If You Have Oily Skin, These Oil-Free Moisturizers Are Skin Care Game-Changers
by Lisa Fogarty
Originally Published: 

Oily skin types have excess sebum that, yes, must be kept under control to prevent breakouts. But attacking your skin with harsh chemicals and not adding a drop of moisture to replenish the essential oils you've lost only sends a message to your body to produce even more sebum — which then results in oilier skin and even acne. So, finding the best moisturizers for your oily skin is paramount.

While it's true that you have to be careful about the moisturizers you're using investing in a few great moisturizers for oily skin is a super smart way to keep skin soft, healthy, balanced, and acne free in the long run.

What is a good moisturizer for oily skin?

When shopping around, keep your eyes peeled for oil-free formulas. These will be the best for your complexion, and will help limit the build-up of oils on the surface of your skin. Also, look out for non-comedogenic moisturizers. While some moisturizers have ingredients that can clog your pores, any formula that's labeled "non-comedogenic" will be specifically designed not to get in your pores and cause breakouts.

Other than that, keep in mind any other needs you have. If your skin is oily most of the year, but gets dryer patches in the winter, you may want a great lightweight moisturizer that works for oily to combination skin. This will ensure all your skin care needs are fully addressed.

But enough talk, here are the 11 best moisturizers for oily skin.


A Holy-Grail Korean Cream: belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb, $38, Amazon

This lightweight gel-cream is a favorite amongst those with oily skin types because it minimizes the appearance of large pores and helps sap away excess sebum without causing dryness, flakiness, or irritation. Generally speaking, gel moisturizers are more refreshing and soothing for oily skin and they won't make you feel like you have a layer of product on your face. This goodie has amazing ingredients like antioxidant malachite, oat husk, which attracts moisture, and plantin, which seals moisture into your skin without making it greasy.

What fans say: "This is the best moisturizer I’ve ever used. I have extremely sensitive skin, and no problems with use. Also, I have very oily skin and it’s the first I’ve ever used that doesn’t add to the oil. Worth every penny, use sparingly, a little goes a long way!!"


A Mattifying Oil-Free Moisturizer: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Face Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Matte Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer, $32, Amazon

There's nothing worse than applying moisturizer to oily skin and having it leave behind a slick, greasy residue. This oil-free facial moisturizer is designed especially for oily and acne-prone skin and it contains ingredients like glycerin and dimethicone that help make skin look more matte, while refining pores so that they look tighter and smaller. Reviewers call this "the best" lotion they've used and say a pea-size amount is all that's needed to soften skin, keep oils at bay, and create a matte canvas perfect for makeup application.

What fans say: "This is the best moisturizer I've ever used! I have extremely oily and acne prone skin. Even using "oil free" moisturizers pose a problem for me. I was hesitant to purchase this moisturizer due to the small quantity and high price... After a lot of research and reading reviews I decided to take a chance on La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat moisturizer. This is by far the best moisturizer I've ever used. Don't be put off by how little you get. Honestly, you only need a small pea sized amount for your entire face. Remember, this is a mattifying moisturizer. This is meant for oily skin to just keep your skin hydrated and healthy while keeping oil at bay. Even after application my skin still feels dry but hydrated."


A Moisturizer With AHAs To Fade Scars: Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer

Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer, $20, Amazon

Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid are often used to treat acne and fade post acne scars, which makes the A.H.A. and Ceramide Moisturizer the perfect non-greasy and lightweight moisturizing lotion for oily skin. It helps exfoliate dry skin cells that can clog pores, as well as provide a treatment that reduces the appearance of acne scars and inflammation. Reviewers with both acne and dry spots say this moisturizer perfectly addresses both concerns without compromising on either problem.

What fans say: "I love how it has no scent, which means there are no extra chemicals in it. The consistency is perfect for my oily skin - rich enough to be moisturizing, but light enough that it doesn't make me feel oily or heavy. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and my skin feels great! At first I thought it was a bit expensive for its size, but after researching some other brands that were comparable to this one, I found this a very reasonable price."


A Hypoallergenic Moisturizer With Aloe: Alba Botanica Hawaiian Oil-Free Moisturizer

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Oil-Free Moisturizer Aloe & Green Tea, $9, Amazon

This hypoallergenic gel moisturizer provides light hydration that won't feel greasy after application. Green tea soothes the skin while Centella Asiatica extract helps calm inflammation and redness and heal breakouts, making this a great choice for acne prone skin. Instead of using heavy oils, this formula moisturizes skin with aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, so even the oiliest of skin types will love it.

What fans say: "I have oily skin and I was always afraid of trying out or even using moisturizers as they would just make my skin even more oily. But this works wonders! I noticed a huge difference when using this under make up and doesn’t make my skin feel greasy. After a day of work, I’d usually come home and my face would be so oily but this moisturizer really helps with that. When I look at my face, it’s not as shiny compared to when I used no moisturizer. It definitely helps with dry skin as well and it smells really good too!"


