25 Gel- and Water-Based Moisturizers For Combination Skin
There’s a common misconception that moisturizers are only meant for dry skin. The truth is that all skin types can benefit from using moisturizers. But before you slather on any ol’ cream or lotion, it’s important to assess your skin type. If you have combination skin, a lighter, gel- or water-based moisturizer is recommended. These products can help hydrate and nourish the skin without that heavy feeling. Need help picking a gel- or water-based moisturizer for your combination skin? We share 25 of our favorites from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands, below.
WHAT IS COMBINATION SKIN?
Before we get into our best gel-based and water-based moisturizers for combination skin, it’s important to know what the visible signs of combination skin are to help determine whether or not you have it. Combination skin is exactly how it sounds—having skin that is both oily and dry. Typically, the T-Zone (nose, forehead, chin) is the part of the face that’s oily-looking, with dryness appearing on the cheeks, jaw area, and along the hairline. If this sounds like your skin, know that you’re not the only one dealing with a fickle skin type. In fact, according to board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, combination skin is the most common skin type seen amongst his patients.
GEL-BASED AND WATER-BASED MOISTURIZERS FOR COMBINATION SKIN
All skin types need hydration—even oily and combination skin! Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Promise? There’s no shortage of moisturizers out there to choose from, which makes finding the best one for your skin’s needs all the more difficult. Lucky for you, we went ahead and conquered the hard part so you don’t have to. Ahead, discover our picks of the best gel-based and water-based moisturizers for combination skin from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands. When it comes time to restock your arsenal’s moisturizer, you’ll be happy to have this list handy—trust us.
GARNIER MOISTURE BOMB THE ANTIOXIDANT SUPER MOISTURIZER
This water-light gel-cream formula boasts hyaluronic acid as well as goji berry, vitamins C and E, and pomegranate to help strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and provide parched skin with much-needed hydration. The non-greasy formula is suited for all skin types eager for a burst of hydration and a more youthful look day after day!
SKINCEUTICALS HYDRATING B5 GEL
This oil-free hydrating gel is formulated with vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid—an ingredient known to hold up to 1000x its weight in water—to help skin retain moisture. The result? Skin that looks supple and smooth. Use it daily as your oil-free moisturizer.
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, $82 MSRP
L’OREAL PARIS HYDRA GENIUS DAILY LIQUID CARE - NORMAL/OILY SKIN
For combination skin that is hydrated, fresh, and visibly mattified, look no further than this fast-absorbing moisturizer by L’Oreal Paris. Specifically developed for normal to oily skin, the water-based formula combines aloe water and hyaluronic acid and provides dual-action results. This product boasts instant and continuous hydration, and can help you achieve skin that looks fresh and mattified.
L’OREAL PARIS CELL RENEWAL ROSY TONE MOISTURIZER
As skin matures, cell renewal slows causing a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface. Over time, skin can begin to lose its natural rosy tone of youth underneath a dulled complexion. If this is your reality, smooth on this moisturizing cream to reveal a healthy, youthful look once again. It’s enhanced with rosy pigments to instantly revive skin’s rosy tone. The non-greasy formula—with imperial peony and LHA—gently exfoliates dull skin and stimulates surface cell renewal every day. Immediately, skin is hydrated and looks healthier. In four weeks, notice skin that appears renewed and visibly younger.
L’Oreal Paris Cell Renewal Rosy Tone Moisturizer, $24.99 MSRP
KIEHL’S ULTRA FACIAL MOISTURIZER SPF 30
This no-frills moisturizer—formulated for all skin types—absorbs quickly to leave the skin’s surface soft, smooth and nurtured. What’s more, it is formulated with broad-spectrum SPF 30 to help protect against damaging UVA and UVB rays*.
*when use as directed with other sun protection measures.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30, $21 MSRP
KIEHL’S ULTRA FACIAL OIL-FREE GEL CREAM
Formulated with a refreshing texture, this oil-free gel-cream—formulated with imperata cylindrica root extract and antarcticine—intensely hydrates and conditions skin while providing long-lasting moisture. You’ll love the instant cooling effect upon application!
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, $27.50 MSRP
VICHY MINÉRAL 89
Minéral 89—which is formulated with a combination of 89 percent of Vichy’s exclusive Mineralizing Thermal Water and hyaluronic acid—helps to fortify skin and helps protect it against external aggressors, while delivering a boost of hydration for a healthy-looking glow. Best of all, the formula is suitable for all skin types since it’s free of parabens, silicones, fragrance, colorants, and alcohol.
Vichy Minéral 89, $29.50 MSRP
LANCÔME ÉNERGIE DE VIE DAY CREAM
This water-infused moisturizing cream helps nurture and hydrate skin. Thanks to its cooling effect upon application, skin will feel fresh and energized!
Lancôme Énergie de Vie Day Cream, $55 MSRP
GARNIER SKINACTIVE MOISTURE RESCUE REFRESHING GEL CREAM
Daily stress and pollution can wreak havoc on your complexion, stripping the skin of its vital hydration. With this refreshing, oil-free gel-cream, you’re able to lock in 24-hour hydration that blocks out dryness.Formulated with vitamin E and fruit water, you can expert your skin to feel fresher and look smoother upon use. Over time, the moisture barrier is strengthened, revealing skin that looks healthier and more radiant.
URBAN DECAY COSMETICS REHAB MAKEUP PREP HOT SPRINGS HYDRATING GEL
Applying makeup to rough, dry skin is never a good experience. The goal is to create a clean, moisturized canvas. Turn to a hydrating gel moisturizer that’s made for prepping the skin before makeup, like Urban Decay’s Rehab Makeup Prep Hot Springs Hydrating Gel. Enhanced with encapsulated water sourced from a hot spring, this low alkaline moisturizer preps the skin for a seamless makeup application.
