The 5 Best Silicone-Free Moisturizers (All Skin Types) 2020
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The 5 Best Silicone-Free Moisturizers (All Skin Types)

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best silicone free moisturizer
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
BEST FOR SENSITIVE AND ACNE-PRONE SKIN ZELEN Life Moisturizer

 

Silicone, just like alcohol, are controversial ingredients to include in skincare, haircare, makeup, and cosmetics.

We will be presenting the best silicone-free moisturizers within this review. While some companies and sources stand by their inclusion of silicone in a product, others do not advocate it.

We have come a long way from using synthetic ingredients in our skincare and made a worldwide shift to more natural, organic ingredients that are fresher, newer, more effective, and less potential for harm or adverse effects.

Silicone, when used in small amounts, can make a product glide more smoothly and have a more pleasant texture.

In this review, we plan on differentiating the positives and negatives of silicone-based moisturizers as well as the advantages and disadvantages of silicone-free ones, while also sharing our top picks.

We will also share which particular product best suits a particular purpose, showing an analysis of ingredients and providing feedback from customer reviews and dermatologists.

We will now be going over the best silicone-free moisturizers for you:

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageZELEN Life Moisturizer
  • Handmade organic formula, packed full of vitamins and antioxidants
  • Non-greasy, light texture offers fast absorption and hydration
  • Silicone free, as well as free from all other harmful chemicals
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bb2-table__imageVichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Face Cream Moisturizer
  • Contains hyaluronic acid, long-lasting hydrator
  • Helps dry skin types
  • Features thermal spa water, 97% natural origin ingredients
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bb2-table__imageJuice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer
  • Refines and brightens skin
  • Anti-aging properties help fine lines and wrinkles
  • Made with certified organic juices
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bb2-table__imageEmbryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
  • Rich face cream that nourishes and smooths skin
  • Iconic skincare brand since 1950s
  • Multi-purpose moisturizer and makeup primer
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bb2-table__imageboscia Chia Seed Moisture Cream
  • Vegan-friendly and not tested on animals
  • Silicone-free and preservative-free
  • Repairs and restores moisture to dry skin
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Before you buy: 3 things to consider when purchasing a silicone-free moisturizer

1. Know (or learn) what silicone is:

Before choosing skincare, haircare, or cosmetic products, it is essential to know the ingredients, what they do, and their advantages and disadvantages. Silicone is classified by the FDA as a lubricant and provides a smooth texture to some products when added.

However, it is synthetically made and originates from the sand. It is biodegradable and turns into sand, water, and carbon dioxide when broken down.

2. See if your skincare products contain silicone:

A common type of silicone found in skincare products is dimethicone. An easy way to find out what ingredients your skincare products have is to look at the ingredient list, particularly at the suffixes, and narrow down their containment of silicone if the word ends in “-cone.”

Some examples are: amodimethicone, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, methicone, trimethicone, trimethylsilylamodimethicone.

3. Define your goals for skincare:

What are your goals for your skincare products? Do you strive to use products with only organic or natural ingredients? Are you looking for anti-aging or lightening properties?

What about products to avoid breakouts in acne-prone skin? This could be easily derived by making a list of “areas of interest” as well as “areas for improvement.”

Note, when deciding on what to use for your skin, it is also important to know or narrow down if your skin is oily, dry, or a combination of both.

The 5 best silicone-free moisturizers in 2020

1. ZELEN Life Moisturizer

ZELEN Life moisturizer

Best features:

  • Perfect as a daily routine
  • Lightweight, non-greasy formula illuminates the skin
  • Natural matte moisturizer loaded with vitamins

The best silicone-free moisturizer for:

All skin types looking for moisture balance.

Overview:

This daily moisturizer is a high-quality skincare product that adds essential hydration to your skin routine and is a great start to your regimen. It can be used in all skin types, including both men and women, and is silicone-free.

It can be applied morning and evening as it is lightweight, not greasy, and leaves the skin smooth and soft. It is also packed with natural ingredients into an organic formula. It is free of silicones, parabens, sulfates, synthetic colors, fragrances, and petrochemicals. Its key ingredients include clary sage, calendula, and jojoba, which have been used and studied in dermatology extensively.

It has many benefits, including protecting the skin barrier and moisturizing and hydrating the skin without clogging pores. It is also hypoallergenic and contains essential antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins to leave the skin revitalized and refreshed.

