The 10 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin of 2023, Tested and Reviewed




Sorry, oily skin types, but you can't exempt yourself from moisturizing just because your skin produces more sebum than other skins. Everyone—we repeat, everyone—should moisturize daily to prevent dehydration, including people with oily skin. Save the rich creams for those with dry skin and opt for a lightweight oil-control moisturizer that will control excess oil while balancing your skin's moisture barrier. 

To help you, we researched the best moisturizers on the market for oily skin and then put them to the test. We tested 29 moisturizers in our New York lab for consistency, absorbency, greasiness, appearance, and value, and now share our results with you. Ultimately, our favorite moisturizer for oily skin is Tatcha's favorite, The Water Cream. It gets rave reviews and feels lightweight while moisturizing the skin. 

Read on to discover the best moisturizers for oily skin. 



1. Best Overall Award: Tatcha The Water Cream 


Inspired by Japanese geishas and their iconic beauty rituals, Vicky Tsai founded Tatcha with the goal of balancing timeless Japanese botanicals with clinically proven skincare ingredients. Aqua Cream, one of the brand's most popular products and our best-performing moisturizer, is a perfect example. 


The formula contains a proprietary blend of double fermented rice, green tea and seaweed, along with Japanese wild rose and leopard lily, to refine skin, reduce oil production and keep things calm. As the name suggests, Lovechild's combination of gel and cream blends seamlessly into the skin, leaving you feeling refreshed and soothed upon contact. 



The reason it's so good for oily skin is that it leaves no residue or shiny film. Conversely, people with oily skin should feel hydrated (maybe even a little dewy) but definitely not greasy. The formula delivers a subtle, non-greasy glow while leaving skin looking smoother. 

Our testers were also impressed with the functionality of the packaging. The tub looks great on any vanity (although it's bulky when traveling) and comes with a spatula that slots right into the top for safe storage. A small spoonful goes a long way, ensuring you really get your money's worth. 

2. Best Oil Controller: La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Matte Moisturizer. Friends with oily skin, take note: Don’t damage your skin barrier with your daily use of moisturizer. This gel-cream moisturizer from La Roche-Posay is designed to hydrate skin without adding shine. 


While the formula is a bit thick straight from the bottle, it dries down almost immediately upon contact with skin. The formula contains a high concentration of antioxidant-rich La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water, three hydrating ceramides, anti-inflammatory niacinamide and hydrating glycerin, each of which balances, controls and nourishes oily skin. 


Remember: Sunscreen may pill if you apply it directly on it. To avoid pilling, we recommend waiting 10 minutes between applying moisturizer and sunscreen. 


3. Best for uneven texture: Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer. There's a lot to love about this piece from Tata Harper. First, it contains natural ingredients like pomegranate beads, neroli peptide, and hyaluronic acid, which work together to lock in moisture and support the hydrated skin barrier for a healthy-looking glow. 


It also contains lactic acid, which helps gently exfoliate the top layer of skin, ultimately improving texture and tone over time. Secondly, it also works as a silicone-free primer, so you can apply it and continue with the rest of your makeup routine and trust it to last for hours. It doesn't cake when applying makeup, but serves as a smooth, silky base for foundation and concealer. When you inevitably run out, you can refill your empty jars with recyclable capsules—a win-win for you and the environment. 

Keep in mind that this formula contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which may increase your sensitivity to the sun and your likelihood of sunburn. When using this moisturizer, be sure to use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure. 


4. Best for Acne: Caudalie Vinopure Hydrating Oil Control Liquid. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, you may be wondering whether moisturizer is really necessary. It turns out that moisturizer is actually the key to healing your skin. 


However, the last thing you want to do is smear pore-clogging moisturizer on your face, which can make the problem worse. Enter: Caudalie Vinopure Oil Control Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin. 


Enriched with silica powder and Java tea extract to inhibit sebum production and promote hydration, this moisturizer also contains olive squalane to reduce blackheads and polyphenols to reduce blackheads, making it a must-have for acne-prone skin types. 


All-in-one formula. Testers found this moisturizer to be very lightweight, with a gel-like consistency that melted directly into pores. The best part: it leaves no greasy shine. 

In fact, our tester noted that her skin was very matte. However, it is not a miracle worker. Sure, it absorbed any excess oil left on our tester's skin, but she said her existing redness looked the same. 


5. Best for large pores: Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel. As the name suggests, Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Moisturizing Gel is invisible. Even though you can't see it, moisturizer hydrates, shrinks pores, and protects skin from environmental aggressors over time. 



