I've liked most of the skincare products from the Simple brand that I've tried so far (like the ones reviewed here). They always seem to be exactly as described. No frills, but effective. So when I wanted to find a cheaper alternative to the Paula's Choice Invisible Finish Moisture Gel (reviewed here) that I've been using for about a decade now, this Simple Ultra-Light Gel Moisturizer seemed like a good place to start. I still really like the Paula's Choice stuff, but I'm pretty sure that when I started using it, it only cost $15-18 (Canadian!), and it is now a borderline outrageous $28 a tube. I'll complain about that and other reasons I've been annoyed by Paula's Choice recently in another post, but for now suffice to say that I have been hoping to find a reasonable substitute--reasonable both in performance and price. The Simple Ultra-Light Gel Moisturizer fits the bill at under $10.
Gel moisturizers are wonderful if you have skin like mine: combination, leaning more toward oily than dry, and often dehydrated. My skin regularly feels tight and sort of shriveled while still being oily in places, which is a sign that it needs moisture. (For a really useful explanation of the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, check out this great post from Lab Muffin.) Especially in the summer, traditional lotion or cream moisturizers will feel too heavy and leave my skin greasy as the day progresses. A gel feels lighter and often leaves a more matte finish.
In the winter, however, and as I've got older, my skin has become drier, and I find that lotions are just fine. So when I first tested out this Simple gel moisturizer back in December, I wasn't impressed. Here are the notes I jotted down: "spreads easy, doesn't sting near eyes, very little actual moisturizing--doesn't seem to sink in and hydrate, just smooths a little, skin feels a little tight." So I stuck it back on the shelf and ignored it for several months.
A couple of weeks ago my face started to transition into its usual summer oil slick, and my winter lotion felt too heavy, so I pulled the Simple gel back out. Suddenly it's perfect. Just enough moisture without any greasiness. It's exactly what I need right now. Another thing that is really nice about gel products in the summer is that they feel amazingly refreshing on my skin. Almost like splashing my face with water.
Here's what the Simple gel itself looks like (right), compared to the Paula's Choice gel moisturizer (left). While most gel moisturizers I've tried are translucent like the PC version, the Simple moisturizer is transparent, like hair gel (but not sticky!).
|Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Moisture Gel (left) and Simple Ultra-Light Gel Moisturizer (right)|
The Paula's Choice moisturizer has some fancier ingredients like niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, and a bunch of antioxidants. The Simple moisturizer does have vitamin E and glycerin, but it's sort of a step down in that sense. Personally, that doesn't bother me too much, because I use other products with more advanced shit in them, and I mainly want my moisturizer to just moisturize. But if you want to limit the number of products you use or buy, maybe a more sophisticated moisturizer is your style.
I also like the packaging of the Simple Ultra-Light Gel, which is a pump bottle. Like this:
Most of the other gel moisturizers I've tried, like the ones from Marcelle and Laneige, come in jars, which I assume is to show off their pretty, translucent texture. I just don't like jars for this type of product. Sure, my hands are clean when I use it, and the preservatives are going to keep it fairly stable, but why not have have as airtight and protected a container as possible? I do actually prefer the Paula's Choice tube, though--it's easier to tell how much product is left, and you can even cut it open to scoop out the last traces if you want to.
If you have skin like mine--not dry, but prone to dehydration--I definitely recommend this moisturizer. I'm extremely happy with it. I just needed to use it during the right season to appreciate it! It's effective, and it feels really fucking nice soaking into my skin on a hot summer day. And it's very affordable. The cheapest I've seen it is on Amazon for $5.56 for 1.5 oz. (i.e. $3.77 per oz. compared to Paula's Choice's $14 per ounce).
Do you find that your skin's behavior also changes pretty dramatically with the seasons, to the point that you have to change products? Any suggestions for keeping the oil at bay would be very welcome!