What are Gel Moisturizers?

It’s always best to take your skin type into account when selecting a moisturizer and pick one that will work best for you. A thick, oil-based moisturizer might better hold in moisture if you have dry skin. However, these rich and thick moisturizers won’t work as well if you have oily skin that is prone to breakouts or typical skin that is neither too dry nor too oily. Water-based gel moisturizers are useful in this situation. 

What are Gel Moisturizers?

Under eye cream. Skincare moisturizing. Morning treatment. Pretty young woman applying beauty product on soft face skin at light bathroom.

Water-based gel moisturizers have a thin texture and are quickly absorbed by the skin. They distribute readily on the skin and have a bouncy, transparent gel consistency. In comparison to cream-based moisturizers, it has fewer oils and emollients. They have an incredibly light feel and are quickly absorbed by the skin because they are water-based. Because water is used to distribute ingredients, the skin receives the necessary moisture without the need for a thicker consistency.

Traditional moisturizers function by forming a barrier that can trap moisture on the skin’s surface. Gel moisturizers also achieve that, but their main purpose is to release substances that draw moisture from the skin’s deeper layers and bring it to the surface.

Hyaluronic acid, which may deeply hydrate skin, is a component of the majority of gel moisturizers. Since hyaluronic acid is a potent humectant and controls cutaneous moisture levels, it is frequently utilized in skincare products. It’s a substance that naturally exists in the skin and slowly decreases with age. Lack of hyaluronic acid results in loss of firmness, elasticity, and overall volume and plumpness in the skin.

While gel moisturizers work well on a range of skin types, oily and normal skin benefit most from their lack of oil because they hydrate and moisturize the skin without adding any additional oil. They moisturize and hydrate instead of creating a film or residue, which is crucial for oilier skin types to avoid.

Gel moisturizers are ideal for people who dislike using moisturizers because they make their skin feel oily or like they have a thick layer covering their faces. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, they offer hydration without adding weight.

Benefits of Water-based Gel Moisturizers

In addition to the benefits of gel moisturizers already described, the following are some additional advantages:

1. Non-greasy

Gel moisturizers are your friend if you have oily skin or simply don’t enjoy the feel of a thick cream on your face. Because gel moisturizers contain hyaluronic acid and glycerin and have a higher concentration, they are ideal for those who dislike the gross, oily residues left by regular moisturizers.

2. Refreshing

A gel moisturizer has relaxing and calming effects. Do you savor the relaxing and revitalizing sensation that follows a face wash? Sometimes applying a thick emollient lotion to hydrate your face takes away the sensation and causes the skin to feel heavy. Gel moisturizers provide a refreshing and cooling feeling because they are water-based. It works well when the weather is warm, after an exercise, or after a day in the sun.

3. Hydrating

A gel formulation offers the skin’s surface more water, which enhances its brightness, clarity, and texture. Hyaluronic acid and other moisturizing components stop skin from becoming dehydrated.

4. Lightweight

When contrasted to a thick moisturizer, these moisturizers might make your skin seem lighter and more supple. They are therefore a fantastic alternative for those who dislike the feel of a thicker cream on their skin.

5. Quick-absorbing

Gel moisturizers are a wonderful base since the skin absorbs them fast. Compared to an oil-based moisturizer, many people find it simpler to apply makeup after using a gel moisturizer. The latter can occasionally leave the skin and not stay in place. On the other hand, gel moisturizers are quickly absorbed and leave little trace.

6. Perfect for the summer

When the temperature rises, even the most ardent cream consumers may develop a yearning for something light and cooling. By using a gel moisturizer, you can get radiant, fresh skin that can handle heat without becoming an oily mess. Because of this, gel moisturizers are ideal for use during the heat.

7. Perfect for the skin

Heavy creams may irritate sensitive skin, so a gentle, gel-based moisturizer is ideal. Use it to improve moisture and soothe sensitive skin.

Who Should Avoid Gel-Moisturizers?

That lightness can be advantageous for those with oily skin, but it can also work against those with dry skin that craves moisture. Any gel moisturizer will do much less to keep the skin hydrated for a prolonged amount of time.

In general, a product’s moisturizing properties increase with its thickness. Therefore, most skin types can get by with a thin, lightweight, water-based gel moisturizer, but if you have dry skin or a skin problem like eczema, you could discover it doesn’t hydrate as well as a cream. An oil-based cream might be a better choice for these persons.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Gel Moisturizer

Liquid blue turquoise serum gel on a table screen of microscope white isolated background

1. Hyaluronic Acid

For an added boost of moisture, look for a water-based gel moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid. The chemical gives the skin an overall plumping effect by assisting the skin in retaining moisture. A study found that hyaluronic acid has a special capacity to hold onto water molecules.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol, a component that can dry up the skin, is another common chemical included in gel moisturizers. This causes the substance to slightly dissipate and not feel as thick on your skin, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just take note of where it is listed under ingredients. The more drying and less moisturizing it will be, the higher up on the list of components it appears.

3. Free from some botanical ingredients

If you decide to try a gel moisturizer and have dry or eczema-prone skin, ensure sure the gel is free of scent, colors, and many or all botanical ingredients, which can cause allergic responses and irritation. Plants’ seeds, roots, flowers, herbs, and leaves are the sources of botanical compounds. It was also highlighted that certain ingredients, particularly rose water, which is frequently present in gel moisturizers, can cause breakouts in persons with sensitive skin.


It’s a good idea to take your skin type into account when choosing a moisturizer and select a product that will work best for your skin. For people with oily skin, gel moisturizers might be especially helpful because they are typically water-based and free of oils. Gel moisturizers are moisturizing, lightweight, easily absorbed, and non-greasy. If you have sensitive skin, just be sure to check the ingredients to prevent outbreaks.