The best moisturiser for oily skin to hydrate and control shine

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  • There’s a fine line between dewy supermodel skin and a slick of sheen. Especially when grease gets worse as the day wears on, leaving planet-sized pores in its wake. One way to outsmart oil is to re-evaluate your skincare: enter, the best moisturiser for oily skin.

    After using the best toner and best face serums for combination skin, it makes sense that your moisturiser should be water-based and light enough to be inspired by K-beauty’s gels. 

    ‘Combatting oiliness is a tricky business,’ explains dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto. ‘If in doubt, look for the words ‘oil-free’ and ‘non-comedogenic’ on the packaging as this means it won’t clog pores.’

    Water-based skincare is a good option

    Moisturising may seem counterintuitive, but oily skin can still get dehydrated. This is especially true if you are also using acne products to quell breakouts.

    ‘Many anti-acne products dry out the skin,’ explains consultant dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong. ‘It’s important to rehydrate it in order to prevent sebum levels going into overdrive to compensate for this dryness.’

    Enter this option: water-packed gels, which never suffocate the skin.

    model with glowing skin

    ‘What the water does is act as a vehicle to transport other actives in the product so they penetrate the skin better,’ says Benedicte Le Bris, head of research and development at L’Occitane. ‘At the same time, the gel traps the water so it doesn’t evaporate at room temperature.’

    Another benefit of gels is that the watery consistency delivers a hit of hydration without blocking pores. Something that makes it ideal for acne sufferers but also helps along all skins prone to oiliness. ‘This is because gels are free from the fatty ingredients that normally make moisturisers creamy,’ explains Le Bris. 

    Many also boast sponge-like ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. These are oily skin saviours as they hold on to vast amounts of water, effectively plumping up fine lines and shuttling lost moisture back into dry skin. 

    And the icing on the cake? Gels play well under make-up, leaving no sticky residue on the skin. 

    Best moisturiser for oily skin and open pores

    Glossier Priming Moisturiser Balance, £23 |

    Glossier Priming Moisture Balance

    Perhaps the most refreshing thing about this gel-cream formula is that it dampens shine but still leaves skin with a hint of dewiness. It’s spiked with a marine extract to reduce oiliness, while willow bark and niacinamide get to work improving the appearance of gaping pores.  Side bar: if your pores are very large it may be worth looking into microdermabrasion if you’re keen to reduce their noticeability for the long-term.

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    Best moisturiser for oily skin with SPF

    Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Hydrating Lotion SPF25, £12.99 | Lookfantastic

    Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield SPF Moisturiser

    A non-greasy moisturiser with a decent SPF is like the unicorn of skincare. This one tops our wishlist as it is a fast absorbing gel that is also oil-free, non-comedogenic and contains hyaluronic acid, which hydrates without heavy emollients.

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    So if the thought of treating oily skin makes you break out in a sweat, this tailored arsenal of skincare will help. Keep reading for more of the best moisturisers for oily skin.

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