A Guide to Moisturizers: Which to Use When

Augusta Falletta
girl with perfect skin


Finding skin care products that give you exactly what you need is tough, but what’s even tougher is needing a new regime with each season. Summer leaves your skin a bit more oily than usual, while fall and winter can completely dry your skin out. It’s easy enough to simply pick up a moisturizer that’s lighter or heavier depending on the time of year, but with all of the options for moisturizers out there, choosing can be pretty overwhelming.

To help make things easier on you, we’re breaking down the different kinds of moisturizers — and exactly what they do. From oil-free gels to facial serums, here’s what you need to know about moisturizers.

Lightweight: Typically used during the warmer months or on oily skin, lightweight moisturizers are (you guessed it) not heavy, they absorb into the skin quickly, and they’re easily spreadable. If you have oily skin and but do need some mega-hydration during colder weather, use a heavier cream at night and a lightweight moisturizer during the day for a balance. Added bonus: Lightweight moisturizers will be better under makeup than a heavier cream.

MORE: Why Double-Cleansing is the New Way to Get Great Skin

Oil-Free: Besides being water-based instead of oil-based, oil-free moisturizers also work to absorb excess oil in your skin. For ladies prone to acne or who need blotting papers throughout the day, oil-free moisturizers are a safe bet. Reduce shine throughout the day and prevent future breakouts from happening with this option.

Natural Options: Opting for DIY skin care can be a wonderful route to take, and natural moisturizers like coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil all work wonders on skin (and hair!). Coconut oil specifically, is packed with natural fats that help make the skin supple and vitamin E which promotes cell growth, in turn giving you smooth, glowing skin. Natural moisturizers are especially useful for girls with sensitive skin, as there aren’t any additives or fragrances that will irritate skin.

Night Cream: Your skin does the bulk of repairing during the night while the rest of your body is resting, which is why moisturizing at night is so key to getting hydrated skin. Night creams, which are typically meant for the face and neck area, are a richer consistency than a regular moisturizer, which means they really pack a hydration punch. Especially in colder months when the temperature inside your house is hotter, using a night cream before bed will insure you wake up with smooth, moisturized skin.

MORE: 10 Things No One Ever Tells You About Your Pores

Facial Serums: A smooth, more liquid consistency than a moisturizer, just a few drops of facial serum will cover your entire face with hydration. Because of the consistency, facial serums absorb easily into your skin and leave you feeling hydrated for hours on end. A note to girls with oily skin: Don’t be afraid of using serums. Skin with excess oil can actually be a sign of dehydration, which can be solved with a quality serum!

Daily Moisturizer: Even if you’re keeping your skin care routine simple and minimal, the one thing you need besides a cleanser is a daily moisturizer. Light enough for twice-daily use and strong enough to really keep you hydrated, daily moisturizer is the simple, no-frills necessity to keep in your bag. Most are usually infused with SPF, too, which makes them doubly wonderful for daytime application.

Gel: Ideal for oily skin, gel moisturizers have a higher water content than others. This actually works with oil-based makeup formulas to insure makeup doesn’t slip off the face (the way oil-based moisturizer on top of oil-based makeup would), and gel delivers a big dose of hydration to the skin almost immediately without clogging pores. It’s a win-win.