It is also not tested on animals and is cruelty-free. Its benefits also stem from its organic ingredients. Calendula comes from Marigold flowers and is a natural antiseptic, reduces redness, and helps heal the skin.(2)

Clary sage is a flowering herb found in the Mediterranean that is used in aromatherapy and skincare; it is anti-inflammatory, prevents skin irritation, promotes skin tightening for anti-aging, and is anti-bacterial, decreasing the spread of bacteria.(3)

Jojoba oil is found in many skincare products and is known for its anti-aging properties, the skin healing process, hormonal balancing, and regulation of sebum produced by the body.(4) This silicone-free moisturizer leaves your skin looking radiant and glowing, as well as keeping it healthy while looking your best.

The good:

  • Handmade with organic compounds
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • The light, non-greasy formula absorbs easily for fast hydration and protection
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic

Things to think about:

  • Contains no SPF
  • An additional sunscreen is needed for sun protection

Bottom line:

This is a deeply hydrating organic moisturizer free of silicone and all other nasty chemicals. It’s an excellent choice as an anti-acne and anti-aging day cream.

2. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Face Cream Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Thermal rich
  • Face cream
  • Moisturizing for dry skin

The best silicone-free moisturizer for:

Those with dry skin.

Overview:

This moisturizer includes volcanic water and natural origin hyaluronic acid to create a soft, rich face cream that evenly spreads moistures. It is free of mineral oils, parabens, and silicone. It provides long-lasting hydration for dry skin and to target fine lines.

It can also be used daily, morning and evening, on the face and neck. It is formulated with Vichy’s advanced dynamic hydration technology to help distribute and lock in water to moisturize all areas of the face for up to 48 hours.

The volcanic water is sourced from the volcanoes in France and has 15 essential minerals to help strengthen the skin barrier by protecting it from external elements. Plant sugar delivers hydration by strengthening it and preventing water loss.

Its key ingredients include hyaluronic acid and aquabioryl product technology to form a protective film against the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient in skin aging and has a unique capacity to retain water and moisturize the skin.(5)

It contains 97% natural origin ingredients, including thermal spa water that leaves the skin velvety and soft.

The good:

  • Contains hyaluronic acid
  • Hydrates, soothes, and moisturizes
  • Paraben-free

Things to think about:

  • Some customers prefer a gel-like texture while others prefer the cream
  • Some customer report that the cream is too thick to use on a daily basis

Bottom line:

This is a thermal rich moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid that provides long-lasting hydration for dry skin types.

3. Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Contains certified organic juices
  • Antioxidant-rich hydration
  • Evens skin tone and fine lines

The best silicone-free moisturizer for:

Those looking for anti-aging.

Overview:

This clinically proven silicone-free formula is an age-defying moisturizer that combines antioxidants such as vitamin C, peptides, coenzyme Q10, and DMAE, as well as a brightening and refining mixture of certified organic juices.

It evens out skin tones, works on fine lines, and hydrates the skin with organic aloe vera. It is best used after washing your face and can be applied on the face and neck in the morning and night. It is a multi-tasking lightweight cream.

Other antioxidants that are present include shea butter, jojoba, and organic coconut. The organic fruits also contain powerful alpha-hydroxy acids, such as citric, malic, and tartaric acids.

A vegetable hyaluronic acid also helps to plump the skin while rich botanicals, including primrose, linseed, and borage, also accompany the unique formula to brighten and smooth the skin.

It is suitable for all skin types except those with sensitive skin and can be used by individuals older than 20 years of age. It can be used in those with uneven tones, textures, dyschromias, pigmentary changes, and dark blemishes.

Key ingredients include organic aloe leaf juice, sustainably sourced shea butter, and organic malic acid, apple juice. Aloe is rich in glycoproteins and soothing benefits, which improve hydration and the skin’s natural moisture.(6)

Shea butter is derived from the fruit pit of the karite tree and helps to soften, soothe, and moisturize the skin.(7)

Malic acid is from apple juices and is rich in vitamins, potent malic alpha-hydroxy acids, flavonoids, phenols, phytonutrients, and provides powerful antioxidants to promote beauty within the skin.(8)

The good:

  • Age-defying
  • Green moisturizer
  • Brightening and refining complex

Things to think about:

  • Some customers report less-than-ideal packaging
  • The lid occasionally comes off of the moisturizers, making it difficult to use

Bottom line:

This powerful anti-aging moisturizer is full of antioxidants that help fine lines and evens skin tone.

4. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré

Best features:

  • Moisturizing properties
  • Works as a face mask, primer, and cream
  • Nourishing against free radicals

The best silicone-free moisturizer for:

As a makeup primer.

Overview:

Embryolisse is a nourishing face cream that can serve as a silicone-free makeup primer, a face mask, or a moisturizer. It also protects against free radical oxidative damage and leaves the skin soft, smooth, and comfortable.

It is made by an iconic French brand and is an iconic European face cream. It is suitable for all skin types as a rich, multi-tasking formula and face cream. It was developed in 1950 by a dermatologist at a Parisian hospital, driven by a philosophy of tolerance and effectiveness with expertise in dermo-cosmetic care.

