The best moisturisers for oily skin

Anna Hunter 24 January 2017
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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The best moisturisers for oily skin

Oily skin is a delicate creature. Go too harsh with your skincare in an attempt to banish oil and your sebum production is likely to go into overdrive, but load up on heavy emollients and you’ll end up with more grease and possible  blackheads , breakouts and skin that feels suffocated rather than softened and soothed. Finding a moisturiser that quite literally strikes the balance can feel like a quest for the holy grail/ one ring to rule them all/ Voldemort’s horcruxes, but there are creams, gels and light-as-a-feather emulsions on the market that can restore peace, calm and vital hydration without making matters worse on the shine front. Read on to discover the creams of the crop…

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Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

We’ll kick this off with something basic, but I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Fragrance-free, oil-free and generally lacking in any potential irritants, this moisturiser absorbs quickly, feels fresh and delivers in terms of calming all-day hydration without any frills. It won’t blur out imperfections or turn skin to velvet, but it will plump, replenish and strengthen the skin barrier. If you’re after a failsafe moisturising staple, this is it.

From £18,  buy online

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Estée Lauder Daywear Matte

If the idea of applying a giant cucumber slice to your face appeals, this gel based cream will likely tick your boxes, especially if you keep it chilled. Fresh, silky and barely there, it leaves a matte, makeup ready canvas with visibly diminished pores. Seaweed extracts and a nice antioxidant blend add a protective element, although if you are wearing during the day adding an SPF is essential to shield skin from UV damage.

From £25,  buy online

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Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15

If sunscreens have you breaking out in a sweat due to grease-induced anxiety, rest assured that this zinc-oxide based SPF feels light, is undetectable on the skin and fused with a supremely effective mattifying formula. Niacinamide (otherwise known as vitamin B3) balances moisture levels while diminishing the appearance of enlarged pores, while antioxidants by way of non-aggravating plant extracts help to shield skin from damaging free radicals. It makes a lovely smoothing base for makeup and hits a number of skin concerns in one whack, so is well worth the investment.

£29.50,  buy online

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Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Mattifying Fluid SPF 50

To up the SPF ante without clogging pores or adding grease, you can’t really go wrong with this thin textured, alcohol and oil-free fluid. Green tea and vitamin E provide further antioxidant skin support, and the light, sheer finish belies the fact that it’s a whopping factor 50. It won’t mattify to a great degree, but it offers futuristic light-as-air protection, guarding against both premature ageing and breakouts/ oil spillages as you wear it.

£33,  buy online

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Omorovicza Balancing Moisturiser

Speaking of investments, this one is seriously hefty, but if you have a few extra pennies (pounds) to spend and want a moisturiser that manages to pull off the elusive trickery of radiance creation as well as sebum regulation, Omorovicza has nailed it. A light, cooling cream, it makes look instantly brighter (possibly due to the formula’s gently exfoliating plant extracts), sinks in with speed and subtly enhances the appearance of the skin without shrouding it in a weird matte ‘cloak’. Post-application skin is ever so slightly dewy, not shiny, and a whole lot calmer. I’ve been using this vitamin and mineral rich moisturiser for a good few years now, on and off, and whenever I come back to it I notice that my skin looks healthier and throws fewer wobblies in general. It’s not a miracle worker (no cream is), but for short-term and long-term results, it does was it says on the very luxe glass bottle.

£80 (I KNOW),  buy online

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Susanne Kaufmann Face Fluid Line F

If you’re after an organic solution to mopping up your t-zone while also keeping skin smooth and hydrated, this pharmacist and dermatologist developed herbal cream could be the one, and considering the price it’s just as well that a little blob goes a long way. With soothing chamomile, lightly astringent witch hazel and a base of sunflower oil (high quality plant oils can in fact aid in balancing skin by preventing sebum production from going overboard), it smells slightly floral, yet happily for the sensitised among us fragrance is low down on the ingredients list. Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate on the other hand are high up on the list, providing vital moisture and keeping skin supple, while the likes of aloe vera are a tonic for hot and bothered skin.

£54,  buy online

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Liz Earle Skin Repair™ Light Moisturiser

Another moisturiser loaded with reparative plant extracts and oils, this lighter option on a Liz Earle classic furnishes skin with a lovely buffet of antioxidants to help to protect skin from external damage and keep it looking youthful. Lactic acid provides a small element of exfoliation to encourage clear skin and maintain normal sebum production, but this humectant rich cream may be better suited to older skins for whom oily patches are the main issue- those with breakouts may wish to opt for a less emollient formula. That being said our older tester reported easy absorption, smooth skin all day and no surplus of oil, even post-exercising.

£20.25,  buy online

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Dermalogica Active Moist

A time-honoured oily skin option, Active Moist was loved by our tester for its comfortable feel, fast absorption and botanical but not overpowering scent. If fragrance is an issue for you you may wish to opt for a simpler formula, but the plant-derived fragrance here didn’t pose a problem for oily, breakout prone skin. Cucumber and aloe vera cool and calm, while skin conditioning mallow extract and lactic acid help to refine skin texture during wear. As moisturisers go this is definitely on the lighter spectrum, but our younger tester found it suitably hydrating.

From £31,  buy online

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Bioderma Sebium Hydra

If your oily skin has been through the mill of aggressive treatments, this ceramide and glycerin abundant lotion could restore peace while also keeping sebum in check. It helps skin to retain moisture and it feels light and refreshing whether worn underneath makeup or at nighttime, but it should be noted that the formula does contain mineral oil, which didn’t create problems for our tester, but is definitely worth mentioning if you’re keen on avoiding it. Otherwise, fragrance and potential irritants are minimal.

£10.50,  buy online

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La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat

Our tester declared that she has 99 problems with at least 17 of them as a result of having very oily skin. This cream leaves skin soft and silky to touch and has a lightweight texture when compared to other lotions for oily skin types. It is a great makeup base, however, it is no ‘wonder’ cream. Our tester did notice that her oil prone t-zone held off shine slightly longer than usual which is a plus, but there wasn’t a noticeable improvement in visible pores. All in all it was one of the better creams trailed for oily skin, as anything that keeps shine away for an extra hour to two is a winner when skin is very oily.

£14.50,  buy online