8 Lightweight Moisturizers for Hydrated—Not Greasy—Summer Skin
That’s where lightweight moisturizers come up big. These featherweight formulas tend to use humectant ingredients—which attract water to the skin—rather than occlusive ingredients, which work by trapping moisture in your skin, but tend to feel rather heavy. Gel moisturizers are also great options; because they’re water-based, not only do they absorb quickly without leaving behind any residue, they’re also innately cooling and refreshing, a nice bonus during those dog days of summer. Here are eight of our favorite lightweight face moisturizers that are sure to leave your skin happy and hydrated—not greasy—all season long.
Related: 11 SPF Moisturizers That Make Daily Sun Protection Easy
Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream
This featherweight cream is, true to its name, infused with a serum. As you apply it, that serum is released and delivers soothing calendula extract and micronized calendula petals deep into the skin. You get instant hydration, plus brightening, smoothing, and redness-reducing benefits over time (about one to two weeks). We’re also big fans of how quickly and completely it soaks into skin, and the subtle floral scent.
To buy: $48; kiehls.com.
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
The star of the hydrating show here is squalane, an emollient ingredient (in this case derived from sugarcane) that’s a lighter version of squalene, which is naturally produced by your body and found in your skin’s sebum. Squalane is a top-notch hydrator because it’s already in your skin—but it doesn’t stop there. This formula also has probiotics to help balance your complexion and minimize redness, a plus whether you’re sensitive or just prone to flushing when it’s super hot out.
To buy: $52; sephora.com.
Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream
An A+ pick after a day in the sun, we like that this has both hydrating sodium hyaluronate (similar to hyaluronic acid), plus calming aloe leaf juice and a boatload of antioxidants from green tea. The jelly-like texture is extra cooling and, formula aside, the packaging is so chic you’d never guess that it rings in at such a wallet-friendly price.
To buy: $15; target.com.
While sun protection is (obviously) the best way to protect your skin from the sun, giving it a hefty dose of antioxidants is a great secondary line of defense. They act like little Pac-Men, scavenging up skin-damaging free radicals caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The kale, spinach, and green tea in this moisturizer deliver those antioxidants, while the bouncy and airy texture makes it a joy to apply, even on the hottest of days.
To buy: $48; sephora.com.
Peach & Lily Lazy Day All-in-One Moisture Pads
If ever there’s a time to feel a little bit lazy about your skincare routine, it’s now. Enter these pads, infused with a moisturizing and refreshing liquid full of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and pomegranate extract…just to name a few. Just swipe one across your skin to reap the hydrating benefits; think of them as the moisturizer version of face wipes.
To buy: $39 for 60 pads; ulta.com.
Little Barn Apothecary Witch Hazel + Sage Gel Hydrator
This oil-free, lightweight hydrator pulls double duty as a great blemish buster, making this our pick for anyone who has extra oily skin or is prone to breakouts. Astringent (aka oil-absorbing) witch hazel and willow bark extract, a natural source of pore-clearing salicylic acid, help clear your skin, so you can also use this as a spot treatment.
To buy: $62; littlebarnapothecary.com.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel with SPF 15
Swipe this on in the morning to instantly quench your skin and keep it hydrated all day long, thanks to hyaluronic acid, which attracts water and locks it in the skin. We also like that it has SPF, always an added bonus but particularly during the summer, and the very affordable price. Top tip: Try stashing it in the fridge to make application ultra-refreshing.
To buy: $23; ulta.com.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Youthquake Hydra-Full Retexturizing Gel Créme
Sure, this formula (the first skincare launch from the brand) gives you just the right amount of hydration, but we also like that it acts as somewhat of an exfoliator, too. Credit a 54 percent concentration of pineapple water, which has gentle enzymes to smooth rough texture and leave your skin extra glowy and radiant. Plus, its sunny shade and citrusy scent will give you major summer vibes.
To buy: $59; sephora.com.