The Betterment Project

Best Face Moisturizer: Ingredients to Look For

Do you absolutely need to use face moisturizer? Isn't it counterintuitive to try and hydrate already oily skin, even with an oil-free moisturizer? Is a daily moisturizer something even the most rugged guy needs? 


Let’s just skip the debate, because the answers to all of the above are a resounding yes. Yes, you should. 


If you’re fond of hiking in the hills, catching a wave, or hitting the road for a run, you’re adding years of mileage to your face’s skin, especially if you aren't using the right skin care products to help protect or renew amongst all these skin-beating activities. So, before you end up with more wrinkles than a relief map, it’s time for you to learn about what makes the best face moisturizers, and why a daily essential face moisturizer is so essential in the first place. 

Why Moisturize?


So, what are the reasons for moisturizing? Here are the top five benefits.


  • Air conditioning, indoor heat, hot weather, and cold weather. They all dry out your skin. A quality facial moisturizer is hydrating, and will help replace what you’ve lost while preventing further moisture loss. 
  • Aging gracefully is OK. But, wrinkled skin doesn’t cut it. Moisturizing regularly can help stave off wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. 
  • Moisturizing keeps acne at bay. Dry skin tries to compensate by producing excess oil. Soon, your natural oils begin to produce in excess, and even with tons of face wash, clogging your face and resulting in a breakout. 
  • Do you have sensitive skin that often gets irritated? A face cream with calming agents like aloe vera can take the sting off. 
  • Sun protection is key to healthy skin. Add a moisturizer with built-in sunscreen and SPF protection, and you can keep the UVA and UVB rays at bay (SPF 15 is the very minimum you'll want to look for, with SPF 20 and above being even better!). 

Morning or Night?


Some moisturizers are made to be used anytime, while others are marketed and labeled for morning or night-time use. Should you use one, the other, or both?

The case for morning moisturizing

Think of a morning face moisturizer as protection for what’s coming. During the day, your face will be exposed to environmental pollution, heat, cold, wind, and the harmful UV rays of the sun. A day-time moisturizer is made to protect and reinforce men's skin from these harmful effects. 


For example, the Daily Defense Moisturizer by ASYSTEM has several protective ingredients plus an antioxidant blended in. For good measure, they kick in some SPF 30 sun protection as well with a matte-finish, to keep you looking fresh and non-greasy unlike other facial moisturizers. 

Nighttime moisturizing benefits

In the evening, you want to let your body and skin recharge and rebuild for the upcoming day, getting moisture levels prepped and back to normal for the coming day ahead. A good bedtime face moisturizer will have its fair share of slowly absorbed moisturizers and essential oils, along with a helping of anti-aging compounds. 


ASYSTEM’s Overnight Rebuilding Cream fits the mold of a well-balanced nighttime face moisturizer, with ingredients to promote skin cell growth, avocado oil to moisturize, and a blend of antioxidant vitamins C and E from natural fruit extracts. 


Look for These Ingredients


The list of ingredients you’ll find in face moisturizers can be mind bending. But, here are some classic favorites, plus a few new rising stars. 

PhytoCellTec™ nunatak

Derived from rare alpine flowers, this ingredient fortifies the protective barrier of your skin and makes the outer layer smoother. 

TEGO® Stemlastin

This algae extract is chocked full of minerals and amino acids, and is incorporated into face moisturizers to combat aging, protect the cells of the skin, and keep your skin supple and elastic.  

Omega-3 oils

These natural fats are found in many healthy foods like fish, nuts, and plant oils. You may have heard of their potential to support heart health and the immune system, but they can also benefit your skin. There is evidence that omega-3s can help protect your skin from UV radiation and dryness.

Swertia Chirata Extract - SWT-7™ 

This Indian herb extract, Swertia Chirata, is claimed to help the skin develop a stronger epidermis (the outer layer of skin). Added to moisturizers, it’s valued for its ability to help reduce and eliminate fine wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. It’s often used in overnight creams like ASYSTEM’s Overnight Rebuilding Cream to build up the skin while we rest.  


