Gel vs Cream? What is the Difference and Which is Better for Your Skin?

by Hailei Kim on Sep 15, 2022

Toner, serum, ampoule, lotion, moisturizer… the list goes on and on. Among the long list of K-beauty skincare regimens, moisturizer is the heart of the matter you cannot dismiss. Choosing the one perfect moisturizer for your skin can save you hours of helplessly searching for additional skincare products to treat your skin issues. Today, let's talk about the texture when it comes to moisturizers. Gel vs Cream, how are they different and which will work best for your skin?  

1. Gel vs. Cream

You could distinguish moisturizers mainly into two categories gel and cream. Gel moisturizers and cream moisturizers have quite the opposite texture due to their base ingredient. But who is to say which texture is better? It totally depends on your taste and needs. In order to find the perfect moisturizer for your skin, here are some questions that you must ask yourself for the sake of your dry, oily, and/or sensitive skin.  

2. Which texture are you most comfortable with?

Gels are usually oil-free, which makes its texture watery and light. If you simply can’t stand the sticky feeling of skincare products, go for a water-based moisturizer. Gel moisturizers can hydrate your skin without clogging your pores. Because the texture is so airy and light, gel moisturizers can be applied before putting on makeup base and it won’t leave your foundation looking smudged and smeared on. At the same time, however, due to its light texture, it evaporates quickly and you may need to apply it more frequently than cream moisturizers. I, on the other hand, much prefer the “sticky” feeling of cream moisturizers. Cream moisturizers have thick and heavy texture, which creates a long-lasting protective barrier on your skin. The oil prevents the moisture from evaporating quickly and helps absorb the beneficial ingredients in the cream. Cream moisturizers are nourishing and softening and is more convenient to use since it only needs to be applied once. This makes cream moisturizers perfect for night-time facial masks.  

3. What is your skin type?

As you might have already guessed from their textures, gel moisturizer is water-based and cream moisturizer is an oil-based moisturizer. You need to choose your base wisely according to your skin type. Gel moisturizers have gained popularity more recently as an alternative to oil-based skincare products. Water molecules and capsules of hyaluronic acid in gel moisturizers allow hydration without leaving greasy residues on the surface of the skin. This is the reason why gel moisturizers go best with acne-prone, oily skin. In order to prevent acne and unexpected breakouts, you must avoid all means that could clog your pores. Gel moisturizers allow internal hydration, meaning that it activates skin hydration from within the skin, unlike the way that oil-based moisturizers hydrate your skin by capturing the moisture within the oil barrier.

This gel-cream is a moisturizer with a gel-type texture. As Klairs Fundamental Line, it provides and fulfills the 'basics' in your moisturizing skincare. It contains Jeju Green Tea Water and Panthenol to provide moisture and deep hydration with a light finish. Recommended for all skins and seasons.


 The rich texture of cream moisturizers is proof of its powerful combination and ingredients. Oil-based moisturizers hold more beneficial compounds including essential oil extract, Vitamin F, and phospholipids, which is why cream moisturizers are not only hydrating but also nourishing. People with dry skin can really benefit from using cream moisturizers because cream moisturizers can work on so many levels. If you have mature skin, cream moisturizers can help with fine lines and wrinkles. Did you also know that oil-based moisturizers can actually prevent acne unlike the common notion that it causes them? People with dry skin can have a sudden breakout thrust upon them when there is an imbalance in water and oil levels. Cream moisturizers can be an easy solution for those looking to supplement oil and moisture.  


4. What should you look out for?

Every skincare product has its own strongest suit but it also comes with minor flaws which, depending on your skin type and skin issues can sometimes be deadly. Gel moisturizers are quickly absorbed and usually lightweight, leaving your skin feeling fresh and airy. The alcohol in gel moisturizer is what allows it to provide quick hydration but can cause dryness and irritation if you have sensitive skin. Although even the board certified dermatologists continue to debate on the pros and cons of alcohol in skincare products, if you are trying to go alcohol-free, use cream moisturizers instead of gel. Oil is another ingredient that people try to look out for when choosing their face cream. Natural oil and essential oil extracts can do so much for your skin but at the same time leave your skin feeling greasy if you have oily skin. People who live in hot and humid climates also should be cautious when applying a cream moisturizer before an outdoor activity. Now that you have asked yourself these questions, you have a general idea of which moisturizer to choose. You don’t have to restrict yourself to just one type of moisturizer though. Remember that you could switch back and forth from gel and cream to maximize hydration.

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