Moisturizing Gels and Serums: Overview

I like to layer my skincare. It works for me and using layers allows me to customize what I want out of my routine that day. I love to layer some kind of hydrating serum or gel after my treatment serums but before moisturizer. This gives me an extra hydrating boost without my skincare feeling too heavy. It also allows me to use lotions longer as I can boost the moisture level in my face depending which serum or gel I pick. It’s kind of like using a facial oil but in a less hydrating serum or gel format. Here’s some of my favorites I like to use.

Kat Burki Form Control Marine Collagen Gel Not only is the bottle stunning, look at that pearly green glass, the product inside is also quite good. This smells like a cucumber dream as with all Kat Burki products. It’s that KB5 complex (Arnica, Gotu Kola, Lavender, Calendula and Chamomile) with cucumber oil. The light gel sinks into skin for instant hydration. This gel serum provides some topical collagen for visible plumping and hydration temporarily. The effects of topical collagen are temporary as the molecules are too large to penetrate the skin. This product uses 14 collagen boosters meaning ingredients to stimulate collagen production in your skin. This is the long term way to help boost that loss in collagen. There’s no water in Kat Burki’s products, it’s all some sort of active ingredient which is nice. Review HERE.

Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate Clinique Moisture Surge is such an underestimated line. It’s really affordable and decent. This light water gel textured product has encapsulated antioxidant beads that explode and absorb on contact with the skin. This is fragrance free and in the perfect packaging–an airless pump. It’s just plain fun to rub this on your face and it works well. Review HERE.

Huxley Essence; Grab Water This Korean brand uses Organic Sahara Cactus (Prickly Pear) extract the so called Secret of the Sahara. This watery light gel essence sinks right in like a cool glass of water. Perfect for summer as it has some slight cooling effects from peppermint. While I do hate dropper packaging as well as the stronger floral perfumed scent in this product, I love everything else about it. Review HERE.

NIOD Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex aka MMHC this light hydrating hyaluronic acid based serum is an affordable staple in my cabinet. This older version contains 12 forms of hyaluronic acid. The newer MMHC2 version contains 15. Why do you need 12 or even 15 versions of hyaluronic acid? Because hyaluronic acid on it’s own is too large of a molecule to penetrate the skin to fully hydrate and moisturize.

Not all hyaluronic acid is created equal. Some just sits on the surface of the skin and while it makes your face feel plump for the moment, it can actually draw water out of your skin to fill it’s molecules  on the surface of your skin. What you need is smaller molecules or these different forms of hyaluronic acid (without this getting too complicated and scientific) that can penetrate the layers of the skin keeping the water in your skin where it belongs and plumping your skin on the inside.

This product has a thin slippery liquid texture and it absorbs quickly. This is easily layered and should be suitable for all skin types. While I would love to see this in a pump version, those stupid droppers I always spill and knock over, I would easily keep purchasing this time and time again. Review HERE.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel I’m a huge lover of Drunk Elephant and the twist top airless pump packaging is perfect. A little clunky in the bathroom cabinet but I can deal with that. This light gel uses B5 and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (one of the smaller weight hyaluronic acids that can penetrate the skin) for hydration. It also contains fruit extracts from pineapple, watermelon, lentil fruit and apple. These fruit extracts are mild Alpha Hydroxy Acids which can help brighten the skin and hydrate. Barberry extract is soothing and anti-bacterial. This hydrating gel is light and absorbs quickly. I’m on my second bottle. Review HERE.

I then discovered two more hydrating serums before I got to type up this post so I have included them as well.

Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum This light gel serum hydrates the skin with aloe and  botanical hyaluronic acid. This contains a stable vitamin C in the form of Ascorbyl Phosphate for brightening and antioxidant properties, Gluconolactone a Poly Hydroxy Acid for light exfoliation with no irritation, cucumber and passion flower extracts for soothing and anti-inflammatory effects and finally Acetyl Hexapeptide-51 Amide also known as Juveleven a hexapeptide that helps protect DNA from damage and stimulates cell repair, longevity and renewal. No wonder it’s an Instagram favorite. There is no water in this serum either, just active ingredients. It’s also decently priced. Review HERE.

Skin Owl Neck + This hydrating gel serum is packed with wonderful things like aloe for hydration, witch hazel an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory astringent, Dimethyl Sulfone (MSM) supports collagen production and skin health, sea water extract for ocean minerals, red algae enhances the skins barrier function, anti-inflammatory turmeric, spirulina and some jojoba oil for skin protection. It’s a lovely combination. This large glass bottle will last forever. Love the pump. Review HERE

Top to Bottom–Huxley, Drunk Elephant, NIOD, Clinique, Kat Burki:

Top Jordan Samuel Skin, Bottom Skin Owl:

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