It’s 80 and so humid that I refuse to leave the icy chill comfort provided by central air today. In other words, the gel moisturizer season has officially begun. If you’re looking for formulas that minimize the dreaded shine by noon and avoid pore congestion, it’s best to choose lighter, airy gel textures that more often than not, are free of oil. Don’t stash away you richer creams and silky oils just yet – save them for bedtime use to replenish/rejuvenate your skin overnight.
My personal 411 on gel moisturizers:
- Don’t expect anti-aging miracles. Gel moisturizers are usually packed with Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid (and hopefully plant extracts) to soothe the skin and provide lasting hydration. Active ingredients are often more present in treatment serums and night creams.
- Finding the right gel moisturizer is not always easy. I’ve encountered plenty of poorly formulated ones that have left my skin feeling sticky. Gel moisturizers need to absorb completely; the quicker the better. If you can’t comfortably layer your sunscreen over a gel texture, something is very wrong – with the gel, not the sunscreen.
- Personally, I try not to layer much before a gel moisturizer. I cleanse, exfoliate, and then apply the gel. Finally, I complete my daytime regimen with an SPF of choice. Some treatment serums may cause the gel to pill so I limit myself to either an essence or an acid toner after cleansing.
Recently, three newly launched gel moisturizers landed in my hands. And very quickly, on my face. I really don’t want to play favorites but I am partial to the one by Tata Harper. But the Origins tube is just ideal for summer travel! And Erno Laszlo transforms not only my skin but also provides a much appreciated stylish makeover for the vanity. Truth is, each of the following belongs on your summer skincare wish list.
Tata Harper Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer
Without a doubt, this one’s the biggest, most pleasant surprise of the season. And I really didn’t want to love it because I only need one Tata Harper habit and it’s called Elixir Vitae. This brand new addition is geared toward those with oily, combination or uneven skin, which actually is all that I am. It is not oil-free and the liqui-gel texture is almost runny. I’m not mad about any of it.
The Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer is packed with an impressive list of plant extracts and flower waters in addition to plumping Hyaluronic Acid and soothing Tremella Mushroom. It feels silky and refreshing as it glides on the skin — perfect for mornings when my complexion can use a boost of energy. And while it absorbs almost instantly, the delicate floral-herbaceous aroma lingers for a few seconds. This one’s a treat. $116 tataharperskincare.com
Origins Mega-Mushroom Hydra Burst Gel Lotion
If you are looking for an oil-free formula, you’ll find the latest Mega-Mushroom ancillary a great option. Those familiar with Dr. Weil treatments will appreciate the soothing and calming benefits of the new Hydra Burst Gel Lotion. Infused with a medley of mushroom extracts, this hydrating potion contains a number of skin regenerating ingredients: Turmeric Root, Algae, and Caffeine. And while I am not bothered by the presence of Dimethicone, I am thrilled there is no slippery finish reminiscent of a traditional makeup primer (although, I am sure it would work very well as such).
It’s almost difficult to explain but the texture of the new gel lotion feels very ‘water heavy’… in the best way possible. The ultra-hydrating solution provides immediate relief to parched skin and will leave it refreshed and comfortable for hours. There won’t be a summer getaway nor a flight for which I won’t include this slim tube in my bag. Hands down it is the next travel staple status. $68 sephora.com
Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Gel Cream
I have a weakness for the statuesque paper weight-like jars of Erno Laszlo moisturizers. But the brand new Hydra-Therapy Gel Cream is so much more than a mod touch placed sink side. I consider this the richest of the three formulas. The whipped consistency forms soft peaks. It feels pretty lush. The key ingredients in this deeply hydrating moisturizer are soothing Roman Chamomile Extract and nourishing Flax Seed, and Cottonseed Oils. It doesn’t feel the slightest bit oily and my skin drinks it up in seconds.
While technically not labeled ‘mattifying,’ the formula promises to keep oil production at bay. Does it deliver? Honestly, I take all mattifying claims with a grain of salt since I have yet to meet a product that can deliver a shine-free me dawn to dusk. I am happy to report, however, the Erno Laszlo Gel Cream balances my combination skin perfectly. It also layers seamlessly under my sunscreen. May I also add that I love seeing Erno Laszlo transform from old Hollywood glamour to everyday luxe-ssential? $116 net-a-porter.com
For a similar round-up from last year featuring gel moisturizers under $50, click here.