Best Moisturizers for African-American Skin

African-American women have more options than ever when it comes to beauty and skincare products.  But I’ve found that when it comes to finding the perfect moisturizer, skin type matters  just as much as skin color. 

I’m no expert, but I know what moisturizers work on my combination and adult acne-prone skin.  In no particular order, here are my picks for the best moisturizers for African-American women (and probably other women of color too):




  • Mamie McDonald, an African-American aesthetician in New York City, recommended that I use  love Dermalogica products about ten years ago and I’ve been using the products ever since.  For moisturizers, the skin care line’s Active Moist and  Oil Control Lotion are my favorites.  Since black skin tends to be oilier than white skin, the Oil Control Lotion is a lightweight moisturizer that won’t clog your pores. And Active Moist is made with soothing natural botanicals that combat dehydration.







  • Even though dark skin is naturally protected from the sun by melanin, it’s a myth that we don’t need to use sunscreen.  Neutrogena’s “Healthy Defense is one of my favorite daily moisturizers because of its SPF 45 and smooth coverage.








  • Dermatologists highly recommend Cetaphil for acne-prone skin. The daily moisturizer provides moderate sun protection and is good for all skin types. Its lightweight coverage makes it perfect for wearing under makeup.








  • Sea Breeze Hydrating Moisturizer can be found at most drugstores.  This affordable oil-controlling moisturizer keeps the skin nourished and hydrated with a blend of sea minerals, nutrients, and Vitamin E.  Better yet, it’s priced under $6.





Image credit:, Dermalogica 

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    • Heartburn Home Remedy

      This is quite a up-to-date information. I think I’ll share it on Twitter.

    • maria mills

      I tried many types of moisturizers (including oil-free type) but my face is somewhat oily, and they make me break out. I kept looking because my forehead and the sides of my face get dry (especially during winter), and I absolutely have to use a moisturizer.
      I was pretty happy when I found the Made from Earth Rosehip & Hibiscus Face Serum and I have continued to use it for at least two years now. It really works, and I love it! I do not break out from using it, plus it is a perfect moisturizer. The best thing about its also is that it is chemical free and organic…plus it firms the skin also!
      I guess it was all the chemicals in skin care products that was making me break out all these years. The sides of my face no longer itch during the winter, and the chemical free with anti-wrinkle formula is ideal for me, because I turned 49 this year! I looked at other moisturizers but have never found one that has both benefits together. You can kind them in Whole Food Stores, or at

    • Black Travel

      This is a nice list of affordable, over-the-counter products. And with summer around the corner, it helps to have that sunscreen reminder. Thanks!

    • tanya

      I’m Black British and have been using Dermalogica products for about five years or more now – they work very well on black skin in that my skins generally feels suppple, looks radiant, blemish free and so on… I highly recommend the vitamin masque, their mositurisers (including for the body) and skin boosters too. A good facial helps especially when getting started just to prime the skins and enable the products to sink in. (NO, I am not a beauty therpaist!) I’ve notice alot of women with black skin can look dull (grey) and blemished so a good exfoliator is key if facials are beyond your budget. And ofcourse exercise, it opens the pore sweats all the bad stuff out — and you’re drinking water. The thing is I’m about to hit my 40s and want something kinder. Dermalogica is fragrance free though compared to other products I’ve briefly tried say Mary Cohr, it does seem a little harsh. I’d still recommend Dermalogic because it works and so many other products I’ve tried don’t – I suspect they are for caucasian skin so are less mositurising. Dermalogica’s products are sufficiently rich and a good place to get started… it’s just coming off them which hurts. Wish me luck and please send recommendations my way. Black Londoner turning 40.

    • Marcia C

      The Made from Earth Vitamin Enhanced Moisturizer saved my face!!

      In my late twenties, I tried just about every moisturizer I could find including rarified ingredient boutique lotions but my skin remained dry, hot, itchy, flaky, and I was seeing laugh lines around my eyes. I was about to give up hope until my mother, whowho has AMAZING skin, brought me the organic Made from Earth “Vitamin Enhanced Moisturizer”…

      On the occasions I do try other lotions, they never measure up.

      My skin thanked me after the first application. After a few days, it looked better, was less red, less chapped. Within a month or two (or less, I don’t remember after 3 years) I had no lines near my eyes, my skin feels soft and comfortable unless I abuse it. When I abuse it, this lotion makes it feel better. People consistently guess my age to be 5-8 years younger than I am even though I have grey hair.

      I almost never need more than a tiny amount the size of a pencil eraser to cover my face, neck and hands. (Keep the cap or it dries out.) I recommend it to anyone looking for a facial moisturizer that works as good or better than advertised. Absolutely worth the money since it last for a good 3 month period.

    • Sublime everything

      I like Aveeno Positively Radiant Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15!

      Any reviews?

      • Kimberly

        Love it makes your face very toned

      • Brandy

        Aveeno Positively Radiant is my favorite. I have been using it for years and also my daughters. It moisturized without being oily.

    • Chukwuemeka

      Am a Nigerian, and most of this good product is very hard to find here, can u pls help me out with one. Remain bless.

    • Anita

      I have been using clean and clear morning burst and morning glow its been wonder,i really love the effect on my skin,i use to have dry skin but now its normal.

    • Melanie

      I am african american and my skin is very dry And very flaky. what are the best moisturizer for african americans with dry skin?

    • melilah

      sorry honey you have it all wrong, Dark skin is dry not oily. White people have very oily skin and African American have dry skin. who ever told you that told you wrong. We get ashy from dryness this is ALL WRONG. I know I’m dark I have dry skin not oily.. Look in to that honey.

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    • Tracy Hopkins

      Thanks for the Tweet — is that right? I’ve got to get up to speed on Twitter : )

    • Tracy Hopkins

      Thanks for writing Tanya. I still use Dermalogica but I’ve recently started using Aromatherapy Associates’ Balance Purifying Scrub as an exfoliant. It’s a British company, so you should be able to find the products in London. Here’s a link to my post: