If you struggle with shine during the day, these are our 13 best moisturisers for oily skin

Because hydration doesn't have to mean congestion

Studio portrait of fashionable Gen Z woman - best moisturiser for oily skin
(Image credit: Getty Images/We Are)

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 moisturisers for oily skin.

After using the best toners and best face serums for combination skin, it makes sense that your moisturiser should be lightweight and, where possible, slightly mattifying. Because it's true that different skin types need different moisturisers. For example, the best moisturisers for dry skin will likely be too heavy for those with oily skin, leaving complexions greasy, sticky and congested. 

What to look for in the best moisturiser for oily skin

"Combatting oiliness is a tricky business," explains consultant dermatologist at Self London Dr Anjali Mahto. "If in doubt, look for the words 'oil-free' and 'noncomedogenic' on the packaging as this means it won’t clog pores."

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."

However, this is obviously not the place for rich, oil-based moisturisers that could further aggravate an already clogged complexion. What's needed are lightweight creams and gels that sink into the skin quickly. Products like water-based creams work beautifully.

"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 all skin 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 morning moisturiser for oily skin: Glossier Priming Moisturiser Balance, £26 | Sephora
  • Best night moisturiser for oily skin: Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser, from £11 | Paula's Choice
  • Best mattifying moisturiser for oily skin: Caudalie Vinopure Moisturising Mattifying Fluid, £25 | Lookfantastic
  • Best balancing moisturiser for oily skin: Medik8 Balance Moisturiser and Glycolic Acid Activator, £52 | Medik8
  • Best lightweight moisturiser for oily skin: Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturiser, £45 | Space NK
  • Best moisturiser for oily skin for men: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream, £35 | Lookfantastic
  • Best moisturiser for oily, mature skin: Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer, £65 | John Lewis
  • Best moisturiser for oily, blemish-prone skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+M, £20.90 | Lookfantastic
  • Best gel moisturiser for oily skin: Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Gel Moisturiser, £32.50 | Lookfantastic
  • Best luxury moisturiser for oily skin: Augustinus Bader The Light Cream, £145 | Cult Beauty
  • Best moisturiser for oily, sensitive skin: Avène Cleanance Mattifying Aqua-Gel, £22 | Cult Beauty
  • Best pore-blurring moisturiser for oily skin: Perricone MD Instant Blur Priming Moisturizer, £48 | Face the Future
  • Best hydrating moisturiser for oily skin: Tatcha The Water Cream, from £24 | Space NK

How we tested the best moisturisers for oily skin

In light of everything that the experts said, we looked for products that were:

  • non-comedogenic
  • hydrating
  • oil-free

And luckily, there are a number of oily-skinned girls on the Marie Claire UK beauty desk who have been testing out the best moisturisers for oily skin for many years. 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 the Marie Claire UK beauty editor-approved edit of the best moisturisers for oily skin.

The best moisturisers for oily skin

1. Glossier Priming Moisturiser Balance

Laura holding Glossier Priming Moisturiser Balance - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Glossier Priming Moisturiser Balance - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Glossier)

Glossier Priming Moisturiser Balance

Best morning moisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Gel-cream
Size options: 50ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Contains niacinamide to tackle the appearance of large pores
+
Takes down shine before make-up application

Reasons to avoid

-
Works best with a more active serum underneath

The best moisturiser for oily skin needs to help balance oil without stripping the skin— and this does exactly that. The marine extract in this cream reduces visible shine instantly and the niacinamide works to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.

"I really like the texture of this; it disperses into an almost water-like consistency on the skin then sinks straight in. As it's name suggests, it's great under make-up—no pilling of shifting under foundation." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

2. Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser

Laura holding Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Paula's Choice)

Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser

Best night moisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Gel-cream
Size options: 15ml, 60ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Soothes skin instantly
+
Reduces the appearance of pores

Reasons to avoid

-
If you prefer a richer feeling cream, this light lotion won't be for you

This is your best moisturiser for oily skin to use in the evening. There's a combo of niacinamide (improves the look of enlarged pores, refines texture), ceramides (to strengthen that all important skin barrier) and blueberry (calms redness) in the formula. It's a lightweight cream that won't clog your pores or further add to your skin's greasy feeling.

