyaluronic acid, two of the most hydrating and skin-nourishing ingredients. It is ultra-hydrating for your skin and aids in skin barrier repair. It helps improve the rate of skin cell turnover and remove dead skin cells. This improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. This face cream gives you visibly firm and smooth skin with regular use along with a healthy glow.

Product Dimensions: 5.44 x 2.5 x 3.81 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Affordable
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Strengthens the skin barrier
  • Reduces the appearance of wrinkles

Cons

  • Contains parabens

Our Tester's Experience

"This moisturizer is great for my sensitive skin. It applies smoothly without irritation and feels like butter on the skin. I use it before makeup application as it is non-greasy and does not settle in my fine lines."


protip_icon Trivia
Olay provides 3 versions of this product: the original Micro-Sculpting cream, Fragrance Free, and SPF 30.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received 10,715 reviews on Amazon and is a popular choice among shoppers.

7. Best Snail Cream:Seoul Ceuticals Multi-Function Anti-Aging Snail Repair Cream

Best Snail Cream

Key Ingredient(s): Snail Extracts

This snail cream contains the highest percentage (97.5%) of snail mucin. It is an extremely potent skin nourisher and moisturizer. It is ethically harvested, and no snails are harmed during the process. Apart from snail mucin, it contains aloe vera extract, jojoba oil, and shea butter. This cream helps fight off signs of premature aging by reducing age spots, fine lines and wrinkles and keeping your skin healthy. It is suitable for all skin types and works best for dry and flaky skin.

Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2 inches | Weight: 2 Ounces

Pros

  • 97% naturally derived ingredients
  • Cruelty-free
  • Reduces puffy eyes
  • Nice citrus fragrance
  • Lightweight
  • Gets absorbed quickly
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Non-oily

Cons

  • None
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 2,632 reviews and is a top choice all around the world.

8. Best Moisturizer For Oily Skin:L’Oreal Paris Skincare Hydra Genius

Best Moisturizer For Oily Skin

Key Ingredient(s): Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Water

If you have oily skin, this water-based lightweight lotion is the ideal moisturizer for you. Dr. Schwarzburg, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology says, “Lightweight creams are great for most skin types as they are not oily or too dry.” This cream contains hyaluronic acid and the skin-soothing aloe water that keeps your skin moisturized for up to 72 hours without making it feel greasy. It gets absorbed quickly and has a gel-like consistency. Hence,  it does not feel heavy on your skin.

Product Dimensions: 1.71 x 2.11 x 6.6 inches | Weight: 10.41 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Reduces shine
  • Quickly absorbed
  • Lightweight
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Non-greasy
  • Feels refreshing (especially during warmer days)

Cons

  • The fragrance might be strong for some users.

Our Tester's Experience

"This moisturizer hydrates my skin without a greasy feel. I like its lightweight formula and velvet-like texture that makes my skin appear smooth and soft. The fragrance is subtle and fades quickly. It refreshes the skin without leaving any residue."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 7,350 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are so in awe of this product.

9. Best Moisturizing Gel:Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Key Ingredient(s): Hyaluronic Acid, Sunflower Seed Cake, and Cucumber Extracts

This product is an excellent choice for your skincare regime. It is a part of the 3-step customized skin care system by Clinique. This moisturizing gel is developed for those with oily and combination skin types. It is primarily for balancing the oilier parts of the skin and keep it refreshed. The sunflower seed cake, barley, and cucumber extracts help in strengthening the natural barrier of the skin. These ingredients help improve skin resilience and moisture levels and impart a healthy glow!

Product Dimensions: 5 x 9 x 7 inches | Weight: 4.2 Ounces

Pros

  • Dermatologist-developed
  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Vegan

Cons

  • None
Our Tester's Experience

"I love the gel-like texture of this product. It hydrates my super-sensitive skin, which typically requires extremely gentle formulas. It moisturizes my skin without leaving any greasy residue. The product is unscented and is particularly beneficial during dry winter months. It makes my skin feel glowing and youthful."

10. Best For Blemish-Control:SheaMoisture African Black Soap Balancing Moisturizer

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Balancing Moisturizer

Key Ingredient(s): Shea Butter, African Black Soap, Tamarind Oil Extract

This facial moisturizer is meant for those with dry skin type. However, it also works for combination and oily skin types. It is a lightweight lotion that contains shea butter and African black soap. It also contains tamarind extract and tea tree oil that help fight blemishes and keep your skin clear.

Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 2.3 x 2.12 inches | Weight: 2.01 Ounces

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • No animal testing

Cons

  • Unpleasant fragrance

Our Tester's Experience

"This moisturizer is a relief for my sensitive skin. It is neither too heavy nor greasy and pairs well beneath makeup. It has a light formula that hydrates the skin without triggering any skin sensitivities. I use it daily during the shower for consistent results."


11. Best Overall:Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula

Best Overall

Key Ingredient(s): Retinol, Peptide Complex, Shea Butter, and Aloe Vera

This cream contains retinol and peptides that have numerous benefits in helping the skin regenerate while you are sleeping. This restorative moisturizer is rich in antioxidants and cocoa butter that keep your skin soft and smooth. It contains plant-based ingredients and is safe for sensitive skin.

Product Dimensions: 2.69 x 2.69 x 2.69 inches | Weight: 2.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • No animal testing
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Not greasy
  • Gets absorbed easily
  • Pleasant fragrance

Cons

  • The flowery fragrance might be overpowering for some people.

