A moisturizer for oily skin? Believe us, that’s not a contradiction! You deserve a face cream that’ll make your oily skin look and feel amazing. It can be hard to find a moisturizer that balances, giving enough moisture and hydration without making oily skin feel greasy. That’s why we combed through the options available online to give 25 of the best moisturizers for oily skin.
We then discuss why it is that those with oily skin may want to use a moisturizer and whether it’s even necessary in the first place. Then, we included a guide to help you figure out what you should be looking for in a face cream for oily skin.
Oily Skin Moisturizers: Contents
- 25 Best Face Moisturizers for Oily Skin
- Do You Really Need a Moisturizer for Oily Skin?
- How to Choose the Best Face Cream for Oily Skin
25 Best Face Moisturizers for Oily Skin
From premium picks to more affordable options, there is the best face cream for oily skin specifically for you featured on our list below!
1. Best Overall: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
This was one of the first moisturizing gels to gain popularity, and it’s still one of the best moisturizers for oily skin. Since it’s a gel, it’s extremely lightweight, so it manages to hydrate the skin without leaving any residue – just a soft, matte look. It contains hyaluronic acid and glycerin for the all-important moisture, and a wide range of antioxidant plant extracts that soothe the skin and prevent premature aging. Get it at Nordstrom!
2. Best Premium: Tatcha The Water Cream
Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy luxurious skincare! This stunning moisturizer from Tatcha is filled with water for a light texture that hydrates completely. It also includes microbiome-fortifying ferments and soothing natural extracts that leave the skin looking clear and bright. Despite the nourishing ingredients, it still leaves the skin looking demi-matte, thanks to dimethicone that offers some oil-control. Buy it from Sephora!
3. Best for Acne: COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion
We love most products from this Korean beauty brand, and this emulsion is no different. It’s a great choice if your skin is not just oily but also acne-prone. The texture is very liquid-y, so it’s almost like an essence, but it still manages to lock some moisture into the skin.
If your skin is severely oily, it’s a fantastic choice, but if you’re more combination-oily it might be too light. It’s made with acne-fighting BHA in its gentle form as betaine salicylate, antimicrobial tea tree oil, and centella asiatica, which reduces redness and calms active breakouts. Order it from Revolve!
4. Best for Anti-Aging: Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer
Products for oily skin often overlook wrinkle prevention. Everyone’s skin ages, and almost no one wants fine lines or wrinkles, including those with oily skin. This moisturizer, however, breaks that trend. It’s light and non-greasy, and it contains a ton of peptides that help smooth the skin and maybe even give a collagen boost. As a bonus, it’s gentle and fragrance-free, so it’s a safe choice for sensitive skin. Shop for it at Sephora!
5. Best Brightening: OleHenriksen C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer
Vitamin C is the star ingredient in this incredible gel moisturizer. Since it’s a gel, it’s awesome even for severe oiliness. It features a blend of pure vitamin C and its derivatives, and it’s gentle enough for daily use. The range of benefits vitamin C offers is many: it promotes collagen production to reduce fine lines, it brightens the skin and combats hyperpigmentation, and it has a soothing effect that can help with active acne. This is a powerful moisturizer that we can’t recommend enough! Purchase it from Sephora!
6. Best for Oil-Control: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Face Moisturizer
This gentle product bridges the gap between moisturizer and primer, thanks to the fantastic smoothing and mattifying effect. This formula is rich in dimethicone, which gives amazing oil-control, but it still hydrates the skin well. It features acne-fighting ingredients like LHA and BHA, as a bonus. It’s sold online via Amazon.
7. Best Gel: Paula’s Choice SKIN BALANCING Invisible Finish Gel Moisturizer
If you’re not aware of our love affair with niacinamide, which is one of the key ingredients in this formula, pay attention. It’s the gentlest skincare ingredient we’ve ever seen effectively reducing oil production in the skin, and as a bonus, it also has anti-aging, brightening, and anti-acne effects.
It is not the only ingredient in this light, moisturizing cream that deserves attention since there are plenty of skin-soothers and antioxidants, as well. Oh, and it’s fragrance-free, so it’s a safe choice for sensitive skin. Find it on Amazon!
8. Best Lightweight: Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Oil-Free Moisturizer
If you’re the kind of person who wants their skincare to be fun, try this moisturizer for oily skin. Made by a K-beauty-inspired brand, this gel moisturizer looks and smells really pretty, and it also has a really nice balance of effects. It contains a range of plant proteins that hydrate and fortify the skin, so it’s extremely moisturizing despite being so light. It contains some soothing ingredients as well and is quite mild, so it’ll work with any skincare routine. Find it at Sephora!
9. Best for Active Days: Dermalogica Active Moist
As the name implies, this moisturizer is made specifically to fit those days when the last thing you want is a product that you can feel on your skin. It’s just as good for oily skin as it is for active, sweaty days. It’s super hydrating thanks to a gentle version of lactic acid and lots of different glycols. It’s a little heavy on plant extracts that have some potential to irritate, although if you do well with fragrances, then it’ll probably be fine. Pick it up at Ulta!
