We’ve all been hypnotized by that beautiful-looking, wallet-stretching pot of moisturizing cream that came highly recommended by our best friend/mom/daughter/favorite magazine beauty editor, only to buy it, use it once and absolutely hate it. And while this might be a simple mistake to make, it can prove super-costly – on both your bank balance and your skin.
OK, so that super-rich, heavy cream might suit your older sister who’s always suffered with dry, parched skin, but did you really think your slightly sensitive, oil-prone complexion was going to be thankful for the same levels of heavy moisturization? Answer: not in a million years.
Choosing the right moisturizer is a fine art and not only depends on what you like but how your skin feels right now, rather than how it felt a couple of months ago. Your skin might have been a little shiny and oily during the summer, but chances are it goes back to ‘normal’ for fall. Like the weather, skin changes, so it makes sense that your skincare decisions should change with it.
So, is there a quick trick for checking your current skin type? Indeed there is. Simply cleanse your skin, leave it totally free of serum, moisturizer and makeup for a few hours, then look at it in the mirror and touch it with clean hands. If it looks shiny, your skin is oily right now, whereas if it feels dry and looks a little red, it’s probably dry.
Now that part’s out of the way, it’s time to see which moisturizer formulation suits your skin type the best. After all, a good moisturizer will do more for your skin than drinking a thousand glasses of water a day (please don’t try that at home)…
Best Formulation For Oily Or Blemish-Prone Skin: GEL and GEL-CREAM
Lightweight formulas like gels and gel-creams are understandably where it’s at for oily or acne-prone skin, because these generally contain the least amount of oil, giving them the ability to offer moisturization, minus the oily residue. Gels often contain non-oily hydrators like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate and dimethicone which are great ingredients for moisturizing oily skin because they’re intensely hydrating, but super lightweight. Remember, also, to avoid anything containing mineral oils, petroleum and petrolatum as these can suffocate your pores, increase sebum production and exacerbate acne.
Best Formulation For Normal, Sensitive Or Combination Skin: LOTION
Lotions are the Neil Patrick Harrises of the moisturizing world: pretty much everyone loves them. Offering more moisturization than a gel, but less than a rich cream, lotions are versatile and can be suitable for all skin types depending on their texture, feel and ingredient. An ideal lotion should be smooth, easy to apply and should sink into your skin instead of sitting on the surface and leaving you with a sticky residue. And if you’re of a sensitive nature, you should always avoid parabens and anything containing ‘parfum’.
Best Formulation For Dry, Dehydrated Or Mature Skin: CREAM
Creams are the thickest, richest and heaviest moisturizers around, so are perfectly suited for very dry, aging or extra thirsty skin. They’re high in oils and usually contain occlusive ingredients like petrolatum, which create a barrier on the skin to stop moisture escaping. This is why they’re never the best choice for oily or problematic skin types. Creams can only hold a certain number of anti-aging ingredients before they become too thick or unpleasant to apply, however, which is why they’re often used in conjunction with a treatment serum.
Written by: Georgia Gould