Best moisturisers for oily skin that will hydrate without making skin greasy

Hydration heroes that are kind to oily skin

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Summer Fridays
Ellie Davis11 January 2024
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When you have oily skin, loading up on lotions and potions may feel like the last thing you should do.

It feels like it flies against the face of logic to use heavy creams and lotions and exacerbate sebum production, but oily skin types are one of the most prone to dehydration so formulas bursting with moisture are the surprising key to a healthy, glowing complexion.

To achieve this, you’ll need a hard-working moisturiser. Part of the staple skincare trio with cleanser and SPF, moisturiser acts as the finishing touch to your active ingredient-packed products to be followed only by sun protection. It’s the seal to encourage any treatments and serums to stay put, while preventing dryness, soothing sensitivities and providing plumping with a dose of hydration. The right mattifying product should also help makeup sit more smoothly on the skin and give you better staying power.

What texture should you look for in a moisturiser if you have oily skin?

Dr Alexis Granite, consultant dermatologist at Cerave explains, “Light, oil-free products are best suited for those with oily skin. Gels and gel creams are great textures for this skin type, providing effective hydration without causing congestion.”

What are the best ingredients in a moisturiser for oily skin?

“Moisturising ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides and glycerin are all well suited to oily skin”, she reveals. “Other actives to consider include retinol, salicylic acid and niacinamide, all of which are especially good if you are prone to breakouts in addition to oily skin. The main category to avoid when it comes to oily skin types is occlusives, including petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil and paraffin”.

Is moisturising important for oily skin?

Dr Granite stresses that “Moisturising is an essential part of anyone’s skincare routine, even those with oily skin. Skin oil (sebum) and skin hydration are two separate things and just because the skin is oily does not mean it is well hydrated. In fact, over-drying your skin can cause the oil glands to produce more sebum.”

With this in mind, we have rounded up the best moisturisers for oily skin below.

Tatcha The Water Cream


Japanese-born wellness label Tatcha has made a splash on UK shores with its Water Cream. In a short time, this moisturiser has established itself in our bathroom cabinet as a holy grail product. When your skin is feeling tight, flaky or irritated, this is what to reach for.

The second the cooling gel-cream texture meets the skin’s surface, it has an immediate conditioning and soothing effect. With the combination of the brand’s proprietary rice, algae and green tea complex to bring luminosity, Japanese wild rose for a smooth texture and leopard lily to control sebum, this is a pampering product you will relish using down to its last drop.

It absorbs instantly, leaving you ready for any other products that will follow. Makeup can also be applied with ease and no balling. It doesn’t feel greasy or cause breakouts but instead leaves skin soft and quenched.

Buy now£67, Space NK

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Gel Cream

Sunday Riley

This nourishing moisturiser glides onto the skin as a gel-cream texture that is quickly absorbed by parched complexions. It has vitamin C at its heart and leaves a lovely, healthy glow without feeling greasy or exacerbating oiliness.

The brightening effect is immediate but it also leaves skin hydrated and plump and can be followed by makeup without the risk of pilling. The formula is antioxidant-rich, offering protection against the likes of blue light, while the sodium hyaluronate included within the formulation means the moisture-enriching benefits last all day long.

Buy now£60, Liberty

Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream

Summer Fridays

With its founding in sunny Cali, Summer Fridays was never going to create a heavy moisturiser that would feel weighty and thick on the skin. It’s gel-cream product is ideal for summer and for oily skin types due to its lightweight, silky texture that feels hydrating the moment that you apply it onto the skin. The product is formulated with pineapple extracts and hydrating hyaluronic acid as well as antioxidants to shield the skin from external aggressors. While hydrating, it plumps too and fortifies the skin’s natural barrier with ceramides.

Buy now£45, Space NK

Naturium Multi-Peptide Moisturizer


This hydrating moisturiser packs many buzzy beauty ingredients into its formula without leaving a oily residue - and it comes at an affordable price too.

NATURIUM’s founder, content creator Susan Yara, has roots in South Korea and this product follows many of the K-beauty signatures - namely leaving a dewy complexion, innovative components and smoothing and firming at the same time. Covering all the bases, you will get nourishment from the peptides, vitamin C and nutrients while the texture remains light and creamy. Glowy not greasy.

Buy now£21, Naturium

La Mer The Moisturizing Matte Lotion

La Mer

If you can afford the high price tag, La Mer offers the utmost luxury into your daily beauty practices. From the texture, to the formula, it’s every bit as glorious as its reputation suggests. This smooth lotion is especially good for oily skin types as it has a matte finish so reduces shine. It is made up of tiny spheres of moisture contained within the gel that are able to go deep within the complexion for intense hydration. A little goes a long way.