"Night creams are typically thicker than day ones and can leave oily skin feeling even greasier, especially if you're prone to sweating in your sleep—but this is one that I know will deliver light amount of hydration without making my face slick by morning," - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

3. Caudalie Vinopure Moisturising Mattifying Fluid

Laura holding Caudalie Vinopure Moisturising Mattifying Fluid - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Caudalie Vinopure Moisturising Mattifying Fluid - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Caudalie)

Caudalie Vinopure Moisturising Mattifying Fluid

Best mattifying moisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Lotion
Size options: 40ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
It's barrier restoring without being oily

Reasons to avoid

-
This really takes down shine, so if you like a bit of glow it will have to be added with make-up
-
Quite a small tube

This gel-type lotion contains silica powder, which has a mattifying effect on the skin, dialling down shine in an instant. It's also Marie Claire UK's fashion editor's favourite moisturiser. After coming off the pill, her skin went a little nuts and she had uncontrollable blemishes. This, along with rethinking her entire skincare routine, helped to calm inflammation, reduce the appearance of her spots and mattify any shine.

"This is magic stuff, immediately soaking up oil without over-drying the skin. It's a smaller tube than most moisturisers but I don't actually use this all over my face—only on my oily T-zone." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

4. Medik8 Balance Moisturiser and Glycolic Acid Activator

Medik8 Balance Moisturiser and Glycolic Acid Activator - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Medik8 Balance Moisturiser and Glycolic Acid Activator - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Medik8)

Medik8 Balance Moisturiser and Glycolic Acid Activator

Best balancing moisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Cream and liquid
Size options: 50ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Helps boost the skin's natural glow without oiliness
+
Contains a daily moisturiser and a treatment in the box

Reasons to avoid

-
Those with sensitive skin might not get on with the glycolic acid
-
Not the cheapest

This dynamic duo was formulated to balance the skin's microbiome. Two or three times a week, apply 4-6 drops of the glycolic acid activator onto your face—this will slough away any dead skin cells. Apply the probiotic and prebiotic-rich Balance Moisturiser once the skin has dried—the moisturiser will be able to penetrate further with no dead skin in its way. By feeding the good bacteria in the microbiome, it encourages a clearer complexion. Use the moisturiser alone the rest of the week.

"I love the idea of this—having your daily moisturiser and a complimentary exfoliating treatment together in one box. My skin can sometimes be sensitive to glycolic acid but I didn't experience any irritation from this 10% solution, and the moisturiser left my skin feeling nicely balanced: neither too smothered in product nor too matte." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

5. Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturiser

Laura holding Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturiser - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturiser - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Summer Fridays)

Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturiser

Best lightweight moisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Gel-cream
Size options: 15ml, 50ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Refreshing texture
+
Plumps and soothes skin

Reasons to avoid

-
Those with exceptionally oily skin might not find this mattifying enough

This gel cream is so lightweight that you can barely feel it on the skin (which is perfect when you feel like an oil slick). However, that doesn't mean you won't feel the benefits. There are three weights of hyaluronic acid in this, so your skin will practically sing with happiness at how hydrated it is. There are also ceramides, minerals and amino acids inside, which are known to feed and regulate the skin barrier, making for a very content complexion.

"My skin is combination, so I like to use oil-free moisturisers that still let my skin's natural glow shine through. This moisturiser meets my criteria and is one of my favourites to use all year round." - Shannon Lawlor, Executive Beauty Editor

6. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream

Laura holding Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Kiehl's)

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream

Best moisturiser for oily skin for men

Specifications

Formula: Gel-cream
Size options: 50ml, 125ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Refreshing and hydrating
+
Leaves skin feeling silky

Reasons to avoid

-
We couldn't feel the effects of '24-hour hydration' as stated on the pot

Kiehl's iconic moisturiser also comes in an oil-free formula, which means that all skin types can now reap the benefits of this super hydrator. It reduces shine on the skin and helps to improve the appearance of large pores over time.

"I know that skincare isn't gendered, but my boyfriend loves this one; I think it's a combination of the functional packaging, its mattifying effect, and the fact that it doesn't cling to facial hair. I personally prefer a little more slip from my moisturiser under make-up, but it's definitely a great choice for oily skin." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

7. Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer

Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturiser - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturiser - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Kate Somerville)

Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer

Best moisturiser for oily, mature skin

Specifications

Formula: Cream
Size options: 50ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully lightweight
+
Instantly mattifying

Reasons to avoid

-
It's very mattifying, so if you like a glow this isn't for you

Just because you have oily skin and are prone to breakouts, this doesn't mean that these are your only skin concerns. This cream is ideal for more mature skin types that want a cream that can also supports elasticity, tightens and reduce fine lines. Et voila!

