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What is the difference between a serum and a moisturizer? The formulation, the purpose and, well, the marketing. Honestly, these days it can be hard to tell without the label if you apply a rich serum or a lightweight gel, and I love that.
My latest example? The Inkey List Omega Water Cream, which is called a lightweight gel moisturizer, but has at times doubled up as a hydrating serum step for me.
But why? And which skin types is it best for?
What The Inkey List Omega Water Cream claims
Lightweight and oil-free moisturizer.
Facts about The Inkey List Omega Water Cream
Price and size
One tube contains 50 ml and is avaliable for 10,99 € on the website here. It is vegan,
Texture and scent
Despite being called a gel moisturizer, it looks more like a lotion, but immediately melts into the skin as if it was entirely made of water. You have heard “lightweight” probably about as often as I have, but this time it is accurate. Once it is on the skin, you can’t feel it. It just sinks in, leaving the skin hydrated.
There is no real scent.
How to use The Inkey List Omega Water Cream
Now here is the beauty of this one: Depending on your skin type and current skin needs, you can use it multiple ways.
During the changing weather of German Spring and Summer it has worked both as light layer of hydration in the mornings before sunscreen when my face was especially dehydrated, as only moisturizer at night when it was hot and balmy and as hydrating step before a richer face cream when I went camping and the constant wind at the baltic sea did dry out and irritate my skin a lot.
No matter what I paired it with, it never pilled and really seemed to increase the hydration of my skin.
Ingredients of The Inkey List Omega Water Cream
Hover the mouse over an ingredient for short explanation. Read more on INCIDecoder.
Looking at the ingredient list, let’s check for emollients and occlusives first, to see why this is such a versatile product. As a rule of thumb, the more effective a moisturizer is at sealing in hydration, the more occlusives you will find and the richer it will feel. (More info: Emollients vs occlusives)
Just like it is with many other gel moisturizers, this one does not contain any occlusives and only a few emollients: Coco-Caprylate, Glycosphingolipids and Oleic Acid. The latter two are probably what the website refers to as “Omega Ceramide Complex”, as Oleic Acid is Omega 9 fatty Acid and Glycosphingolipids have a Ceramide part in their structure. Looked at individually, Oleic Acid can be comedogenic, but I experienced no issues. It comes in the last third of the list anyway, so has probably a low concentration. Glycosphingolipids and Glycolipids are part of the cell membrane.
Glycerine and Betaine act as humectants, while Niacinamide has additional skin benefits, making it a really nice option for hydration with a little extra. (More info: Niacinamide in skincare)
How does it compare to…
Murad Nutrient Charged Water Gel
Murad makes my current favorite gel mositurizer for summer, and while the texture is similar lightweight, there are a few differences. First of all, Murads version is light pink, which should absolutely not matter, but somehow does. Second, the ingredient list is different, with Murad offering Ceramides not as complex, but as dedicated ingredient, and a few other beneficial things. It also contains fragrance, which might be a problem for some, and silicones that have, when cobined with the wrong products, occasionally led to pilling for me. Third and last, Murads version is much pricier.
With all that being said, I still prefer Murad as gel moisturizer, although I never thought about using it as serum.
You can read my full review of the Murad Nutrient Charged Water Gel here.
Would I repurchase and which skin types is The Inkey List Omega Water Cream best for?
I took this with me on our camping trip in June and loved its versatility, so yes, I can see this becoming a staple in my routine, both for lightweight hydration on hot summer nights and to smooth over dry patches underneath something richer. Depending on where in their routine they use it, all skin types could benefit from it some way or other, especially at this price point.
You can shop this or my other favorite moisturizers here
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