We all experience our fair share of greasy skin and sweat-induced breakouts in the warmer months, but for those of us whose baseline is that of excess oiliness, a lightweight, noncomedogenic moisturizer is a year-round must.
You know you can't necessarily reach for the same moisturizer as your normal-, dry-, and even combination-skin-typed friends, but you also know that being a little too blessed in the sebum department doesn't mean you can skip moisturizer altogether. Your skin can still become dehydrated, and it still needs moisture on the reg. So if richer, heavier moisturizers are hot coffee, think of these oily-skin-friendly moisturizers — many of which are gel-based instead of often too-rich creams — as iced coffee; both hit the spot, but iced coffee feels lighter and refreshing. They're exactly what you need for easily provoked, constantly congested pores.
Below, you'll find our top picks for lightweight, super-chill moisturizers that will keep your oily, breakout-prone skin hydrated, glowing, and feeling fresh — not to mention looking clear and smooth — no matter the season. And even if your skin isn't oily, these are perfect picks for the summer.
Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer with Moringa and Papaya
Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer is basically a fresh face in a jar. Pollution is no match for this formula's moringa extracts, which are aided by the gentle exfoliating power of papaya enzymes. And there's no need for silicone to make your skin feel smooth and hydrated — that's what the four types of hyaluronic acid are for.
Shani Darden Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer
This lightweight cream is all about keeping pores from getting congested while providing ample hydration. Shani Darden Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer does that by infusing skin with plumping hyaluronic acid and softening algae extract, all the while omitting the kinds of ingredients that threaten to trigger excess oiliness.
Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream
Versed understands there's a big difference between oily skin and dewy skin, and its Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream makes achieving the latter so much easier. This super-lightweight formula seemingly vanishes into skin, never leaving it slick; instead, it looks and feels refreshed, hydrated, and calm, thanks to ingredients like aloe and green tea.
Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer
Tata Harper may have left pore-cloggers out of its lightweight Water-Lock Moisturizer, but it didn't skimp on some of the most effective and luxurious components. Its peptides, for example, prove you don't have to choose between smooth skin and grease-fighting ingredients. In addition to priming skin for any additional skin-care or makeup steps, it also addresses dullness so skin can get glowing ASAP.
Burt's Bees Hydrating Stick with Aloe Water
You gotta love an affordable, natural moisturizer — especially one in such a fun, convenient format. Burt's Bees Hydrating Stick's finger-free formula lets you keep your hands off your face while it instantly absorbs for fast-acting hydration. The mess-free, portable formula is soothing, easy to use, and best of all, moisturizing without heaviness.
Korres Pomegranate Pore Blurring Gel Moisturizer
All too often, oily skin is accompanied by obvious pores, but Korres Pomegranate Pore Blurring Gel Moisturizer addresses both concerns. Gold-standard acne- fighting ingredient salicylic acid ensures clearer skin, while pomegranate extract helps promotes the kind of glow that makes pores less noticeable. Antioxidants and hyaluronic acid keep skin protected and hydrated.
Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer
Formulated to encourage balance, Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer leaves out potentially pore-clogging oils and instead includes moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and rosewater. Its botanical extracts like that of mandarin and daisy also provide an antioxidant-rich dose of vitamin C.
Belif Pore Cleaner Moisturizer
Rather than clog pores, this moisturizer actually cleans them out, thanks to its three-in-one formula comprised of moisturizer, toner, and essence. This stuff is ideal for oily to combo skin, but it's far from drying — rather, its watery texture imparts skin-quenching bliss.
Tatcha The Water Cream Moisturizer
Tatcha's refreshing water-based cream is way more than just a pretty package. "I love the transformation when you apply this hydrating, oil-free water cream," says New York City dermatologist Melissa Doft. "It has ingredients that help decrease pore size, smooth skin texture, and make your skin glow." Those ingredients include Japanese botanicals like wild rose and leopard lily, which never leave skin feeling slick or greasy.
Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream
This cooling gel-cream has earned fan-favorite status thanks to its crisp aroma and pure-as-water feel on skin. On contact, the hyaluronic acid-based formula leaves behind a dewy glow that lasts long after application. Bonus: Its chic navy-and-gold packaging is a welcome addition to any medicine cabinet.
Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly
Clinique's award-hoarding Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is one of the most famous skin-care products — like, ever — and its clear, gel counterpart is bound to become just as iconic thanks to a formula that's ideal for skin that can't handle the heaviness of creamier products. Its "Clean Shield Technology" promises to lock in moisture for 24 hours while filtering out pollution and other ickiness, so skin feels both hydrated and clean.
Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion
This Korean emulsion does double duty to moisturize your skin and keep your pores clean, which honestly sounds like the perfect product for hot, sticky summer days in any city.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Face Cream
Having oily skin doesn't mean you have to use only extra-light gels. This Clarifying Face Cream by celebrity-loved Dr. Barbara Sturm packs breakout- fighting features into a richer moisturizing formula. Specifically, its zinc keeps sebum under control so you won't look greasy or spotty, and some of the most interestingly named botanicals we've seen in an ingredient list — balloon vine and viper’s bugloss, anyone? — ensure an ideal moisture balance.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer
Born from the massive success of the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, this daytime moisturizer also relies on the star power of juicy, skin-quenching watermelon extract to keep skin dewy. The oil-free formula feels cool upon application and smells like a freshly cut melon to boot.
Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème
Bright, glowy skin is always in, and this vitamin C-spiked gel moisturizer packs a skin-brightening punch with not one, but three different forms of the vitamin. Not to mention, the formula claims to impart all-day hydration — and truly delivers.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Extra-Dry Skin
Abundant in hyaluronic acid, this gel-cream cools upon contact, hydrates within seconds, and keeps even the driest skin — because yes, even breakout-prone skin can be dry — moisturized for up to 48 hours. Plus, just like water itself, it's fragrance- and oil-free, so there's very little risk of irritation. No wonder it won an ishonest Readers' Choice Award.
Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream
We were pleasantly surprised by the skin-quenching power contained within this little tube of unassuming moisturizer. In fact, it keeps skin dewy without any semblance of greasiness. Plus, sensitive skin types can rest assured that this stuff is as gentle as they come (i.e. free of fragrance and infused with calming plant extracts).
Tonymoly The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream
It's not just the non-heavy texture of this K-beauty gel-cream that makes it ideal for oily skin. It's also made with fermented green tea extract that forms a thin, hydration-locking layer that won't suffocate your pores thanks to lemon seed oil — an antibacterial and antifungal powerhouse. Skin feels soothed, not sticky.
L'Occitane Aqua Réotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel
Not only does this moisturizer look like a thirst-quenching glass of H2O, but it's actually infused with some of the most coveted water on the planet, from Réotier, France. There, the calcium content is so high, the area has become an attraction for tourists looking to dip their toes in the stuff. Luckily, you don't have to buy a plane ticket to get a little dose of the legendary water on your skin. L'Occitane has bottled it up into a palm-size jar.
Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer
This creation from Boscia looks a bit like Flubber, if Flubber were a chic shade of mint green. Goopy as it may appear, the formula absorbs as quickly as water in a desert. And yes, it does contain actual cactus water, which is reportedly good for your skin whether you drink the stuff or apply it topically.
Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream
If you're able to tear your eyes from this pink-and-silver packaging, you'll notice that the name of this stuff seems to promise some serious hydration. Thanks to an infusion of glacier water from Alaska, plus a proprietary blend of peptides, it makes good on those promises.
Sisley Paris Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream
A moisturizer that took years to develop, this moisturizer is surprisingly lightweight for how hydrating it is. The silky cream sinks right into your skin, flooding it with lovely rose-scented micro-droplets of moisture. Alpine rose extract is the main antioxidant that addresses dullness, while the plumping effects of the emollients are instantaneous as well as long-term.
CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe is beloved by dermatologists and skin-care enthusiasts alike for its sheer simplicity. The AM blend is a lightweight, non-greasy formula that sinks in quickly and easily, and looks out for your visage with a bonus SPF 30. Done and done.
Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb
This ideal summer moisturizer is gel-based for lightweight, oil-free hydration. Aqua Bomb, as its name would suggest, is a burst of cooling, refreshing moisture that also protects skin and keeps it feeling bouncy and elastic.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture
When in doubt, go to the drugstore to nab this classic. It's no-frills, but it doesn't need to do any fancy tricks to impress. It hydrates skin all day with a lightweight, nourishing formula. Plus, it comes in four different varieties, so no matter your skin concerns, there's an option for you.
Read more on: oily skin