4 Best Non Toxic Face Moisturizers (A Derm’s Guide)

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4 Best Non Toxic Face Moisturizers (A Derm’s Guide)
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

BEST FOR CLEAN SKINCARE

ZELEN Life Moisturizer

Moisturizing is an important step in everyone’s skin care regimen. Every skin type can benefit from moisturizing the skin for several reasons.

Moisturizers deliver hydration which smoothes and plumps the skin, making it radiant and glowing and less wrinkled. It also helps solidify the barrier capabilities of the skin to protect us against environmental damage (which leads to wrinkles), inflammation (which can lead to eczema), and irritation (which can lead to acne).

Not only is it important to use moisturizer, but also to select one that is non toxic to the skin. Some products contain potentially toxic ingredients that can irritate or damage the skin.

There are many choices of non toxic moisturizers on the market. We will discuss how to select a moisturizer and give a detailed analysis of the best non toxic face moisturizers on the market. We will also cover how they were selected, and some frequently asked questions about moisturizers.

Quick summary

Before you buy: 4 Things to consider when purchasing a non toxic face moisturizer

1. Determine what your skin type is

There are 5 different skin types: normal, dry, oily, sensitive, and combination.

Here is a guide to help you:

1. Normal skin

    • Face will not appear shiny or flaky
    • Pores will be normal-sized and no acne or blackheads

2. Dry skin

    • Face will appear flaky and dull
    • Skin will feel rough and tight

3. Oily skin

    • Face will appear shiny and feel greasy
    • May have enlarged pores, blackheads, and acne

4. Sensitive skin

    • Face can appear flaky and red
    • You may feel burning or itching

5. Combination skin

    • Face will have characteristics of oily skin in the T zone (forehead, nose, and chin), and dry on the rest of the face

2. Avoid toxic ingredients

There are certain ingredients which, can be toxic to the skin and body and should be avoided. Your skin gets bombarded with damaging UV rays from the sun and pollution from the atmosphere every day, so it is important to choose ingredients that will help your skin and not hurt it.

Parabens:

These can not only be irritating to the skin but may even interfere with the normal functioning of our hormones.

Petrolatum and mineral oil:

Some people can find these irritating and can clog your pores leading to blackheads and acne.

Sulfates:

Some may find these irritating and may clog your pores causing blackheads and acne.

Silicones:

They can clog your pores and lead to blackheads and acne.

Dyes and fragrances:

These can be irritating to some people.

3. Know the difference between organic and natural

Organic products are botanicals that are grown without pesticides. Natural products are grown with pesticides. Pesticides, depending on which ones, have the potential to be harmful to your skin and body. So it is best to stick to organic products.

4. Know the difference between fragrance-free and unscented

Fragrance-free products have no added scents, but they may have natural scents from the botanical ingredients. Unscented means that scents have been added to eliminate unpleasant odors from the ingredients. So, it is best to stick to fragrance-free products.

The 4 best non toxic face moisturizers

ZELEN Life Moisturizer (Best for clean skincare)

ZELEN Life Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Great for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin
  • Helps acne because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Lightweight and is easily absorbed

The best face moisturizer for:

All skin types can benefit from this moisturizer. It has acne-fighting ingredients, hydration, and anti-aging benefits as well.

Notable ingredients:

Jojoba, Calendula, Clary Sage

Overview:

The ZELEN Life Moisturizer is a lightweight, daily hydration cream that is handmade and fused with pure active botanicals.

Jojoba oil is considered a powerhouse ingredient because it moisturizes the skin without clogging pores (1-3). By being a similar composition of the skin’s natural oil (sebum) it cleverly regulates oil production by signaling to the sebaceous glands that the skin is sufficiently hydrated. By preventing the overproduction of sebum and reducing the chances of blocked pores, it can assist acne-prone skin.

Calendula (marigold extract) has been adopted for centuries due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to help treat radiation dermatitis (4-6). It also helps with anti-aging and has anti-microbial effects to encourage wound healing. These unique compounds make it great for the treatment of blemishes and rashes. Clary sage also has great anti-microbial properties that are helpful in managing acne (7-8).

This moisturizer also contains additional antioxidant-rich natural ingredients, such as sunflower seed oil and bay leaf oil, to help protect the skin against the harmful rays of the sun (9-15). The extra anti-microbial ingredients, like rose geranium and orange peel oil can help treat pimples and rosacea by their soothing qualities and decreasing bacterial overgrowth (9-11, 14-23).

