You are indeed correct that many gel moisturizers do not do a good job moisturizing. This could be because they contain hyaluronic acid, which is water binding. This can be good if it is drawing water from the environment but on some occasions it just draws your moisturizer from deep inside your skin. Kind of like a beauty product water vampire. Here’s more on that.
That being said, I totally love and have been happy with the effects of hyaluronic acid on my very dry skin and I have very dry sensitive skin in the winter. So sometimes I just stare at the science that goes against me and say NAHHHHHHHH.
But if you want to avoid it and think your gel moisturizers aren’t doing the trick, I can recommend Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque. It’s more of your traditional cream, and it hyrates my skin so much that like, it tingles? But not unpleasantly, just like it’s forcing moisture in. That, combined with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (a daily moisturizer) your skin should be good. I honestly skip daily moisturizer sometimes and just use an overnight masque and I’m okay. I recommend both these products to my friends with severe dry skin and eczema.