Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin? Try One of Our Top 14 Picks

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

11.19.21DISCLAIMER

If you have oily skin, you’re probably always on the lookout for mattifying products that promise to zap the grease or hide your pores. But while oily skin may have its struggles (acne, large pores, and a greasy t-zone, to name a few), you still need to moisturize it  — best moisturizer for oily skin you ask?

Many people believe there’s no need for an oily skin moisturizer because it seemingly provides its own hydration — why slather cream on a greasy face, right? Perhaps you’ve been misled. The truth is every skin with overactive sebaceous glands can benefit from a face moisturizer for oily skin.

What moisturizers like a good moisturizer for oily skin essentially do is help replenish the water and lipids lost through the natural process of aging as well as environmental factors (e.g. harsh winds that chap your skin). And since the aging process is inevitable, it’s a good idea to start protecting our skin from this moisture loss early on. After all, you don’t want to deal with pimples and wrinkles, right?

Not sure where to start looking for an oily skin lotion? No worries. Here at the Derm Review, we’ve reviewed hundreds of products with a scientific lens to ensure you’re creating a skincare regimen that’s safe and effective. Ahead, 14 of the best facial moisturizers for oily skin to help you promote a healthy, balanced complexion.

Related: Best Face Moisturizer

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin: The List 

Averr Aglow Flawless Nourishment Cream, $44

Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator $56

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Anti-Shine Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin, $32

Dr. Sturm the Face Cream, $215

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $16

Murad Acne Control Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45, $42 

Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion, $60

Olay Regenerist Whip, $29

Kiehl’s Ultra-Facial Oil-Free Moisture, $32

Tatcha The Water Cream, $68

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $17.99

L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care Normal/Oily Skin, $11

Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Recovery Cream, $24.99

Vichy Normaderm, $29.50

How to Choose a Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin

If your skin is oily throughout the day and large pores and possibly pimples accompany it, it’s likely that you have oily skin and require the best moisturizer for oily skin. Here’s what to look for. 

 

Keywords on Packaging

Moisturizers formulated for oily skin will often include words such as non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), non-acnegenic (won’t cause acne), water-based (lighter in texture), and/or oil-free.

 

Examine the Ingredients

  • Avoid moisturizers for oily skin formulated with pore-clogging and acne-causing ingredients like mineral oils, lanolin, siloxane, castor oil, cyclomethicone, petroleum jelly, and petroleum-derived ingredients, beeswax, and paraffin.
  • Stay clear of alcohol-based formulas because they increase sebum production and disrupt your skin’s protective barrier.
  • Every skin type should avoid moisturizers (all beauty products, actually) formulated with the “Suspicious Six,” In other words, essential oils, drying alcohols, chemical screens, silicones, fragrances, dyes, and SLS as these ingredients can cause acne. 
  • Instead, look for a moisturizer with the best ingredients for oily skin, including hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide, retinol, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, and salicylic acid.  

 

Consider Your Age

You don’t have to be a teenager to develop oily skin. Indeed the suggested ingredients mentioned above are good choices for an oily skin moisturizer. However, the same formula for someone in their teens and 20s will not work for someone in their 30s, 40s, and beyond. Be sure to tweak your moisturizer to address signs of aging additionally. 

 

Keep Texture in Mind

Moisturizers come in many different textures and weights. Those with oily skin do best with gels, lotions, and light creams — not heavy formulas.

 

Consider the Rest of Your Skincare Routine

Since oily skin can also be acne-prone, chances are, you may be using some type of topical acne treatment formulated with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, etc. If that’s the case, avoid moisturizers containing these ingredients as well. 

Choose these actives in one product or another but not both to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils — which will only cause the skin to produce more oil as a self-defense mechanism.

 

Speak to a Professional if Necessary

Finding the best face lotion for oily skin can be a challenge. If you’re concerned with the amount of oil your skin produces or can’t keep breakouts or blackheads at bay, speak to a skincare professional such as a dermatologist or licensed esthetician. 

