if you hate the greasy look and heavy feel of most face creams—not to mention the breakouts they can trigger—you're not alone. For a long time, I couldn't find a moisturizer that my skin liked (let alone one with good ingredients), so I tended to avoid them during all but the coldest weather.
But that's no longer the case, thanks to the new crop of gel moisturizers on the market.
Unlike creams, gels are super light, often oil-free, and unlikely to clog your pores or leave you looking shiny. And compared to the original formulations from years ago, the latest gel-based moisturizers are free of questionable ingredients like alcohol, silicone and fragrance.
Here's why a gel moisturizer belongs in your arsenal, and my top product picks.
Lightweight: Gels are high in water, not oil, and packed with humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to attract moisture into the skin. That makes the texture light and refreshing, rather than rich and buttery.
Fast-absorbing: Creams are slow to penetrate, since they typically contain oils and silicones that can remain on the skin surface, forming a barrier. But gels, being water-based, sink in quickly, just like water-based hydrating serums.
Non-greasy: Unless you're very dry, a thick and heavy moisturizer can make you shiny (and not in a good way). With a gel, you won't look or feel like you've got anything on your skin.
Non-comedogenic: Gels are less likely than creams to cause breakouts because they're low in occlusive ingredients (like oils) that are known to clog pores.
Long shelf life: If you're not one to use up your products quickly, gels are generally a better choice than creams since they're made with fewer oils (or none at all). Any products that are high in unsaturated oils have a short shelf life because they will oxidize (go rancid) in the presence of heat, light and air.
Easy to layer: When applying multiple layers, a gel will probably give your skin all the hydration it needs underneath a face oil, sunscreen and/or tinted moisturizer.
As always, I recommend looking for gel moisturizers that are free of or low in:
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
Last edited: 2021-03-31 17:32