Something’s in the water—we’re talking water creams, that is. Americans have embraced this K-beauty trend with even drugstore brands hopping on board.

By Daley Quinn
October 08, 2019
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Hyaluronic acid, fruit enzymes, succulent extracts, and more, water creams are loaded with skin-loving ingredients that add major moisture without a heavy feeling on your face. “Moisturizers can either be made from water droplets held within an oil base or oil droplets held within a water base,” explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. “The latest generation of water creams are water-based emulsions. Because the base of the moisturizer is the water phase, they tend to be lighter in consistency as compared to their oil-based counterparts.”

Unlike oil-based emulsions, which tend to be heavier on the skin and may be too rich for some people’s preferences, “water creams can be more widely used across all skin types, including those with oily skin,” Zeichner says. Looking for more moisturization during the colder months but trying to avoid a heavy, cloggy cream? Water creams might be your answer.

We’ve rounded up 12 our of favorite water creams to douse your skin with as the temperatures drop and the humidity disappears into thin air.

Courtesy of Ulta

Hyaluronic Glow Moisturizer

Formulated with Norweigan glacial water, hyaluronic acid, and pineapple extract, this launch from Philosophy promises to increase your skin’s hydration by a whopping 86%. Sounds hopeful!

Buy It: Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Water Cream Hyaluronic Glow Moisturizer, $39, Ulta

Courtesy of Avène

Hydrating Aqua-Gel

This aqua-gel formula can be used as a moisturizer under makeup or slathered on overnight for the dewiest complexion come morning. The cream promises to boost hydration levels up to 108% after an hour.

Buy It: Avène Hydrance Aqua-Gel, $36, Aveneusa

Courtesy of Sephora

Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

The Sunday Riley water cream has a cult following because it doesn't disappoint. In addition to two forms of hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin, pineapple enzymes help to lightly exfoliate, making it ideal for sloughing away summer’s skin damage while adding moisture back during the cooler fall months.

Buy It: Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, $65, Sephora

Courtesy of Ulta

Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin

Packed with antioxidant fruit water to help fight against external aggressors (aka pollution), this moisturizing gel-cream is oil-free, lightweight, and offers the biggest bang for your buck.

Buy it: Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream For Dry Skin, $7, Ulta

Courtesy of Sephora

Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream

Just as the name suggests, this supple water cream is loaded with calendula serum to not only provide hydration but also to help calm irritated, aggravated skin.

Buy It: Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream, $48, Sephora

Courtesy of Sephora

Oil-Free Energy Boost Gel Moisturizer

The latest launch in their popular GinZing line, this new moisturizer is an oil-free, lightweight formulation bursting with caffeine from both coffee and ginseng to help keep your complexion looking bright. Pair with these look-less-tired makeup tips and you'll be ready to take on the day.

Buy It: Origins GinZing Oil-Free Energy Boost Gel Moisturizer, $30, Sephora

Courtesy of Target

Hydra Genius Glowing Water Cream

Moisturization that will last up to 72 hours, this water cream not only is affordable but also leaves skin feeling quenched on contact thanks to its power couple: hyaluronic acid and aloe water.

Buy It: L'Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Glowing Water Cream, $13, Target

Courtesy of Sephora

Coconut Water Cream

Known for their high-performance, sensitive-skin products, First Aid Beauty’s water cream uses the hydrating benefits of coconut water (plus amino acids, enzymes, electrolytes, and antioxidants) to provide a lightweight yet thorough moisturizer.

Buy It: First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream, $34, Sephora

Courtesy of Sephora

Cactus Water Moisturizer

Sansa Stark (aka Sophie Turner) once told me that this was her absolute holy grail of moisturizers, and it’s easy to see why. Infused with extracts from 'Queen of the Night' cactus, South African resurrection plant, and aloe vera, this gel formula soothes redness, improves texture, and nourishes skin all in once.

Buy It: Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer, $38, Sephora

Courtesy of Target

Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

Formulated for stressed-out skin, this water cream uses vegan probiotics, hyaluronic acid, and coconut water to help skin fight dryness, pollution, and lack of  sleep.

Buy It: Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream, $16, Target

Courtesy of Sephora

Drink of H2O Hydrating Boost

Like a splash of refreshing H2O for your parched face, this vegan gel moisturizer uses anti-aging marine plant extracts, plus plumping hyaluronic acid and squalane, to reverse time and quench thirst, stat. It also has the cutest packaging.

Buy It: Tarte Limited-Edition Drink of H2O Hydrating Boost, $37, Sephora

Courtesy of One Love Organics

Skin Dew Coconut Water Cream

Those who loves all-natural products and have a dry complexion will fall in love with this award-winning, organic water cream. Created with coconut water, phytic acid, and cupuacu butter, this pick is packed with antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients to boost skin’s appearance in a natural way. 

Buy It: One Love Organics Skin Dew Coconut Water Cream, $58, oneloveorganics

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