The Skin Benefits of Moisturizing Oily Skin

For those with oily skin, moisturizing regularly can help improve overall skin texture, making it appear more even-toned. Certain moisturizers can even help control sebum production.

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin: 14 Top Picks

Averr Aglow Flawless Nourishment Cream, $44
The Flawless Nourishment Cream has a balm-like consistency that easily absorbs into skin without feeling heavy or greasy, leaving the skin moisturized and supple. The formula mostly consists of emollients, including shea butter, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, candelilla wax, and pumpkin seed oil. 

Pumpkin seed oil isn’t an ingredient we see too often, but we love that it’s included in this cream because it provides multiple benefits. It’s an excellent ingredient for sensitive and acne-prone skin, helping to balance oil production, heal breakouts, and even increase skin firmness.

Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, $56
An upgrade to fan-favorite, best-seller, Moisture Surge Intense, Moisture Surge 100H provides moisture for an additional 28 hours longer than the brand’s original formula — even after you’ve washed your face. 

This oil-free, gel-cream is ideally suited for oily skin due to its lightweight texture and non-pore-clogging ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, aloe bio-ferment, and the brand’s proprietary auto-replenishing technology —  activated aloe water and caffeine to trigger the skin’s rehydration system. You won’t find parabens, phthalates, or fragrances. 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Anti-Shine Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin, $32
The most appealing aspect of this oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer is that perlite and silica leave a light matte finish, banishing that mid-day T-zone shine. The brand’s Sebulyse Technology (said to be more potent than zinc) is responsible for mattifying excess oil while visibly reducing large pores’ appearance. 

Lipo-hydroxy acid, a gentle derivative of salicylic acid that helps treat acne while preventing further breakouts. 

Dr. Sturm the Face Cream, $215
Just because the skin is considered oily doesn’t mean it can’t be sensitive, too — especially when acne is present.  While it’s a bit on the expensive side, this lightweight gel-cream harnesses the power of lady’s mantle, ceramide 3, and glycerin to promote a healthy, glowing complexion — it’s like a drink of water for the skin. At the same time, skullcap and purslane help calm and reduce visible signs of irritation.  

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $16
This gel-cream moisturizer is formulated with hyaluronic acid to keep the skin soft, supple, and smooth all day long without clogging the pores or aggravating acne-prone skin. Since many ingredients that treat breakouts make the skin more sun-sensitive, it contains an SPF of 15. 

Murad Acne Control Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45, $42
As previously mentioned, it’s still important to apply sun protection, even when you have oily and (or) acneic skin. According to the brand, this lightweight SPF moisturizer instantly minimizes the appearance of pores by 54%* and delivers 10 hours of oil, shine, and pore control. 

Oil-trapping microspheres mattify, smooth and blur imperfections, while avocado and African yellow wood bark extracts visibly reduce pore size and excess oil over time.

Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion, $60
Feel as though you’ve tried every moisturizer for oily skin under the sun? Don’t stop now. As with many other moisturizers, this one also contains hyaluronic acid, which delivers moisture without heaviness.

However, the pièce de résistance is Japanese marine algae harvested from the Blue Zone of Okinawa. Otherwise known as “sea grapes” or “green caviar,” you’ll feel the texture of this moisturizer break away into your skin as it turns into a water-like gel-cream. The results? Moisture minus the shine, improved elasticity, and a reduced appearance of fine lines over time. 

Olay Regenerist Whip, $29
As the name suggests, this drugstore face cream for oily skin has a whipped and airy mousse-like texture that transforms from a cream to a liquid on contact. An advanced amino-peptide complex II softens fine lines and wrinkles, hydrates, lifts, and improves elasticity and tone without leaving a heavy finish. The skin is left feeling smooth and shine-free. It’s an excellent choice for those with aging, oily skin.

