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Spring is here, summer is around the corner, and those of us with oily skin are already dreading the moisturizer situation that comes with hotter weather. Skipping moisturizer altogether is a bad idea, but a good gel moisturizer is the best way to get hydrated without overwhelming your pores. These water-based hydrators have super-light formulas that absorb almost instantly and feel like you’re not wearing anything at all.
Slather on any of these choice gel moisturizers underneath your SPF and your skin will love you.
This black cooling gel moisturizer from Boscia is included in its line of other goth accoutrements—kidding, it’s their charcoal-based skincare line. This light-colored gel moisturizer has impurity-absorbing charcoal in it as well as skin-refiners like glycolic acid and vitamin C to smooth and brighten your skin over time.
Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel, $38; at Sephora
If it’s not broke don’t fix it—unless you and your oily skin want in on a beloved cult product like Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer. The same benefits of that moisturizer are now available in their new gel formula. Acne-prone skintypes, rejoice!
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, $14.50 for 1.7oz; at Clinique
Here’s a fast-absorbing gel moisturizer that has Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract and Antarcticine to aid in moisture retention in the skin, plus it has a cooling effect when applying.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, $27.50; at Kiehls
The perfect base for makeup in the heat—MAC’s “charged water” formula in this gel moisturizer imparts a luminous and soft effect on your skin so your makeup sits on it naturally. You can be hydrated without looking like you’re damp to the touch.
MAC Mineralize Charged Water Moisturize Gel, $40; at MAC
Like Gatorade for your face, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel is loaded with hyaluronic acid—everyone’s favorite moisturizing agent. It literally feels like you’re wearing nothing since it absorbs into your skin immediately, but your skin remains hydrated with its star ingredient.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, $18.99; at Neutrogena
Pratima’s all natural Ayurvedic line is magical, and it’s Cucumber Aqua Gel is no exception. Its extremely light and cooling blend gently hydrates and relieves blemished and irritated skin with organic Cucumber, Aloe and healing Brahmi. It also works wonders on a sunburn.
Pratima Skincare Cucumber Aqua Gel, $40; at Pratima
SkinCeuticals is generally on the cutting edge of skin care technology. Their bid in the gel moisturizer game comes spiked with Vitamin B5 to nourish your skin and hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate. Not only do you get moisturized skin, you also can treat your vitamin-deficient skin in the process.
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, $82; at Skinceuticals
Originally published May 2015. Updated March 2017.