Breaking Down Moisturiser Ingredients: What to Look for in a Face Moisturiser (And What to Avoid)

May 18, 2020 | Skincare

Are you looking to purchase a new face moisturiser, but aren’t sure which one to choose?

Moisturising your face is a very important step in your skincare routine. Not only does moisturizer quench dehydrated skin, but it can also help protect your skin against wrinkles and fine lines. Some moisturisers even have SPF infused in them to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays.

However, choosing a moisturiser can be rather tough, as there are so many different options out there!

To figure out which moisturiser is best for you, a good place to start is with the moisturiser ingredients list. Which ingredients should you be looking for?

Check out this guide to discover what ingredients you should look for in a face moisturiser.

Hyaluronic Acid

One of the most important ingredients to look for in a moisturiser is hyaluronic acid. This ingredient has been getting a lot of buzz in the beauty world lately, due to its ability to plump and soften the skin.

In addition to being found in many skincare products, hyaluronic acid is also found naturally in the body. In the body, it’s a viscous, gooey substance that aids in joint lubrication. It is even found in your eyeballs and helps your eyes maintain their shape.

However, just like many other substances in our body, hyaluronic acid depletes as we age. This is why many skincare manufacturers have begun adding it to their products.

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that works to hydrate the skin by drawing water from the outer layers deep into the skin. In fact, this substance is said to hold up 1000 times its weight in water.

Therefore, using this ingredient will result in plumper, softer-feeling skin.


Dimethicone is another very important moisturiser ingredient that you should keep your eye out for.

This ingredient is found in many make up, haircare, and skincare products. Dimethicone is an emollient that helps fill in uneven texture, even out fine lines, and boost water retention in your skin. It does this by forming a protective layer over the skin’s surface, which helps to keep the skin moisturised and hydrated.

Dimethicone also creates an oily layer on top of the skin that traps water, which can help decrease flaking. This is a tried and true ingredient that is lightweight and safe, and it should definitely be a stape in your skincare regime.


Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is also a humectant that works in the same way that hyaluronic acid does.

This ingredient is composed of fats and sugars that work to absorb and retain water. Which in turn helps keep your skin smooth and hydrated. Glycerin attracts water from both the lower layers of skin and the environment in order to add moisture to the surface layers of the skin (aka, the epidermis).

It also helps to maintain the outer barrier of the skin, which can help prevent flaking and dryness. A recent study had volunteers use a cream containing 20% glycerin for 10 days.

At the end of the study, participants reported an increase in the hydration of their skin.


Ceramides are another important ingredient to look for in a face moisturiser. These are fats that are found naturally in the outer layer of the skin, and they are a major component of your skin’s structure.

They also play a crucial role when it comes to providing your skin with a natural moisture barrier. If your skin has a lack of ceramides, it can make you more susceptible to dryness and flaking.

It can also make your skin more susceptible to environmental factors that negatively impact your skin such as pollution, dirt, and other irritants. For this reason, it’s important to look for a moisturiser that contains ceramides.


Most people have a negative opinion of the word “preservatives”. But, it’s important to understand that not all preservatives are bad, especially when it comes to skincare.

If you buy a moisturiser that contains water, then it needs to have a preservative system. Otherwise, the moisturiser will become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

Not only is this gross, but it can also diminish the effectiveness of the product. It can also trigger irritations and infections. So, don’t let the words “preservative-free” sway you on the label.

That being said, there are some preservatives that you want to avoid, such as formaldehyde-releasers and parabens.

Preservatives that can be good for your skin include:

  • Witch hazel
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Alcohols like benzyl alcohol, grape alcohol, and ethanol
  • Essential oils like tea tree, neem, and rosemary
  • Non-toxic synthetics such as dehydroacetic acid
  • Plant-bases preservatives like ethyl-hexyl glycerin, gluconolactone, and triisostearyl citrate

By looking for these preservative ingredients and avoiding the other ones, you’ll keep your skin happy and healthy.

Argan Oil

Essential oils are more popular than ever. However, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which essential oils are actually good for you and which ones are just being pushed on you because they’re a “natural alternative”.

One essential oil that has been proven to benefit your skin is argan oil. This oil is derived from the argan tree, and it is one of the rarest as well as one of the most nourishing oils in the world.

Argan oil is packed with fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E, all of which help to keep your skin hydrated. It’s also incredibly lightweight, and unlike some other oils on the market, argan oil won’t make your face look too shiny.

Ingredients to Avoid

In addition to looking for the above ingredients, here are some ingredients that you’ll want to avoid:

  • Petroleum derivatives
  • Silicones
  • Polyunsaturated fats
  • Synthetic fragrances and certain essential oils
  • Parabens
  • Lanolin
  • Formaldehyde

You may have to spend some time reading labels to rule out these ingredients, but trust us, it’s well worth it for your skin!

Top Moisturiser Ingredients To Look For

Now that you know the top moisturiser ingredients to look for, it’s time to start shopping for a new moisturiser.

If you’re looking to buy a new hydrating moisturiser, we suggest checking out our hydrating essence. This essence helps to cover a multitude of skin issues, and it’s made from all-natural ingredients!

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