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Day Glow in the Dry Season

The most precious anti-dote to a chapped winter face is a good face cream, which can be a tough thing to find. We took on the challenge and asked six staff members to blind-test the latest trend in skin care—the all-natural moisturizer. Without influence of brand names or packaging, they rated eight products based on feel, scent, and overall results

Arcona, Ren, and Mario Tricoci facial cremes

ARCONA
Magic White Ice, Hydrate
Feel 3
Scent3
Overall Results 3
This moisturizer has a thin consistency out of the bottle, but a small portion covers the entire face. (Some of our testers used too much and ended up feeling sticky.) It spreads and blends well and wore well throughout the day, and many of our testers felt it was a good, even base for powder makeup. The fruity fragrance garnered mixed reviews: Some loved it and wanted to “eat it,” while others were turned off by the sweetness. $39 at Ruby Room, rubyroom.com

 

REN
Osmotic infusion ultra-moisture day cream
Feel 3
Scent 3
Overall Results 3.5
This moisturizer garnered mixed results depending on a tester’s skin type. Those with dry skin said the lotion absorbed quickly and gave them silky skin, while users with oily faces complained that it sat on the surface. (One of our testers, a woman in her late 30s with sensitive skin, likened it to “school paste.”) Testers were divided on the scent: Some praised the sweet smell; others hated it. $39.95 at skinbotanica.com

 

MARIO TRICOCI
Nature’s Alternative Oil Free Hydrating Lotion
Feel 3.5
Scent 3.5
Overall Results 3.5
Among the lightest of the moisturizers tested, this lotion blends in quickly and provides a good base for powder and foundation makeup. Although some of our testers preferred a creamier moisturizer, those with oilier skin appreciated the lightness and the clean, herbal fragrance. $65 at Tricoci salons, tricoci.com

 

Suki, Alba Botanica, and Burt's Bees facial cremes

SUKI
Balancing Day Lotion
Feel 3.5
Scent 3.5
Overall Results 4.5
The clear winner, this moisturizer is thick but applies smoothly without being too sticky. A very little goes a long way (and lasts all day). Testers said that the moisturizer evened out dry spots; their faces felt “radiant” and soft at the end of the day, and they didn’t feel greasy. $31.95 at Merz Apothecary, merzapothecary.com

 

ALBA BOTANICA
Hawaiian Skin Care, Jasmine & Vitamin E moisture cream
Feel 4.5
Scent 4
Overall Results 4
The richness, coverage, and Hawaiian flower scent made this the second most popular in our trial—and it retails for less than $20 to boot. (To add to the value, a dime-size portion covers most of the face.) This moisturizer is thick and creamy but easy to rub in, and it provided balanced coverage that didn’t leave behind a film. A 22-year-old tester with combination skin said it cleared up her blemishes, and, as an added bonus, her face felt “smooth and well hydrated.” $16.99 at Whole Foods, wholefoodsmarket.com

 

BURT’S BEES
Radiance Day Creme
Feel 3
Scent 4
Overall Results 3
Fans and detractors of this thick cream also broke down by skin type: Those with dry complexions loved the coverage, while those with oilier tendencies thought it was too greasy. (One user said her mineral makeup stuck to it after application.) Testers who allowed this moisturizer to absorb into the skin for a longer time before applying makeup had better results. One of our testers said, “It took a few minutes to set on my face. After that, I could not stop touching my skin!” Almost everybody enjoyed the faint, pleasant scent. $14.99 at Walgreens, walgreens.com

 

Some of the moisturizers we tested didn’t make the cut. Here’s why:

Lush Skin Drink: This item was pulled from consideration when it was recalled for “quality control” during the trial. It has since been returned to shelves.

Elina Elite Formula Cream: This local product was taken out of contention because of its universal un-popularity with our testers.

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