What are Gel Moisturizers?

When it comes to moisturizers, it’s always best to consider your skin type and choose one that will complement your skin best. If you have dry skin, a heavy, oil-based moisturizer can better lock in hydration. But f you have oily skin that is prone to breakouts or normal skin that’s neither too dry nor too oily, these rich and thick moisturizers won’t be as effective. This is where water-based gel moisturizers come in.

What are Gel Moisturizers?

Gel-based moisturizers are water-based lotions that are light in texture and easily absorbed in the skin. They have a bouncy, translucent and gel consistency that spreads easily on the skin. It contains fewer emollients and oils than cream-based moisturizers. Since they are water-based, it gives an ultra-light feel and makes it easily absorbable by the skin. By using water as an ingredient delivery method, it means that the skin gets the hydration it needs without relying on a thicker consistency.

Traditional moisturizers work by creating a barrier on the skin’s surface that can trap moisture in. Gel moisturizers do that too, but it’s more designed to release ingredients that attract water from the deeper layers of the skin and bring it to the surface.

Most gel moisturizers are formulated with hyaluronic acid which can deeply hydrate skin. Hyaluronic acid is usually used in skincare products because it’s a powerful humectant that regulates cutaneous moisture levels. It’s a naturally-occurring compound in the skin, which gradually declines as we age. When the skin is lacking in hyaluronic acid, it contributes to loss of elasticity, firmness, and overall plumpness and volume.

Gel moisturizers are compatible with a variety of skin types but the absence of oil makes it highly compatible with oily and normal skin, because it doesn’t add any extra oil to the skin but hydrates and moisturizes the skin. Instead, they hydrate and moisturize without leaving a residue or film, which is important for oilier skin types to avoid.

If you avoid moisturizers because they leave your skin feeling slick or if you feel like you have a heavy layer on your face, then gel moisturizers are for you. They provide hydration without the weight, making it great for people with oily and acne-prone skin.

Benefits of Gel-Based Moisturizers

Besides the advantages of gel moisturizers mentioned above, here are some of the benefits of gel-based moisturizers:


Whether you have oily skin or you just don’t like the feeling of having a thick cream on your face, gel moisturizers are your friend. Since gel moisturizers have a higher content and comes with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, this product is perfect for people who don’t like the icky greasy residues of traditional moisturizers.


A gel moisturizer is calming and soothing. Do you love the refreshing and soothing feeling after washing your face? Sometimes, putting a heavy emollient cream to moisturize your face removes that feeling and weighs down the skin. Since gel moisturizers are water-based, they offer a fresh and cooling sensation. It’s great to use after a day in the sun, after a workout, or when temperatures are hot.


A gel formulation increases the water content in a skin’s surface, and gives it more radiance, clarity, and improved texture. It prevents skin from being dehydrated, thanks to hyaluronic acid and other hydrating ingredients.


The skin quickly absorbs gel moisturizers, making them a good base. Many people find it easier to apply their makeup after using a gel moisturizer than an oil-based moisturizer. The latter can sometimes slip off the skin, rather than stay in place. Gel moisturizers, on the other hand, are easily absorbed and leaves little residue.

Perfect for the summer

Even the most hardcore cream users may find themselves craving for something light and refreshing when temperature rises. Using a gel moisturizer can offer you a dewy, fresh skin that can withstand hot temperatures without turning your skin into an oily mess. This makes gel moisturizers the perfect summer moisturizer.

Great for sensitive skin

Sensitive skin may react adversely to heavy creams, so a mild, gel-based moisturizer is perfect. Use it to calm and cool sensitive skin and boost hydration.

Where to Buy
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin, Oil-Free, Non-Comedogenic & Dye-Free Face Lotion, 1.7 Fl Oz
Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin, 1.7 Ounces
Origins GinZing Oil-Free Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer, 1.7-oz.
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer - Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Gel for Redness-Prone Skin - No Parabens - Vegan + Fragrance-Free (50ml)
La Mer The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream .5 oz / 15 ml


Best Gel Moisturizers

Here are some of the best gel moisturizers money can buy:

1. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel

Widely available in drugstores, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel is a tried and tested gel face moisturizer that’s perfect for those who needs extra hydration. It has a long-lasting oil-fighting effect and comes with super hydrating hyaluronic acid as the main ingredient.

This gel moisturizer absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving a lingering feeling of soft and supple skin. It can be worn under makeup, and provides an intense moisturizing power like that of a cream.

2. Garnier Skin Active Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream

GarnierSkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream hydrates and reduces roughness on dry skin. This face lotion is great for all skin types, but is most ideal for dry skin types. This moisturizer can deliver deep hydration while having a light texture that leaves your skin feeling fresh, soft, and smooth. It contains vitamin C and fruit water antioxidant complex to quench dry skin and to make your skin looking fresh and healthy.

Use this gel cream before applying a concealer, BB cream or foundation to create a hydrated base for your makeup.

3. Origins Gin Zing Oil-Free Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer

Origin GinZing Oil-Free Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer is an intense hydrating moisturizer that hydrates the skin up to 72 hours. It is effective in combating dryness and preventing extra moisture loss, thanks to soothing ingredients like glycerin and niacinamide.

This gel moisutizer also contains ginseng and caffeine to reenergize the skin and keep it plump and supple. It wakes up dull, tired and lackluster skin, making you look fresh and energized. It also has an awesome scent that doubles as aromatherapy.

4. Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Gel

A weightless, ultra-hydrating gel, the BiossanceSqualane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer is infused with squalene and prebiotic technology to help restore the skin’s healthy-looking radiance and beauty. The squalene content weightlessly hydrates and locks in moisture for a soft, and healthy-looking glow.It also contains red seaweed and ginger extract to calm redness and irritation. Another great thing about this product is it’s free from synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil.

Massage this silky formula into your face just right before bed and you will wake up with a plumped, moisturized skin in the morning. But you can also use it in the morning and apply before makeup.

5. La Mer The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream

If you like La Mer products buy you find their moisturizers a bit too heavy, the La MerThe Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream gives you a fresh change of pace. This cooling gel-based formula is made with teeny tiny capsules of gel containing La Mer’s Miracle Broth that uses sea kelp and other marine extracts that are designed to plump and hydrate the skin. It also increases cell and collagen production while leaving a cool and refreshing feeling.

Apply this moisturizer in the morning and night to smoothen fine lines and wrinkles. With continued use, you can achieve, youthful, glowing skin while giving yourself a spa-like treatment in your own home.