The 8 Best Natural Moisturizers of 2021

Slather on some goodness to keep your skin hydrated and fresh

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The Rundown
"This cream is suitable for all skin types, and ticks the right boxes when it comes to clean ingredients."
"The humble drugstore brand is non-fussy, inexpensive, gentle on the skin, and a personal favorite."
"Gliding over your face like silk, this moisturizer is luxurious, holistic, and pricey, but worth it."
"What we like is that this multi-purpose, antioxidant-rich oil is effective and effortless to use."
"Affordable, fragrance-free, and oil-based, this moisturizer works well for acne-prone skin."
"If you soaked in the sun for too long, look no further than Fat and the Moon’s handcrafted and healing aloe lotion."
"The hero in this cream is the vegan and shelf-stable anti-ageing ingredient squalane, which is derived from renewable sugarcane."
"Hemp extract and hyaluronic acids combine to create a luscious cream that replenishes your skin."

An integral part of a simple skincare routine is a moisturizer. Whether you choose a balm, lotion, cream or oil, it creates a protective barrier between our skin and the natural elements. Simply speaking, a moisturizer prevents this delicate organ from losing water, trapping moisture in thanks to its oily countenance, and keeping skin protected from environmental pollutants.

For Treehugger's shortlist, we have chosen only those moisturizers that have been ranked favorably by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and have met their set health standards and toxin-free criteria, or small-batch indie brands using environmentally kind and easy-to-understand ingredients. So, wait no longer to dab on gobs of goodness on your skin.

Here are the best natural moisturizers:  

Best Overall: One Love Organics Skin Dew Coconut Water Cream

one love organics skin dew

Plump up your skin with our top moisturizer pick: One Love Organics’ Skin Dew. It ticks the right boxes when it comes to clean skincare and is suitable for all skin types. It’s chock full of star ingredients—anti-oxidant rich coconut water, conditioning Amazonian cupuacu butter, skin firming sea botanical kalpariane and a humectant hyaluronic acid, aquaxyl.

The intensely moisturizing cream scores well on the EWG barometer and is free from silicons, parabens and synthetic fragrances. You need just a tiny dollop to quench your skin. It quickly penetrates in to the inner layers and leaves a delicate, lingering coconut aroma. Showcasing One Love Organics’ robust commitment to the environment and clean beauty, it is certified by Ecocert / Cosmos as natural and organic. What’s more, the cream comes with a 30-day return policy.

Best Drugstore: Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

The humble drugstore brand is non-fussy, inexpensive, gentle on the skin and a personal favorite. With a respectable rating on EWG, it stacks up well against its pricier counterparts. Free of fragrance and parabens, it is lightweight and great for daytime use.

Apply it liberally on your face and body (especially elbows and knees!) whenever your skin is parched. Containing vitamin E and B5, it has been tested by dermatologists to be gentle on your skin, something that countless users, including yours truly, vouch for. Keep a couple of them handy at home for when your skin needs to step back from elaborate skincare rituals and needs some plain old TLC.

What about packaging?

When creating this list, we prioritized ingredients, but packaging is an important consideration too. Most of the moisturizers on this list come in glass jars or bottles, which can be recycled virtually everywhere.

However a few, like Cetaphil, come in recyclable #2 plastic, which is also widely recyclable, although single-use plastic isn't our top choice. In both cases, be sure to remove the lid or any pumps, which are often made of a different material or unrecyclable combinations of materials.

Best for Face: Silk Therapeutics Nurture+ Balancing Moisturizer

Nurture+ Balancing Moisturiser

This is closest thing to a spa treatment at home. Gliding over your face like silk, this moisturizer is luxurious, holistic and pricey, but worth it. Silk Therapeutics uses 10 ethically sourced high-quality ingredients in this, including its signature Activated Silk that’s made from sustainably-farmed cocoons (so vegans may wish to avoid it). Use it over a longer period of time to transform your skin.

Formulated for combination skin, regular use will make it radiant and even toned, thanks to the vitamin E, avocado and aspen bark oil. Apply this fabulous, silken indulgence day and night by taking a few pumps and sliding it over your neck and face with your fingertips. It is free from nasties such as parabens, phthalates and sulfates, and isn’t tested on animals.

Best for Body: Kora Organics Noni Glow Body Oil

Kora Organics Noni Glow Body Oil

A part of the coffee family is the lusciously exotic morinda citrifolia fruit, or noni fruit, that’s native to the South Pacific Islands. The noni fruit is bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and is the holy grail in the Glow Body Oil by Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics. Added to the mix are rosehip and sunflower oil. What we like is that this multi-purpose oil is effective and effortless to use.

