Since I first discovered gel-creams, I’ve been a fan. My skin is combination — dry and oft-flaky with an oily t-zone — prone to breakouts (especially those that are hormonal in nature) and speckled with large pores. I find that gel moisturizers absorb easily without leaving a slick coat on my skin or emphasizing my pores, and so I couldn’t wait to dip my fingers in Dr. Dennis Gross Marine Hyaluronic Oil-Free Moisture Cushion ($58). It claims to keep skin looking supple and plump all day. Since I’m also beginning to notice the first of static fine lines and wrinkles, anything that promises to plump, even temporarily, is ideal.
Moisture Cushion has a nice consistency that falls between a gel and a cream, and it has a light blueish tint (note: it’s not seen on skin after application). It’s delivered in what Dr. Gross calls a “water-break” formula, meaning the creamier texture turns into a water-like gel as it is massaged into skin. I find it really refreshing. You can feel your skin drinking it in, and it provides this wonderfully-soothing and cooling sensation that I’ve come to look forward to. There is a subtle scent to this moisturizer, but one I only really notice when I stick my nose to the jar.
Upon application, my complexion looks healthy and dewy. It absorbs quickly without leaving any added weight and provides comfortable hydration that wears well under makeup. Sometimes I even dab a little on over my foundation to make it look more natural, like “second skin.” I do notice that the hydration lasts — all day seems like a stretch, but I would say well into the afternoon after morning use — and my face never seems to turn greasy. Fines lines appear smoothed out, because as we all know by now, hyaluronic acid binds water to skin, providing a plumping effect. This is, however, temporary — but much appreciated, especially under makeup that can otherwise settle into creases and emphasize lines.
The Moisture Cushion may sound familiar, as we’ve carried one in the shop for a few years. This new version has been updated with a Japanese marine algae harvested from the waters of Okinawa. It’s full of essential amino acids and B vitamins that enhance the skin’s natural moisture content and boost elasticity. Other key ingredients include hydrolyzed soy protein, which helps skin retain moisture, and collagen to work on plumping and firming. Antioxidants, like watermelon extract and bilberry, help prevent and reverse damage from free radicals. And finally, glycolic acid is included to gently exfoliate pore-clogging dead skin cells and dissolve excess sebum. Over time, it can help erase damage that appears in the form of spots and lines.
Purists be warned: Moisture Cushion contains a handful of synthetic fragrances, silicone-based polymers and preservatives, but I never found this cream to be irritating. It is free of parabens and phthalates and is not tested on animals. I believe the good in this formula outweighs the bad — as does the instant gratification it provides. When using this gel-cream, my skin looks and feels hydrated and healthy. It does not clog my pores or leave a slick finish on my face. I will not say that over the last 30 days of use I saw a dramatic difference in my lines or skin tone, but this is a truly effective (and sensorial) moisturizer if that’s what you are looking for.