Kiehl’s Ultra-Facial Oil-Free Moisture, $32
This shine-reducing, cooling oil-free moisturizer gel provides 24-hour hydrating power while regulating excess oil production. It’s fast-absorbing, alcohol- and paraben-free,  and non-comedogenic, among other skin-friendly benefits. We love how it quickly absorbs into the skin to help visibly reduce shine and visibly minimize pores over time, promoting a complexion that looks and feels hydrated, refreshed, and balanced. 

Tatcha The Water Cream, $68
Stunning packaging aside, the Tatcha brand is known worldwide for its results-driven skincare based on centuries-old Japanese beauty secrets. This oil-free moisturizer continues to be one of the brand’s best-sellers. It’s formulated with Tatcha’s proprietary Hadasei-3 blend of algae, green tea, and fermented rice to hydrate, nourish, soothe, and refine pores. 

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $17.99
This ultra-lightweight moisturizer features micro pearl technology, which absorbs excess oil, giving the skin a matte finish. It’s non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging), hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and has the added benefit of broad-spectrum sun protection, which also makes it one of the best drugstore moisturizers with SPF.

L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care Normal/Oily Skin, $11
This lightweight, water-based moisturizer — formulated specifically for those with normal to oily skin — contains soothing aloe water and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid (three different types) that provides 72 hours of instant and continuous hydration leaving skin softer and more supple. It also has a mattifying action to remove unwanted oil. 

Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Recovery Cream, $24.99
Those with oily skin can benefit from a night cream, providing they choose the right formula. Since oily skin can contribute to breakouts, this night cream contains salicylic acid, willow bark, and argan stem cells to help clarify pores and curtail pimple-causing bacteria. It also works to absorb excess oil, hydrate, balance the complexion, calm inflammation, and fade acne scars’ appearance over time.

Vichy Normaderm, $29.50
Oily skin can be seen as a blessing and a curse because it forms wrinkles less rapidly than dry skin but tends to break out. This oily skin moisturizer is equipped with acne-fighting ingredients to help combat blemishes while providing necessary hydration. 

Salicylic acid helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and reduces clogged pores that can often lead to breakouts. Meanwhile, airlicium, a mattifier, minimizes the appearance of pores. 

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin: The Final Word

A good moisturizer for oily skin can neutralize dehydration and sensitivity from various acne ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. While they do often treat breakouts, they can lead to overdrying. Overly dry skin triggers the skin into producing even more oil, which ultimately results in even more pimples. It’s one of those vicious cycles.

When looking for a moisturizer for oily skin, carefully examine the ingredients, consider your age and current skincare routine, and keep texture in mind. Consider speaking with a skincare professional if you’re concerned with the amount of oil your skin produces or you can’t keep breakouts or blackheads at bay. 

What’s the best oily skin moisturizer, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding oily skin and moisturizing it.

 

FAQs
Some people are born with oily skin, while others develop this condition with age. Stress, hormonal fluctuations, and humidity only exacerbate the problem. Overall, oily skin occurs when the sebaceous (oil) glands are overactive. When excess sebum is produced, it can clog your pores and cause pimples.
Since oily skin can lead to acne, a dermatologist might recommend using a topical medication such as an antibiotic, retinol, retinoid, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or even prescription medication. As these ingredients can be drying, it’s essential to use a moisturizer for oily skin to balance the skin and prevent dry patches.
It’s not about how much you spend as it is how well a good moisturizer for oily skin is formulated. The quality of ingredients and their concentration is vital. On our list of the best face moisturizers for oily skin, you’ll see that we have formulas in all price points, from drugstore buys to coveted luxury favorites.
Although oily skin can clog pores and lead to increased acne breakouts, oily skin also has many benefits. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, “oil helps preserve the skin, and people with oily skin tend to have thicker skin and fewer wrinkles. The key is to strike a balance between having too much oil and maintaining your skin’s natural moisture.
Yes, sunscreen is necessary for all skin types — even oily and acneic. Look for a
mattifying, non-pore clogging, and acne-causing SPF that protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays while keeping shininess under control.
If you want to steer clear of oil, avoid or limit dairy products, fried foods, sugary foods, dairy, and alcohol.
On the flip side, if you want to reduce oily skin and acne, add cucumber, coconut water, bananas, lemon, broccoli, and dark chocolate to your diet.
Oily skin can appear out of the blue at any time or age. Potential causes may be stress, insufficient hydration, a poor diet, harsh skincare products, over-cleansing, or hormonal disorders.
Excess androgen hormones (sex hormones), in particular dihydrotestosterone (DHT), provoke sebum production. Additionally, hormonal fluctuations — especially during menstruation and pregnancy.

