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Yes, Even Oily Skin Needs Hydration. Here Are The Only 15 Moisturizers You’ll Need

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1

Best Overall

Tatcha The Water Cream

The Water Cream

1

Best Overall

Tatcha The Water Cream

Credit: Tatcha

Tatcha’s cult-loved water cream has the prettiest packaging— all gilded accents and sky-blue hues— but what’s inside is even lovelier. Infused with Japanese superfoods and wild rose, the oil-free cream tightens pores, boosts radiance, and hydrates like a dream. It delivers dewy hydration on contact, making the skin instantly silkier. Plus, it’s oil-free.

Key ingredients: Japanese wild rose, Japanese leopard lily, Tatcha’s Hadasei-3 complex

Size: 1.7 oz

Sephora rating: 4/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer says: “Best moisturizer ever! It really feels luxurious as you put it on. It’s a bit pricey but I think it’s worth it — it lasted me for almost a year, and I put it on morning and night.”

2

Best for Blemishes

Community Sixty-Six Oil Control Moisturizer with Niacinamide

Oil Control Moisturizer with Niacinamide

2

Best for Blemishes

Community Sixty-Six Oil Control Moisturizer with Niacinamide

Credit: Sephora

This vegan cream is a balm for blemishes. Azelaic acid tames redness while clearing out the pores, and grapeseed oil unclogs them even more. The cream doesn’t just clear breakouts but also delivers facial-quality benefits. Squalane hydrates and plumps the complexion, while niacinamide promotes a brighter, more even skin tone. All that, and it’s fragrance-free.

Key ingredients: Niacinamide, azelaic acid, squalane

Size: 1.7 fl oz

Community Sixty-Six rating: 5/5 stars

A Community Sixty-Six reviewer says: “Best moisturizer for my combo skin. I’m getting lots of compliments on how youthful and soft my skin looks.”

3

Best Night Cream

Medik8 Night Ritual Vitamin A Cream

Night Ritual Vitamin A Cream

3

Best Night Cream

Medik8 Night Ritual Vitamin A Cream

Credit: Skinstore

Medik8’s hydrating cream contains encapsulated retinol. The anti-aging ingredient works the graveyard shift so that you can wake up to dewier, more radiant skin.

Key ingredients: 0.2% retinol, Vitamin E, dragon fruit extract

Size: 1.7 oz

Dermstore rating: 5/5 stars

Our expert says: “At night, I recommend a moisturizer with stronger ingredients, such as retinol, to increase cell turnover while you sleep. Don’t forget to apply it on your neck and décolletage.”—Dr. Ashley Magovern

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4

Best Firming

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

Oil Free Moisturizer

4

Best Firming

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

Credit: Nordstrom

Infused with oil-absorbing spheres, Kate Somerville’s moisturizer is a powerhouse for toning and tightening. It draws on red marine algae to firm the skin and boost elasticity, as amino-acid derivatives smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. What’s more, the clever packaging guarantees the perfect amount of product with each pump.

Key ingredients: Essential amino-acid derivatives, red marine algae, algae-based tighteners, oil-absorbing spheres

Size: 1.7 oz

Nordstrom rating: 4.6/5 stars

A Nordstrom reviewer says: “My skin tone looks healthier, my pores seem smaller, and my breakouts have reduced.”

5

Best for Long-Lasting Hydration

belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

On Sale

The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

5

Best for Long-Lasting Hydration

belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

Now 20% Off

Credit: Amazon

Oily-skinned folks should stock up on this cream, which helps the skin retain moisture for 26 hours. The lightweight formula also soothes the skin, perfect for any post-treatment care.

Key ingredients: Comfrey leaf, oak husk, panthenol

Size: 1.68 fl oz

Amazon rating: 4/7/5 stars

Our expert says: “For about $50, you get amazing lightweight, oil-free moisturization, which is ideal for those who are worried about excess oil. The gel-based formula swipes on with a refreshing, cooling tingle. Plus, it has ceramides and glycerin to condition the skin. It’s my absolute favorite.”—Kristin Gunn, Texas-based medical esthetician

6

Best French Pharmacy Find

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Daily Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Effaclar Mat Daily Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin

6

Best French Pharmacy Find

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Daily Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Credit: Ulta

Gunn’s also quick to recommend this French pharmacy classic. Its star ingredient is thermal spring water sourced from an idyllic French town. Packed with antioxidants, the ingredient works soothing wonders on the skin.