Our Tester's Experience

"I use this moisturizer during my nightly routine. It is non-greasy and gets absorbed quickly into my skin. It does not settle into my fine lines or leave unwanted residue on my pillowcases. Its thick yet light formulation suits my dry skin and the subtle scent does not trigger nose sensitivities."


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

There is a wide color variability in African skin – it includes both white and dark-skinned people. The variation in color is mostly due to the geographic distribution of UV rays. The darker-skinned individuals stay close to the equator.  Leslie Baumann, the American dermatologist, introduced four parameters for characterizing the skin type accurately (1):

  • Dry or Oily (D/O)
  • Sensitive or Resistant (S/R)
  • Pigmented or Non-Pigmented (P/N)
  • Wrinkled or Unwrinkled (W/T)

Out of these, dark-skinned people often have the P/T type (Pigmented or Unwrinkled skin). Depending on your skin concerns and skin type, here are a few parameters you can consider while picking a moisturizer.

How To Pick The Best Moisturizer For Dark Skin

  1. Consistency: If your skin feels itchy and dry, pick a moisturizer that has a thick consistency. For normal skin, creams with thinner consistency are fine. For oily skin, you can pick light lotions that are water-based.
  2. Ingredients: Choosing the right skin moisturizer is all about picking the right ingredients.
    • For dry ashy skin, look for ingredients like dimethicone, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and propylene glycol as they help attract water. Ingredients like lanolin, mineral oil, etc. help to lock in moisture.
    • For oily and acne-prone skin, look for moisturizers that contain AHAs and are non-comedogenic. AHAs also have anti-aging benefits.
    • For sensitive skin, check for fragrance-free and hypoallergenic
    • Look for antioxidants (for all skin types) like chamomile, green tea, licorice root, and pomegranate extracts to keep the skin healthy and reduce free radical damage.
    • Check for ceramides. Dark skin tends to have the lowest percentage of naturally occurring ceramides in the skin (2). Fortifying your skin with ceramide moisturizers can keep it healthy. It is always recommended to do a patch test before using any new moisturizer on the skin to avoid allergic reactions from any ingredients you may be allergic to.
  1. SPF: If you are picking a moisturizer for the daytime, make sure it has SPF. It is a myth that dark-skinned people do not need sun protection. While the high melanin content makes dark skin less prone to sun damage, it does not rule out the possibilities of skin damage by the UV rays. The damages may be less noticeable (like dark spots, pigmentation, and melasma). Dark and distressed skin is equally vulnerable to the sun, so never forget the SPF. In addition to these, pick a moisturizer that is of professional grade with proven efficacy for the best results against environmental damage as well.

Infographic: Choosing A Moisturizer For Black Skin

It is not difficult to choose moisturizers for darker skin tones if you know what to look for. While there are many available on the market, certain aspects like ingredients, skin type, and consistency separate these options from one another. Check out our infographic below for more information.

Choosing A Moisturizer For Black Skin (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Our skin comes in contact with several external environmental aggressors throughout the day, which may lead to several problems if left unattended. Moisturization can take care of a list of skin concerns like dryness, wrinkles, and the appearance of blemishes. Irrespective of skin color, moisturization plays a key role in maintaining skin health. However, dark skin tends to look dry and ashy and reflects a grayish appearance when not properly moisturized. Choosing a moisturizer for your skin type is key to a good skincare routine. Look for the ones that appropriately offer special attention to mature skin’s needs! The best moisturizers for dark ashy skin listed above are enriched with hydrating ingredients like dimethicone, glycerin, shea butter, cocoa butter, hyaluronic acid, etc. Most of them are also non-oily, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and skin-friendly. Always ensure that you invest in chemical-free products and do a patch test before application. If you desire powerful moisturization, opt for the Baebody Retinol Moisturizer Cream enriched with organic ingredients. Pick the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion if you want to restore the protective barrier of the skin. For those aiming to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is a good choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dark skin people need a moisturizer?

Yes. People with dark skin are more prone to the drying effects of the weather. They experience transepidermal water loss at a greater rate than people with medium to fair skin. So, wearing a moisturizer that contains humectants is very essential.

Does moisturizer make the skin darker?

No. Moisturizer does not make your skin darker, rather it hydrates your skin and makes it appear supple. On the other hand, excessive sun exposure can make your skin darker, so to avoid tanning, generously apply sunscreen to your skin.

Is Cerave moisturizer good for African American skin?

Yes, the CeraVe moisturizer is good for African American skin. It replenishes the low ceramide level of your skin and keeps it moisturized throughout the day. This product is toxin-free, making it suitable for hypersensitive African American skin.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Shiboli Chakraborty, is a certified skin care coach. Her expertise lies in understanding skin needs at a cellular level. Her opinion is based on scientific research and user reviews on various online platforms. This list of the best moisturizers caters to the requirements of dark skin. Shiboli carefully selected products that offer hydration and keep the skin glowing and youthful. These moisturizers are formulated with safe and effective ingredients.


References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. OAO, MMO, and BIO OAO. “African Skin: Different Types, Needs and Diseases.” International Journal of Tropical Disease & Health. 1-13.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333692639_African_Skin_Different_Types_Needs_and_Diseases
  2. Wan, Derrick C et al. “Moisturizing different racial skin types.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology vol. 7,6 (2014): 25-32.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086530/

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Dr. Schwarzburg is a leading authority in the field of minimally invasive cosmetic and laser medicine in New York City. He is an Ivy League school graduate with 7 years of experience in cosmetic dermatology and regenerative medicine. His authority is widely recognized, and his expert opinion has been sought by many prestigious publications, including Forbes, Glamour, Good Morning America,...read full bio

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