For oily skin types, the idea of applying a moisturizer can sound like pouring water into a sinking ship: the last thing you want. "You’d be surprised by how many people with oily skin skip moisturizing," says dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel. "Dehydrated skin will only lead to issues such as inflammation, breakouts and a breakdown of collagen which could lead to premature aging."
You see, your skin's natural oil, known as sebum, is actually your body's way of keeping skin moisturized and healthy; when you strip it away with cleansing and don't replenish that hydration, your body gets the signal that the skin is drying out and it needs to produce more oil. That's right, avoiding moisturizer can actually make your skin more greasy.
Of course, not all moisturizers are oily skin-friendly. The heavy, ultra-hydrating versions that are great for dry types can leave oily skin shiny and potentially clog pores, leading to acne woes. To keep oily skin on an even keel requires a balanced approach, and these moisturizers have everything you need to keep your complexion glowing, not glistening.
This yellow tube has been a long-time favorite of oily types for good reason: the super-light, oil-free gel uses extracts from cucumber, barley, and sunflower to help balance sebum production while the humectants trehalose and hyaluronic acid pull hydration into the skin and lock it down.
To prevent oil overload, protecting your skin's natural lipid barrier from environmental stressors like UV damage is a must. "Look for SPF-based facial moisturizers," advises Sobel. "You should always use an SPF with your day moisturizer."
Hyaluronic acid, a natural carbohydrate often derived from sugars, is a natural humectant capable of holding up to 1000 times its own weight in water. What does that mean for your skin? It's weightless, fast-absorbing, and can pull water from the air around you into your skin for oodles of hydration without a trace of oil.
If what you're craving is clearer, mattified skin, this French drugstore favorite belongs in your makeup kit. Zinc oxide and silica help control oil and give skin a satin-smooth appearance, while antioxidant vitamins C and E hydrate and help protect your moisture barrier from external damage.
Tatcha's signature combination of extracts from algae, green tea, and rice work to fight signs of aging and boost dewiness while Japanese leopard lily helps control oil production in this light, oil-free gel-cream.
If you're looking for a moisturizer to layer under makeup, this silky cream absorbs fast and feels weightless on the skin, while hyaluronic acid and amino acids team up to hydrate skin and strengthen your natural moisture barrier.
Ideal for those who struggle with both oil and dullness, a combination of hyaluronic acid and algae extract in this gel-cream work together to infuse your skin with much-needed amino acids and hydration to keep your complexion plump and dewy. Meanwhile a gentle dose of glycolic acid exfoliates skin to help prevent blocked pores and improve the appearance of fine lines.
While oil-free might be a buzzword for oily types, not all oils are the enemy. "I like a moisturizer that contains jojoba oil which mimics our own sebum without clogging pores," says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas. "Jojoba is awesome for everyone, even for acne. It tells the body to stop overproducing sebum, and so controls oily skin."
Chock full of hyaluronic acid (30% to be precise) this cushy cream is also packed with ceramides which help lock in moisture for long-lasting, oil-banishing hydration.