10. Best for Nighttime: Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer with Moringa and Papaya
This moisturizer for oily skin combines a ton of energizing fruit extracts with ingredients like niacinamide and betaine to refresh and hydrate oily skin. It’s a lovely formula that is loaded with natural ingredients and contains no silicones, but that does mean that it can feel a little sticky on the skin. It might be a better choice for the night. Shop for it at Sephora!
11. Best for Dullness: Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
This is a light and lovely moisturizer with some strong barrier-restoring ingredients, so we’d recommend it if you’re using any drying products on your skin. The main ingredient is squalane, which acts as an oil but is still quite helpful for oily skin. It helps to fortify and protect the skin but is considered non-comedogenic. It also includes some probiotics for added moisture. Grab it from Sephora!
12. Best with SPF: Lancôme UV Expert Aquagel Defense Primer & Moisturizer SPF 50
Sometimes, the best route to take when you have oily skin is to limit how many products you use in the daytime. Using both a moisturizer and a sunscreen can simply feel too heavy, so two-in-one moisturizers with SPF can be the perfect solution. We really love this gel-based option because it combines hydration with primer-like mattification, and it has a 50 SPF, which gives thorough protection. You can buy it at Nordstrom.
13. Best Hydrating: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer
Can’t get enough of hyaluronic acid? This moisturizer includes a complex of 30% HA along with many other moisture-binders, making for an extremely hydrating formula. This is another one of the best face creams for oily skin that is in some way compromised, either due to over-exfoliation or harsh medication because it includes different ceramides that aid in barrier repair. It’s available at Nordstrom.
14. Best Exfoliating: Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar
When it comes to serious effects, this is one of our favorite face creams for oily skin. It’s an exfoliating moisturizer with a significant percentage of glycolic acid, so it gives all of the benefits of regular chemical exfoliation: smoother skin, smaller-looking pores, fewer breakouts, and overall increased skin brightness.
At the same time, it hydrates and moisturizes the skin. However, because of the acid, it’s slightly more likely to irritate the skin than other options on the list, so don’t use it every day if you’re not used to chemical exfoliation. Purchase it from Amazon!
15. Best for Daytime: Farmacy Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
This is our second Farmacy moisturizer recommendation, but it’s intended specifically for the daytime. It’s a moisturizer and sunscreen combination made with mineral sunscreens, so it’s less likely to irritate the skin. The formula has a natural, non-greasy finish, and it includes extracts and ferments to add a bit of moisture to the skin. Get it at Sephora!
16. Best K-Beauty: Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb
This was one of the first Korean gel creams to get a lot of attention in the West, and for a good reason. It’s a fantastic moisturizer for oily skin, with just the right texture to hydrate and occlude, while making the skin feel velvety soft and non-greasy. The formula includes a lot of natural extracts loaded with beneficial nutrients, like lady’s mantle and nettle. It also includes some natural fragrances that may not work for everyone. It’s available at Sephora.
17. Best Gel-Cream: Tula Dew Your Thing Oil Free Gel Cream
There are a lot of gel-creams on our list, which is not surprising since it’s a great texture for oily skin. What makes this one special is that it comes in a pump bottle rather than the ubiquitous jar. This makes it very convenient and more sanitary. The formula, as with all Tula products, is based on probiotics that strengthen and hydrate the skin, but it also includes some fantastic plant extracts that have soothing effects on the skin. You can get it at Nordstrom.
18. Best Mattifying: Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer
This oil-free moisturizer is a little different than the others on this list. It’s a cream with a thin and runny texture, and it’s made with some unique non-silicone emollients that feel silky and smooth without totally sealing the skin. It leaves the skin feeling firm and matte, but still nourished.
There are a ton of moisture-binding ingredients included like xylitol, but none of the traditional ones like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, meaning that it’s a good option if you don’t respond well to most moisturizers. Don’t be fooled by the packaging – it seems like a jar, but it’s actually an air-tight pump. You can pick it up at Nordstrom.
19. Best Demi-Matte: Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
If you just need light protection throughout the day, this is a day cream with a 20 SPF and the perfect light, demi-matte texture. It’s made with men in mind, but it’s awesome for just about anyone since it contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, soothing edelweiss extract, and anti-aging retinyl palmitate. It comes in a pump bottle, which is how we prefer our products to be packaged. Shop for it at Sephora!
20. Best Budget: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
If you’re on a budget, this is a great face moisturizer for oily skin to consider. It has a gel texture that we think was directly inspired by Korean products, but it comes at an affordable price and with a very short ingredient list that’s free of probiotics or ferments, which can be troublesome for some. It’s hydrating and light, although we do wish it was made without the fragrance. It’s sold at Amazon.
21. Best Lotion: Dr. Jart+ Teatreement Moisturizer
If your skin can’t get enough tea tree oil, this is THE moisturizer to buy. The antimicrobial ingredient is a natural acne-fighter, and it’s used here both as an essential oil and an extract. The formula itself is a light lotion that sinks into the skin quickly and moisturizes with a dose of glycerin. It also includes oil-controlling niacinamide and a soothing green tea and chamomile blend. Order it from Sephora!
