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9 best moisturisers for oily skin that are lightweight, non-greasy and control shine

Look out for oil-free, non-comedogenic labels and hydrating ingredients to balance skin

Louise Whitbread
Friday 23 July 2021 15:32
<p>They’re a mix of gel and cream textures, that are all lightweight and some are entirely oil-free</p>

They’re a mix of gel and cream textures, that are all lightweight and some are entirely oil-free

Oily skin is very common and can leave your complexion looking shiny and sometimes feeling greasy.

Your moisturiser plays an important part of your skin health maintenance when it comes to managing shine, excess oil production, and breakouts due to clogged pores.

While you may not aspire to a completely matte complexion, we’re all seeking balanced skin that’s neither too oily or dry, doesn’t disrupt make-up or leave it looking patchy.

We’ve spent weeks putting a multitude of moisturisers to the test and have narrowed it down to the top nine.

They’re a mix of gel and cream textures, that are all lightweight and some are entirely oil-free. We rated each on texture, consistency, formula, ease of application and any noticeable results we saw, spanning a range of budgets.

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The best moisturisers for oily skin for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Murad oil and pore control mattifier broad spectrum SPF 45: £35,
  • Best SPF moisturiser for oily skin – La Roche-Posay effaclar duo+ cream SPF30: £13.12,
  • Best for hydration – Chanel hydra beauty gel crème hydration protection radiance: £57,
  • Best for mature skin – Kate Somerville oil-free moisturizer: £59,
  • Best for under make-up – It Cosmetics confidence in a gel lotion moisturiser: £32,
  • Best for sensitive skin – Glossier priming moisturizer balance: £23,
  • Best for combination oily skin – Kiehls ultra facial oil-free gel cream: £48,
  • Best budget option – Neutrogena hydro boost water gel moisturiser: £12.99,
  • Best oil-free moisturiser – Paula’s Choice clear oil-free moisturiser: £28,

Murad oil and pore control mattifier broad spectrum SPF45, 50ml

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

The texture of this is akin to sunscreen, thick and takes longer to rub in than your average moisturiser. Persevere however, as nothing controlled our oiliness or shiny T-zone better than this. Once rubbed in, our skin was completely matte, with no shine detected all day. It’ll also keep you protected as it contains SPF45, so there’s no need to worry about applying a separate sunscreen – although topping up throughout the day is encouraged.

Containing avocado, African yellow wood bark extract and oil-trapping “microspheres”, it’s great for tackling oiliness and breakouts simultaneously, improving texture too. It wears well under make-up also and a little goes a very long way, so be careful not to over apply.

La Roche-Posay effaclar duo+ cream SPF30, 40ml

Best: SPF moisturiser for oily skin

Rating: 9/10

One tube of this has lasted us months and is one of the best moisturisers on the market for acne-prone skin. It has a matte, but not chalky finish and within weeks we saw a decrease in spots, inflammation and redness from the result of breakouts. The added SPF is a great bonus for protection against UV exposure, but it’s always more beneficial to your skin health to use a separate SPF too. The texture is a lightweight cream that’s easy to massage in and leaves a shine-free finish that lasts for hours.

Chanel hydra beauty gel crème hydration protection radiance, 50ml

Best: For hydration

Rating: 8/10

When you think of a luxurious moisturiser, you may conjure up images of a tub of rich, thick cream, that’s slathered on skin. If you have oily skin, you know nothing feels worse than a heavy texture sitting on your face feeling greasy. This gel, however, is excellent, especially if you’re shopping with a bigger budget.

Lightweight and soothing, it’s a refreshing burst of moisture that leaves skin looking dewy but not shiny and takes seconds to fully absorb. It’s the most fragrant moisturiser we tried, but we didn’t find it irritating nor overpowering.

