In its day-to-day life, your skin gets pretty thirsty, and just like the rest of the body, it needs help to stay hydrated. A gel moisturizer is the perfect solution and an added bonus for those with oily complexions, as it’s a water-based product that won’t cause your skin to feel greasy once you apply it.
What makes a good facial gel moisturizer? A quality gel moisturizer needs to be a good fit for the wearer, first and foremost, so choose one made for your skin type and with ingredients that you’re okay to use.
Secondly, you’ll want a moisturizer that’s hydrating, water based, and designed to soften and moisturize the skin as it gets to work.
The best gel moisturizer can do wonders for the skin, keeping it hydrating without overdoing it on the oil.
Whether you’re looking for a gel cream moisturizer or something to suit sensitive skin, we’ve covered the best picks on the skincare market with our buying guide, so you have only the top contenders to choose from.
Gel moisturizers serve many different purposes, whether it’s combating oily skin or reducing irritation, but overall, their primary focus is to hydrate and moisturize.
If you’re shopping around for the best gel face moisturizer and want to know which ones are most highly rated, we’ve selected our favorites.
Best Overall: Clinique Dramatically Different
Coming in a jumbo sized 6.7oz bottle and filled with absorbent and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Cucumber Fruit Extract, and Sunflower Seed Cake, you’ll feel it working beneath the skin’s surface immediately.
This globally renowned product features an oil free ingredient list and includes no fragrances or nasties, and it absorbs quickly and easily without leaving behind any grease.
As the final step in their three step skin care routine, you can include the facial soap and clarifying lotion to do the whole process and witness the best results.
Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is suitable for people with combination to oily skin, with combination to dry skin users being advised to use the cream version.
As a 6.7oz bottle, it’s a jumbo size that’ll last for at least a year, and it’s a once a day treatment that can make a real difference on your skin.
With natural ingredients like Barley Extract and Cucumber Fruit Extract, they get to work in the first four hours you apply it.
This is our pick for the best gel moisturizer for oily skin and by one of the most renowned beauty brands of all time.
If you want to feel instant, lightweight hydration and a simple moisturizer you can apply in the morning for all day coverage, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is the best way to get it.
- There are no nasty contents in this and it doesn’t include a fragrance either, so everything included is good for your skin.
- Clinique has a long standing reputation for premium skincare products and has millions of happy customers who can vouch for their greatness.
- This moisturizer suits skin types from combination to oily, so it’s perfect for those who need a dedicated product.
- Users reported feeling an instant improvement in their skin’s hydration levels which made its appearance look smoother and brighter as well.
- Having a pump bottle helps you get just the right amount of gel out without wasting the product.
- Clinique does not specify whether or not their products are cruelty free, so if you want a moisturizer that meets your ethical standards, this isn’t it.
- This moisturizer is part of a three-step process that Clinique recommends which means it’s the most expensive one we’ve reviewed if you add the rest of the range in.
Runner Up: Farmacy Daily Greens Moisturizer
Coming in a 1.7oz jar and full of natural ingredients like willow herb, papaya, and hyaluronic acid, it’s a gentle approach for your skin and suited to those with an oily complexion.
If you’re after a more natural approach when searching for the best gel moisturizer for oily acne prone skin, look no further than Farmacy.
Their Daily Greens Moisturizer is light and gentle with a water base, and packed full of healthy ingredients like moringa, cucumber, and kale, all of which you can feel getting to work as soon as you apply them to your face.
This gel moisturizer uses both hyaluronic and polyglutamic acids to attract moisture, so it’s far more effective at keeping your skin hydrated than regular moisturizers out there.
Better still, there are no nasty ingredients to be found and Farmacy is dedicated to cruelty free skincare products, so you and your conscience will rest easy when you go with this brand.
The Daily Greens Moisturizer by Farmacy also made a noticeable difference in pore size for its users, and because it’s oil-free, people reported less of a shine as well.
If you don’t mind spending a little more for a natural and effective solution, and you have an oily complexion that needs a helping hand, this is one of the better moisturizing gels on the market today.
- Actively attracts moisture to the face but does so without feeling greasy, so it’s perfect for oily skin.
- Lots of natural ingredients that make it feel refreshing and it has a naturally invigorating scent to it as well.
- People reported a reduction in pore size when they used this for a few weeks and an overall improvement in their skin quality.