It is a favorite product for makeup artists and is a beauty secret used by many.

Its active ingredients include natural active shea butter, beeswax, soy proteins, and aloe vera. Shea butter has been shown to improve eczema as a strong moisturizer and emollient.(9)

Beeswax is commonly used in ointments and cosmetics, has a large number of biological activity, and is considered important in skincare ingredients.(10)

Soy proteins and products are a novel therapeutic option in dermatology and have been found to be both safe and effective in treating hyperpigmentation conditions.(11)

Aloe vera is a biological vehicle and also serves as an anti-fungal and antimicrobial agent with promising results in dermatologic conditions.(12)

The good:

  • Useful as a makeup primer
  • Iconic skincare brand
  • Rich face cream

Things to think about:

  • Contains fragrances
  • Can be a bit harsh for sensitive skin

Bottom line:

The Embryolisse face cream is super enriched with active ingredients that nourish the skin. It is a great multi-tasker moisturizer, which also can be used as a primer for makeup.

5. boscia Chia Seed Moisture Cream

Best features:

  • Super rich moisturizer
  • Repairs dry skin
  • Contains chia seed oil to smooth wrinkles and hydrate

The best silicone-free moisturizer for:

Those looking for vegan skincare.

Overview:

This silicone-free and preservative-free moisturizer hydrates restores, and repairs dry skin with a creamy texture to restore the skin barrier. It provides long-term hydration leading to a glowing complexion. Active ingredients include chia seed oil, which reduces redness, slow down wrinkles, and restore essential moisture to the skin.

To use, it can be applied morning and evening with your fingers or the spatula that the product provides.

This natural moisturizer also contains glacier water and elderberry extract for increased moisturization. Chia seed oil is also full of omega fatty acids and essential phytonutrients to prevent dehydration and restore skin.(13)

Glacier water is enriched with natural minerals to provide long term hydration and moisture balance for a healthy complexion.

For success in skincare, plants are critical. Its key features are its natural ingredients, moisture loss prevention, and richness in omega-3 fatty acids for calming and an anti-inflammatory effect.(14) Glacier water helps to improve suppleness, moisture, and smoothness in the skin.

Elderberry extract provides antioxidants that protect against pollution and oxidative stress.(15) It is also high in vitamins A, B6, C, and E to promote radiance in the skin and is ideal for all skin types.

The good:

  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • Natural, clean skincare
  • Long-lasting hydration

Things to think about:

  • Some customer reviews report that it sometimes may feel too thick
  • Uneven texture when applied in large quantities

Bottom line:

boscia’s silicone-free chia seed moisturizer is also preservative-free and cruelty-free. It provides long-lasting hydration and is a nice option for vegans.


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How we chose these products

These products were selected by carefully reading reviews and considering input from world-renown dermatologists. Various items were considered, including popularity, efficacy, cost, advantages, disadvantages, goals of use, and areas for improvement.

We came up with a list of 5 as we thought this would interest the reader versus a long list of items that may not be as effective as the top ones. We considered silicone-free products, as we seek to provide product selections using the most natural, effective, and organic ingredients on our lineup.

We excluded silicone-free products, as well as those with predominantly synthetic ingredients. All of the products chosen have top moisturizing ingredients and come from trusted brands that produce high-quality skincare.

To become accessible to everyone, we included items for people with different goals, textures, and desires at different times of the day.

We also sought to choose products that would not clog pores or contribute to acne flareups. We performed an in-depth analysis of ingredients and came up with a selection that would fit most people’s needs across gender differences, age groups, skin types, and a range of budgets.

Lastly, we analyzed common themes in customer reviews, assessed feedback, reliability, and volume to come up with a shortlist of the top 5 silicone-free moisturizers.

Frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions

What is silicone, and how is it used in skincare?

Silicone is a synthetically formulated ingredient that is known for its lubrication. It is added to many skincare, haircare, and makeup formulations as well as serums. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the United States), silicone as dimethicone is classified as a skin protectant.

Since it is a lubricant, it glides smoothly and is a popular ingredient to include in personal care items due to its enhanced smooth texture.

When added to skincare products, it may serve several purposes, including smoothness, enhanced penetration of the product, and prolonged wear or longevity.

Silicone is derived from sand and is a sustainable and abundant mineral that is found in the environment. It also degrades and can break down into water, carbon dioxide, and sand forms.

Why is it important to consider using a silicone-free product?

Products with silicone may contribute to clogged pores and acne. On occasion, someone may be intolerant to the silicone or experience an adverse reaction. Though most silicones are safe for topical use and non-reactive ingredients, as with any skincare ingredient, allergies and intolerances may develop.

