Best Brightening Moisturizers For Dryness RAYDAR

The 12 Best Brightening Moisturizers For Hydration and Decreasing Dullness

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Best Brightening Moisturizers For Dryness RAYDAR

A moisturizer helps keep skin hydrated and plump while decreasing dryness and fine lines. It also works to soothe and calm the skin, protecting it against harmful environmental aggressors. With so many formulas on the market, though, it can be hard to figure out which one is best for your skin type and concerns.

When looking for a brightening moisturizer, it’s important to look for ingredients that will not only hydrate but also address discoloration from dark spots or redness. Key ingredients include niacinamide, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants. You’ll also want a product that has an SPF of at least 15 if you plan to wear it on its own during the day to protect your skin from UVA/UVB rays.

To help you find the right brightening moisturizer for you, we tested a number of brands and had skincare enthusiasts recommend some of their favorites that are clinically proven to work. No matter your skin type or concern, there’s something here for everyone—if you’re dry and dehydrated or oily and acne-prone, there’s an option here that will brighten your complexion over time and help even out your skin tone with continued use.

1. Paula's Choice C5 Super Boost Vitamin C Moisturizer
  • Hydrating
  • Incredibly moisturizing
  • Visibly brightens skin
  • May be too mild for sensitive skin types
View at Paula's Choice View at Amazon

If you’re looking for a moisturizer that will brighten your skin and provide some anti-aging benefits, C5 Super Boost Vitamin C Moisturizer by Paula’s Choice can help. This multi-action formula combines hydration that has been shown to work in clinical trials with antioxidant protection to make skin look less dull and less wrinkled.

This lightweight gel cream is great for all skin types because it has 5% stabilized vitamin C to improve firmness and bounce. It has hexapeptide-5, which improves the skin’s firmness and bounce. Furthermore, it also repairs the skin’s barrier, so your skin looks its best.

One reviewer shared, “I absolutely had to have this when it came out! As soon as I saw the vitamin C mixed in it had to be added to my skincare routine and I haven’t looked back. This truly makes my skin look plump and supple.”

They added, “I can tell a huge difference in my skin texture from when I started to now three months later. It really works just as all the other vitamin C products PC offers.”

2. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment
  • Brightens skin
  • Exfoliates gently
  • Hydrates effectively
  • Potential sensitivity
View at Glow Recipe

The Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment is a powerful at-home treatment that will help you achieve smooth, radiant skin. The product is based on the brand’s popular Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, which has become a cult favorite for skincare enthusiasts thanks to its ability to hydrate and brighten the skin with little effort.

For intense hydration, the formula incorporates watermelon enzymes, which are high in amino acids, with niacinamide, quinoa peptide, and multi-weight hyaluronic acid. It also has a 2.5% pH-balanced AHA complex for effective exfoliation that doesn’t irritate the skin.

Use this product two to three times a week or as needed; 96% of users in a consumer perception agreed skin has long-lasting hydration.

According to one buyer, “I’ve been using the old version of the Watermelon Glow Night Treatment mask for years. It works well for me and I’ve never run out of it since I started it.”

“The new version is superior to the old: I don’t have to mix it, and I see better results overnight. You can’t beat that. I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with this product,” another user explains.

3. OLAY Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Moisturizer
  • Long-wearing
  • Works well under makeup
  • Dries soft and smooth
  • Goes on a little sticky
View at OLAY View at Amazon

The citrus-scented, ultra-light Olay Regenerist Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer is a dream to use. As expected from such a staple in beauty, it doesn’t clog pores and doesn’t leave behind any oil.

This formula, made with Vitamin C and B3 as well as lactic acid, brightens and hydrates skin in a noticeable way. For best results, evenly spread over a clean face and neck in the morning and at night.

“I’m obsessed with the lightweight formula and scent. I started seeing results about a week after I started using it to fade red splotches and red dots and even my skin tone. I’ve used it every day since I got it and I haven’t felt any irritation at all,” shares one buyer.

“It is even helping my combination skin produce less oil. The only thing that could make it better is if they make a version with SPF in it, which I really hope will happen.”

4. Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Moisturizer
  • Brightens skin
  • Hydrates effectively
  • Budget-friendly
  • May cause sensitivity
View at Versed View at Amazon

Versed’s Weekend Glow moisturizer is a light, non-comedogenic cream that keeps your skin hydrated and helps lighten spots. It strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier and makes it firmer.

This non-greasy formula is made with two stabilized forms of vitamin that can be absorbed quickly. Cloudberry seed oil softens dry skin, and clinical studies have shown that 5% niacinamide effectively prevents fine lines and dark spots. The product goes into your skin quickly and can be used in the morning or evening after cleansing.

“As an esthetician, we always try to let our clients that moisturizing is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine,” claims an esthetician.

She continued, “There are so many types of moisturizers and although Versed has a pretty good array of moisturizers, in my opinion, the VERSED Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Moisturizer is by far one of the best ones! It is a lightweight non-greasy formula that brightens, firms, boosts collagen, and helps to repair UV damage.”

5. Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 Moisturizer
  • Sun protection
  • Anti-aging benefits
  • Lightweight formula
  • May be pricey for some
View at Dermalogica View at Sephora

This is the best moisturizer to buy if you want to make your skin look brighter and protect it from free radicals. The Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 Moisturizer from Dermalogica is a daily moisturizer that firms, hydrates, and protects the skin.

It uses a unique blend of polypeptides to help improve the look of photoaged skin by increasing collagen production. White tea extract protects against free radicals with its antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid keeps skin hydrated for a long time.

According to one reviewer, “This moisturizer is nonsticky and not greasy and my makeup goes on really well over it.
Not getting any noticeable shine late afternoon, so am happy to have an SPF 50 that feels like I am not wearing sunscreen.”

Reviewers say this Vitamin C cream that moisturizes and brightens works like magic. It has a dewy, moisturizing texture that helps keep the skin hydrated and gives it a radiant glow. The formula has vitamin C, which reduces dullness and uneven skin tone, and niacinamide, which evens your skin tone and makes it brighter without drying it out.

“I ordered this because I wanted a Vitamin C cream and this one looked like fun. I know, a rather unusual reason to buy skincare but the company’s approach was light-hearted, the reviews pretty good and the price was right,” explains one buyer.

“The serum incorporated into the cream is also a plus, very little is required. I use it alternating with other creams and serums according to my skin’s needs. Remember to mix the serum with the cream with the spatula provided. Overall, a nice light gel cream.”

7. Pixi by Petra Vitamin-C Lotion
  • Brightens skin
  • Antioxidant benefits
  • Hydrates effectively
View at Pixy Beauty View at Amazon

This Pixi product is a great choice if you want to brighten your skin and keep it moist at the same time.

It’s a facial moisturizer that is full of antioxidants and deeply hydrates the skin. It also helps protect the skin from sun damage. It also makes your skin brighter and more even-toned, which gives you a smooth complexion. 

The Vitamin C in the lotion helps your body make collagen, which is good for your skin’s health and helps even out your skin tone by getting rid of things like dark spots or scars. With lactic acid and hyaluronic acid serving as additional ingredients, this product ultimately helps keep the skin moist.

This user shares, “The lotion applies smoothly and my skin feels hydrated after use. A little bit goes a long way as it feels very light on the skin. The scent isn’t my favorite but in no way is it a bad scent. Also, I wish it would have SPF! Otherwise a great face lotion!”

8. Honest Beauty Everyday Radiance + C Moisturizer
  • Radiant complexion
  • Antioxidant benefits
  • Daily hydration
  • Potential sensitivity
View at Honest Beauty View at Amazon

We’re all about skincare, and we know you are too. That’s why we’ve put together this review of Honest Beauty’s Lightweight Vitamin C Moisturizer—a lightweight formula that works for all skin types. It’s also infused with niacinamide pearl, which instantly boosts radiance.

It’s ideal for those who want a quick fix to their dull skin or lack of radiance without having to spend hours doing it themselves. Forget about spending hours at the salon or spa—this product will give you a quick boost of radiance in just minutes!

“My skin is extremely sensitive and dry and this moisturizer makes it look amazing and doesn’t cause any irritation,” explained one reviewer. “My face is glowing and feels so good.”

Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. is a high-powered, sophisticated vitamin C moisturizer that protects and repairs the visible signs of age.

Its rich consistency is especially suitable for even the most delicate or environmentally-damaged skin. Powerful, lipid-soluble, advanced vitamin C makes up 5% of the formula; this source is more stable and causes less irritation than ascorbic acid and its derivatives.

Wrinkles and fine lines will gradually diminish as a result of the combined effects of these substances, which hydrate the skin immediately and encourage the body to produce more collagen.

As one skincare lover shared, “This has been my skin’s winter savior. Super rich, luxurious texture, fabulous citrus smell. Deep hydrating, love this!”

10. The Nue Co Barrier Culture Moisturizer
  • Nourishes skin barrier
  • Hydrates effectively
  • Supports healthy skin
View at The Nue Co View at Sephora

When it comes to skincare, we’re all in search of that perfect moisturizer that not only hydrates our skin but also protects it from harsh environmental factors. Luckily, The Nue Co’s Barrier Culture Moisturizer does just that, and more.

Ceramides, peptides, niacinamide, and squalane are all included in this cutting-edge product’s pre-biotic formula. Together, these potent elements protect moisture, restore the skin’s microbiota, and soften the skin’s surface. Plus, this moisturizer helps your skin stay healthy over time without making it excessively oily since it is formulated to shield its protective barrier.

It’s so simple to use, too! After cleansing, simply apply 4 pumps to your skin in the morning and evening. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly and won’t leave your skin feeling greasy or weighed down.

11. Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Oil-Free Radiant Moisturizer
  • Brightens skin
  • Lightweight formula
  • Non-greasy feel
  • May be a bit pricey
View at Sephora Our Review

This moisturizer from Dr. Dennis Gross combines lactic acid with three forms of vitamin C to improve the absorption and antioxidant performance of dry, sun-damaged skin.

With Centella Asiatica and Chaga mushroom extract, vitamin C and lactic acid work together to fight off environmental aggressors. This is a great option for those who don’t want to use a moisturizer with SPF but still want to keep their skin hydrated or make it look brighter.

“As with all Dr. Dennis Gross products, this one is a hit for me. I like that it feels lightweight on the skin and even though Vitamin C sometimes irritates my skin, this doesn’t. Also great for light exfoliation of the skin, without irritation,” shares one person.

Experience the same silky smooth finish you know and love while infusing your skin with an ultra-rich blend of botanical oils and glycerin, leaving it feeling sumptuously hydrated. This innovative Glossier formula contains ceramides and essential fatty acids that not only reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier but also improve its radiance over time.

With the help of flower extract, your skin is further protected from blue light and photoaging, making it an all-encompassing skincare solution.

“Such a good product, it’s creamy and is an amazing texture on your skin. It made my dry skin to glowing,” noted one user.

These are the products to try if you want a moisturizer that will make your skin glow. Moisturizers can be difficult to grasp because there are so many different kinds and claims, but it’s not as hard as it seems. They help keep the skin hydrated and healthy, so it doesn’t get dry or irritating. Furthermore, moisturizers can also make skin more elastic, so fine lines don’t get worse as we get older.

Think about whether you have dry or oily skin to find the best moisturizer for you. Acne-prone? Sensitive? Allergic? Then, read reviews to find out which ingredients users like best and which ones critics say don’t work or are even harmful.

How to Choose the Perfect Brightening Moisturizer

Skin Type and Concerns

Understanding your skin type and concerns is the first step to choosing a suitable moisturizer. For instance, if you have dry skin, you’d benefit from a richer, cream-based moisturizer such as the Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator. Conversely, if your skin is oily, a lightweight, gel-based moisturizer might be more suitable as it won’t exacerbate oil production. Those with combination skin might need to use different products on different areas of their face to address both dry and oily zones effectively.

For specific skin concerns, you can seek out products with targeted ingredients. If you’re worried about fine lines and aging, look for moisturizers containing ingredients like retinol or peptides. For blemish-prone skin, consider moisturizers with salicylic acid or niacinamide.


If you have acne-prone or oily skin, it’s crucial to look for a moisturizer labeled as non-comedogenic. This term means that the product is formulated in a way that it’s less likely to clog your pores, which can lead to breakouts. Even if your skin is dry, a non-comedogenic moisturizer can still be a good choice, as it can provide the necessary hydration without causing breakouts.


Quality ingredients play a pivotal role in the efficacy of a moisturizer. A well-formulated product will have ingredients that can provide hydration, nourishment, and protection to your skin. Look for moisturizers that contain plant-based oils, like jojoba or argan, which are rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. These oils mimic your skin’s natural sebum and can help balance oil production.

Additional Benefits

Many moisturizers come with added benefits that go beyond just hydration. For example, products that contain vitamin C can help brighten skin tone and fade dark spots, while those with SPF provide essential protection against harmful UV rays. Ingredients like green tea extract or resveratrol can offer antioxidant benefits, helping to defend your skin against environmental stressors. Always consider your skin’s specific needs and select a moisturizer that can address those effectively.


How much moisturizer should I use?

When it comes to skincare, many of us have wondered just how much moisturizer we should be using. The truth is, it all depends on your skin type and the particular moisturizer you’re using. As a general rule of thumb, a dime-sized amount is a good starting point for those with normal skin, while those with dry skin may need a bit more.

However, it’s always best to follow the instructions on the product you’re using, as each formula is different. So, start with a small amount, and work your way up until you find the perfect amount for your skin.

Do you put sunscreen on before or after a moisturizer?

The answer is simple: always apply your sunscreen after your moisturizer. This is because your moisturizer is formulated to nourish and hydrate your skin, while your sunscreen is meant to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays. Applying your sunscreen last ensures that it forms a protective barrier on top of your moisturizer, preventing UV rays from penetrating and damaging your skin.

Of course, it’s important to wait a few minutes between applying your moisturizer and your sunscreen to allow your moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin. This will prevent your sunscreen from rubbing off or diluting your moisturizer, ensuring that you get the full benefits of both products.

How often should you moisturize your face?

When it comes to moisturizing your face, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should do it. The frequency of moisturizing depends on several factors, including your skin type, the climate you live in, and your daily activities. As a general rule, it’s recommended that you moisturize your face at least twice a day—once in the morning and once at night.

Although, if you have dry or sensitive skin, you may need to moisturize more frequently. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, you may be able to get away with moisturizing less often. Ultimately, the key is to pay attention to your skin’s needs and adjust your moisturizing routine accordingly.