Finding your ideal skincare routine is not easy and, unfortunately, having combination skin only makes things more complicated. Choosing the best moisturizers for combination skin means having to consider two entirely different skin types: oily and dry. On one hand, you want to ease the excess oil and sebum production in your T-zone, which can lead to blackheads, breakouts and an overall shiny appearance, and on the other, you want to moisturize and brighten the dry, dull skin on your cheeks. Is it possible to do both at the same time without buying double the products or making things worse? The answer is yes, and it's all about balance.
First of all, keep in mind that with combination skin, lightweight, gentle products are the way to go. To keep your entire face happy, avoid harsh exfoliants, acids, and acne treatments as well as any heavy moisturizers that may clog pores. Instead, if your combination skin feels dry or dehydrated, try a lightweight gel formula with a heavy-hitting hydrator like hyaluronic acid. To exfoliate and clear acne on combination skin, skip the benzoyl peroxide and alcohol and try something that contains antioxidants like vitamin C, or gentle BHAs and AHAs. Finally, to control sebum production and keep oily skin looking matte, look for ingredients like dimethicone, glycolic acid, and clay.
Although there's no one-size-fits-all product for combination skin, the five moisturizers below will make your skin brighter, softer, and smoother while reducing oil and eliminating pesky breakouts.
1Best For Sensitive Skin: A Lightweight, Oil- And Fragrance-Free Moisturizer From A French Brand With A Cult-Following
To moisturize combination skin every day without irritation, you can't go wrong with La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Fluide. A great overall choice that's dermatologist-tested and free of oils and fragrances, the formula is light, soothing, and hydrating. It also provides a mattifying effect, so it's great for those looking for a way to combat their over-oily T-zone, and it's made with sensitive skin in mind, so it shouldn't cause any issues with complexions that get irritated easily. Like all of the brand's products, this formula is infused with thermal spring water from their namesake town, which has been used for centuries for its soothing and restorative properties.
2Best All-Natural Option: A Fast-Absorbing Vegan Moisturizer That's Packed With Antioxidants
Infused with innovative plant-based ingredients like chlorella and lilac extract, Acure's Incredibly Clear Mattifying Moisturizer is a vegan and cruelty-free daily face cream for under $10. It's packed with skin-improving antioxidants to balance oil and control breakouts, and it's also free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, formaldehyde, petrolatum, and all those other nasty ingredients that are too often found in skincare products. The formula absorbs easily, protects from free radical damage, and was specifically made for combination skin.
3Best For Sun Protection: A Best-Selling Daily Moisturizer With SPF 46
There's no better daily sunscreen for combination skin than EltaMD's UV Clear, a best-selling, dermatologist-approved moisturizer with a cult following. The formula is lightweight, oil-free, and made specifically for acne-prone skin, so it's safe to use on sensitive complexions. It contains blemish-fighting niacinamide, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and exfoliating lactic acid for healthy-looking skin that's protected from the sun's harmful rays.
4Best For Exfoliation: A Brightening Moisturizer With AHAs That's Worth The Splurge
A powerful moisturizer that's suitable for all skin types, Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer uses a duo of AHAs —glycolic and lactic acids — combined with pineapple, pumpkin, and papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate, reduce acne, and reveal your skin's natural glow. The formula is light enough for daily use (morning and night) and won't clog your pores. Because of its smoothing abilities, it also makes a wonderful primer for makeup.
5Best Gel Formula: An Oil-Free Moisturizer From France That Provides 48-Hour Hydration
Infused with the brand's signature mineral-rich thermal water from Vichy, France, as well as everyone's favorite ingredient, hyaluronic acid, Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Mineral Water Gel Facial Moisturizer comprises a super light gel formula that feels amazing on particularly dehydrated skin. Without clogging pores, it provides up to 48 hours of hydration, and it instantly makes skin that's dull or unevenly textured appear glowing and smooth. Free of parabens, fragrances, and oil, it has a very subtle — but fresh — scent, and the gel texture is heavenly. Pro tip: Keep it in the fridge for an even more refreshing experience.
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