Buy now£245, La Mer

Paula's Choice Clear Moisturiser SPF30

Paula’s Choice

You can count on Paula’s Choice for effective formulas that do what they say on the tin and this moisturiser is no different. Created for shine-prone skin, it is lightweight and non-greasy working to mattify and reduce the appearance of pores. It is packed with antioxidants and vitamin-rich plant extracts to soothe skin and protect against external aggressors like UV rays with an SPF30.

Buy now£33.15, Paula’s Choice

Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturiser

This hero moisturiser from Kate Somerville works a treat to hydrate oily skin types. It is also packed with anti-ageing ingredients to promote a more youthful-looking complexion by tightening and contouring skin with active ingredients like red marine algae and amino acids that reduce the appearance of fine lines. The shine-free formulation also helps minimise excess oil and fight against breakouts.

Buy now£65, Kate Somerville

La Roche-Posay Effaclar MAT+ Moisturiser Oily Skin 40ml

La Roche-Posay

Restore moisture to oily skin types with this speciality beauty cabinet must-have from French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay. Protecting and nourishing your skin, it also reduces excessive shine and minimises the appearance of pores with up to eight hours of hydration and a matte finish. The lightweight formulation absorbs quickly for an ideal base for makeup and can be used for sensitive skin.

Buy now£16.72, Boots

The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA

For skin prone to dehydration, this moisturiser from The Ordinary may just do the trick. The brand uses Natural Moisturising Factors to nourish, while the inclusion of hyaluronic acid gives you the thirst-quenching goodness that your skin has been crying out for. The formula may feel thick on first application but absorbs quickly with a matte finish. It is ideal for drier skin, leaving it looking and feeling soft and supple.

Buy now£5, lookfantastic

Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel


This moisturiser will have you covered while your skin adapts to changes in temperature and humidity. It has a lightweight formulation and so can be worn at all times of the year. It has a gel texture that is immediately soothing on the skin, while feeling incredibly hydrating. The mattifying finish helps control oil and sheen and effectively reduces the appearance of pores.

Buy now£46, Space NK

Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator


For a much-needed wave of hydration, Clinique’s cult Moisture Surge Hydrator is on hand. The lightweight formula packs a real moisturising punch with activated aloe water and caffeine to encourage your skin to produce its own moisture. It has a gel-cream texture and so, can sit seamlessly under makeup. The product is gentle and can be used on sensitive skin.

Buy now£26, John Lewis

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Gel-Cream


Designed specifically for normal to oily skin types, Kiehl’s cult Facial Cream formula has been adapted into a lightweight gel-like texture that has an instant cooling and refreshing effect on your skin without feeling heavy or adding excess oil. It contains a combination of Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract and Antarcticine that help to retain your skin’s natural moisture with four hours of hydration. The formula is a non-clogging hero for your pores and will also help control shine.

Buy now£32, Kiehl’s

WISHFUL Honey Balm Jelly Moisturiser 50ml


Suitable for all skin types including oily and combination, Wishful's honey balm is as sweet and soothing as it sounds.

The honey-infused formula gives skin a good long drink with a mix of ingredients including pore-minimising niacinamide and turmeric root extract to balance signs of hyperpigmentation. Hydration feels instant and promises to last up to 24 hours.

Are you ready for this jelly?

Buy now£37, Sephora

Jones Road Oil-Free Moisturisier

Jones Road

Trust Bobbi Brown to look at a crowded marketplace and still come up with something that feels refreshingly new.

This Oil-Free Moisturiser is part of the beauty maestro's Jones Road line and is water-based, offering a lightness that feels comfortable in all climates. Skin feels instantly hydrated and nourished for hours yet gentle enough that you won't worry about breakouts.

Best of all, it lasts for ages, so while the price tag might be higher than most moisturisers, it's a skinvestment that'll pay off in the long run.

Buy now£36, Liberty

Forest Essentials Light Hydrating Facial Gel Panchpushp

Forest Essentials

From one of India's biggest skincare brands Forest Essentials comes this face-flooding gel made from the distillation of five flowers including rose, jasmine and saffron. How's that for luxe?

Aloe Vera is in the mix too, providing the much-needed hydration that parched skin so desperately needs. Soothing and cooling, we love storing it in the fridge and applying on hot, stressed skin when needed.

Buy now£24, Forest Essentials