While being on the lightweight side, it does a great job as a long-lasting daily hydrator. I believe this is because it absorbs fast into the skin and consequently locks in moisture. This is helped by it gliding easily across the skin without leaving a greasy residue. As it doesn’t include any harmful chemicals, it is suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive and oily ones.

This is because the organic oils within its formula (i.e. jojoba), are not aggressive and actually work in harmony to balancing excess oil. However, always make sure to check the ingredient list before use to make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.

While it doesn’t have any artificial fragrance, it does contains a subtle scent that is derived from its natural formulation. It has a wonderful citrus character which is very calming, making you wanting more as it fades away quickly. Many users describe the aroma as like a ‘spa day’, and I’d have to agree.

Overall, the ZELEN Life Moisturizer is a solid all-rounder. Whether you are in need of hydration for dry skin or you are looking for anti-aging or anti-acne properties, this product ticks many boxes. However, if you are looking for a moisturizer that includes sunscreen then this one is not for you. In this instance, consider La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair further down the list. It  is also very lightweight in texture but comes with sun protection SPF 30.

The good:

  • Organic, plant-based formula
  • Great anti-aging, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory properties – Great for all-round use
  • Wonderful floral/citrusy scent that is derived from its botanical ingredients

Things to think about:

  • Essential oils – Some people may find these irritating.
  • Natural scents – Some people may find these unappealing.

Bottom line:

This is an excellent moisturizer suitable for all skin types. It offers great hydration and protection without clogging the pores. No nasties are found in its organic formula.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

boscia Green Tea Oil Free Moisturizer (Best for oily skin)

 boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

(1

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Good for normal and oily skin types
  • Helps reduce oil and inflammation
  • Potent anti-oxidants

The best face moisturizer for:

This is a great moisturizer for normal to oily skin that helps with reducing anti-aging effects.

Notable ingredients:

Japanese green tea, burdock root, marine complex

Overview:

boscia’s Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer is another clean moisturizer but with a different formulation compared to the ZELEN Life Moisturizer. Its ingredients blend of Japanese green tea, burdock root, and marine complex aim to protect and bring back your youthful skin.

Let’s consider how:

Japanese green tea has been used through the ages as a potent antioxidant with chemoprotective abilities. It is so advanced that studies suggest it can help the prevention of skin cancers (1, 26). It reduces the signs of sun-related conditions, such as uneven skin texture and hyperpigmentation. It also helps to reduce premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles. Those who are prone to dermatitis and acne may also benefit from Japanese green tea due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

The burdock root extract has also been used to treat acne and other inflammatory disorders (27-30). It cleans the skin from bacteria due to its anti-microbial and antibacterial properties while balancing the excess oil on the skin.

The marine complex with laminaria seaweed helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles (31-33). It contains essential amino acids, and hydrating properties, which promote collagen production and make the skin more elastic. A very effective ingredient for dehydrated skin types. Additionally, other ingredients such as fireweed extract and cork tree extract also assist with anti-aging (34-38).

The texture of this moisturizer is also very lightweight. When using, I didn’t experience any leftover greasy residue. Because of this I believe it is very suitable for oily skin types. If you are wearing makeup daily, this moisturizer provides a smooth mattified surface and it won’t make the skin overly glowy.

While it does a great job hydrating the skin, I have noticed that other moisturizers on the list provide superior hydration, such as the ZELEN Life Moisturizer or La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair. This is due to their inclusion of more moisturizing agents, such as sweet almond, cocoa and ceramides-3, niacinamide, to name a few.

As for its scent, it is very light and more on the floral side. Similar to ZELEN Life’s, no artificial fragrance have been used. The aroma is derived from its organic ingredients.

Lastly, while this moisturizer is effective against acne and reduces the appearance of fine lines, it is does come with a high price tag compared to the ZELEN Life Moisturizer. However, do note that the ZELEN Life Moisturizer is not oil-free, so if that’s important to you, boscia’s might be more suitable.

The good:

  • Rich in anti-aging properties
  • Does not block the pores and is very lightweight
  • All natural ingredients

Things to think about:

  • Scents – Some people may find the scent unappealing.
  • Irritation – Some people found it irritating.

Bottom line:

This moisturizer not only reduces oil production but also helps to absorb oil to prevent enlarged pores, blackheads, and acne while delivering anti-aging benefits.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer (Best for hydration + SPF)

La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Good for normal, dry, and sensitive skin types
  • Hydrates and calms
  • Reduces inflammation

The best face moisturizer for:

This is a great moisturizer for sensitive and dry skin that helps to hydrate and soothe the skin.