- The brand is committed to cruelty free products and there’s no animal testing or by-products found in this gel moisturizer.
- Leaves a smooth and matte finish without any shine, so you can’t even tell that you’re wearing anything, and goes on perfectly underneath your regular makeup.
- The gel has been designed for oily skin predominantly so users with other skin types will need to find another product.
- For such a small jar of gel moisturizer, Farmacy has put a high price on this, so you need to be careful with how much you use.
- No pump on the jar means it’s easy to apply too much, and you may need to transfer it to a pump bottle to administer.
Alternative: Neutrogena Hydro Boost
Hydro Boost can be applied every morning or as part of your makeup routine, and it comes in a 1.7 fl oz jar with a screw on lid for easy access.
This gel is lighter than moisturizer cream but just as effective and is suitable for all skin types.
Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost is a simple solution for those wanting to hydrate their skin without feeling greasy and weighed down, and is one of the most affordable picks on our list.
As a water-based solution, you’ll find no oil in its ingredient list, but rather hyaluronic acid which attracts moisture, and because it’s something that the body naturally produces, it’s even more effective.
According to the happy customers, applying Hydro Boost under their makeup was the best way to smooth their complexion and stop their skin from drying out during the day, so it’s not just good results underneath your skin.
It absorbs quickly once applied just like a gel, but will deliver 48 hours of hydration and protection.
People reported feeling an instant improvement with no oily or greasy residue, which is amazing for a moisturizer in this price range.
Neutrogena has created this for all skin types and tones, so it’s not just those with oily skin who can benefit.
There’s no alcohol in the formula and is dermatologically tested and recommended, with the trusted name of Neutrogena behind it.
If you prefer to buy skincare products from a trusted name, and need the lightweight feel of a gel moisturizer, Hydro Boost is one of the best.
- This moisturizer is one of the cheapest on the market but also one of the most effective, providing you don’t have to spend a lot for good skincare.
- Delivers 48 hours of hydration to the skin which goes above and beyond what other water-based moisturizers can do.
- Is the perfect in-between of a gel and a cream, giving you the best benefits that each of them has to offer.
- This is the best moisturizer for combination skin, dry skin, oily skin, and everything in between, so it’s a better fit for more types of users.
- Neutrogena is a trusted name with decades of experience and millions of happy customers in the skincare industry.
- Neutrogena is another brand that does not clarify whether their products are cruelty free, which might not make them the right fit for some users.
- This is a pretty small jar and considering how much you’ll need to apply, it’s probably best to buy a few and have them ready.
- Has a mild fragrance added to it that some might not like, especially if you’re used to fragrance-free skincare.
Alternative: Origins Gin-Zing Moisturizing Gel
With nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and plant glycerin, as well as radiating contents including coffee and panax ginseng, it’s everything you need to enjoy 72 hours of hydration from just one product.
The Gin-Zing Moisturizing Gel from Origins lives up to its name as a product that boosts radiance and provides hydration for your facial skin.
With a unique combination of ingredients like jojoba butter, water, silica, niacinamide, lemon peel oil, and more, you’ll feel an instant transformation and smoothness on your skin as soon as you rub it in, and have peace of mind that you’re only giving your body the best.
This moisturizing gel features no nasty ingredients, is cruelty free, and with a water base, so it’s gentle and effective.
Oriigns has designed this primarily for users with oily skin, and those with dry complexions might find it doesn’t offer enough hydration.
The use of plant glycerin and hyaluronic acid help to attract moisture and lock it in, so it’s instantly absorbed when you rub it onto your face.
Gin-Zing Moisturizing Gel comes in a small glass jar with 1.7oz of product inside, and lasts on the skin for up to 72 hours.
However, as a lightweight option, it’s not meant to be a makeup primer, even if it does leave your skin glowing.
If you prefer natural ingredients and have oily skin that needs to stay away from any further shine, the Origins Gin-Zing Moisturizing Gel is a favorite of ours.
- This moisturizer provides up to 72 hours of hydration so you’ll still be feeling the effects the next day.
- There are loads of natural ingredients packed into this single jar which make it one of the most refreshing options we’ve reviewed.
- Reviewers noted that it felt clean going on and stayed that way, without any traces of oil, shine, or greasiness like other moisturizers left behind.
- Ingredients like Panax Ginseng and coffee are nice additions and make a noticeable difference to the brightness of the skin.
