- Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with CeraVe and Cult Beauty (gifting) and Look Fantastic (paid advertorial content). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page for further detail -
I absolutely love a ceramide moisturiser to support skin barrier function (keeping dryness and irritation at bay), to replenish the skin when I'm using stronger actives and to help my skin transition into the colder months. A really famous formula is the Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 Cream* | £135 | but it's obviously not cheap! So, today we're going to walk through five potential dupes to see which offers you a fantastic formula and the closest experience to Skinceuticals at a fraction of the cost...
The Skinceuticals formula is made with 2% ceramides, 4% cholesterol and 2% fatty acids, which are the three components of your skin barrier at the same ratio as they naturally occur in the skin. It's a nourishing, softening, replenishing formula that actually has quite a light, fluffy texture that melts into the skin so it can actually suit just about any skin type. I personally tend to use it as a night cream after using an acid or retinoid and it really helps to balance things out, but there's nothing stopping you using this during the daytime too.
✓ An effective skin-nourisher without being heavy
✓ It exactly mimics the skin barrier
✗ The price - obviously!
✗ This contains fragrance so might not be suitable for sensitive skin
The first potential dupe we'll take a look at is from Skinfix, a brand we can't currently get here in the UK, unfortunately! This comes in reverse pump packaging, which is great, and it actually has a texture that's super similar to the Skinceuticals formula; it's not heavy or overly rich or greasy, instead having a light, whipped feel on the skin. At the same time it's enough for my dry skin to use overnight and it leaves my skin soft and happy after use. It's formulated with Skinfix's own take on the triple lipid complex, plus this has plenty of added nourishment with ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil, rosemary extract can reduce redness and aloe has a soothing quality. Plus, you get a blend of reparative peptides that can also help protect the skin from free radical damage.
✓ The texture is very similar to Skinceuticals
✓ There are added peptides
✓ It's fragrance-free
✗ This isn't readily available in as many countries as Skinceuticals
✗ It's still somewhat pricey
This product formulates ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids at a 3:1:1 ratio with a 2.5% concentration of ceramides (realistically, to reap the benefits of this ingredient, you do want this sort of high concentration). This product is also formulated with bisabolol and ursolic acid to soothe the skin and support your barrier. There's linoleic acid in here too, which is a fatty source of skin replenishment. The texture is definitely quite different to the Skinceuticals formula; it doesn't have that light fluffiness to it, it's more of a traditional cream and is definitely thicker. It will feel heavier for oily skin but I personally don't find it greasy and it can still work during the daytime. This is a simple formula that will work to nourish and calm dry, irritated skin.
✓ The formula is simple and fragrance-free
✓ It contains a confirmed high concentration of ceramides
✗ Could be too thick for some skin types
Byoma Moisturising Rich Cream* | £13.99
This is a really accessible product here in the UK now that the brand is available in Boots stores, and we're now into the 'pretty affordable' portion of this post. This has a light, slightly lotion-y texture that really isn't dissimilar to the Skinceuticals formula. Though we don't know the concentration of ceramides in this formula, we do know the product contains the skin barrier holy trinity of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. You're also getting some added benefits like shea butter for nourishment and bakuchiol, which is often touted as the 'natural alternative' to the well-ageing powerhouse retinol. Whilst I wouldn't go that far, it's an antioxidant and it can be helpful for treating discolouration. It's gentle and definitely a welcome addition to the formula. This is softening and nourishing and can be used AM (including under makeup) or PM. Overall, it's a great budget find that feels luxurious on the skin like the Skinceuticals formula does.
✓ The price-point
✓ The texture is lightweight but deeply moisturising
✓ You get the added bakuchiol for antioxidant, skin-brightening and possibly some retinoid-mimicking effects
✓ There's no fragrance in here
✗ Although I've had no issues with my product, a lot of online reviews have reported problems with the pump
Stratia Liquid Gold | $27
Obviously the colour of this product is very different to the rest of the formulas in this post, but so is the texture. It's actually pretty unique in this category of formulas featuring ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids because it's kind of like a gel. For dry skin types, I do think this is more of a serum step (or - at a push - a day cream under sunscreen during the summer) but it's perfect for oily skinned people who might be a bit scared off by some of the thicker formulas in this post. It's also formulated with sea buckthorn oil (hence the golden hue), which is both nourishing and a great antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage. Rosehip oil is also very moisturising and could help with scar healing. I don't know how they got all of that goodness into a light gel, but this is a wonderful and unique barrier support product.
✓ The gel-like texture makes this perfect for oilier skin types
✓ This is fragrance-free
✓ There are added antioxidants in the mix
✗ There aren't many, other than the fact it's not that easily-accessible outside the US
CeraVe Moisturising Cream | £4.50
This is a drugstore classic but it's also worth mentioning it's dupe potential for the Skinceuticals formula because it contains ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids (plus hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin and Vitamin E as a nourishing antioxidant). It's a really basic formula that can be used on the face and / or body and gives you the equivalent amount of product as the Skinceuticals formula for under a fiver! Interestingly, both brands are also owned by L'Oreal, so make of that what you will... This also means that it's widely available in most places. The texture is definitely a little heavier and less elegant than the Skinceuticals, but it's not a greasy or overly-rich product. It's simple, fragrance-free and functional, but it delivers on what it sets out to do.
✓ This is very budget-friendly
✓ The formula is simple and should work for most skin types (including sensitive)
✗ It does lack cosmetic elegance
Personally, my favourite formula is the Skinfix - not only because it most closely replicates that nourishing-but-light feel the Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Cream has - but also because of the added benefits. It's still more of a mid-range formula, though, so if you want something more budget-friendly then the Byoma product is great. It has that cosmetic elegance and it's lovely under makeup. If you're not fussed about that and want a basic and affordable formula that works and you can buy a vat of it to slather yourself in it from head to toe, then go for the CeraVe. But, truth be told: I personally enjoyed all of the formulas I've discussed.
Have you tried any of these formulas? What's your favourite ceramide cream?