All About Moisturisers: Gel vs. Cream vs. Gel-Cream

Every skincare kit needs its own moisturiser. It’s a staple for all skin types (even you, oily skinned girlies) which hydrates and moisturises to help keep skin soft, healthy, and balanced.  

We always say it’s important to listen to your skin—and that includes choosing the right moisturiser for you. All moisturisers can help hydrate and lock in moisture. However, finding The One goes a long way in ensuring that you’re addressing your specific skin concerns and needs.

It sounds intense but have no fear! To get your search started, we’ve prepared a simple guide on the differences between moisturiser textures: gel, cream, and gel-cream.

Difference between gel, cream, and gel-cream moisturisers - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare

Gel Moisturisers

Ideal for: Oily skin, acne-prone skin, combination-oily skin

Best season: Summer and Spring; hot and humid weather

Gel moisturisers have a jelly-like consistency and non-sticky texture. This is possible because they’re formulated with fewer emollients and more humectants—water-binders that draw water molecules from its surroundings. In other words: ingredients that are great for hydration without clogging your pores, an important aspect for choosing a moisturiser when you have acne-prone skin.

Beauty of Joseon Red Bean Water Gel - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare
Pictured here: the BOJ Red Bean Water Gel moisturiser

Firmly part of the hydration station, gel types are also often water-based which means they are formulated with water as its main ingredient. Gel moisturisers do not seal in hydration by creating a protective barrier over the skin. Instead, they draw moisture from the deeper layers of your skin up to the surface—providing the hydration and moisture you need without the sticky feeling richer cream moisturisers leave. Gel moisturisers can also have a cooling effect when applied. Really, this is your go-to moisturiser during blistering summer days or whenever you know you’re going to sweat.

We often hear how oily skin gets worse when you use moisturiser. This, however, is a myth—you just need a moisturiser that does not overburden your skin. Gel moisturisers are ideal for those with oily and combination-oily skin because they are lightweight, hydrating, and non-greasy, leaving a matte finish to go with soft skin.

Cream Moisturisers

Ideal for: Mature skin, dry skin, dehydrated skin, combination-dry skin

Best season: Fall and Winter; cold weather and dry air

Cream moisturisers are thicker and richer compared to gel moisturisers because they have a higher fat content and more emollients. These ingredients (butters, vegetable oils, fatty acids, etc) smoothen out the skin and prevent dryness. If you have dry skin with flaking or scaling, emollients can also fill in the cracks to help you heal, recover, and prevent any more damage.

Round Lab 1025 Dokdo Cream - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare
Round Lab 1025 Dokdo Cream - a nourishing yet lightweight moisturiser

When applied, cream moisturisers can often feel heavier and richer. This may seem like a bad thing for some, but it also means softer and plumper skin if your skin type is mature or dry, or when your skin is dehydrated (which, as we discussed, is different from dry skin).

In addition to containing more emollients, cream types are also often oil-based moisturisers. Having more oils and fats in its formulation means locking in moisture and preventing it from evaporating quickly. This is why it’s recommended to switch to cream moisturisers during fall, winter, or any time the weather gets cold—you protect your skin against harsher environmental conditions, retain sorely needed moisture, and prevent your skin from drying out.

Texture differences of gel and cream moisturisers  - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare

Cream moisturisers are more nourishing and plumping compared to other textures so we recommend using them when you know your skin needs some extra TLC.

💡 Learn more about humectants, emollients, and occlusives a.k.a. the 3 key ingredients of moisturisers here. 💡

Gel-Cream Moisturisers

Ideal for: Acne-prone skin and combination skin types

Best season: It's the star for all seasons!

You've probably guessed it, but gel-cream moisturisers are the goldilocks of moisturisers—the in-between texture. They are thicker than your gels but still lightweight, hydrating, and balanced. Gel-creams are non-comedogenic (they don't clog your pores) and absorb easily into your skin so you get the nourishing benefits of a cream moisturiser—minus the heaviness. It’s a best-of-both-worlds arrangement, making gel-cream moisturisers great for those with combination skin types and acne-prone skin.

Purito Breeze Water Gel Cream - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare
Featured gel-cream moisturiser: Purito Breeze Water Gel Cream

If you have oily skin, this is a good alternative to cream moisturisers during colder seasons since it can provide you with the hydration and moisture you need without the worry of over-moisturising or looking too shiny. 

For individuals with dry skin, gel-cream moisturisers are great during summer or spring (or hot days). Sweat and rich, heavy moisturisers can be uncomfortable, harsh on your skin, and may lead to acne. Gel-creams are good skincare products to balance out your need for proper moisture without feeling too greasy or weighed down.

💡For a more thorough look at what moisturiser best fits your skin type, peep our article here.💡

Gel vs. Cream vs. Gel-Creams: Side-by-side comparisons

Gel Moisturiser Cream Moisturiser  Gel-Cream Moisturiser
Jelly-like and non-sticky Thicker, richer, and creamy In-between jelly and creamy; silky
Mostly water-based; More humectants and fewer emollients Mostly oil-based; More emollients, oils, and fats Mostly water-based; balances emollients and humectants
Matte finish Dewy finish Dewy finish
Provides more hydration More nourishing and plumping Hydrating and lightweight
Ideal for acne-prone skin, oily skin, and combination-oily skin types Ideal for mature skin, dry skin, dehydrated skin, and combination-dry skin types Ideal for acne-prone skin and combination skin types
Best when weather is hot Best when weather is cold and air is dry Suitable for all seasons



There are plenty of choices for moisturisers out there with different formulations, ingredients, and skincare benefits. This guide is simply a starting point; always remember to listen to what your skin needs and trust the process.

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