- For something with so many high quality and natural ingredients, the price for this moisturizing gel is still affordable.
- With an ultra-lightweight feel, this might not be the best option for using underneath makeup as it doesn’t give it the same staying power of something thicker.
- Only suitable for users with oily skin as others may find it doesn’t offer enough hydration as they can get from cream products.
- This moisturizing gel has a natural scent that’s light, but some users have commented on it being a little off putting when they first apply it.
Alternative: Aveeno Positively Radiant
Coming in a 1.7oz jar, it can be applied every 24 to 48 hours to oily skin, leaving it moisturized and matte, thanks to the oil free contents.
You’ll find no parabens, dyes, or phthalates in this gel, and it’s been dermatologically tested for great results, like the rest of the Aveeno range.
Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Moisturizing Gel is a must for anyone shopping on a budget and looking for something to treat their oily skin.
With ingredients like soy and hyaluronic acid, it has everything you’d expect in a premium skincare product and is gentle enough to use every day in your regular routine
As this moisturizing gel can last for up to 48 hours providing hydration to the skin, you don’t need to apply it every day.
For oily users, this is another bonus, as you likely find your skin doesn’t react well to regular moisturization as it is.
Other skin types won’t get as much joy from this Aveeno range though, so if you’re dry or similar, you’ll want to find something that offers more hydration.
The best benefit of the Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizing Gel is that it also includes soy, which has been proven to even out skin tone.
Not only will it keep you hydrated but also smooth the skin and make it look more youthful, which is even more impressive when you consider the low price.
For a moisturizing gel and skincare range that can do more for less, check out what Aveeno has to offer with its Positively Radiant range.
- This is the best moisturizer to use with Differen gel and other acne treatments because it’s so gentle but still manages to hydrate the skin underneath.
- If you don’t want to spend a lot but prefer to buy beauty products from a reputable brand, Aveeno manages to be affordable and effective.
- Aveeno has made a good product for anyone with delicate skin and you won’t experience any breakouts or irritations even if you’re usually sensitive, which is a bonus for those with oily complexions.
- The addition of soy to this means you’ll also even out the tone of your skin and get rid of blemishes and discolorations that can make it look dull.
- One application of this gel will last for up to 48 hours, so you don’t have to apply it every day if your skin doesn’t need it.
- You may not find as much hydration with this moisturizer gel as others, as it doesn’t appear to absorb as easily or quickly and needs more time to set.
- This isn’t a good moisturizer for those with dry skin as it simply won’t give you adequate hydration, so should only be left to combination to oily users.
- There’s no word from Aveeno about whether this product is cruelty free, which generally means it doesn’t fall into this category.
Gel Moisturizer FAQs
Using a gel moisturizer is the perfect solution for those who don’t like the greasy and heavy feeling of other moisturizers.
If you’ve been thinking of making the switch but want to find out more about how they differ, we’ve answered some FAQs that can give you a push in the right direction.
Are Gel Moisturizers Good For Skin?
An everyday application of a gel moisturizer is effective at improving skin tone, adding hydration, and reducing oil build up.
These moisturizers are particularly beneficial for those with an oily complexion or people prone to breakouts, as they’re usually water based and gentler on the skin.
What Is Better Cream Or Gel?
A gel moisturizer is usually water based and may feel thinner and lighter when it’s applied to the skin, leaving behind a matte finish once it’s been absorbed.
Cream moisturizers might have some component of oil in them which can be beneficial for people with dry skin but lead to breakouts and oilier skin for others.
What Is The Difference Between Soothing Gel And Moisturizer?
A soothing gel product is likely to be water based and not as heavy as a cream moisturizer, making it more suitable for those with oily and sensitive skin.
A moisturizer is better left for average to dry skin as it can make the skin soft and smooth, without any of the negative after effects that someone with oily skin might have.
What Skin Type Is Gel Moisturizer For?
Gel moisturizer can be used by all skin types, provided you are shopping for the product that suits your complexion and other needs.
People with oily and combination skin benefit most from gel moisturizer being a water-based product, though, because there’s less chance of oil building up and other adverse reactions.
Moisturized to Perfection
Gel moisturizer is a flawless solution for oily and other skin types that are in desperate need of soothing hydration.
With our recommendations, you’ll find something to suit your skin perfectly, and a gel moisturizer that’s been highly rated by those in the beauty biz and everyday users alike.