LA ROCHE-POSAY HYDRAPHASE INTENSE LIGHT MOISTURIZER
Treat your parched combination skin to La Roche-Posay’s Hydraphase Intense Light Moisturizer. Powered by hyaluronic acid and the brand’s beloved Thermal Spring Water, this formula helps the skin retain moisture all day with its light and non-greasy texture. The results will leave you with skin that’s visibly plumped, softer and more radiant.
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light Moisturizer, $35.99 MSRP
GARNIER SKINACTIVE CLEARLY BRIGHTER BRIGHTENING & SMOOTHING DAILY MOISTURIZER SPF 15
Antioxidants and SPF are the ultimate duo when it comes to skin care, and not so often do you find them making cameos in the same product. If you’re lacking a well-rounded moisturizer in your routine, look no further. This daily vitamin C-enhanced moisturizer with SPF 15 will give you visibly brighter, more polished-looking skin as a result.
GARNIER SKINACTIVE MOISTURE RESCUE ACTIVELY HYDRATING DAILY LOTION SPF 15
Protect and defend your skin against moisture loss with a daily hydrating lotion that can helps strengthen your skin’s barrier. Formulated with SPF 15 and glycerin, you’ll notice how soft and fresh your skin feels after just one use. After one week, expect to see skin that feels strengthened and looks healthier.
Biotherm Aquasource Gel
Here at Skincare.com, we love gel moisturizers for their ability to deliver a surge of cooling relief to your skin. This is why we’re big fans of Biotherm’s Aquasource Gel. The lightweight texture not only provides continuous hydration but helps soothe skin as well.
Biotherm Aquasource Gel, $44 MSRP
Lancôme Bienfait Aqua Vital Day Cream
A staple day cream should always be part of your skin care arsenal. Water-based formulas are ideal for boosting your skin’s hydration levels throughout the day without leaving your complexion feeling heavy or greasy. We recommend an oil-free formula like Lancôme’s Bienfiat Aqua Vital Day Cream.
Lancôme Bienfait Vital Day Cream, $49 MSRP
Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Essential Defense Fluid
If you’re on the hunt for a water-based moisturizer that also tackles anti-aging concerns, look no further than Giorgio Armani’s Crema Nera Essential Defense Fluid. As an added plus: It’s formulated with SPF 14 to provide protection against harmful UV rays.
Biotherm Aquasource Night Spa
We’ve already boasted about the hydrating power of Biotherm’s Aquasource Gel, so you can imagine that their nighttime gel is just as effective. Designed to replenish and hydrate your skin overnight, all you need to do is lather on this gel-based moisturizer before bed and you’ll wake to a fresh-looking complexion.
Biotherm Aquasource Night Spa, $51 MSRP
Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer
As the days seem to get shorter and colder, we all feel a bit more stressed and fatigued. Luckily, Kiehl’s developed a lightweight daily hydrator that helps to reduce the visible signs of stress including tired-looking skin. Formulated with soothing ingredients like Rosa Gallica Botanical Extract and Chamomile, this moisturizer is designed to help repair your skin’s barrier.
Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer, $40 MSRP
L’Oréal Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30
We all want to start our day with a brighter complexion. This oil-free, brightening day moisturizer can help you achieve the glowing complexion you crave without leaving your skin feeling greasy. It’s also formulated with ingredients such as glycolic acid to help improve skin’s tone and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide Oil Free Moisturizer
Combination skin types may deal with excess oil on the skin’s surface. If you notice your skin leaning on the oilier side, reach for a mattifying moisturizer like the La Roche-Posay Toleraine Fluide Oil Free Moisturizer. Formulated with the brand’s Thermal Spring Water, this moisturizer replenishes skin’s hydration levels while leaving you with a non-oily finish.
La Roche-Posay Toleraine Fluide Oil Free Moisturizer, $29.99 MSRP
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Transformer Age Correcting Moisture-Gel for Men
Men, you should know by now that one moisturizer doesn’t fit all. If you’re looking to treat your skin to a surge of moisture, we present to you Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Transformer Age Correcting Moisture-Gel for Men. Lightweight gel texture? Check. Tackles anti-aging skin concerns? Check. Boosts hydration levels? Check. Fellas, this moisturizer has got your complexion covered.
Lancôme Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Moisturizer
On top of managing combination skin, you may also begin to notice signs of aging such as sagging skin and dark spots. Fortunately, Lancôme has a formula that works to relieve these signs of maturing skin while also giving your skin the hydration it’s been thirsting for.
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Mineral Water Gel
All combination skin is not created equal. You may have skin that leans on the drier side. For that, we recommend a gel moisturizer that is designed for dry skin such as Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Mineral Water Gel. This moisturizing gel is formulated with Vichy Mineralizing Water and can keep your skin looking fresh and radiant.
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Mineral Water Gel, $31 MSRP
Yves Saint Laurent Top Secrets Moisturizing Prep Lotion
Looking for a water-based, lightweight moisturizer that also preps your skin before layering on makeup? Yves Saint Laurent’s Top Secrets Moisturizing Prep Lotion will do just that. The gentle formula will help give your skin an extra hydration boost.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer
If you’re looking to target large pores and excess shine, grab an oil-free formula like the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer. If you’re looking to achieve a natural, matte look, this will be your new go-to.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer, $31.99 MSRP
No matter what moisturizer you use, try to apply it up to twice daily. After cleansing your skin, follow up with moisturizer while your skin is slightly damp, to help lock in moisture. Your skin will thank you!