I Switched to Gel Skincare and My Skin Has Never Looked So Good

July 28, 2021 at 06:00AM

Having combination skin can be a real minefield when it comes to picking your skincare. Should you seek out products that dial down the oiliness or alleviate the dryness? If you focus on one, will you exacerbate the other? Luckily, last winter it seemed that I finally found my skincare groove. My face was hydrated and plump, and any oiliness was under control. My technique? Light layers of serums and creams—and even nighttime oils when needed—to lock in hydration. But then spring and summer rolled around and I was back to square one. The oilier parts of my skin were getting out-of-control shiny and I found myself having to blot every couple of hours no matter what products I applied. And despite the increased oil levels, my skin also felt tight as it adjusted to a warmer climate.

Honestly I felt like I just couldn’t win, but that was when I began to notice a rise in the popularity of gel and jelly-textured skincare on TikTok. With no other tricks up my sleeve I thought I’d try and incorporate this lighter texture into my routine too, and guess what? I’ve been totally converted. Yes it turns out that while some social media beauty trends are just fads, switching to gel skincare is the real deal. In fact, even skincare experts are big fans of making the swap.

“The advantage of gels is that they can be very hydrating and quickly absorbed so they’re perfect for layering,” says Dr Justine Hextall, FRCP Consultant Dermatologist. “There is so much interest in actives and as such several products may need to be applied, gel works well for this.”

With the hotter weather in the UK and the continued wearing of face masks you might find your oil-based products clogging your pores, leading to breakouts. “Using a lightweight gel that is non-greasy, helps to hydrate and protect the skin barrier, reducing dryness and irritation under a mask without being comedogenic,” says Dr Hextall. And in the cooler months, when dryness is more of a concern, she suggests layering gel formulas with a non-gel moisturiser to lock in hydration.

While most skin types can benefit from gel-textured skincare, Dr Hextall advises you check the ingredients list. “If the gel is alcohol-based then a sensitive skin type will find that astringent irritating. If a gel contains hydrating humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid or ceramides then it will be soothing to most skin types.”

So, if this has piqued your interest in trying a new texture of skincare products then keep scrolling to discover the best gel skincare products.

This cult cleanser melts away makeup and dirt—transforming from gel to milk on contact with water. It’s super gentle and uses  while remaining gentle on the skin. It uses poloxamer (an ultra-mild cleansing agent) instead of traditional, more drying soaps, so it doesn’t sting your eyes either.

Both green tea and centella are full of antioxidants and help to soothe and calm the skin, making this gel cleanser a great choice for anyone that deals with redness or inflammation. The addition of glycerin in this gel cleanser is great for keeping the skin hydrated too.

One of the MVPs in the cleansing gel game, Oskia’s beloved cleanser is a real beauty editor favourite. It includes vitamin A palmitate to gently resurface dead skin, while vitamins C and E aid in restoring balance and protecting the skin against free radicals.

This is an oil-based jelly texture so it’s perfect for melting away heavy makeup and SPF. Use this as your first cleanse and then follow up with a micellar water for soft and deeply-cleansed skin.

An infusion of rosewater and seawater extract mean that this gel cleanser is deceptively nourishing, despite the lightweight texture.

I’m a huge fan of the original version of this cream, but this one is the perfect switch for summer. It instantly cools the skin and keeps shine at bay for longer.

If you’re not a fan of traditional SPFs—or avoid them entirely for fear of that chalky, heavy texture—then this couldn’t feel further from it. The lightweight, gel texture doesn’t leave any white cast at all and absorbs into skin immediately.

If uneven tone is your main skin concern then you’re in luck—this jelly moisturiser contains Japenese angelica root to brighten your complexion and help achieve an even glow. 

This is a real thirst-quencher thanks to the moisture-retaining glycerin and natural emollient squalane in the formula. It keeps skin looking hydrated all day long and it’s less than a tenner.

The combination of ingredients in this high street eye cream makes it a winning formula for me. Hyaluronic acid, cucumber extract, niacinamide, witch hazel extract and peptides are all in the mix for a soothed, hydrated and brighter eye area.

The ribbons of gel and cream in this eye cream don’t only look cute but combine at the pump to create a potent, smoothing formula. And the start ingredient, bakuchiol, gently gently combats the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

This chic eye contour cream immediately helps to de-puff the eye area thanks to a combination of cornflower and the cooling applicator. Plus, it contains micronised powder to minimise dark circles and illuminate under-eyes.


This is coined as a toner, but has all the perks of a serum. It fights dark spots and reduces the appearance of larger pores as well as leaving skin looking brighter.

Are breakouts inevitable for you when your period comes? Try this gel mask which includes green tea to improve the appearance of inflammation for spots that have already arrived and zinc to regulate sebum production. 

Watermelon extract is known for soothing irritation so pop a thin layer of this gel mask on before bed if your skin is in need of some TLC. Up next: 5 products we should all be using this summer, according to skin experts.

Author Keeks Reid | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC

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