22. Best Refreshing: Mamonde Rose Water Gel Cream
This is another one of those face creams for oily skin that don’t compromise on the pleasure of skincare. It’s your typical silicone-based gel cream, which we love for offering thorough moisture without any sheen. What makes it special is the rose water that replaces regular water. Rose water is extra hydrating, and it has an incredible smell that can really uplift the mood. Buy it at Ulta!
23. Best under Makeup: Primera Alpine Berry Water Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer
This lovely, light cream is a promising mattifying moisturizer for oily skin. It’s not super hydrating, but it does offer a bit of moisturization. More importantly, it’s silicone-free and yet still able to mattify the skin, so it can be awesome under makeup, especially for those who are avoiding silicones. Grab it from Sephora!
24. Best Pore-Minimizing: SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture
If you’ve got the budget, SkinCeuticals products are always a safe choice that guarantees results. This moisturizer combines staple hydrators like glycerin and algae extract with skin-firming witch hazel, making for a moisturizer that can have a temporary pore-minimizing effect. It also features a ton of antioxidant-rich extracts and retinyl palmitate that give an anti-aging touch. It’s available at Dermstore.
25. Best for Hyperpigmentation: Proactiv Complexion Perfecting Hydrator
After having a bad reputation for many years, Proactiv really turned things around, and we’re always surprised by just how much we like what they have to offer. This moisturizer is particularly well suited for oily and acne-prone skin, as well as for targeting hyperpigmentation. It has a hydrating gel-cream texture and features our favorite active ingredients, including kojic acid, salicylic acid, and licorice root extract. Find it at Sephora!
Do You Really Need a Moisturizer for Oily Skin?
Maybe it sounds counterproductive to use a moisturizer on oily skin. After all, your skin is already naturally slick, so why add more stuff on top of it? The thing is that while your oily skin might be producing oil all on its own, what it isn’t generating is water.
The job of a moisturizer for oily skin is to hydrate, which means that it loads the skin up with water. This helps strengthen the skin, prevents flakiness or irritation, and it gives it a healthy, bouncy, and firm appearance. However, the moisturizer shouldn’t add any ingredients that’ll make the skin feel needlessly greasy or, even worse, clog the pores!
Using a moisturizer is also important if you’re using gel-based cleansers that remove oils from your skin since those can also dehydrate. If you’re using any skin-drying anti-acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide or retinol, then a moisturizer is extra important for mitigating their side-effects.
However, these are all caveats. The truth is that not everyone that has oily skin has to use a moisturizer. If your skin isn’t dehydrated, and you’re not using any products that dry out your skin, it’s very possible that you don’t need any moisturizer at all. Perhaps you would still like a hydrating boost that comes from a lighter product like a serum or essence, but even that isn’t mandatory.
How to Choose the Best Face Cream for Oily Skin
We know we included a big selection of face creams for oily skin, but how do you select the one that’s best for you? We tried to make it easy with our reviews, but we have a few extra tips to make the selection process easy.
Keep It Light
One factor that everyone with oily skin should consider when looking for a moisturizer is lightness. If your skin is severely oily, then you will want to find a product with a very light liquid or gel texture that will sink into the skin completely.
However, creamier or thicker formulas aren’t necessarily bad, depending on the ingredients they include. For instance, thicker moisturizers with a lot of dimethicone will actually create a mattifying layer over the skin, and they can be really nice under makeup.
Consider Your Other Concerns
Moisturizers can be powerful products that go beyond just hydrating the skin. Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you don’t have other skin concerns, so keep those in mind and choose a moisturizer that can target them.
People with oily skin are more likely to suffer from acne, which is why we love seeing face creams for oily skin also include known acne-fighters. If you want an acne-fighting moisturizer, look for ingredients like salicylic acid (sometimes referred to as BHA) and tea tree oil.
Additionally, soothing agents like centella asiatica or chamomile can also help reduce redness. However, not all acne treatments are safe to use all over the face, so we wouldn’t recommend a moisturizer with benzoyl peroxide, for instance.
It can be difficult to have sensitive skin that’s also oily since a lot of products made for oily skin are quite harsh. In general, you want to stay away from products that contain a lot of fragrances, essential oils, and fragrant plant extracts.
You also want to be careful with formulas that have long ingredient lists or strong actives like salicylic acid – they’re not totally off-limits, but it’s important to patch-test them very well. It can also be helpful to use products with ingredients known to soothe the skin, like centella asiatica, allantoin, oat exact, and more.
While oily skin often shows signs of aging more slowly than dry skin, you still might want a bit of help from your skincare! We selected a few amazing face creams for oily skin that also include ingredients like vitamin C or peptides, which help keep the skin looking firm and smooth.
Pigmentation is usually caused by sun exposure, although those with acne-prone skin might also have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Using sunscreen in the daytime is the most important factor, but otherwise, ingredients like vitamin C can help control the excess melanin in the skin, while exfoliants like salicylic acid can help with skin renewal, which is important for fading pigmentation.
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