Make The Ultimate Affordable ‘Moisture Sandwich’ With These Under-$30 Serum-Moisturizer Pairings

Photo: Stocksy / ohlamour studio
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On days when you know it's going to be cold outside, you layer. Perhaps you put a shirt on under your sweater, then maybe you add a coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. It's more effective to pile on multiple things that work in different ways to protect you from the cold instead of expecting a single item to do it all, and the same applies to your skin care.

"A layering approach works better than you're just depending on one product to completely moisturize your skin," says Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Southern California.

The best way to do it? With the "moisture sandwich" method that's recently picked up steam on social media. The practice involves starting with a humectant-rich hydrating serum (which will pull moisture into the deepest layers of your skin), following it up with water (which will get sucked down into your pores with the help of the humectants), then finishing it off with an occlusive moisturizer (which will seal in all of the moisture from your other steps). This will help you get maximum hydration from all three products, priming your skin to properly defend itself against the cold.

Experts In This Article
  • Shirley Chi, MD, board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology

And expanding the number of products you're using doesn't have to break the bank. Below, we've got five combinations of serums and moisturizers—none of which costs more than $30—to help you make your very own moisture sandwich. Shop our combos below.

5 serum-moisturizer combos that make perfect moisture sandwiches

Marine moisture

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronic Moisture Lock Serum — $8.00

This serum is made with marine-derived vegan water reservoirs that attract and hold water like hyaluronic acid, but feel lighter than HA does. It’s also got microbiome-friendly and hydrating ingredients like marine bacteria, Hawaiian red algae, glycoproteins, and micro-filtered blue-green algae. Sea Minerals and Marine Peptides Replenishing Day Cream — $11.00

This deeply-moisturizing day cream is formulated with sea minerals and marine peptides to leave your skin replenished and revived.

Mushroom magic

Keys Soulcare Promise Serum — $28.00

Snow mushroom is super hydrating and can hold up to 500 times its weight in water. Plus, it contains high levels of polysaccharides that calm and moisturize the skin. It’s also made with niacinamide to help calm skin and regulate oil production and zinc PCA to help control oil and moisture levels in the skin while reducing the appearance of pores.

Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Weightless Moisturizer — $39.00

Intensely hydrating yet weightless, this moisturizer combines a blend of low- and high-weight hyaluronic acid molecules to work within different layers of the skin, reishi mushroom to rapidly soothe redness and irritation and fermented chaga mushroom to protect the skin against irritation.

Vitamin C protectors

Maelove Glow Maker — $30.00

The Maelove Glow Maker is a dupe for the beloved SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum. It combines 15 percent vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and ferulic acid, giving your skin the antioxidant boost needed to protect against free radical damage. It also includes hyaluronic acid to hydrate and a blend of botanicals for extra nourishment.

Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Brightening Moisturizer — $26.00

This Bliss moisturizer combines vitamin C with the brand’s patented tri-peptide blend to boost skin’s natural elasticity while delivering intense hydration. Green tea extract steps in to complement the vitamin C, increasing the cream’s ability to protect against environment-induced skin damage.

Rosy cheeks

Heritage Store Rosewater Serum — $23.00

Get hydrated, radiant, pumper-looking skin with this serum. It combines 1 percent hyaluronic acid with rose water to replenish moisture while soothing and softening the skin.

Kinship Self Reflect Rose Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen Zinc Oxide SPF 32 — $26.00

{rotect your skin with this mineral sunscreen which provides SPF 35 protection alongside damask rose oil which hydrates the skin while uplifting your mood with its fresh, positive scent.

CBD bliss

Flower Beauty Chill Out Hydrating Skin Serum — $19.00

Zen out with this serum that takes hyaluronic acid to the next level with hemp-derived CBD. It locks in moisture to help soothe, hydrate, refresh and rebalance stressed-out skin.

Happy Dance CBD Look Alive Face Moisturizer — $29.00

Whipped and hydrating, this face cream is powered by avocado oil, hyaluronic acid, and full-spectrum CBD, to support your moisture barrier, which is the first line of defense against stressed skin.

Learn some more tips to help you manage dry skin:

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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