Notable ingredients:

Ceramides, niacinamide, glycerin, thermal spring water

Overview:

La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer is a 2-in-1 moisturizer and sunscreen (SPF 30).

Let’s take a look at its main ingredients:

Ceramides have been around for decades and are well-known for their moisturizing capabilities. They can play a vital role in the skin’s barrier function and can greatly assist the conditioning of dry skin (39). They also have good anti-inflammatory properties making them useful in the management of atopic dermatitis.

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 which contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (1). It has been used for the treatment of acne and rosacea, and also helps to control excess sebum production on oily skin. It is highly effective moisturizer.

Glycerin has anti-microbial properties, which make it useful to reduce the effects of eczema, redness, and blemishes for those with sensitive skin (1). Prebiotic thermal spring water also has hydration properties while maintaining skin health due to its soothing and calming capabilities (40-42).

Texture and experience:

Despite coming with solid SPF protection, this moisturizer manages to remain lightweight and non-greasy. It is best to wear it during your morning routine, keeping your skin hydrated and protected from the damaging effects of UV radiation. UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer and wrinkles (68). What stood out for me about this moisturizer compared to other 2-in-1 sunscreen moisturizer’s is that it absorbs very quickly into the skin.

While it is advertised as suitable for sensitive and dry skin types, I would say it is also safe to use from people who have oily skin. This is because it is oil-free and non-comedogenic.

Scent:

This moisturizer is free from synthetic fragrance. By not containing many botanical ingredients, it is basically unscented. Therefore, it doesn’t have a distinctive smell. This makes it very suitable for people who are usually irritated with strong scents. But if like me, you enjoy a nice, relaxing aromatic experience during your morning skincare routine, then this moisturizer is not the one for you.

Finally, if you are looking for a moisturizer that contains better anti-aging capabilities, then consider boscia’s Green Tea Moisturizer. It is also oil-free and is packed with ingredients that are know for their effectiveness in restoring a youthful look. However, do remember it doesn’t contain any SPF protection, so you would need to apply it separately.

The good:

  • 2-in-1 sunscreen with moisturizer
  • Easily absorbed by the skin
  • Strong hydrating capabilities while being lightweight
  • Unscented

Things to think about:

  • Flaking – Some people found it to pill and flake making the application of makeup difficult. This probably happened from putting too much cream on their face as it didn’t happen to our testing.

Bottom line:

This moisturizer is ideal for people who want to speed up their morning skincare routine.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer (Best for men)

Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Good for normal, oily, dry, and sensitive skin types
  • Lightweight formula
  • SPF 20 protection

The best face moisturizer for:

This is a great moisturizer for sensitive and dry skin that helps to protect the skin and hydrate while being lightweight.

Notable ingredients:

Blue algae extract, sea parsley, vitamins A & E, phospholipids, SPF 20

Overview:

Jack Black is a premium brand that focuses on skincare products for men. It has a strong reputation for not including harmful chemicals in its formulations, such as parabens, sulfates and silicones. This Double-Duty Face Moisturizer certainly reinforces this reputation.

It contains a unique blend of blue algae, sea parsley, vitamins A and E, phospholipids, and avobenzone and octinoxate as its main ingredients. Blue algae contain natural photoprotective properties that are both antioxidants and also anti-inflammatories (43-46). So, they not only protect against UV-induced damage and signs of aging but also calm and soothe the skin.

Another unique ingredient is sea parsley. It helps the skin in many ways (47-49). Being high in vitamin C content, it has wound healing capabilities (due to its high content of vitamin A), and antimicrobial properties. Sea parsley can also decrease sebum production to help with oily, acne-prone skin.

Vitamin A is excellent for anti-aging and acne-prone skin (1). It can assist in promoting collagen production and combating oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant which helps protect your skin from the harmful UV rays, which can caused wrinkles and skin cancer (1).

Phospholipids are an important part of the skin (1). They play a vital role in retaining hydration. This moisturizer is also packed with other antioxidants, like apple fruit extract, edelweiss extract, Buddleja davidii, lemon balm extract, lavender oil, and marigold extract, to help protect the skin (4-6, 50-61). It is also blessed with other anti-inflammatory ingredients that calm the skin, including edelweiss extract, chamomile oil, lavender oil, rosemary leaf oil, marigold extract, etc. (1, 4-6, 53-54, 60-67).

