Glossier’s First Gel Moisturizer Is Here — & We Tried It First

Looking back on the early years of now-beauty behemoth Glossier, it's hard to believe that it all started out with a humble starting lineup of rosewater mist, multi-use balm, skin tint, and a two-in-one primer/moisturizer hybrid. The rest is pale-pink history, but I'll admit: Neither the cult-favorite Priming Moisturizer (nor its even more decadent sister, the Priming Moisturizer Rich) did it for me and my oily, acne-prone skin.
So you can only imagine my delight when the brand announced its newest skin-care drop, Priming Moisturizer Balance, available starting today. Infused with bamboo extract to address texture, niacinamide to reduce the appearance of pores, and willow bark extract to clarify and brighten, the ingredients list reads as a grease-prone person's dream.
Photo: Courtesy of Glossier
Unlike the creamy, opaque formulas that came before it, Balance has a watery-gel texture that immediately sinks into my skin. Described as an "oil-control gel cream," it's unlike most Glossier products in that it actually mattifies, as opposed to bestowing preternaturally gleaming skin. After applying two to three pumps, it absorbs and leaves a satiny finish on skin; in fact, it does such a good job at reducing shine that I sometimes end up applying another pump of product later in the day if my skin is craving more moisture. (Another option would be to add a hydrating serum before Balance to help oily yet dehydrated skin feel plump and moisturized.)
Glossier's new drop couldn't have come at a better time. I experience chronic hormonal acne, and things like humid weather and wearing face masks (a small price to pay for keeping myself and those around me safe) can be enough to cause flareups of cysts and whiteheads. This clarifying moisturizer, in tandem with things like a retinol serum and hydrocolloid patches, has worked wonders to keep my complexion balanced and clear.
At $25, Balance is priced in between the $22 original Priming Moisturizer and $35 Priming Moisturizer Rich for 1.7 ounces of product. It hasn't permanently shrunk my pores or cleared my acne, but it has made good on its promise to tamp down on unwanted shine while keeping my skin happy. For that, it gets my summer skin-care seal of approval.
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