Sources:
How to Control Oily Skin,” American Academy of Dermatology Association.
Safety Evaluation of Topical Applications of Ethanol on the Skin,” US National Library of Medicine National Center for Biology.

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  • TDR Original review: Aug 05, 2020. Reply

    Oily skin is typically a result of overactive sebaceous glands that produce too much sebum. Sebaceous glands are found under pores. They produce sebum to keep skin naturally hydrated, but of course sometimes they can go overboard. When this happens, skin takes on a shininess that can be unattractive. Oily skin is also more likely to be acne-prone and have clogged pores that lead to blackheads or whiteheads.

    Typical causes of oily skin are genes, hormones and environmental or lifestyle factors. Oily skin may run in one’s family; it can be a result of overactive hormones called androgens; and it may be more common during the summer months when the climate is more humid. Oily skin may also diminish as one ages, so your skin will gradually become drier the older you get. One benefit of oily skin is that because it keeps skin hydrated, it also helps a person age a little slower than someone with dry skin.

    To take care of oily skin, you should use certain oil-absorbing and oil-controlling products. You should also take care not to overcleanse or use too many anti-oily products – this can cause the opposite effect of what you want by making your skin produce even more oil. If you cleanse too much with an oil-absorbing product, you can make your sebaceous glands go into overdrive to produce more oil so that your skin doesn’t become dehydrated. This can also make you break out more. You should also not skip out on moisturizer. If you’re using anti-acne products that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, you need to moisturizer to prevent over-drying.

  • TDR Original review: Jul 30, 2020. Reply

    The skin contains tiny little holes called pores all over its surface. The pores are a wonderful mechanism for removing toxins and dirt from your body by excreting a sticky substance called sebum, which works its way up to the skin surface, carrying away dirt and dead skin cells in the process. Not only does sebum cleanse the skin from old, dead skin cells, but it also covers the skin with oil that acts as a barrier between your skin and the environment. This oil is a natural way to moisturize your face, and people with oily skin on face may even feel like they’re wasting their time looking for the best facial moisturizer. But in today’s day and age, the natural oil in your skin is no longer as helpful as it used to be, because we wash our faces on a daily basis, stripping away most of the oil in, thus leaving it exposed to negative environmental factors.

    Of course, you could always just stop washing your face and let all the oil stay on your skin, but then you’d be prone to breakouts and other skin problems. On top of that, it’s important to understand that the moisture that comes from the naturally occurring oil in your skin is filled with all kinds of contaminants like dead skin cells and environmental pollutants that should be removed from your body as quickly as possible, with no chance for re-entering your system. Therefore, it is important to develop a sound skin care regimen with a good face moisturizer for oily skin, because that is the only way to achieve younger looking skin.

  • TDR Original review: Jul 29, 2020. Reply

    When looking for the best way to moisturize the skin, many consumers can benefit from using a non comedogenic moisturizer for oily skin. There are lots of moisturizers out there, but many can clog pores, leading to acne breakouts and other skin conditions. Using a non comedogenic moisturizer can be especially beneficial to those with only skin, as it may indirectly reduce breakouts by blocking pores and preventing sebaceous glands from expelling oil. But which moisturizer ingredients are best for oily skin?