As opposed to the other moisturizers in this list, Jack Black’s has is more thick in texture. Despite this, it is still absorbed well by the skin. However, I have noticed that it is not as hydrating. When I tested them, I found that the ZELEN Life Moisturizer and La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair are better hydrators.

As for the scent of this moisturizer, it is very discreet. It not overpowering which is common in male skincare. However, it is somewhat soapy in character. It has a masculine tone, however it fades away immediately. So it will not intervene with your cologne.

The good:

  • Protects skin from UV rays
  • Great blend of botanical ingredients
  • Provides great hydration

Things to think about:

  • Clogged pores – Some people complained that it clogged their pores.
  • Scent – Some people found the scent unappealing.

Bottom line:

This is a lightweight hydrating moisturizer for dry and acne-prone skin with the added benefit of SPF 20 sunscreen and loaded with anti-oxidants.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

How we chose these products

These 4 non toxic face moisturizers were chosen for several reasons. They are all trusted brands that deliver high-quality products. These companies perform extensive research to ensure their products are top quality. Also, there are numerous good reviews on all these products.

This group of non toxic moisturizers contains something for every budget, ranging from expensive to reasonably priced. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to get a good product.

These 4 choices are all non toxic moisturizers that contain quality ingredients. There is something for every skin type. They all moisturize the skin well while delivering added benefits. Some help oily skin and acne, while others help dry irritated skin.

Best of all, they all contain anti-oxidants to protect the skin while helping to keep you looking younger.

Frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions 2-min

How often do I need to moisturize?

You must moisturize twice a day after you wash your face to keep your skin well hydrated. Otherwise, it will not function properly as a barrier to protect your skin from dehydration.

Also, when your skin is dry, it makes your look more wrinkled. Moisturizer will plump up the skin and make wrinkles less apparent. The best moisturizers for dry skin are thicker creams; however, the best ones for oily skin or lotions or gels.

When should I apply a face moisturizer?

It is important to use products in the proper order and at the proper time to get optimal benefits. You should apply moisturizer after you wash your face when your skin is still a little damp. Make sure you apply a moisturizer with clean hands.

Use gentle circular massaging motions to work it into your skin. If you have oily skin, you would apply moisturizer after your toner or acne product, but before sunscreen. If you have dry skin, you can apply it right after cleansing.

Who needs to moisturize?

Everyone needs to moisturize twice a day, even people with oily skin. If you have oily skin and do not replace the moisture on your face and you cause your skin to dehydrate, it will lead to overproduction of oil and worsen your excess oil problem.

People with dry skin may need to moisturize more than twice a day.

Why do I need to moisturize my face?

The skin has many functions, such as a barrier to hazardous substances and UV radiation. It also prevents loss of moisture, regulates temperature and immune function, and produces vitamin D. To keep it functioning properly, you need to take care of it.

You must keep it clean, hydrated, and protected from the sun. Otherwise, your skin will break down and get dry and crack, get infections, and develop wrinkles and skin cancer.

Do I need to moisturize areas other than my face?

You should moisturize your entire body. Skin is skin. If skin dehydrates on your face, it will do so on the rest of your body. The function of the skin and the needs of the skin are the same all over your body. It needs to be cleansed, moisturized, and protected.

However, you may need a different moisturizer for different parts of your body depending on your skin. You may have very dry legs that require a thick cream, while your face is oily and may need a lightweight, non-comedogenic lotion.

Conclusion

Moisturizing is an essential part of everyone’s daily skin care routine. Proper moisturizing will keep your skin functioning optimally and looking great for many years.

With the myriad of choices of moisturizers on the market, it is important to read the labels.

Choose the one that is right for your skin type, with non toxic ingredients, and that will give you anti-aging benefits.

Moisturizing is an essential part of everyone’s daily skin care routine. Proper moisturizing will keep your skin functioning optimally and looking great for many years.

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About The Author

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Board-Certified Dermatologist

BS-MD (University of Miami)

United States

Dr. Trent completed a 6 year combined BS-MD at the University of Miami with an undergraduate major in biology and a minor in chemistry. She completed her internship in Internal Medicine and her residency in Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Trent is a world recognized dermatologist, who has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She also co-authored a textbook on dermatologic diseases and therapy, which was published by McGraw-Hill Co, Inc. She has had the opportunity to present her clinical research several times at national medical meetings. Dr. Trent has been the recipient of several awards for research, teaching and clinical practice, including the prestigious Young Investigators award for research from the American Academy of Dermatology as well as the coveted Castle Connelly Top Doctor award.

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