Key ingredients: Sebulyse (sebum-regulating) technology, lipo-hydroxy acid, thermal spring water

Size: 1.35 fl oz

Ulta rating: 4.3/ 5 stars

An Ulta reviewer says: “While its primary goal is to reduce oiliness and excess sebum, this moisturizer is specifically formulated with a gentle, oil-free composition. Also, it won’t aggravate sensitive skin.”—Kristin Gunn

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7

Best for Daytime

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

7

Best for Daytime

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

Credit: Ulta

This SPF 30 moisturizer is a major steal. While the lightweight drugstore pick’s main function is sun protection, it also helps strengthen the skin’s barrier and boost moisture via ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

Key ingredients: Ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid

Size: 3 fl oz

CeraVe rating: 4.2/5 stars

Our expert says: “Containing ceramides, B vitamins, and hyaluronic acid, it offers hydration and essential skin-barrier protection without adding excess oil.”—Dr. Gendai Echezona, triple-board-certified physician and medical esthetician

8

Best Antioxidant Moisturizer

Skincare Junkie Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer

Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer

8

Best Antioxidant Moisturizer

Skincare Junkie Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer

Credit: Skincare Junkie

“I spent years as a dermatologist bothered that there was no great antioxidant moisturizer to recommend to my patients,” says board-certified dermatologist and Skincare Junkie founder Dr. Blair Murphy. To fill the white space, she concocted this antioxidant, anti-pollution, and anti-aging moisturizer. Its silky, oil-free formulation was designed for oily skin and won’t clog pores. Fueled with a clinically tested blend of Coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, and green tea, it also has vitamin C to brighten the skin tone. As an added perk, the cute pink packaging makes moisturizing all the more cheerful.

Key ingredients: Centella asiatica, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, vitamin C

Size: 1.69 oz

Skincare Junkie rating: 5/5 stars

A Skincare Junkie reviewer said: “Finally found the perfect moisturizer that hydrates without breaking me out.”

9

Best SPF

Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifying Face Sunscreen SPF 45 PA++++

Oil and Pore Control Mattifying Face Sunscreen SPF 45 PA++++

9

Best SPF

Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifying Face Sunscreen SPF 45 PA++++

Credit: Sephora

Murad’s SPF moisturizer “has matifying agents to remove excess oil and reduce breakouts,” Dr. Murphy explains. The cruelty-free formulation contains avocado and bark extracts, which reduce pore size and minimize oil production. That doesn’t mean it’s drying, though—the broad-spectrum SPF contains balancing hydrators, which make it equally effective on normal or dry skin.

Key ingredients: Oil-trapping microspheres, avocado and African Yellow Wood bark extracts, chemical sunscreens

Size: 1.7 oz

Sephora rating: 3.9/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer says: “I have oily skin, especially in the humid summer. This gives a powdery soft finish all day.”

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10

Best Drugstore Buy

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream

On Sale

Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream

10

Best Drugstore Buy

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream

Now 13% Off

Credit: Amazon

Dr. Noelani González, a board-certified dermatologist, steers oily-skinned patients toward gel-based moisturizers. This drugstore pick from Neutrogena—infused with hyaluronic acid—feels as refreshing as dunking your face into ice-cold water for a quick pick-me-up, san the shrieking, chilling, and regret.

Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid

Size: 1.7 oz

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer says: “This will help moisturize their skin without feeling too heavy. feels very hydrating but smooth and light at the same time,” she continues. “It’s ideal for oily skin.”—Dr. Noelani González, board-certified dermatologist at Mount Sinai

11

Best for Radiance

Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Oil-Free Refillable Moisturizer

Watermelon Pink Juice Oil-Free Refillable Moisturizer

11

Best for Radiance

Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Oil-Free Refillable Moisturizer

Credit: Sephora

A longtime favorite amongst beauty editors, the K-Beauty staple is a hydrating salve for oily complexions. Formulated with watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin, the oil-free moisturizer leaves skin with a radiant glow. The Pink Juice Moisturizer also tames redness, promotes a more even skin tone, and has a fruity scent reminiscent of a mouth-watering watermelon lollipop (the fragrance-adverse may disagree).

Key ingredients: Watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, glycerin

Size: 1.7 oz

Sephora rating: 4.4/ 5 stars

A Sephora reviewer says: “This is great for oily skin! It has a thin and smooth consistency. It is hydrating, and absorbs quickly.”