They are also not necessarily considered adequate moisturizers for the skin, as petrolatum agents provide superiority in this area.(1)

To see if a product contains silicone, look at the list of ingredients and see if any of the items end in “-cone, -conol, or -siloxane.” The presence of any of these suffixes suggests a silicone ingredient may be present in the product.

Conclusion

While products containing silicone are not detrimental if used in skincare products, they can be avoidable in your selection if you desire. While some sources say that they may lead to breakouts and some individuals may be intolerant to the product, their addition can smooth out a texture of a product and provide a smooth feel.

They are synthetic, so the product is more synthetic and less organic when added. Thus, it may be an option to consider trying a silicone-free moisturizer. Regardless of the goals of your skincare routine and your skin type, hopefully, we are able to help you better choose a silicone-free moisturizer.

Please let us know in your comments if you think your skincare products contain silicone, and if so, what do you like or not like about it?

If you know someone who has questions regarding silicone in their moisturizer, please feel free to share this article with them to help them find a silicone-free moisturizer.

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References

  1. De Paepe K, Sieg A, Le Meur M, Rogiers V. Silicones as non-occlusive topical agents. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(3):164-71. doi: 10.1159/000354914. Epub 2014 Jan 18. PMID: 24457536.
  2. Quave CL. Wound healing with botanicals: A review and future perspectives. Curr Dermatol Rep. 2018;7(4):287-295. doi:10.1007/s13671-018-0247-4
  3. Sienkiewicz M, Głowacka A, Poznańska-Kurowska K, Kaszuba A, Urbaniak A, Kowalczyk E. The effect of clary sage oil on staphylococci responsible for wound infections. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2015;32(1):21-26. doi:10.5114/pdia.2014.40957
  4. Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Ghassemi MR, Kazerouni A, Rafeie E, Jamshydian N. Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Dec;148(6):687-91. PMID: 24442052.
  5. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-258. doi:10.4161/derm.21923
  6. Feily A, Namazi MR. Aloe vera in dermatology: a brief review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2009 Feb;144(1):85-91. PMID: 19218914.
  7. Mahmood FM, Copps BC, Mathieu JAM. Lessons from African traditional medicine: exploring the potential therapeutic applications of shea butter in dermatology. Int J Dermatol. 2020 Oct 27. doi: 10.1111/ijd.15275. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33107031.
  8. Tang SC, Yang JH. Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. Molecules. 2018;23(4):863. Published 2018 Apr 10. doi:10.3390/molecules23040863
  9. Nisbet SJ. Skin acceptability of a cosmetic moisturizer formulation in female subjects with sensitive skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:213-217. Published 2018 Apr 30. doi:10.2147/CCID.S157297
  10. Kurek-Górecka A, Górecki M, Rzepecka-Stojko A, Balwierz R, Stojko J. Bee Products in Dermatology and Skin Care. Molecules. 2020 Jan 28;25(3):556. doi: 10.3390/molecules25030556. PMID: 32012913; PMCID: PMC7036894.
  11. Leyden J, Wallo W. The mechanism of action and clinical benefits of soy for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Apr;50(4):470-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2010.04765.x. Epub 2011 Feb 20. PMID: 21332714.
  12. Feily A, Namazi MR. Aloe vera in dermatology: a brief review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2009 Feb;144(1):85-91. PMID: 19218914.
  13. Jeong SK, Park HJ, Park BD, Kim IH. Effectiveness of Topical Chia Seed Oil on Pruritus of End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Patients and Healthy Volunteers. Ann Dermatol. 2010;22(2):143-148. doi:10.5021/ad.2010.22.2.143
  14. Thomsen BJ, Chow EY, Sapijaszko MJ. The Potential Uses of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Dermatology: A Review. J Cutan Med Surg. 2020 Sep/Oct;24(5):481-494. doi: 10.1177/1203475420929925. Epub 2020 May 28. PMID: 32463305.
  15. Strugała P, Loi S, Bażanów B, et al. A Comprehensive Study on the Biological Activity of Elderberry Extract and Cyanidin 3-O-Glucoside and Their Interactions with Membranes and Human Serum Albumin. Molecules. 2018;23(10):2566. Published 2018 Oct 8. doi:10.3390/molecules23102566

About The Author

Dr. Anna Chacon MD FAAD
Dr. Anna Chacon MD FAAD

Dr. Anna Chacon is a board-certified dermatologist from Miami, based in South Florida. She graduated from Brown University’s highly selective Program in Liberal Medical Education. She completed her dermatology residency at the University of Southern California, where she learned firsthand about skin disorders that others only read about. She loves to write, see patients, and practice all aspects of dermatology.

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