Desert Essence Daily Essential Moisturizer

Desert Essence Daily Essential Moisturizer
Daily Essential MoisturizerDaily Essential Moisturizer


120 reviews

70% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $

Package Quality: 3.1

Price: $

Not tested on animals


Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glyceryl Stearate (Vegetable Derived), Stearic Acid (Vegetable Derived), Cetyl Palmitate (Plant Derived),Jojoba Seed Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (Vegetable Derived), Propanediol (Corn Derived), Sesame Seed Oil, Glycerin (Plant Derived), Gluconolactone, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Geranium Maculatum Oil (Plant Derived)

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on 4/13/2008 5:02:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

BACKGROUND: I have 'very combination' skin, which means it can be very oily, very dry, or both at once depending on the weather and what topicals I'm using at the moment. It's also a bit sensitive and prone to dryness and flakiness due to Tazorac. I'm also acne-prone and my pores tend to clog easily. Zits are always a disaster for me since I have light skin and they always leave very visible dark red marks. So I'm always looking for products that won't contribute to break-outs and are effective but not harsh. I really needed a nice face cream since my skin has gotten drier with Spiro and plain jojoba oil (also Desert Essence) wasn't cutting it anymore.

DESCRIPTION: This is a dense, rich-feeling white cream that is also somehow lightweight and fluffy. I use a little dab (maybe half a marble) on a damp face and it absorbs surprisingly quickly, leaving skin feeling soft and moist but not oily or sticky. No scent. I can use it around my eyes without any irritation at all and no bleary vision because the cream absorbs so quickly.

FEEL: It works well under makeup and doesn't make me oilier than usual. In fact, I think the jojoba oil in it helps regulate sebum production. I look more matte right after it absorbs. Later in the day, I still get shiny but I blot far less often than I have to when I use Cetaphil Cream.

VERDICT: I've been using this for about two weeks and have had good results. Soft, moisturized skin and no breakouts. This is a great value--a high-quality product at an amazing price. No animal ingredients or testing. No artificial fragrances or colors. And none of the ingredients is comedogenic.

I got mine from for less than 4USD (I mention this website because they have a really inexpensive shipping option with USPS, which is rare) and was surprised by how enormous the jar is. It's a beast. I bet it'll take me the entire year to use up. Packaging is a simple plastic jar that's not fancy, but it works and really, who care about cute packaging if the product is terrific? I would repurchase in a heartbeat.

INGREDIENTS: Purified Water, Glyceryl Stearate, Safflower Oil, Cetyl Palmitate, Jojoba Oil, Glycerin, Allantoin (comfrey), Aloe Vera, Sesame Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (From Vegetable Source), Methylparaben, Essential Oil of Geranium.

ETA: I noticed some of the reviews above me were complaining about this being drying, or 'not doing anything.' Since this has jojoba oil in it, it is not really meant for dry skin, but combination or oily skin that has surface dryness (especially due to treatments like retinoids) and with sensitivity. Yes, it's boring, but that's important to those of us who don't want extraneous ingredients irritating their skin!

I've found that this works best, right after washing, when your skin is damp. Something about the cream makes it retain moisture better if the skin is a bit dewy. Otherwise you can apply tons and have your face feel the same. If you need a little more moisture, try adding a drop or two of pure Vitamin E oil or extra virgin olive oil. But again, if you have very dry skin, you should pass this one by and look for a more emollient cream with richer ingredients. continued >>

18 of 18 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

[Review updated 06/2010.] Lovely cream at a lovely price. Joins my other long-term favourites: A-Derma Skin Cream, Avène Tolérance extrème and TriXéra Balm.

I was sniffing around for possible replacements for my regular moisturiser. Found this, partly thanks to the MUA Top Picks for my age-group. It's minimal (the sensitive Gingerrama likes minimal), cheap (ditto), and fairly easy to find (greener shops and even some standard ones).

This is a plain facial moisturising cream. Mainly safflower, jojoba, and sesame oils; plus aloe vera. Little scent from the rose geranium: a very faint whiff of pleasant creaminess, then nothing.

Application: echoing the advice of others below, apply to damp skin (using Avène water spray here). Easy to apply - sinks in nicely.

In evenings, I'm mixing in a little oil too: one drop of the current blend that doubles up as cleansing oil and in-shower body oil. Some combination and permutation of sunflower, safflower, sweet almond, and jojoba oils. Have also used rice bran and grapeseed (too light and drying). Sometimes mineral oil too, though trying to get off it for environmental reasons. I've found all these oils to be very good on fragile, irritable skin that's prone to dry bits and oily bits if unbalanced; plus good on the nose, preferring unscented oils due to sneezy tendencies.