A Non-Greasy Moisturizer With SPF: Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer With SPF 20

Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20, $28, Amazon

Every skin type needs broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection — and this face moisturizer with SPF 20 is specifically designed for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin because it contains ingredients like blue algae extract, a source of vitamin E that reduces inflammation and redness, as well as the anti-irritant sea parsley. One reviewer who says her skin was super dry as a result of taking Accutane raves about this moisturizer's ability to effectively hydrate without ever leaving her skin feeling greasy.

What fans say: "I've been using this moisturizer for a few years now and I have to say that it's the best for oily skin — it's honestly iconic and lightweight and absorbs super fast."


An Acne-Healing Moisturizer With Tea Tree: Shea Moisture Problem Skin Moisturizer

Shea Moisture Problem Skin Moisturizer, $11, Amazon

This incredibly healing moisturizer might not be oil-free, but it's formulated with light, naturally hydrating oils that won't clog your pores and will help keep your skin smooth and healthy. Tea tree oil and salicylic acid break through dead skin cells to clear out pores, reduce inflammation, and treat acne while oils rich in fatty acids soothe the skin and willow bark helps to even tone and fade post-acne marks.

What fans say: "I have very oily skin especially on my forehead. This cream is thick and a little goes along way I wash my face with pure black soap followed by this moisturizer and I noticed a huge difference in my skin after just a week."


An Hydrating Lotion With SPF 30: PCA Skin Protecting Hydrator Broad Spectrum SPF 30

PCA Skin Protecting Hydrator Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $36, Amazon

Described by reviewers as the least "sunscreeny" moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF, this lightweight, non-oily lotion delivers all of the sun protection your face needs, but without a drop of greasy residue. It has added antioxidants to protect against free-radical damage and aloe vera to help provide a matte finish — as well as the distinction of having earned the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation.

What fans say: "Absolutely love this product. Best SPF day moisturizer for oily/acne-prone skin types! Incredibly light texture that dries clear and matte (absolutely no whitening). Hydrates skin effectively without adding any heaviness."


A Refreshing Lotion For Stressed Skin: skyn ICELAND The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion

skyn ICELAND The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion, $45, Amazon

Red, irritated, and congested oily skin needs a therapeutic moisturizer like this light, hydrating lotion that provides nutrients, oxygen, and moisture to instantly calm stressed-out oily skin. It contains Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, aloe vera, jojoba, and shea butter to moisturize dry spots, as well as white willow bark, a naturally occurring form of salicylic acid that prevents new breakouts and helps regulate oil production.

What fans say: "I would recommend this lotion to everyone, its amazing! My face is very oily and acne prone, this lotion takes away all the shine/oil and leaves your face feeling amazing! Try it, you won't regret it!"


A Vitamin-E-Rich Cream That Brightens: AHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer

Ahava Essential Day Moisturizer, $45, Amazon

This luxurious cream-gel moisturizer for oily and combination skin contains dead sea minerals and vitamin E, which combine to increase moisture levels and strengthen skin's elasticity. Reviewers with both oily and dry spots say this is one moisturizer that really can address both issues — it controls shine on the T-Zone, nourishes dry cheeks, and contains no irritating fragrances that can wreak havoc if you have sensitive skin.

What fans say: "I have oily/combination skin and am prone to breakouts, and this is a great winter moisturizer when I'm a little dryer than usual. Still feels relatively light and absorbs easily, doesn't leave any residue behind which my current Origins product does. Very happy with the product and will purchase again."


An Oil-Free Lotion That's Paraben-Free: Anthony Oil-Free Facial Lotion

Anthony Oil-Free Facial Lotion, $30, Amazon

This oil-free facial lotion for oily and combination skin is a triple threat that relies on sodium PCA amino acids to moisturize skin, aloe vera and chamomile to calm irritated and red skin, and the goodness of glycerin to help retain moisture and promote a smoother, healthier looking complexion. Reviewers say this helps eliminate dry patches and flakes and leaves skin matte, but soft.

What fans say: "Outstanding product for moisturizing your face without adding oil. This cream has a slight orange scent which is terrific. Best for those with oily skin."


A Non-Oily Moisturizer With Hyaluronic Acid: Glo Skin Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer

Glo Skin Beauty Therapeutics Oil Free Moisturizer, $48, Amazon

The key killer ingredients in this oil-free moisturizer include a blend of botanicals that lightly moisturize and balance skin. Reviewers say this lotion absorbs and makes skin feel like silk — without leaving a residue behind. It's also gentle on sensitive skin and can be used twice daily without fear of irritation.

What fans say: "Best moisturizer ever! Moisturizer quickly absorbs into the skin without leaving any greasy residue! Leaves skin feeling soft and smooth. T-zone appears to be less oily. Visible results in less than one week!"

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.

This post was originally published on May 30th, 2017. It was updated and republished on June 25th, 2019. Additional reporting by Amy Biggart.

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