    Look for comedogenic moisturisers. A product is classified non comedogenic when it does not clog pores that could develop into comedones. Non comedogenic products are recommended if you have oily skin. Non comedogenic creams reduce the chances of developing blackheads. It is important to note that every skin care or make up product has a comedogenic effect. However, you can reduce this by avoiding ingredients like oils, silicone and preservatives.

  • TDR Original review: Jul 29, 2020. Reply

    Oily Skin
    This skin type often suffers from enlarged pores and often has blemishes and skin discolorations. The complexion of someone with oily skin becomes oily soon after washing the face, and the oil layer usually appears thick and shiny.

    If you have oily skin, it is important to use a good face moisturizer because when you wash your face and strip away the excess oil, the lack of moisture will actually cause the skin to produce even more oil, thus creating a vicious cycle with no end. If you have oily skin, you may also want to choose a non comedogenic moisturizer, because these are a lot less likely to clog pores and stimulate excess oil production.

  • User Original review: Jul 27, 2020. Reply

    Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin

    Oily skin can be very frustrating. Not only does it make your face shiny, it can also cause acne problems by clogging pores. Oily skin usually occurs when oil glands in the skin (located under the skin’s surface) overproduce sebum – this can be caused by genetic factors, hormonal changes or even stress. Though sebum can cause too much oiliness, it is also essential in protecting skin and keeping it hydrated. Still, excess oil on the skin’s surface can be a cause of annoyance.

    Thus, any cleanser or face wash you choose for oily skin has to be able to perform certain tasks, including removing excess oil, tackling acne and hydrating to prevent overdrying. Many face washes for oily skin can be too aggressive, removing excess oil but going too far and leaving skin dry. Once skin is dried out, your oil glands will go into overdrive to produce more sebum. This can then further exacerbate acne.

    But oily skin has benefits too. For one thing, it helps keep skin well hydrated without the use of outside moisturizers. This helps preserve skin overall. People with naturally oily skin also tend to have less wrinkles as they age, although they may also have to battle acne well into their adult years.

  • User Original review: Jul 27, 2020. Reply

    What Causes Oily Skin?
    Even people with dry skin produce oil – it’s just not a lot. But we all have sebaceous glands under our pores, which produce oil to help keep skin moisturized. Some people’s sebaceous glands, however, are a little too active.

    If you wake up every morning with shiny skin and find yourself entirely too reliant on blotting papers, you probably have oily skin. If you suffer from acne (blackheads, whiteheads and pimples) often, you probably have oily skin. When sebum mixes with bacteria and clogged pores, it can produce inflamed breakouts.

    Causes of oily skin include overactive hormones, genetics, hot climates and even stress. All of these factors can influence how much oil your sebaceous glands produce. Hormones can cause the sebaceous glands to produce too much oil, as can stress. Even overdoing your daily skin care routine can result in your sebaceous glands panicking and producing extra oil to replace what you have washed off.

    Some of the best ingredients for oily skin to look out for in a moisturizer for oily skin include salicylic acid and glycolic acid, both of which can help gently exfoliate to clear out clogged pores and control oil production overall. But taking care of oily skin doesn’t stop with finding the right face wash for it– although it’s a very important step. There are also some tips on how to treat oily skin that can help you be less frustrated with your skin type.

  • User Original review: Jul 27, 2020. Reply

    Here are some general dos and don’ts on how to control oily skin:
    Choose oil-free and non-comedogenic products. Non-comedogenic means it is non-pore clogging.
    Wash your face no more than twice a day, in the morning and before bed, to help keep oiliness at bay.
    Try blotting papers if your face is especially oily and gets very shiny throughout the day.
    Use a mild, gentle and foaming face wash that isn’t too abrasive.
    Avoid both oil-based and alcohol-based cleansers, which can be too harsh and irritating.
    Wear water-based, oil-free makeup.
    Avoid touching your face with your hands as this can cause the spreading of bacteria and can worsen acne.
    Exfoliate about once a week with a physical or chemical exfoliant to help control and prevent blackheads and other types of acne.

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