In the mornings, one it's on and in, followed by sunscreen. Which applies just fine (a silicone-based coated micro zinc oxide one; minimal again...).

The Daily Essential is deceptively light: retains moisture well overnight, no dryness or tugging the next morning. The overall effect is most satisfying: feels comfortable a.k.a. normalised, no dry or oily patches, no irritated bits, matte-dry to the touch (as opposed to damp-greasy), but smooth, sleek, plump and well-fed ... Recommended!

Only issue (update, end 09/2009): jar suffered disaster in freak iron-related accident. Yes, plastic melts. I'm sure others don't need such warnings ... [UPDATE: 03/2010] Used again, less successful in cooler drier weather; usually fine, but sometimes irritates. Still keeping this for warmer weather, as it's a great combination of moisturising and mattifying.

Costs CAD8.00-10.00 for a 120 ml plastic jar. A couple of lippies off on the packaging, but nothing that can't be solved by decanting it into a wide-necked flip-top tube. Cruelty-free.

UPDATE (06/2010): This being reformulated, but fear not, only in a minor way (see further down). Not yet seen in the shops; thanks to candigirl72 for the information. Changes: no paraben preservatives, addition of propanediol, stearic acid, gluconolactone sodium hydroxide, sodium benzoate (preservative). NB the current Desert Essence cream is very very like Derma E's classic Vitamin E 12,000 IU Deep Moisturizing Crème (see further below for ing.), one of their original products some decades ago. The Derma E's around USD 12.50 / CAD15.00 for 113 g.

2009 INGREDIENTS (from jar - NB slightly different from the ingredients listed on Desert Essence's website and at top of this MUA product page): Purified Water, Glyceryl Stearate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oil, Cetyl Palmitate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (from vegetable source), Methylparaben, Essential Oil of Geranium Maculatum.

2010 REVISED VERSION INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glyceryl Stearate (Vegetable Derived), Stearic Acid (Vegetable Derived), Cetyl Palmitate (Plant Derived), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (Vegetable Derived), Propanediol (Corn Derived), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin (Plant Derived), Gluconolactone, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Geranium Maculatum Oil (Plant Derived)

COMPARISON: DERMA E VITAMIN E MOISTURIZING CRÈME: Water (Aqua), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Glycerin, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Panthenol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Allantoin, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Polysorbate 60, Cetearyl Glucoside, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Natural and Fragrant Oils.
continued >>

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

on 7/6/2007 6:28:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

this is my HG moisturizer. I have dry, sensitive, and acne prone skin (quite the trifecta there), and finding anything to use on my skin that works well with any of those 3, let alone ALL 3, is quite the feat. I honestly cannot even count how many moisturizers I have tested in the last few years. While searching the "naturals" section on I ran across this. I loved the fact that the ingredients list was short, simple (it's nice to actually be able to pronounce and recognize the ingredients of a product now and again), and free of unnecessary things like synthetic fragrances. I was a little hesitant to try it because it did have jojoba oil in it, which has broken me out in the past (just pure jojoba oil, also from DE), but at $5 I figured it was at least worth a try. The first few times I used this I used waaaay too much product and it did come off a little greasy, but once I figured out that even my dry skin needed only a small amount to do the job I've never had a problem with it since. I let it sink in for a few minutes after application and by then it's the perfect base for sunscreen/makeup. even if I don't wear makeup it keeps my skin matte all day, never turns into an oil slick, and has never broken me out. my skincare routine of late has included 1% retin-a and though I don't use moisturizer to buffer this at night (therefore making my already dry skin even more so), this does an admirable job of tackling the dryness and providing enough moisture during the day that I don't get painful dry/scaly patches (always attractive). I couldn't be more pleased.

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I have oily, sensitive, acne prone skin. So basically my face hates me. This moisturizer is definetly on the heavier side of creams/moisturizers. And it was this that made me wary of even considering buying it to begin with. But I took a chance on it and am so glad I did. This is my moisturizer for life...or until my face decides to throw me a curve ball.

It is perfect for morning and night. I always thought heavier moisturizers could only be worn at night but this product is an exception. It hydrates my face really well; to the point it feels like my skin is 'drinking' it in. I feel that my face is better prepared for MU when using this. It also really helps when using retin-a. Of course my face had to get adjusted first, and I thouht the moisturizer wans't working. But once my face got used to retin-a I could tell the difference the moisturizer was making.

