A product doesn't need to be called a moisturizer to, well, moisturize. You have several other options for hydration when your skin (or you) can't handle an additional layer, especially if you're dealing with weather as hot and humid as the Philippines'. Below, we list some alternatives to moisturizer that can still get the job done without overwhelming your pores:
If you've tried every oil-free and gel-type moisturizer our there and have yet to find the one, maybe it's time to explore a different category entirely. Emulsions, for one, have a watery texture that feels like a mix between a toner and a thin lotion. It's used in Japanese and Korean skincare as a lightweight hydrator that goes before moisturizer, although it can work perfectly well on its own if you have combination to oily skin. Most emulsions have added skincare benefits, too, so you're hydrating your skin and targeting issues at the same time.
AHC Aqualuronic Emulsion, P1990, Watsons
2. Hyaluronic acid serum
Hyaluronic acid (or sodium hyaluronate) is popular in skincare for being a hydrating ingredient. You've probably heard of it before, particularly its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, which helps prevent dehydration. You'll find it in most moisturizers for this reason, but it's also commonly found in serums, toners, and even face masks!
That said, if you're looking for a lightweight yet powerful hydrator, choose a hyaluronic acid-infused serum because it will keep your skin plump even without moisturizer. It's an especially great alternative for those who live in humid environments, since the hyaluronic acid will have a lot of moisture to pull from the air and into your skin.
SKIN NEED 100% Hyaluronic acid Bamboo Extract + Nano HA, P6000, Skin Need
According to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Cindy Bae, it's okay to skip moisturizer if you don't need it. But that doesn't mean you can go about your day completely barefaced (even when it's cloudy)—you should at least be wearing sunscreen. In fact, your sunscreen can serve the purpose of your moisturizer while protecting your skin from UV rays at the same time—provided, of course, that it contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and doesn't have a high concentration of alcohol.
MIZUMI UV Water Sunscreen Serum SPF50+ PA++++, P1099, Beautymnl
4. Tinted moisturizer
Tinted moisturizer is called a moisturizer for a reason. It's meant to do the job of a moisturizer but with a little added coverage, so it should be fine to use over bare skin in the morning. Don't get us wrong, though—it's still important prep your skin before putting on makeup. However, it's also counterproductive to overload oily skin by applying two layers of moisturizer when it only needs one. As long as your skin doesn't get flaky or feel dry with just tinted moisturizer on, you should be good to go. Plus points if your tinted moisturizer has SPF!
LAURA MERCIER Tinted Moisturizer Illuminating SPF 30, P2450, Glorietta 3
5. Face oil
Let us preface this by saying that face oil does not hydrate your skin. It's meant to be the last step in your skincare routine that seals everything in, like how a top coat protects freshly-applied nail polish. So even if it can't be your main hydrator, face oils can replace a your night time moisturizer by becoming a protective layer that'll keep the nourishment from your toners, essences, and serums from evaporating while you sleep. To prevent that sticky feeling, put three to four drops (or less, if that's still too much) of the oil on your palm and rub your hands together to warm the product up. And then, pat the oil on your face and neck so you can have a thin, even layer all over.
MARULA Pure Marula Facial Oil, P2980, Beauty Scout