Beyoncé said it best: "The most valuable tip I’ve learned is always use a skin moisturizer." Yes—always, ladies and gents, is what Queen Bey said. Summer is right around the corner, which means we must welcome sweaty skin with open arms. The thick, rich creams you've been relying on all winter will need to take a back seat, because a great lightweight moisturizer is about to come through and sweep your skin off its feet.
Why should I use a lightweight moisturizer?
Listen, skin is complicated and hard as hell to figure out. This may not be the case for you, but if you have oily or acne-prone skin, employing a lightweight moisturizer could lessen your chances of clogged pores. With warmer weather, dense creams can suffocate your skin and cause even more ailments. "As seasons change, so does your skin" Dr. Audrey Kunin, board certified dermatologist and founder of DERMAdoctor explains. "Increased temperatures and elevated humidity tempt skin to pump out more skin oils. Applying a heavy moisturizer in these conditions creates a perfect storm to smother pores and increase the risk for breakouts." Staying hydrated is a non-negotiable, and being intentional about the moisturizer you're using when the seasons change can keep your glow on a trillion.
Team MC's beauty team is a tough crowd to please, and we've tried more moisturizers than most because, well, it's our job. So, consider this your beauty-editor approved list of the best lightweight moisturizers we can vouch for.
Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly, $28
"This clear jelly is the perfect moisturizer for New York City's summer heat. It plays well with other products (i.e. all the sunscreen I have to wear since I'm so pale), and it dries so quickly. You don't get any stickiness or shine after applying with this one either."—Emily Cavanagh, Beauty Intern
Olay Luminous Whip Active Moisturizer SPF 25, $24
"The Olay Luminous Whip face moisturizer is my go-to product for summer. The lightweight formula makes my skin feel hydrated throughout the day while allowing my skin to breathe. And the SPF protects my face from the harsh summer sun. With just a quick dab of this, I’m set for the day. Bonus: it also smells really good!"—Kathleen Thieme, Beauty Intern
Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream, $195
"Behold, the holy grail of hydration. I’ve waxed poetic about this bouncy, intoxicating formula to anyone who will listen, and I stand by my obsession: the creamy texture melts into a gel upon application, and I can feel my skin drink it in. I started using two years ago when my complexion was acting up, and it brought my face’s texture back to normal. And it smells like a Bulgarian rose garden, to boot. I’ve gone through countless jars, and it’s worth every damn dollar. Please bury me with a jar of it so I can use it in the afterlife."— Taylore Glynn, Beauty & Health Editor
Tatcha The Water Cream, $68
"Tatcha's water-based moisturizer is way more than just a pretty package for your vanity. The formula is infused with Japanese wild rose, which has been long used by geishas to create a flawless canvas for their makeup. I’ve found that the botanical holds true to its claim: One small dollop of this stuff leaves your skin looking absolutely poreless and imparts a dewy, shine-free glow that sits beautifully under foundation. Even though the consistency is pretty creamy, it won’t leave that slick or greasy feeling on your face."—Hana Hong, Beauty Assistant
Kiehl’s Serum-Infused Water Cream, $48
"This is the juiciest formula I’ve ever used, and I mean that in the best way. Calendula is a major redness reducer, making this melty option an MVP in the summer months. Forget to reapply SPF? Keep this in your beach bag to quell the burns. Feeling the morning-after punishment of too many Coronas? Store this in the fridge and apply liberally while you wait for your Seamless delivery. And its jelly texture is practically weightless, so you can layer with abandon."—Taylore
Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb, $38
"I have the driest skin, so I’m wary of lightweight moisturizers, but Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb delivers the goods! The fluffy gel-cream texture is perfect for hot weather because it doesn’t leave a sheen or make my skin feel sweatier, but it still keeps me hydrated for a good six hours, which is a feat.”—Jennifer Goldstein, former Beauty & Health Director
Sephora Collection All Day Hydrator, $16
I might as well be a hyaluronic acid ambassador, because I shout to the mountain tops about how much I live and breathe by this ingredient. For a long time, I was convinced my deeply dehydrated skin needed to be doused with oils to soothe its thirstiness. Wrong. All that did was clog my pores and open the doors for whiteheads. I needed hyaluronic acid all along, and this lightweight cream is made with a hefty dose of it. This cream has a glorious, silky slip that leaves me with a glowy, supple, selfie-worthy glow I take full advantage of. Plus, it's made of clean ingredients and it's only $16—you can't beat that bargain.—My pick
Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Face Cream, $215
Okay, before you roll your eyes at me for recommending a $215 moisturizer, hear me out: it will change your damn life. Dr. Barbara Sturm, one of the smartest skincare experts in the game, created this moisturizer with darker skin tones top of mind. It's so light, yet manages to pack a powerful punch of hydration, so a little goes a long way. You'll want to savor every last drop because the magnolia and African whitewood extracts work together seamlessly to over-deliver in the glow category. This line was made in collaboration with Angela Basset. Have you seen her 60-year-old radiant skin? Enough said. —My pick
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream, $52
"If hyaluronic acid isn’t a part of your daily skincare routine yet, it should be. The ingredient is key for moisture: it’s a substance found naturally in our skin that holds a thousand times its weight in water to keep it hydrated and plump. Peter Thomas Roth’s version is light as a, well, cloud—so, it’s perfect for sticky summer days. And if you’re prone to eczema or just have sensitive skin like me, the fragrance-free formula won’t irritate at all. Wins all around."—Hana
Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream, $60
"The name says it all: pure and simple. With a mostly-organic ingredient list formulated without harsh chemicals, this lightweight moisturizer is pure and simple goodness. But don’t let its no-frills simplicity fool you: this cream is an absolute hero for combination skin. On hot days when my cheeks feel parched but my t-zone feels greasy, I apply this light-as-air cream that immediately soothes my dehydration and reduces the shine on my oily spots. It absorbs so quickly that I sometimes forget I’m wearing moisturizer."—Nina Huang, Beauty Intern
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Replenishing HydraGel Complex, $55
"It’s all about texture for me–and gel reigns supreme when the temperatures go up. This mint green concoction is like sweet nectar from the hydration gods. If you’re a fellow anti-morning person, this feels like a cold refreshing burst on your face and soaks in seamlessly as soon as you apply so you’re happily moisturized all-day long. All that, and it’s oil-free!"—Hana
Peach and Lily Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream, $40
"This cream is a literal dream come true for me. When I had the softest, smoothest, and most delicious matcha pudding ever in Kyoto last summer, I said to my family, “Gosh, I wish my face looked like this.” Lo and behold, Peach and Lily heard my prayer. Since I’ve started using this, my face has become just as smooth and soft as the pudding I had in Kyoto. This cream is so incredibly light that it melts instantly into my skin, and its niacinamide-infused formula helps brighten my dark acne marks resulting from frequent sun exposure. In fact, this matcha pudding cream is so perfect for my summertime skin that I’ve already ordered myself a second helping."—Nina