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Sorry oily skin types, but you're not exempt from moisturizing just because your skin produces more sebum than others. Everyone—we repeat, everyone—should moisturize daily to prevent dryness, and that includes oily-skinned folks. Sure you can leave the rich creams to your dry skin counterparts, but there's plenty of lightweight mattifying moisturizers and gels that can keep excess grease under control while balancing the skin's moisture barrier. We consulted board-certified dermatologist Dr. Amy Ross on what to look for when shopping for a moisturizer for oily skin and, as you probably guessed already, went ahead and picked our favorites.
Below, discover the best moisturizers for oily skin.
Best Overall: Origins Original Skin Matte Moisturizer with Willowherb
A shiny T-zone will be a distant memory when you use this magically mattifying moisturizer. It spotlights willowherb, the magenta flower that is admired for being able to withstand even the toughest environments. The water cream formula also contains pink rock rose to leave a gorgeous glow, plus it helps minimize the look of pores.
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel & Oil-Free Face Moisturizer
This water-based gel moisturizer has racked up plenty of awards and earned quite the fanbase—and for good reason. Made particularly for sensitive skin, this classic brings the ultimate in hydration. It's packed with hyaluronic acid (which is naturally found in the skin and can absorb as much as 1,000 times its weight in water), glycerin, and dimethicone. “It’s non-comedogenic and oil-free, but it’s very moisturizing without being too heavy,” says Ross. “It also absorbs very quickly.” The result? A smooth complexion that’s plumped with hydration.
Best Budget: The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
This wallet-friendly moisturizer will cost you less than lunch and provides instant hydration that never feels greasy, making it a great pick for those with oily or combination skin. Formulated with 11 amino acids, phospholipids, fatty acids, triglycerides, sterols and sterol esters, glycerin, ceramide precursors, urea, saccharides, sodium PCA, and hyaluronic acid (whew!), it delivers long-lasting moisture for a smooth complexion.
Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture
This luxe day cream was made with oily and combination skin types in mind, delivering lightweight moisture that simultaneously balances oil production. It's packed with nutrient-rich algae and botanical extracts, and it helps protect the skin from environmental stressors and reduces the appearance of enlarged pores. The result? Smooth, soft skin sans any greasy residue.
Best Brightening: Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer
The smash success of the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask inspired this daytime version that also harnesses the power of watermelon extract, which is rich in a type of amino acid called citrulline. Its gel-like formula is essentially watermelon juice for your face, delivering vitamins and amino acids, mixed with hyaluronic acid, botanicals, and antioxidants. It promises to soothe and boost radiance while warding off damage from free radicals to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturizer
The last thing those with acne want is a moisturizer that leaves their skin even shinier, but there’s no need to fear that with this oil-free moisturizer made for oily and acne-prone skin. It utilizes sebulyse technology to help sop up excess oil and delivers visibly tighter-looking pores and a matte finish, all while moisturizing. The non-comedogenic moisturizer also works as a great base for makeup.
Best for Sensitive Skin: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
This light-as-air daily moisturizer from BeautyStat Cosmetics is the key to smooth and supple skin that never looks greasy—even if your skin is on the greasier side. It's packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramide, and pomegranate sterols, and it promises to repair the skin barrier and seal in moisture. Formulated with probiotics, it also helps heal, detoxify, and soothe the skin while fighting pollution and other nasty aggressors. The best part? It is fragrance-free and safe for hypersensitive skin.
Best Anti-Aging: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer
It doesn’t get much lighter than this aptly-named cloud cream that still manages to pack a punch when it comes to moisturizing. Thanks to its concentration of 30% hyaluronic acid, it claims to deliver powerful hydration for up to 72 hours. It also contains ceramides that lock in moisture and elderberry, which is packed with antioxidants to reduce the appearance of fines lines and wrinkles. This multitasker also makes you look younger by evening out skin tone and reviving dull skin, leaving you with a glowing complexion.
Best with SPF: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream has quite a legacy: It was the official moisturizer of the “Greenland First Ascent” expedition, a group of six explorers who were the very first to climb Greenland’s ice-covered peaks in 2005. If it’s good enough to protect them from the elements, imagine what it can do for your skin in a less aggressive climate. This one is the same fan-favorite formula, just with the addition of broad-spectrum SPF 30. It's known to leave skin hydrated for 24 hours, boosting firmness and elasticity along the way.