Kate Somerville oil-free moisturizer, 50ml

Best: For mature skin

Rating: 9/10

If you’re struggling with dehydration but want to avoid a rich, thicker cream, a tub of this should work a dream. It has a push down top, which dispenses exactly enough for one application, which is great for stopping you from over-applying products. And the lightweight, oil-free cream is nourishing and very hydrating. It feels luxurious and the oil-absorbing spheres in the formula leave skin looking fresh. It has red marine algae in it too, which improves elasticity and firmness, making this a great option for mature skin.

It Cosmetics confidence in a gel lotion moisturiser, 75ml

Best: For under make-up

Rating: 8/10

If you love a velvety finish to your skin, this is the moisturiser for you. While It Cosmetics is better known for its brilliant CC cream and make-up products, their skincare range is an underrated gem. This is a gel texture that transforms into a lightweight fluid when massaged in and absorption takes less than 30 seconds. It’s oil-free and we found it was hydrating on both oily and combination areas of skin, and was a great base for beneath make-up, especially if you wanted to try a lesser coverage, dewier base.

Glossier priming moisturizer balance, 50ml

Best: For sensitive skin

Rating: 9/10

Basic but not boring, this is a gel-cream hybrid that leaves skin looking semi-matte. Hydrating while controlling shine, the formula is rich in marine extract to balance oil production and niacinamide to aid with the appearance of pores and uneven skin tone. It’s a great all-rounder for moisturising skin, leaving it soft and supple, but not shiny. We found it to work particularly well on sensitive skin that’s often prone to redness. It’s a multifaceted moisturiser that we’d highly recommend adding to your shopping basket on your next trip to

Kiehls ultra facial oil-free gel cream, 125ml

Best: For combination oily skin

Rating: 8/10

This refreshing gel moisturiser is lovely for warmer months when you don’t want your skin to feel weighed down with the product. You only need a small amount as it has a great refreshing texture that melts into the skin in seconds without any greasy residue. The oil-free formula provides all day hydration and helped tackle dryness on our cheeks. It’s alcohol and fragrance free too, making it a great option for sensitive skin as they’re both known irritants.

Neutrogena hydro boost water gel moisturiser, 50ml

Best: Budget option

Rating: 8/10

If you’re shopping on a tighter budget, Neutrogena’s hydro boost water gel moisturiser is a fantastic bargain product for oily skin, despite being marketed towards combination types. The formula is oil-free and bolstered with hyaluronic acid that attracts and retains moisture to the skin and is widely tolerated by even the most sensitive skin types. It’s lightweight and fast absorbing and the refreshing gel texture helps to soothe inflamed skin from constant breakouts.

Paula’s Choice clear oil-free moisturiser, 60ml

Best: Oil-free moisturiser

Rating: 8/10

This travel friendly tube quickly earned a spot in our gym bag – it’s non-greasy and was fuss-free to apply in seconds. It contains a mix of niacinamide which helps minimise the appearance of pores, ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier and antioxidants to calm redness. It’s ideal for your skincare routine if you’re trying to calm inflammation while tackling excessive oiliness.

Best moisturiser for oily skin FAQs

What to look for in moisturiser for oily skin?

Lightweight, non-greasy creams and gels will suit oily skin types best as you don’t want to apply anything too occlusive that could clog pores that can lead to exasperated oil production and breakouts.

Look out for oil-free and non-comedogenic on the label, which means the product doesn’t contain any ingredients that can clog or block pores on your skin.

It’s also important to note that oily skin can be dehydrated too, as you want to ensure that your skin remains hydrated with your moisturiser too. If your skin is lacking in hydration, it can cause it to go into overdrive and produce more oil, thus making you more shiny.

Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are popular for oily and blemish prone skin as the former retains moisture and plumps skin, while the latter can shrink enlarged pores and reduce blackheads.

The verdict: Moisturiser for oily skin

We loved Murad oil and pore control mattifier broad spectrum SPF45, and despite it taking a little longer than the rest to absorb, it’s a winner. Nothing controlled our perpetually shiny T-zone better and we needed to touch up make-up considerably less. The added SPF45 is a brilliant bonus too.

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