Thanks to niacinamide (an anti-inflammatory and pore-shrinking ingredient) and anti-aging antioxidants, you can expect your skin to feel silky smooth and pores and fine lines look visibly less prominent. Our tester was so smitten with it that she even said her skin absorbed it within seconds, leaving behind a glow without a hint of shine. Use day and night.However, be sure to wear SPF 30 or higher during the day to get the most out of this moisturizer. While niacinamide is generally a soothing ingredient, it may cause irritation when combined with other active ingredients, especially if you have skin allergies. To be on the safe side, do a patch test on a small area of ​​skin to see how your skin responds to the moisturizer. 


6. Best for discoloration: Mele Plump It Up Nourishing Face Cream. Whether it's post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (also known as PIH) or sun exposure, dark spots can appear regardless of your skin type. 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people with skin rich in melanin tend to be more prone to dark spots and spots because their skin produces more melanin due to pimples, ulcers, hormonal changes, and more. 

MelÄ“, a brand dedicated to formulating skincare products for people of color, was developed by dermatologists of color to create an all-in-one product for anyone struggling with oily skin and discoloration. 


Plump It Up Nourishing Cream is a non-greasy moisturizer that evens out skin tone without adding extra oil or shine. The formula contains skin-care actives like plant-based squalane, niacinamide, and vitamin B5 to fight discoloration and plump skin—all you have to do is massage the silky cream into your face. 


We don't want to hide that it has a subtle floral scent, but according to our testers, it's not overpowering and shouldn't bother most people. However, you should avoid using them if you are easily irritated or allergic to fragrances. 

7. Best for Retinol: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2. If you use a retinoid (like tretinoin or retinol), a good moisturizer is your best friend. Like peanut butter and jelly, retinoids and moisturizers complement each other, especially when it comes to protecting skin from irritation.

Because retinoids are so powerful and can cause a range of problems, such as dryness, if used incorrectly, dermatologists often recommend using them. 

The Sandwich Method Simply put, the sandwich method involves:

Applying retinol before applying it A layer of moisturizer. After giving the retinol time to absorb, apply a layer of moisturizer.

While any moisturizer is better than none, for best results, a rich, silky moisturizer is key. Testers were impressed with the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2, which easily massages into the entire skin without feeling greasy. One tester noted that it "definitely takes time to absorb," but that's because it's rich in emollients and lipids, proving it to be a great nighttime option (that is, if you use retinol). 

 8. Best Gel: Basebutter Balancing Gel Facial Moisturizer
Basebutter's Balancing Gel Facial Moisturizer is designed for oily skin types and is a great option for anyone prone to clogged pores. Enriched with nourishing ingredients like anti-inflammatory aloe leaf juice, hydrating shea butter and pore-refining witch hazel, this lightweight gel works to hydrate, balance skin and prevent breakouts. 

Testers loved how it reduced overall greasiness throughout the day (even in humid conditions) and were impressed with how quickly it absorbed into their skin. One tester noted that it felt "minty" and somewhat cooling on contact, possibly due to the high amount of aloe vera that can be attributed to the formula. This isn't for everyone, but it's worth mentioning if it doesn't work for you. 

9. Best Face Cream: Innisfree Green Tea Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer
Innisfree Green Tea Seed Intense Hydrating Cream is a daily moisturizer that is exactly what the name suggests: a green tea moisturizer. The USDA Certified Organic green tea used in the product is rich in antioxidants and amino acids, both of which provide skin-soothing moisture. 

Even though it has a super strong green tea scent (which testers weren't expecting), it's clean. Although it's lightweight, a little goes a long way in helping you get the most out of your tub. It doesn't matter anyway. So if you're really oily, you might not be too happy with this product. Still, our tester said it felt hydrated on her skin, which is perfect for cold, windy days when skin needs a little pick-me-up. 

10. Best Vegan: Kopari Moisture Whipped Ceramide Cream
Anyone looking for vegetarian options should consider ending their search. Made with clean, vegan ingredients (primarily glycerin, shea butter, and coconut fruit extract), Kopari Moisture Whipped Ceramide Cream has a buttery texture that feels luxurious when applied. Since it's slightly thicker, our tester was surprised to find that her oily skin didn't look greasy after applying it to her face. After a few minutes, her skin looked smooth. 

However, this option isn't exactly matte, but it's a great choice for those who prefer a natural glow. She especially admired how effortlessly it blended into her dark skin, with not a hint of white in sight.
A word of caution: If you have acne-prone skin, you may want to stay away from this option. The formula is clean, but ingredients like shea butter and coconut extract can clog pores.
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