A definite perk of my job is being able to road test all of the new skincare products that land at my door every week. This doesn't always mean that I'm the best at taking care of my skin the way I should, it just means that I have no excuse not to.
Most of the year, I'm trying product after product, because my skin needs all the help I can get in the frigid temperatures. During the hot summer months, I try to scale things back and simplify my routine because the less heavy products I have on my face in this weather, the better. You know how it is.
When things heat up, I always turn to gel moisturizers. Actually, I prefer gel moisturizers to creams all year round. I used to be seriously opposed to the way creams left my face feeling, but in my older, wiser years, I've come to realize the benefits of a heavy moisturizer are worth having to deal with my skin feeling a little...supple.
But, summertime is when lightening up to a gel is a good idea for a few reasons. Many gel moisturizers contain hyaluronic acid, which has a very high water content, so your skin gets blasted with a higher dose of moisture than you're getting from your regular moisturizers, without any of the heaviness.
Unlike your typical creams and lotions, gels are made without any oils or natural butters, so they moisturize without clogging pores or leaving any residual shine. In fact, most of them dry down to a finish that most people have decided is “dewy.” This varies by product, obviously, but you can bet that your skin will look healthy and radiant without looking slick. Most of the year, even when I'm going bare faced hashtag no makeup selfie hashtag I woke up like this, I'll still press some translucent powder into my forehead to knock out any shine from my skincare. I never have to do that with gels (well, sometimes I'll still hit my forehead with powder, but that's for the greater good.)
Most gels dry down and leaving not only a nice glow, but a film over your face (sorry, I know you guys hate that word and understandably so.) You can't see it or feel it, but it works to lock in the moisture you're getting and preventing the water from evaporating out of your skin, keeping you more hydrated for longer.
I've rounded up my three favorite gel moisturizers that will fit any budget, so everyone can have hydrated, glowy skin call summer long.
Garnier Anti-Fatigue Wake-Up Hydra-Gel Moisturizer, $16.99.
This one is for the drugstore gang, and it's new! Garnier calls their Miracle Wake-Up Cream a “liquid-gel,” I'd call it more of a fluffy gel. It's lightweight but has a lot of body when you quirt it into your palm. When applied to your face, it almost transforms into a liquid directly on contact, sinking in and covering a lot of area with just a little product. A little bit goes a long way.
Miracle Wake-Up is packed with 15% of hydra-glycerin, a humectant, meaning it will help skin retain moisture. It also boasts hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and vitamins C & E. It plumps skin and makes it look more energized, in turn making you look more awake. Any extra help I can get in the mornings to look more awake is more than welcome. It's not that this gel is going to completely perk up my haggard face and make it look like I got eight hours, but it does help my skin look the best it can, and paired with an energizing eye cream, there's a noticeable difference.
I happen to be wearing this one right now and I love it. The Oil-Free Gel Cream sinks into skin on contact, remains non-greasy, and leaves your skin with a matte finish with just a touch of glow.
Made with extracts from the roots of Australian desert plants and antarcticine, an glycoprotein extract sourced from Antarctica, both work to provide hydration as well as increase its retention in skin.
This formula is exactly what I think of when I think of gel moisturizers. Kind of jiggly. After continued use, it makes skin look and feel incredible and healthy. It's hard working and gives me heavy duty results while feeling like I'm wearing nothing at all.
This is another newbie, and it's a prime example of everything that makes Tatcha so great. It's oil-free, calming, and illuminating, all in one.
The first thing I noticed about this gel is that it's by far the thinnest of the three. It feels more like a serum than a gel. When you pump it into your hand, you'll immediately notice that the gel seems to glow, it's almost iridescent. This is thanks to the 23k gold dust (!) that is mixed in with the product to give your face a glow while still keeping it free of shine. That's right. Real gold. I'm sure this gel moisturizer is part of DJ Khaled's skincare routine. MAJOR KEY.
Some of Tatcha's products contain gold flakes which they claim help illuminate your face. This is amazing, in theory, but there have been times when I'll use a Tatcha product and catch my reflection and it looks like just that: gold flakes on my face. Not with this. If all gels help illuminate, this one kicks it up just a notch in the the most luxurious way possible.
Made with rose, lily, green tea, and other botanicals, it soothes skin while it moisturizes, balancing, clarifying, and helps diminish redness as you wear it. With everything I'm putting on my skin all the time (and how often I have to scrape all of it off) it's good for me to use a product that will help calm my skin. While this baby is the most high end of the bunch, it's worth the investment, especially because you can get so much mileage out of a gel.
Tynan is ready for this gel-ly *COUGH* on Twitter @TynanBuck.