The 5 Best Gel Moisturizers

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If you have oily, combination, or acne-prone skin, it might be time to replace your traditional face cream with one of the best gel moisturizers. Gel moisturizers are usually water-based, which is why you might see them being referred to as water creams or water gels. They'll also usually contain no oil at all, making them less likely to clog your pores. Many people simply prefer them over lotions and creams due to their lightweight textures that feel refreshing and much less greasy on skin. Below, a guide to choosing the right one for your skin type.

But first, a few tips. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, most gel moisturizers will be just the ticket. Unless you have sensitivities to particular ingredients, like fragrance, there won't be many factors to take into consideration when choosing the right formula for your skin type, since most gel moisturizers are made with oily skin in mind. If you have particularly dry skin, on the other hand, you might not feel like a gel moisturizer is hydrating enough on its own, so consider applying a hyaluronic acid serum first. This is a perfect combination for anyone who's been looking for a way to get enough moisture into their skin without using products that feel heavy or greasy.

Without further ado, check out six of the best gel creams for every skin type and budget, below.

1. The Overall Best Gel Moisturizer

Knours. is a new-ish brand that makes every one of their products with hormonal skin (and its ever-fluctuating needs) in mind. They use completely clean ingredients, and all of their products undergo strict testing by the EWG, which is what makes their Meditation Gel Cream my top overall pick for the best gel moisturizer on the market. The ingredients list is short and easy to understand: water, glycerin — a humectant that draws moisture to the skin — and peppermint oil, which helps balance excess oil production. The formula also contains a lipid called ceramide NP, which supports a healthy moisture barrier, and sodium hyaluronate, a form of hyaluronic acid that keeps skin hydrated.

What you won't find in the formula? Sulfates, silicones, parabens, fragrance... the list goes on. It's also cruelty-free, wears beautifully under makeup, and is suitable for all skin types, from dry and sensitive to acne-prone and oily.

2. The Drugstore Gel Moisturizer With A Cult Following

One of the most popular drugstore moisturizers on the market is Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Gel-Cream. It contains sodium hyaluronate, like the Knours. moisturizer, as well as glycerin and dimethicone, to lock in moisture and soften skin. You can also feel good knowing it doesn't contain any synthetic dyes or fragrances, in case your skin is sensitive. Like all of the options on this list, the formula is oil-free and non-comedogenic (meaning it won't clog your pores). Fans with dry, oily, and sensitive skin have all fallen in love with this affordable gel-cream.

3. A Water Gel-Cream Made With Marine-Sourced Ingredients

When it comes to skin care, nobody does moisture (or innovation) better than Korea — and Nature Republic is a brand known for their expertise in both of those departments. Enter: their Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream. It uses Polynesian lagoon water as its main ingredient, which is rich in 30 different types of marine extracts. In addition to traditional moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, dimethicone, and sodium hyaluronate, the water cream also contains squalane — another powerful hydrating ingredient that's recently become popular — as well as extracts from sea plants like algae and kelp. All in all, quite the impressive formula, especially considering its price.

This one in particular was created with combination skin in mind, though the brand also makes a similar version for oily skin.

4. A Basic, Budget-Friendly Choice To Travel With

Keep this TSA-approved tube in your go-to carry-on bag. The formula, like all of Simple's products, is quite basic, but in the best way. It contains no artificial dyes or fragrances, and instead relies on a host of tried-and-true moisturizing ingredients to keep dry skin hydrated. Simple's Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream has a silky, refreshing texture that dries fast without leaving any sort of residue behind. At less than $8 a tube, it's worth stocking up on a couple to store in your gym bag and at your desk for an instant, anytime refresh.

5. A Formula Infused With Probiotics To Balance Your Skin

TULA's Probiotic Skin Care Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream is one of the more unique gel moisturizers out there. That's because the formula, like all TULA's products, contain probiotics. Just like how ingesting probiotics balances your gut, applying them topically can help balance your skin. This helps your skin stay consistently moisturized, and can also keep inflammation at bay.

But that's not all that makes this gel moisturizer stand out from the rest. It also contains one of my personal favorite ingredients, prickly pear extract, as well fermented rice extract, aloe, and even a dose of lactic acid. Combined, this helps soothe redness and irritation while preventing breakouts and clogged pores. The cruelty-free formula is also free of most common known irritants, like SLS and propylene glycol, and boasts lightweight, refreshing gel texture. Whether your skin is blemish-prone or super dry, this moisturizer is worth the splurge.

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