I can't imagine not having this stuff! :)

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

on 9/21/2006 3:47:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I think this is my HG moisturizer! I have oily,acne prone,sensitive skin. I suffer from clogged pores that leads to blackheads and occasionally get those red pimples. I've tried many d/s brands that have acne skin products both hig end and low end but the cycle of my breakouts continued. it also doesn'thelp that i am a "picker" so I am left with horrid red and brown post acne marks. Well, glycolic acid toner helped prevent my blackheads but my skin was still erupting. So,as i was walking through Loblaws,I stumbled across this gem in the organic aisle. I intended to try the pure jojoba oil from desert Essence but changed my mind when I noticed this was cheaper and for the price,a big tub of moisturizer is a good deal! after reading reviews here on MUA and researching the ingredients,i gave it a try and I wish I found this earlier! This is a rich,thick white moisturizer that goes on like a dream without the sticky,oily mess and it doesn't leave a greasy film behind. My skin looked and felt matte. After 3 days use, I noticed my acne marks fading, I haven't erurpted in zits and my skin feels soft and calm. I attribute this to the follwing ingredients which after doing some research on teh net, is beneficial for oily/acne prone skin: jojoba oil (doesn't clog pores, effective moisturizer without the heavy,greasy feel)and aloe vera (soothing,beneficial in healing skin). I also attribute my improvement in my skin due to cleansing my face with jojoba oil soap. It removes my m/u very well. I hope this helps anf thank you MUA!

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

on 11/12/2011 5:22:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

My skin loves aloe so I was glad to find this, and eager to give it a go. Unfortunately, I had the same problem as a few other people - this made my skin itch as I applied it, and within minutes my whole face was bright tomato red. I immediately washed this off and spent almost 10 minutes splashing cold water on my face, but the discomfort wouldn't go away. I have since smeared a huge glob of my good old trust Vanicream (I SHALL NEVER CHEAT ON YOU AGAIN!) and taken antihistamines, and my face still looks like a very bad sunburn. Horrible, I've never had such a bad reaction to a product before. I'm glad I have the rest of the weekend to try to make it go away before I have to show my face in public again.
Stay far far away if you have sensitive skin. Don't be fooled.

I wish these damn stupid companies would get it through their heads that just because something is 'natural' it cannot translate to harmless. In the hysteria to stop using parabens they turn to more 'natural' products that are highly irritant and less stable (not to mention less studied) for no reason. Ugh.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

on 9/23/2013 9:41:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I wish I read all reviews before by it.
This made my face burn and turn it red for few minutes.
I did try it 3 times...same reaction, not any more!

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I actually just repurchased this moisturizer. After using up the first tub, I wasn't sure if I wanted to buy another simply because I thought I could solely rely on jojoba oil (also by Desert Essence) as my moisturizer. While the jojoba oil was doing a good job on its own, it still felt weird not having an actual moisturizer, and the jojoba felt a little greasy since it's getting warmer. I read other reviews about this having a strange sweat-like scent, and honestly, I don't smell anything at all. I'm also not particular about scents either; there's really nothing that bothers me, so I guess my nose isn't sensitive enough.

This is what I would call a "dry" moisturizer. It hydrates my face, but I can't see any trace of it after it absorbs into the skin, and it absorbs rather quickly. Thus, it gives me a matte finish. It's not sticky at all; just very smooth (I have combination skin, but it's relatively normal most of the time). It's a really nice light-weight moisturizer for spring, summer, and fall. During the winter, if I want a little more moisturizing properties, I add a little jojoba or vitamin E oil as a boost.

I like the ingredients, it doesn't break me out, fairly inexpensive (I think I paid less than $5), and one tub lasted me for well over a year. Overall, it's a basic moisturizer that does what it's supposed to do, and I would definitely repurchase.

4 of 5 people found this helpful.

on 8/21/2012 7:58:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

This product stinks, literally and otherwise.
Inside the unhygenic jar, it looks sickly - like spoiled whipped cream or bad yogurt. The smell is gagging. I usually like the scent of geranium essential oil and this is definitely not the same scent. Like another user wrote, this smell is similar to smell of sweaty skin or some bodily secretion. Yuck....
Applied on the face - well, that's another story. I got small red itchy bumps on the side of the face I tested this on. I think it is the sodium hydroxide ingredient (lye) a.k.a caustic soda, which as the name implies, could be caustic to skin, especially sensitive skin and is used in detergents and heavy-duty *cleaners* !!
I am so done with Desert Essence products.

4 of 5 people found this helpful.

on 10/28/2010 5:14:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Other, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

LOVE! It feels so right on my skin, natural and has no scent almost. It also absorbs so well after a few minutes, a little goes a long way. I have had so many different facial moisturizers and I have never entirely been satisfied with one before, they either make my face itch or burn or too oily, but this product is amazing! and the price is so low, love love love it. Definitely will repurchase.

4 of 5 people found this helpful.

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