It’s peak summer heat—sweat galore, skin greasy, pores clogged—the last thing you want is a heavy moisturizer that packs richness where your skin needs none. And yet, moisturizers are still an important part of your skincare routine and should not be skipped even in the summer. Moisturizers help protect your skin barrier, and hydrating moisturizers in particular will allow your skin to produce a normal amount of oil and sebum.
When in the market for a summer moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores and lets your skin breathe while providing just the right amount of hydration, we recommend a few options!
Gel moisturizers have a natural cooling effect and often contain humectants without relying on emollients to maintain moisture levels in the skin. This is because most gel moisturizers are water-based, not oil-based, so rather than trapping moisture, they bring up moisture from deeper layers of the skin. We adore gel moisturizers for how lightweight they are and how easily they absorb into the skin!
While gel moisturizers are great for oily skin especially, any skin type can easily layer gel moisturizers to attain the desired moisture level. For drier skin types, a lightweight cream can definitely do the trick, especially if it contains humectants in addition to emollients.
Here are our top picks for summer moisturizers, all available at Glowie Co!
Best Summer Moisturizers
My Scheming Hyaluronan + Vitamin B Hydrating Hydro Gel
Sometimes less is more! My Scheming’s Hyaluronan + Vitamin B Hydrating Hydro Gel really has just one goal, and that’s to thoroughly hydrate your skin. It’s a water-based moisturizer that we recommend for oily skin types and those who live in tropical and humid climates, but this Hydro Gel will work for any skin type and any weather, as it’s lightweight enough to layer! It straddles the line between runny and goopy, and the texture feels like rain after a drought—super cooling and quenching!
One of two titular ingredients, hyaluronan (aka our skincare bestie hyaluronic acid!), provides deep and long-lasting hydration. It also plumps skin and enhances skin radiance! Similarly, Vitamin B also supports healthy skin and lessens skin irritation. If you’re looking to dip your toes into the gel moisturizers pool, try this one out! (And interestingly enough, it looks like a pool too. Coincidence? We think not.)
Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioning Gel
Exactly like you’d expect from the name, Naturie's Hatomugi Skin Conditioning Gel conditions skin and does it well. It’s a touch milkier than the My Scheming Hyaluronan + Vitamin B Hydrating Hydro Gel, and forms a “water protective film” on the surface of skin to ensure long-lasting hydration. This gel sinks into the skin quickly and effectively, leaving perfectly supple skin. Because it absorbs into skin so well, it also layers like a dream. You could apply just one layer of this in the morning before your makeup routine, or apply up to three or four layers at night for an intense hydration boost!
Hatomugi, or Job’s Tears extract, is one of our favorite natural ingredients in the Asian skincare world. It has anti-aging, brightening, and conditioning properties that are incredibly important for a summer skincare routine. When we say conditioning, we mean that it goes beyond simply moisturizing; it also delivers much-needed antioxidants to the skin for better skin health!
23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer
Unlike the traditional gels above, 23.5°N’s Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer is more of a gel cream. It adheres to and grips the skin a tad bit better than pure gel moisturizers, but still has that cooling effect that gel moisturizers tend to have! The texture is reminiscent of a thick pudding (we’ve held the open container upside down and trust us, it does not fall out), and spreads across skin like magic.
We’re big fans of using rice-based products for summer, as rice has been a long-loved skincare ingredient in Asia for its brightening, anti-aging, soothing, and oil-control properties! We all know the effects that sun damage can have on skin (melanin production, free radicals, overheating), so we find ourselves reaching for this moisturizer when we want a good all-rounder to finish off our skincare routine. Plus, it contains Job’s Tears extract for extra brightening, as well as aloe vera and oat extracts for added soothing! The soothing ingredients here really do their part, as we definitely notice reduced redness after usage. And of course, this moisturizer has sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and plump thirsty skin.
Haruharu WONDER Black Rice Hyaluronic Cream
Haruharu WONDER’s Black Rice Hyaluronic Cream is a cream on the thinner side with lovely versatility! It’s thin enough to absorb quickly and layer should you want more of a moisturizing effect, and leaves the skin feeling so silky and smooth! One thing we dislike about richer moisturizers in the summer is the greasy, wax-like finish it leaves your face at the end of your nighttime routine. Your skin will drink this one up, and it will leave absolutely no residue.
Even though this is the first full-fledged cream in the midst of our summer moisturizer recommendations, rest assured that it performs flawlessly. Its star ingredient, hyaluronic acid, runs the show with its deeply hydrating abilities, while bamboo shoot skin extract and fermented black rice extract target different effects of sun damage. In particular, fermented black rice extract protects skin against free radicals, which is important when considering how they prematurely age skin cells. Haruharu WONDER uses special patented technology to drive fermented black rice extract deep into skin for long-lasting nourishment. If you struggle with dehydrated skin, consistent usage of this cream should improve the appearance of dehydration lines on your face significantly!
KEEP COOL Soothe Phyto Greenpair™ Cream
The thickest moisturizer on the list, KEEP COOL’s Soothe Phyto Greenpair™ Cream is also the richest! Its sibling Ocean Hydrating Gel Cream is a great choice for a lighter moisturizer, with a texture akin to the 23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Moisturizer mentioned above. We put the Greenpair Cream here nonetheless because it’s got such an interesting texture to it, like a sherbet. On the skin, it feels cooling and satin-like, no doubt a benefit of its “Cool Keeper” ingredients: Japanese honeysuckle, Baikal skullcap, and forsythia fruit all promote anti-inflammation! To further soothe, this cream also contains centella asiatica extract! Centella asiatica extract may also help treat visible effects of sun damage, so this moisturizer is even better for summer!
We especially recommend this cream for rough and sensitive skin types who suffer from heat-induced acne. KEEP COOL’s special “Phyto Greenpair” ingredients (bamboo, pine tree, thuja orientalis, and hinoki cypress extracts) work double duty to purify skin waste while soothing irritation! If you want a moisturizer that also protects the skin and speeds up wound healing, this one contains panthenol for regeneration and strengthening!
In our opinion, the best summer moisturizers are those that are easily layerable to make daytime and nighttime applications customizable! Look for fast-absorbing moisturizers that balance oil production, soothe skin, and fight sun damage.
As always, use patch tests to make sure that the products won’t irritate your skin, as your skin is already more likely to increase sensitivity in extreme heat. Avoid comedogenics, especially if you suffer from bouts of summer-induced acne!
We hope this article was helpful, and good luck with your summer skincare journey!