12

Best Value

The INKEY List Omega Water Cream Oil-Free Moisturizer + Niacinamide

Omega Water Cream Oil-Free Moisturizer + Niacinamide

12

Best Value

The INKEY List Omega Water Cream Oil-Free Moisturizer + Niacinamide

Credit: Sephora

Though it’s budget-friendly, this Inkey List cream doesn’t skimp on ingredients. This Sephora bestseller contains five percent niacinamide, which helps even out the skin tone and mattify shine. It’s also formulated with a ceramide complex that hydrates and supports the skin barrier. The product size is small—a pea-sized amount delivers a lasting moisture surge—but a little goes a long way.

Key ingredients: Ceramide complex, niacinamide

Size: 1.7 fl oz

Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer says: “Fantastic moisturizer for oily skin. It doesn’t break me out and actually leaves my skin feeling moisturized.”

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13

Best Organic Moisturizer

Kora Organics Active Algae Lightweight Moisturizer

Active Algae Lightweight Moisturizer

13

Best Organic Moisturizer

Kora Organics Active Algae Lightweight Moisturizer

Now 62% Off

Credit: Kora Organics

Miranda Kerr’s certified organic brand designed this lightweight gel moisturizer for acne-prone skin. Despite its airy texture, it delivers deep hydration, using green algae, green tea, and Alpine rose to calm and soothe the complexion. The good vibes are a bonus: all of Kora’s products are filtered through rose crystals to infuse them with the vibration of self-love.

Key ingredients: Microalgae, aloe, green tea, Alpine rose

Size: 1.69 fl oz

Kora rating: 4.7/ 5 stars

A Kora reviewer says: “This moisturizer soaks right in. I have baby-smooth skin and it has not caused a breakout.”

14

Best for Skin Repair

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer (1.6 oz.)

Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer (1.6 oz.)

14

Best for Skin Repair

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer (1.6 oz.)

Credit: Dermstore

True to its name, the cream has a light, whipped-from-air texture that sinks right into the skin. Even better, it’s also plumping and infused with antioxidant-rich elderberries to help diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, elderberry

Size: 1.6 fl oz

Dermstore rating: 4.6/5 stars

Our expert says: “This moisturizer has two of my favorite ingredients for oily skin: hyaluronic acid, which provides hydration, and ceramides to lock in that moisture and repair the skin.”—Dr. Ashley Magovern

15

Best Under Makeup

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture

Daily Moisture

15

Best Under Makeup

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture

Credit: Dermstore

Extracts from botanicals and algae swirl in this silky formulation, which restores tired-looking skin with a plump, dewy glow. Perfect as a makeup primer, the lightweight cream sinks into the skin with no greasy residue. Dr. Magovern, who’s a huge fan of this moisturizer, notes: “​​This lightweight daily moisturizer helps balance oil production and refine pores.”

Key ingredients: Algae extracts, botanical extracts

Size: 2 fl oz

Dermstore rating: 4.6/ 5 stars

A Dermstore reviewer says: “Shortly after switching to this moisturizer I noticed my face looked more dewy and youthful. People are always surprised to hear I’m almost 60 because it doesn’t show in my skin. I love it! ”

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Meet the Experts

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Which moisturizer ingredients are best for oily skin?

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“In general, oily skin reacts well to humectants, aka ingredients that draw moisture to the top layer of skin from the dermis,” adds Dr. Magovern. “Humectants include popular skincare ingredients hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Other ingredients to look for are ceramides, which I love because they can repair and moisturize the skin. If you struggle with acne, niacinamide is another amazing ingredient that helps calm inflammation, acne, and hyperpigmentation.”

“Moisturizers with acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid are another great option for oily skin,” adds Dr. González. And as a rule, “always look for ‘oil-free’ and ‘non-comedogenic’ on the product label.”

Which moisturizer ingredients are problematic for oily skin?

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We all love to smell good, but sometimes, forgoing scent in your skin care can be more beneficial. “People with oily skin should avoid products with fragrances, as they can cause irritation to the skin and do not benefit the integrity of the product,” suggests Dr. Magovern. Word of advice: the heavier the ingredient, the higher the potential to clog your pores. “Other ingredients to avoid include comedogenic ingredients like coconut oil and cocoa butter that clog the pores and cause breakouts.”

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What moisturizer formulation is best for oily skin?

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“Cream-based products can feel heavy on oily skin,” says Dr. González. “Instead, opt for gels or lotions.”

How should moisturizer be incorporated into a skincare routine for oily skin?

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“Moisturizer can be incorporated after cleansing your face and right before your sunscreen in the morning, and after applying your actives—any medications or retinols/retinoids—in the evening,” says Dr. González. “In the summertime or warmer climates, it might be ok to skip that morning application and only apply it at night.”

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