EWG verified and certified organic by Ecocert / Cosmos, it is cruelty free and contains no synthetic fragrances. The oil has been charged using rose quartz crystal, bringing good vibes, if that's your thing. After showering, warm a few drops of the oil in your hands and apply it generously over your body.

Best for Body: Just the Goods Vegan Facial Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

Just the Goods Vegan Facial Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

Affordable, fragrance free, and oil-based, this moisturizer works well for acne-prone skin. The ingredients are simple, familiar and effective—avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, aloe vera gel, tea tree oil and distilled water. The lotion helps skin regenerate, and is calming and has bacteria fighting properties. However, do a patch test, as it isn’t recommended for super sensitive skins.

As part of its commitment towards health, kindness to animals and environmental goals, Just the Good’s products are cruelty free and it is a member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, among other organizations. You can choose from among recycled High-density polyethylene bottles or a fully recyclable BPA-free aluminum bottle container. However, the latter can be prone to denting while delivery, though it won’t effect the moisturizer.

Best for Post-Sun Exposure: Fat and the Moon Aloe Lotion

Fat and the Moon Aloe Lotion

If you soaked in the sun for too long and your skin’s peeling faster than a blister, look no further than Fat and the Moon’s handcrafted and healing aloe lotion. Founded by Rachel Budde, who comes from a lineage of herbalists and healers, this handmade-to-order brand alludes to indulging in good fats and herbs under the restorative influence of the moon.

The potion, if you will, works wonders for sensitive skins. Made with a blend of organic ingredients, namely aloe vera, coconut oil, and sunflower oil, along with beeswax and elderberry extracts, it leaves your skin dewy. The best way to apply this buttery cream is to smooth it on to damp skin. Pop it in to the refrigerator to keep it dab worthy for up to six months. Note that beeswax is an ingredient vegans may wish to avoid.

Best for Dry Skin: Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

The next best thing to applying whipped cream on your skin is Bioassance’s bestselling repair cream, which is made with squalane, lipids, ceramides and plant sterols. The hero ingredient is the vegan and shelf-stable anti-ageing ingredient squalane that’s derived from renewable sugarcane (not to be confused with squalene, which is extracted from shark liver oil).

The cream also has acai berry sterols which replenishes cholesterol and Omega-3,6 and 9 fatty acids that’s lapped up by thirsty skin. Shea butter and hyaluronic acid add to the texture. It’s the perfect salve for weary and lined skin. EWG verified, the company does not use any of the EU's 1,500 banned ingredients. Cruelty, paraben and fragrance free to boot, it comes in a recyclable jar and a compostable, FSC-approved box.

Best Anti-Aging: Prima The Afterglow

Prima The Afterglow

Hemp is one of the most exciting new ingredients to have slid into our skincare routines. The Afterglow is a potent mix of broad-spectrum hemp extract with naturally occurring CBD and adaptogens such as turmeric, ashwagandha, gooseberry and ginger. Blended into this mix are hyaluronic acids and exotic butters such as kokum, bacuri, and murumuru.

The result is a thick, luscious cream that replenishes your skin, making it supple and leaving it refreshed. EWG verified, it’s certified cruelty free and glyphosate residue free (a toxic herbicide). Users find it soaks deeply into the skin, but not everyone likes the hemp scent.

Final Verdict

Keep your skin healthy and hydrated using moisturizers with natural ingredients. We recommend One Love Organics Skin Dew Coconut Water Cream (view at One Love Organics) that’s intensely moisturizing and works well for all skin types.

A great value buy is the drug store favorite Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion (view at Amazon) that’s free of fragrance and parabens. 

What is a "natural" moisturizer?

A moisturizer can typically be deconstructed typically into various ingredients—water, occlusives (prevents water from evaporating), humectants (draws water from the deeper layer of the skin) and emollients (making the skin feel plump and smooth). Other ingredients that make up the formulation often include vitamins, ceramides (lipids that help skin retain moisture), and other similar additives.  

When it comes to billing a moisturizer as natural, there is no set standard defining what one is, so just about any manufacturer can claim their product is "natural." The best way to pick one is to check the ingredient list and avoid moisturizers which are oozing with nasties such as parabens (preservatives with potential health side effects), phthalates (chemicals billed as endocrine disruptors and are carcinogenic) and synthetic fragrances.

If you're looking for more a more DIY moisturizer, check out these natural remedies for dry skin.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger helps you dig below the surface by guiding readers to choose the best natural beauty products. Natural moisturizers go a long way in building a strong foundation for your skincare routine.

Author Neeti Mehra is a luxury-industry veteran who’s also committed to sustainable, slow, and mindful living.