"My skin loves this. It still feels like a really luxe, refined and effective moisturiser but one that I know won't block pores or make my skin even oilier. It gets bonus points too for the handy air-tight, push-down dispenser." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

8. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+M

Laura holding La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+M - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+M - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: La Roche-Posay)

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+M

Best moisturiser for oily, blemish-prone skin

Specifications

Formula: Cream
Size: 40ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Gentle but effective
+
Non-drying
+
Good for all the family, including teens

Reasons to avoid

-
Might not be hydrating enough for some
-
Tube isn't as big as some of the others

We're calling it: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo deserves a place in the Beauty Hall of Fame. So many experts we know love this as a gentle moisturiser that effectively reduces spots with stripping the skin. It has recently been made even better with the addition of Phylobioma, an active ingredient that reduces the appearance of blemishes in as little as eight hours.

"I always have a tube of this on standby in my spot-SOS kit; it's gentle enough to use every day, great for sensitive skin, and really does shrink pimples quickly. I also regularly recommended it to parents of teens struggling with mild breakouts, too." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

9. Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Gel Moisturiser

Laura holding Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Gel Moisturiser - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Gel Moisturiser - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Beauty Bay)

Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Gel Moisturiser

Best gel moisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Gel
Size options: 50ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous packaging
+
Cooling thanks to mint extract
+
Lightweight and plumping

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't contain any major actives, so you might need to pair with a hardworking serum for targeted treatment

"I absolutely adore this gel moisturiser. It's simple but so effective. It contains small beads of hyaluronic acid that burst and unleash their plumping, hydrating goodness. It also contains cooling mint leaf to tackle unwanted shine and minimise the appearance of large pores. It has become my go-to moisturiser for summer." – Shannon Lawlor, Executive Beauty Editor

10. Augustinus Bader The Light Cream

Laura holding Augustinus Bader The Light Cream - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Augustinus Bader The Light Cream - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Cult Beauty)

Augustinus Bader The Light Cream

Best luxury moisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Gel-cream
Size: 30ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Contains smart ingredients to repair skin cells and tissue
+
Lovely texture
+
Beautiful packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Small bottle

This luxe skincare brand is a celebrity favourite; it's The Rich Cream that's spotted in the A-listers' bathroom cabinets most often, but this contains the same super-smart, skin cell-renewing TFC8 technology but in a lighter, gel-cream formula that's perfect for oily-to-combination skin.

"I'd always wanted to try the famous Rich Cream, but actually this Light Cream is much better suited to my complexion. High-end skincare usually means thick formulas, so I'm thrilled that I can reap the skin-boosting benefits of Augustinus Bader without my skin breaking out." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

11. Avène Cleanance Mattifying Aqua-Gel

Laura holding Avène Cleanance Mattifying Aqua-Gel - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Avène Cleanance Mattifying Aqua-Gel - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Beauty Bay)

Avène Cleanance Mattifying Aqua-Gel

Best moisturiser for oily, sensitive skin

Specifications

Formula: Gel
Size: 50ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Refreshing, water-like feel
+
Sits well under make-up

Reasons to avoid

-
Others in this list are more mattifying

Thanks to the additional of thermal spring water—the number one ingredient in all of Avène's skincare—this feels like a big drink of water on the skin while still having a mattifying effect, and it's also soothing on sensitive complexions.

"My skin can be easily irritated, and Avène is one skincare brand that I reach for when my complexion needs soothing. This feels lovely and cooling—great on hot days—and doesn't leave any lingering residue on the skin. My only minor grip is that I wish it was in an airtight bottle or tube rather than a pot." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

12. Perricone MD Instant Blur Priming Moisturizer

Laura holding Perricone MD Instant Blur Priming Moisturizer - best moisturisers for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Perricone MD Instant Blur Priming Moisturizer - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Face the Future)

Perricone MD Instant Blur Priming Moisturizer

Best pore-blurringmoisturiser for oily skin

Specifications

Formula: Cream
Size: 30ml
SPF: None

Reasons to buy

+
Instant skin-smoothing effect
+
Handy if you don't want to wear foundation

Reasons to avoid

-
Contains silicones so may pill a little under make-up
-
Small pot

Part of Perricone MD's 'No Makeup' range, this moisturises thanks to glycerin in the formula, while also minimising the look of large pores, both instantly and over time—something that those with oily skin often struggle with.

"This is like Facetune in a pot, instantly erasing unwanted skin texture. Because of its silicone-rich formula it sometimes pills under some of my SPFs and make-up, so I prefer to use it on no make-up days, applying just where my pores are the most noticeable (nose, cheeks and forehead)." - Laura Mulley, freelance beauty editor

13. Tatcha The Water Cream

Tatcha The Water Cream - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Laura Mulley)

Tatcha The Water Cream - best moisturiser for oily skin

(Image credit: Tatcha)

Tatcha The Water Cream

Best hydrating moisturiser for oily skin