What Our Testers Say
"But my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided not to wash my face for 24 hours after applying the cream. To my surprise, I woke up the next day with flawlessly plump, moisturized skin." — Nicole Pulyado, Product Tester
Best for Enlarged Pores: Fenty Beauty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
This moisturizer-sunscreen hybrid from Fenty Skin is packed with skincare benefits, providing lightweight hydration and antioxidant protection while helping fight excess oil and fading pesky dark spots. It’s formulated to reduce the look of enlarged pores and fine lines and wrinkles, and of course, it also has the added benefit of SPF 30 protection from the sun.
Best Lightweight: Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer
If there’s anything on earth that can withstand dryness, it’s cacti, so it makes sense that the hearty plant is at the center of this moisturizer. Incredibly lightweight, the quick-absorbing moisturizer is a gel formula that contains Queen of the Night Cactus Succulent and hydrates, nourishes, and conditions. Formulated with aloe vera flower extract and South African resurrection plant, it helps ease sensitive skin and mends damage from sun exposure and the elements, while decreasing redness, boosting texture, and reinforcing the barrier.
What Our Testers Say
"If you want a fresh, light gel cream to hydrate your skin, the Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer is perfect. It glides on easily, leaves zero residue, and gives you a complexion that’s soft but hydrated." — Emily Algar, Product Tester
Best Oil: Herbivore Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil for Oily & Acne-Prone Skin
Slathering oil onto oily skin may seem counterproductive, but not all oils are necessarily the enemy. Case in point? This balancing facial oil from Herbivore. Formulated with blue tansy and other 100% pure and natural plant oils, it helps clear congested pores, delivers the hydration the skin needs in order to stop producing excess sebum, reduces redness, and clarifies the skin without drying it out. Trust, the glow leaves behind is unreal.
Best Natural: Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer with Moringa and Papaya
Consider this oil-free gel moisturizer a green juice for your skin—it’s that refreshing. Formulated with a blend of phytonutrients like moringa, papaya, and willow herb, it reduces shine and clears out congested pores while hyaluronic and polyglutamic acids draw moisture into the skin. It’s also oil-free and silicone-free, offering lightweight hydration without a greasy or sticky feel.
When it comes to moisturizing oily skin while reducing shine, we’re giving top honors to the Origins Original Skin Matte Moisturizer with Willowherb (view at Sephora). The willowherb-infused formula mattifies the skin without leaving it looking flat, lending a gorgeous glow thanks to the addition of pink rock rose. Plus, it minimizes the look of pores and refines skin texture. Another favorite of ours is the Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer, a refreshing gel-emulsion that boosts glow with a blend of watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and botanicals. We also love that its antioxidant properties help to ward off dark spots and fine lines. And finally, we have to give it to the fan-favorite Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel & Oil-Free Face Moisturizer. The water-based gel is made with sensitive and oily skin types in mind, providing ample hydration without ever feeling heavy thanks to hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone. The complexion is left plump and smooth, never greasy or shiny.
What to Look for in a Moisturizer for Oily Skin
Oil-Free and Non-Comedogenic Formulas
Now, not all oils are necessarily bad for oily or acne-prone skin, the Herbivore facial oil we listed above is a great example. But as a general rule of thumb, Ross recommends looking for moisturizers that are both oil-free and non-comedogenic if you’re on the oily side. “These types of moisturizers won’t clog pores or add a heavy occlusive feeling to already oily skin,” she says.
Another thing to look out for per Ross’s advice is a product that moisturizes while simultaneously absorbing excess oil—a great example being the La Roche-Posay moisturizer on our list. “These products can reduce shine while still keeping the skin hydrated,” she says. As you know, oily skin 100% still needs moisture, so make sure you’re not using a product that’s solely drying it out.
Finally, when it comes to moisturizing oily skin, Ross suggests opting for products that are lightweight in texture and feel. Think gel-based and water cream formulas that hydrate with weightless ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Anything too heavy or that leaves behind too much residue will only contribute to more shine as the day goes on.
Is moisturizing good for oily skin?
When should you apply moisturizer for oily skin?
Moisturizer is the last step in your skincare routine, so you should always apply it after cleansing and using your serums, treatments, essences, etc. It's best applied on damp skin to help seal in moisture.
Can you use a moisturizer for oil skin everyday?
Yes! As a general rule, you should apply your moisturizer of choice twice a day (once in the morning and once at night). Doing this will help the skin maintain hydration throughout the day.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Amy Ross is a board-certified dermatologist based in Tampa, Florida whose expertise include Mohs micrographic surgery and laser treatment of skin and hair disorders. She’s the founder of Palm Harbor Dermatology, Tampa’s largest dermatology practice, where she also specializes in skin cancer treatment.