Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. The Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations.
The majority of our Deep Reviews will feature our editors' honest, ultra-hot takes on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but every so often, we'll sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will hone in on one standout beauty formula our editors can't shut up about. This time, I'm highlighting one of my favorite moisturizers for acne-prone skin, Dieux Skin's Air Angel Gel Cream ($44).
I'll start this off by saying it takes a lot for me to love a moisturizer. Honestly, I wish I could be one of those people who can use anything on their skin and be happy, but sadly, that's not the case here. To give you a bit of background, my skin has been in full-on rebellion mode since I damaged it when overusing tretinoin a few years ago. We're talking about barrier damage, increased sensitivity, reactiveness, and general unhappiness. Fun! I know. It's tough to find a moisturizer that really gels with it.
I've tried many a formula, from rich luxury creams to the most basic drugstore formulas (shout-out to Vanicream's no-fuss $12 moisturizer—I still love you), but when I find a formula that my skin really loves, I want to marry it right then and there. The legality of that is shaky, but if there were ever a moisturizer that I felt this strongly about, it would be Dieux Skin's Air Angel Gel Cream.
I realized that part of my problem was using moisturizers with too many oils in them. In its natural state, my skin errs on the side of oily and is prone to breakouts, so adding too many extra oils to the mix just isn't a good idea. Luckily, Air Angel is oil-free, but don't be fooled. It still packs a punch in the hydration department. It's super light and silky on the skin, creating a soft protective barrier that doesn't dry out or evaporate after a few hours.
I appreciate this because I've been struggling with dehydration recently, which seems to kick up even further during the winter. It's hard to find a moisturizer that's hydrating enough without causing breakouts, but this one really did the trick for me. It left my skin so soft and hydrated without leaving the surface of my skin feeling like an oil slick. You can also rest easy if you have similar skin and are dealing with barrier damage. This formula addresses dehydration and helps repair your moisture barrier with a few star ingredients. I'll explain below.
Featuring a suite of hydrating ingredients like glycerin, urea, trehalose, and sodium hyaluronate, this moisturizer reinforces and repairs the skin barrier. Peptides also reduce the appearance of fine lines and firm the skin. More barrier repair comes courtesy of Meadowestolide, a bioactive lipid with ceramides that reduces transepidermal water loss and repairs dehydration, so it's truly perfect for anyone using drying acne medications.
If you're not already familiar with Dieux, the brand's other superstar moisturizer that was launched prior is Instant Angel ($45). This lipid-rich moisturizer is designed with dry skin in mind, but it's also labeled as noncomedogenic, so you may still be able to use it if you're prone to breakouts. I loved this formula, but I think it was slightly too rich for my skin and ended up causing a pimple or two. I was incredibly bummed but was ecstatic when the brand dropped a lighter version for us oily folks. The brand's co-founder Charlotte Palermino loves them both equally. "My personal favorite is layering the two," she shares. "Because Air Angel floods the skin with hydration, I treat it almost like a hydrating serum and lock it all in with Instant Angel. Normally, I do this at night, and I'm glowing when I wake up! If I had to choose between the two, Instant Angel is my favorite. That's because I have dry skin, and Instant Angel doesn't sit on the skin. It sinks in and really reinforces your barrier. The glowiest skin is always happy skin, and that's what these two do."
Joyce de Lemos, cosmetic chemist and co-founder of the brand, gives us a bit more insight into Air Angel and what makes it really shine: "[It] was proven through clinical testing to hydrate and moisturize the skin for up to 12 hours after one application. Keeping the skin moisturized is important to maintaining a healthy and optimal lipid barrier function. Also, Air Angel was tested by people with self-perceived acne-prone skin, and it was found to be non-acnegenic and noncomedogenic."
De Lemos also shares a few more benefits and what makes Air Angel such a smooth operator. "While Air Angel provides the same hydrolipid blend as Instant Angel, the lipid level is lower, and therefore, the texture is less rich than Instant Angel," she says. "It's perfect for those who simply prefer gel-creams, live in more humid climates, or have oilier acne-prone skin types that need hydration but not necessarily the heavier level of lipids. For drier skin types, Air Angel can also work great as a hydrating serum to layer underneath Instant Angel."
More Dieux Products I Love
This formula is Air Angel's slightly richer sister. It goes on really smoothly and keeps you hydrated for extended periods of time.
This soothing serum calms redness, firms the skin, and corrects uneven tone with a cannabinoid complex, peptides, and a hefty dose of niacinamide. It's one of my favorite serums ever.
I use this hydrating gel-cream around the eye area twice a day, and it never leaves me wanting more. It's perfect for any season and even helps get rid of puffiness.
Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.
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