The Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin in 2023, Tested by Grooming Editors

two of the best moisturizers for oily skin

By Garrett Munce

When you have oily skin, it’s easy to skip moisturizer. Why add more stuff to your skin when it’s already slick and shiny, you might tell yourself. But if you’re skipping this step of your skincare routine, you could be doing your face a disservice. “Skin oiliness and skin hydration are related, but separate issues; there are many people who have oily skin, but still benefit from a moisturizer,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. In fact, when skin is dry, it sometimes secretes more oil in an attempt to balance hydration. So using a moisturizer may actually help reduce how much oil your skin makes.

But you shouldn’t be using any old moisturizer if you have oily skin. Look for formulas that are oil-free and are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores and lead to breakouts. The addition of ingredients like acne-fighting salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide is a plus, particularly if you are also acne-prone. (For the record, having oily skin does not automatically mean you are acne prone. “All skin types can be acne-prone,” says Jeremy Brauer, MD, board-certified dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, and founder of Spectrum Skin and Laser in Purchase, NY).

Apply your moisturizer day and night to help manage oil and keep your skin hydrated. As for which is best for your oily skin? We asked our experts to weigh in.


La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer

This gentle, easy to apply moisturizer is specifically designed for oily skin to help control excess oil production throughout the day. It’s also packed with skin-beneficial vitamins and hydrating ingredients to ensure your face is well-hydrated, but has a matte finish so you don’t look shiny.

Why the experts like it: “This noncomedogenic, oil free moisturizer is designed for oily skin. It contains both LHA, a salicylic acid derivative, and salicylic acid to help control excess oils. It’s matte finish helps reduce skin’s shiny appearance and control oil throughout the day.”—Dr. Brauer


The Outset Nourishing Squalane Daily Moisturizer

This ultra-lightweight moisturizer is as much about what it doesn’t have in it as what it does. Yes, it’s packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid, but it’s also free from fragrance which makes it ideal for sensitive skin and is non-comedogenic which makes it suitable for breakout prone skin as well.

Why the experts like it: “This lightweight moisturizer is gentle enough for all skin types and is a great option for oily skin. This clinically proven moisturizer provides long-lasting hydration and has soothing botanical extracts to reduce the look of redness,”—Dr. Brauer.

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture

This luxurious moisturizer seems simple on the surface, but is one of the best oily-skin moisturizers out there. It seems rich in the jar, but is actually so featherweight on your skin that it feels like nothing is there. Packed with vitamins, algae and botanical extracts, it works overtime to not only hydrate your skin but protect it.

Why the experts like it: “This moisturizer combines natural ingredients with algae extracts to control oil production while hydrating the skin.”—Dr. Brauer


Alastin Ultra Light Moisturizer

This ultra-lightweight moisturizer may feel like next to nothing on your skin, but it works below the surface to help stimulate collagen and elastin production (which dips as we age) thanks to the brand’s proprietary TriHex technology.

Why the experts like it: This lightweight moisturizer hydrates the skin while also boosting elastin and collagen production, making it suitable for oily skin.”—Rahi Sarbazhia, MD, Beverly Hills-based Integrative Aesthetics Doctor.


Colorescience Pep Up Collagen Boost Face & Neck Treatment


Serums are usually meant to be worn underneath your moisturizer, but this one is so moisturizing that we say it could pull double duty. It’s packed with peptides to help boost collagen production and skin hydrating ingredients to help plump up your skin.

Why the experts like it: “Although not specifically a moisturizer, this lightweight serum helps boost collagen production, improve skin texture, and provide hydration without adding excess oil.”—Dr. Sarbazhia


PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

Using an ultra-moisturizing serum in place of your moisturizer could be a good option for especially oily skin because it’s super lightweight. This one packs of all the power of creamier moisturizer into a more liquidy serum that sinks in quickly and works to hydrate your skin without any extra oil.

Why the experts like it: This serum is designed to provide intense hydration without clogging pores or adding extra oil. It contains hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture and plumps the skin.”—Dr. Sarbazhia


RoC Multi Correxion Hyaluronic Acid Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

You can’t argue with a moisturizer at this price point that checks all the right boxes for an oily skin moisturizer. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid and moisturizing ingredients but also contains sunscreen so you don’t have to double up on products every morning.

Why the experts like it: “This ultra light moisturizer hydrates without weighing down the skin. Plus, it provides broad-spectrum UV protection. The formula delivers hyaluronic acid to offer hydration to oily skin without making it feel heavy or greasy.”—Dr. Zeichner


Eucerin Eucerin Skin Balance Day Cream

This fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer is ideal for all skin types but especially oily skin because it’s creamy but lightweight and won’t make you feel like you have a film on your face. It’s best for those with oily skin on the drier side, but it’s a solid all around bet.

Why the experts like it: This non-comedogenic moisturizer combines natural emollients like shea butter along with soothing licorice root extract to hydrate, protect, and calm the skin.”—Dr. Zeichner


Atwater Oil Regulator Facial Moisturizer

The texture of this moisturizer is really where it’s at—a super smooth gel-cream that’s easy to apply and doesn’t take a lot to get full coverage. It’s also packed with hydrating ingredients, of course, but also salicylic acid to help curb oil production throughout the day.

Testing Notes: This oil-controlling moisturizer earns its spot on our list because it just feels so damn good. We found we favored this texture above almost all the others on this list because it’s like a thick, milky gel that spreads easily without the need to use a lot. Once it sinks into your skin (quickly) it feels like absolutely nothing is there. We found the oil-controlling claims to be true, if bit hard to fully quantify except that we noticed less shine on our faces at the end of the day versus other moisturizers. Plus, you can’t argue with the fact that this tube is big so it lasts a really long time.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid

Gel moisturizers are ideal for oily skin because they’re lightweight and are usually oil-free. The downside is that they can sometimes be too light for very dry skin. This one strikes the right balance—a super lightweight gel formula that is still hydrating enough for extra dry skin.

Testing Notes: This is by far our favorite gel moisturizer we tried because it hydrates as well as a cream but has a clear, featherweight finish. A little goes a long way with this one. In fact, we found that applying too much left our faces slightly sticky—so proceed with caution. Use less than you think you need at first (you can always add more) until you find the right amount for you. Once you do, you’re golden.

What to Look for in a Moisturizer for Oily Skin


Ingredients: Look for oil controlling ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, says Dr. Brauer, as well as hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid that help curb excess oil while still moisturizing the skin. Bonus points if it also contains zinc oxide, which can act as oil control and protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, recommends Dr. Sarbazhia.

Oil-free formulas: All of our experts agreed that you should look for oil-free formulas that don’t contain mineral oil and are non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog your pores. Some oil-skin friendly moisturizers also contain mattifiers (they’ll say “matte” on the bottle) that help keep your skin from looking shiny.

How Often Should You Use Moisturizers for Oily Skin?


Our experts agree that you should moisturize both morning and night. You can use the same moisturizer for both morning and night, but with a caveat. “If you use a moisturizer with SPF, then that should be your morning moisturizer only,” says Dr. Brauer.



At Spectrum Skin and Laser we utilize the latest technologies and techniques, often in combination to best improve your results. Dr. Jeremy Brauer has remained at the forefront of these technological advances since the beginning of his career, and looks forward to meeting with you to discuss your needs. To schedule a consultation, please schedule below. 

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