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Why I'm replacing my $70 face oil with this $20 moisturizer

It's recommended by 90,000 dermatologists.
Illustration of Katie Jackson with glowing skin and Katie Jackson holding a bottle of La Roche-Posay Moisturizer
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Katie Jackson
/ Source: TODAY

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It doesn't matter how great my hair is or how flat my stomach looks. If I don't feel confident in my moisturizer, I'm going to have a bad day.

That might be the reason why I've relied on the same pricey face oil used by Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge for the past two years. But at $70 an ounce, it eats up a big chunk of my beauty budget. Recently, I decided to try something a little less luxury but far more affordable: La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer. It's only $20 for 2.5 ounces.

Sorry, Kate, but this product takes the crown.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Thousands love it (and recommend it)

I'm not an early adopter or someone who wants to experiment with my skin. I just want something I know will work. I opted for this moisturizer because it has a 4.6-star average rating and rave reviews from verified purchasers. Furthermore, the brand says its formula is recommended by 90,000 dermatologists.

I also chose it because it's from La Roche-Posay, a French skin care line I actually discovered when I was living in Portugal. It may not be a household name (yet) in the U.S., but in Europe, it's a trusted brand (sold in pharmacies, not grocery stores) with a huge, faithful following. While I've tried other La Roche-Posay products in the past, this was my first time trying one with "thermal water" as a main ingredient.

The thermal water difference

Thermal waters, which originate underground and pass through rocks before reaching the Earth's surface, have a higher mineral content than normal water. The thermal water in this moisturizer is prebiotic. It helps to reduce inflammation (it's used on people with eczema) and contains antioxidant properties to help restore the skin's barrier after just one hour.

Katie Jackson

According to La Roche-Posay, its proprietary prebiotic thermal water contains nutrients that feed the good bacteria living on your skin. I don't know what's going on with the bacteria on my face, but I do know that I haven't had any breakouts since I started using this moisturizer.

I have hydrated skin 24/7

It's worth noting that I put my skin through a lot. My job as a travel writer means I'm always subjecting my face to different environments. One day I might be in the dry depths of Death Valley and the next, on a volcano in the Costa Rican jungle with 100 percent humidity. I need a moisturizer that can work in all kinds of conditions. So far, this one hasn't failed me yet.

Unlike the oils I've used on my face, this moisturizer is oil-free. Yet, somehow, it's just as hydrating. Planes are notorious for drying out your skin. Yet, this moisturizer recently held up on my 41-hour trip (including four planes and a helicopter) to the Kalahari Desert.

After 41 hours of flying across the world, my skin is still glowing.Katie Jackson

I also like that I don't need to reapply it during the day. (I use a small Fjallraven bag as my purse, so I don't have room to pack around a moisturizer for touch-ups.) The bottle says this formula provides up to 48 hours of hydration, and it lives up to the claim!

It passes the carry-on test

As a result of my job, I can't have many toiletries. I need something that offers good enough results to warrant space in my plastic bag. This moisturizer easily passes the test. While it doesn't give me the same glow that my favorite face oil does, it also doesn't leave me with a greasy shine. My skin absorbs it almost as fast as I can apply it. Plus, it's lightweight and fragrance-free, so ultimately, my skin feels naked. Yet, it's hydrated and healthy-looking.

Katie Jackson

I'm still using my favorite CeraVe cleanser, but for best results, La Roche-Posay recommends using this moisturizer after cleansing with its bestselling hydrating gentle cleanser. As soon as I finish my bottle of CeraVe, I'll have to give it a try. It's only $15 and has more than 10,000 global ratings on Amazon.

The only downside of using this moisturizer is it might make your monthly facial moot. I'm currently working remotely from the world-renowned Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, where I feel it's sacrilegious to stay and not get a facial. But my skin, thanks to a few weeks of using this moisturizer, has never been better. I can't justify spending money on a facial when my face already looks so hydrated and healthy. I suppose I'll just have to settle for a massage. Fortunately, that's the kind of worst-case scenario I'm OK with.

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