Choosing a good moisturiser can be tricky at the best of times. With so many trending ingredients and varying price points to navigate, it can be overwhelming to know where to start—and that’s coming from someone who lives and breathes beauty products. Throw an oily complexion and spot-prone skin into the mix, and things get even more complicated. After all, the last thing you want to think about when dealing with excessive levels of shine on your skin is applying another layer of moisture. However, despite regularly skipping moisturiser during my teenage years—when my acne was at its peak—I never found that it benefitted my skin. In fact, almost every skin expert I’ve ever spoken to has always advised me to continue using moisturiser to make sure that my skin remains hydrated and therefore doesn’t continue to overproduce oil when it’s already naturally oily. Thankfully, over the years, I’ve tested and trialled literally hundreds of moisturisers, and I’m confident that I’ve found plenty that won’t clog pores or exacerbate your oil levels.
Instead, the best moisturisers for oily skin deliver on what feels like the impossible—a healthy, fresh-faced finish that glows but never shines, keeps excess oil at bay and breakouts in check, and leaves skin feeling nourished and hydrated all day long. It’s not much to ask for, right?
Ahead, I’ve rounded up the 15 moisturisers that I always come back to when my skin is at its oiliest and the formulas that I consider to be the very best for oily and combination skin.
1. Caudalie Vinopure Moisturising Mattifying Fluid
Despite having oily, blemish-prone skin, I rarely gravitate towards moisturisers targeted specifically to these needs, as they tend to lack the levels of hydration that I want alongside any breakout-soothing ingredients. Caudalie’s Vinopure range is the exception. Created specifically for blemish-prone, combination skin, this moisturiser manages to provide plenty of hydration, despite its lightweight texture, while keeping excess oil at bay. I come back to it time and time again, and I swear by the serum, too.
2. Elemis Superfood Day Cream
While I absolutely adore the cult Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (£87) and always have a tub on hand, during the summer months or when my skin is particularly oily, I gravitate towards this more lightweight probiotic cream. The formula is packed with omega-rich extracts from superfoods like broccoli and goji berry as well as antioxidants from matcha tea and ginger, so it feels like you’re really delivering a dose of healthy goodness to your skin when you apply it. However, the thing I love most about this is how glowy it leaves my skin looking without veering into overly shiny territory. It layers beautifully beneath makeup too.
3. The Inkey List Bakuchiol Moisturiser
Bakuchiol is one of those buzzy beauty ingredients that I actually think deserve the hype. It’s touted as a natural alternative to retinol, and while it in no way has the same level of impact on the skin, it is a nice ingredient to add into your routine if are looking for some of the same rejuvenating benefits. This is brilliant if you’re in your 30s like I am but still have oily or spot-prone skin. It leaves my skin feeling supple and hydrated, and I feel like it helps to smooth over acne scarring and pigmentation.
4. Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream
This is the second “superfood” moisturiser on the list, so clearly my oily skin likes a big old helping of veggies. Youth to the People is a cult Californian skincare brand that landed in the UK this year, and I’m a big fan of its products. This moisturiser, in particular, has a lovely gel-cream texture that is ideal for oily skin types, and it’s brimming with antioxidants, vitamins and hyaluronic acid to really care for the skin without weighing it down.
5. Paula’s Choice Clear Moisturiser SPF30
I feel like a lot of people have heard of the cult BHA Liquid Exfoliant from Paula’s Choice, but far fewer have forayed into the rest of the range. It’s one of the brands I recommend the most for people with oily skin thanks to how truly efficacious its products are. This moisturiser was one of the first that convinced me SPF wasn’t going to exacerbate my breakouts, and I’ve used it ever since. It has a fluid texture that sinks in effortlessly, takes down shine and minimises the appearance of pores—particularly the large ones on my cheeks and around my nose. Plus, it has the added benefit of SPF 30 and a whole host of antioxidants to protect skin all day.
6. Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer
Let’s be honest—skincare targeted towards oily skin isn’t often the prettiest, and while packaging isn’t everything, it certainly helps to elevate your skincare experience. This oil-free formulation from Summer Fridays not only looks pretty, but it’s damn good. It’s totally free from oil (not something that I personally avoid in my products, but good to know if it’s something you prefer not to use) yet brimming with hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate dehydrated skin. The result is a plump, bouncy complexion that looks healthy and bright—not shiny.
7. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser
If you haven’t got nearly £40 to drop on a moisturiser like the one above, then I’d say this is a really good alternative. It has the same water-gel texture that my oily skin loves and does the clever job of keeping skin hydrated and comfortable without weighing it down or exacerbating my skin’s natural levels of oil production.
8. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Moisturizer
This is one of the most expensive moisturisers that I own, but it’s also one of the best and so brilliant for oily skin. It actually contains lactic and glycolic acids which exfoliate away dead, pore-clogging skin cells to improve radiance, as well as sodium hyaluronate, which both moisturises and strengthens your skin barrier. There are tons of other good stuff in there too, like squalane and ceramides, and my skin always looks and feels really good when I use this.
9. Glossier Priming Moisturizer Balance
I was so excited when Glossier formulated this moisturiser with oily skin specifically in mind, and it really doesn’t disappoint. It’s a refreshing gel-cream formula that absorbs ultra fast and is packed with some really great ingredients. With niacinamide to even skin tone, willow bark to smooth and marine extract to visibly reduce shine, it’s a truly brilliant daily moisturiser for oily skin types.
10. The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Control Lotion SPF15
I was loyal to The Body Shop’s tea tree moisturiser for a long time, but I actually think its seaweed range is far superior for my oily skin now that I’m 32. Tailored to combination-oily complexions, I’d say it’s more hydrating than its tea tree range but still beautifully mattifying. Again, it’s a gel-cream consistency (can you tell that I like this kind of texture?), and it smells really fresh and clean. A great affordable option.
11. Lumene Nordic C [Valo] Glow Reveal Moisturizer
As someone with oily skin and pigmentation caused by old breakouts, I swear by vitamin C for reducing dark spots and generally leaving my skin looking brighter and healthier. I use a vitamin C serum every single morning, but I always swear by this moisturiser from Lumene. It’s more of a traditional cream moisturiser than others in this list but still absorbs easily, and I’d recommend it to anyone seeking a daily moisturiser to help with uneven skin tone or pigmentation caused by spots.
12. Florence by Mills Dreamy Dew Moisturiser
I am definitely not the core demographic for Millie Bobby Brown’s skincare line, but I’ve tried a few things from it recently, and I’m seriously impressed. Plus, turns out, maybe my skin needs are more similar to that of a teenager than someone in their 30s. This is a silky-soft lotion that contains some impressive ingredients to care for oily and spot-prone skin. As well as skin-refining willow bark extract, there’s calming vitamin B12 and an oil-controlling lotus flower blend. It leaves skin with a youthful glow and doubles up as a brilliant makeup primer.
13. Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer
Finally, an oil-free moisturiser that also targets signs of ageing. Thank you, Kate Somerville! This clever formula has been specially created to hydrate skin without causing breakouts and contains oil-absorbing spheres to keep your complexion mattified all day. Even more impressive, though, is the addition of toning red marine algae and amino acid derivatives to minimise the appearance of fine lines. Brilliant for anyone dealing with traditionally teenage skin issues along with those first signs of ageing and dehydration.
14. Skin Proud Sorbet Skin
I have to admit that I’d written off Skin Proud as a bit of a Gen Z skincare brand, but since putting it to the test, I’ve been so impressed by so many of its products—this moisturiser being one of them. I think this is particularly brilliant during summer when my skin tends to be extra oily, as the oil-free formula and gel texture don’t weigh down my skin in the slightest. Plus, it feels wonderfully refreshing to apply.
15. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+
Saving one of my most recommended moisturisers for oily skin until last—La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo+ is a cult skincare product for a reason. It’s a gel moisturiser that not only hydrates oily skin but actually minimises the appearance of spots, protects skin from pigmentation and controls shine. I recently realised that I’d run out while dealing with a particularly bad breakout and had to run to Boots that very same day to stock up again because nothing else comes close.
Up next, the one product you should buy from the buzziest skincare brands.
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