Aloe is a humectant, a substance that pulls in water from the air as well as your skin’s deeper layers to keep the top layer well-moisturized. Aloe and other humectants are a vital ingredient in any face moisturizer. They can’t do the full job of moisturizing your skin by themselves, though--they should be paired with ingredients that repair skin and keep moisture from escaping, too. Some other common humectants to look for are glycerin, jojoba oil, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and honey.

Natural antioxidants

Dermatologists tout the benefits of antioxidants for skin health. The best antioxidants protect our skin from the effects of free radicals, natural antioxidants can help reduce the appearance of aging, soothe the skin, support overall skin health, improve skin tone, and keep our skin well-hydrated. 


Keep an eye out for these ingredients to make sure your face moisturizer is providing a healthy daily dose of antioxidants. 

  • Fresh Cells Kiwi PFE is a potent and all-natural extract found in ASYSTEM’s Daily Defense Moisturizer. It’s rich in vitamin C and polyphenol — ingredients that offer protection from oxidative stress. 
  • Another Kiwi fruit derivative, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) fruit extract, is loaded with vitamin C and E, providing a double shot of antioxidants to your skin. 
  • In addition to its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C boosts collagen production, which keeps our skin firm. Look for ingredients like L-ascorbic, ester-C, and THD. They’re all forms of Vitamin C. 
  • The vitamin A derivative retinol has a compact molecular structure that allows it to penetrate deep into our skin to stimulate collagen production and help with cell repair. It’s prized for its ability to reduce the appearances of aging. Retinol is available in over-the-counter face moisturizers, and is available in a prescription-strength form too as tretinoin. 
  • Vitamin E plays an important role in the functioning of many of our organs, but it also has a powerful antioxidant effect for the skin, and is commonly found in moisturizers and face lotions made to treat dry skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. 
  • The health benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are numerous, and its antioxidant properties make it a popular addition to skin moisturizers for both day and night use. Our bodies produce plenty of this essential enzyme when we’re young, but does so less as we age, making us more susceptible to wrinkles and skin damage.  
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) generally works well with all skin types. Since it’s water-soluble, it is fast-absorbing into the skin, where its antioxidant properties can go to work. 
  • Botanical extracts are popular natural ingredients in moisturizers, and flavonoids are no exception. They’re found in black and green teas, and absorb UV light in addition to their antioxidant properties. 
  • Plant-based polyphenols are all around us in the foods we eat, including vegetables, fruits, green tea — even wine and chocolate! The topical use of polyphenols in moisturizers can help improve our skin’s defense against the stress of oxidation. So enjoy the polyphenols in your chocolate and wine, but be sure to use them on your skin, too!

Finally, here are a few last skincare terms in addition to those common ingredients above, just in case you come across them!


  • ​​​​Non-comedogenic means there are no ingredients that are known to clog pores
  • Cruelty-free formulas guarantee there's no animal testing, i.e. no cruelty to animals!
  • Vegan means the same in skincare as it does in diets--no animal products used
  • Fragrance-free just means no added fragrances, but the ingredients may still cause there to be some kind of smell

Don't Neglect These Other Skin Care Steps


Moisturizing is only part of the game when it comes to facial skincare. If you don’t have an all-around approach, even the best moisturizer won’t be able to work it’s magic as effectively as you’d like, even with the coveted "normal skin" type. Make these four steps part of your routine, too, for the best effects. 


  • Lather up! Wash your face in the morning and at night with a mild cleanser designed for your skin type. 
  • Apply an eye cream morning and night after washing. An eye cream can tighten those bags under your eyes and help smooth away wrinkles.
  • Now’s the big moment. Apply your face moisturizer. Remember, one for the morning, one for the evening. 
  • If it’s morning, add a little SPF protection to your skin if it’s not already in your moisturizer. 

Moisturizing for the Win!


A smart skincare regimen and quality moisturizers morning and night can do a lot to protect your skin and keep you looking good, no matter your lifestyle or how many years you have under your belt. Make it a twice-daily part of your routine and you’ll be sure to see a difference with the right products!





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