Moisturizers that Will Balance Out Your Combination Skin

Combination skin can be a challenge—with multiple skin issues going on at once, you might feel like you need a multitude of products to tackle them. Take it from me and my annoyingly unbalanced complexion. Half of my face is drier than the Sahara desert, and the other half (namely, my T-zone) is oily and prone to breakouts. After years of using opposing products, I've finally come round to find a more simplistic routine that benefits both—and a lot of that is due to finding the right moisturizer.

Combination skin needs a moisturizer that's non-greasy, yet rich and hydrating. Thanks to a lot of trial and error, along with some expert recommendations from other ishonest editors, I think I've found the ultimate collection of moisturizers that control shine without compromising glow.

Read on for the best moisturizers for combination skin.

Best Overall: Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion

The texture of this product is something else. A unique water-gel cream, it’s super fresh and cooling, as if tiny water droplets were bursting all over your face (just trust me on this one). The formula is also full of hyaluronic acid and Japanese marine algae (from the Blue Zone of Okinawa), meaning it delivers soothing moisture without shine. Expect plump, balanced skin.

Best Budget: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Thanks to hyaluronic acid (a molecule that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water) this lotion is both super lightweight and moisturizing. It's one of our favorites because it's gentle, non-greasy, hydrating, and generally just really efficient at calming and balancing combo skin.

Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel

Thank you, Neutrogena, for providing us with drugstore skincare that still feels luxurious. This cream is like a tall drink of water for the skin thanks to high levels of hyaluronic acid. The fresh gel consistency is great under makeup, too.

What Our Testers Say

"Despite its lightness, it seems to soak into skin and hydrate it from the inside out." — Joline Buscemi, Product Tester

Best Lightweight: Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer

Green tea slows down the aging process (thanks to its high antioxidant concentration), while hydrating skin and reducing sebum production. This oil- free moisturizer also uses burdock root to keep skin matte and blemish-free. In other words, your complexion will feel clear and fresh after using this regularly.

What Our Testers Say

"Despite trying out many moisturizers, this was the first time I was actually noticeably shocked at the immediate difference in my skin." — Joline Buscemi, Product Tester

Best for Minimizing Pores: Tatcha The Water Cream

This stuff is legendary in the world of skincare, and for good reason. The oil- free gel cream is formulated with Japanese botanicals and Tatcha’s Hadasei-3 blend of algae, green tea, and fermented rice to really nourish and soothe the skin. Also, the texture is incredibly fresh, so it will refine the look of pores without scrimping on hydration. The gold applicator wand is a nice touch, too.

What Our Testers Say

"After each application, my face felt really hydrated but light at the same time. There is a freshness you feel upon applying The Water Cream, almost like a cooling sensation in a way. I continued to enjoy how it felt on my skin during the day and at night." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester

Best for Dehydrated Skin: Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer

Your combination skin can also be dehydrated. And you’ll know if it’s prone to fine lines and a tight feeling, especially around the cheeks and forehead. This soft pink lotion is full of watermelon and hyaluronic acid to bind water to the skin, meaning you’ll feel plump and bouncy (but not oily). It also smells like a tropical paradise and looks very cute in your vanity.

What Our Testers Say

"Glow Recipe is one of those brands that rarely gets it wrong, and the Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer is no exception. It’s super fresh, a delight to apply, feels good on the skin, and provides long-lasting hydration without any grease." — Emily Algar, Product Tester

Best for Sensitive Skin: Bioderma Hydrabio Gel Cream

French beauty brands often work well for sensitive skin thanks to their gentle approach and minimalist formulations. Bioderma is one of the best, and the Hydrabio Gel Cream is a perfect pick for combination types that find their complexions easily irritated. There’s niacinamide to soothe and salicylic acid to resurface, plus glycerin for light but comforting hydration.

Best Moisturizing Sunscreen: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Some combination skin types might find they can skip traditional moisturizer altogether and just use a hydrating serum and lightweight sunscreen. This clear chemical Supergoop option is perfect—lightweight, quickly absorbed, full of antioxidants, and is also oil-free. Just be sure to apply an adequate amount and take it down to the neck, chest, and behind the ears.

Best Luxury: La Mer The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream

Crème de La Mer lovers will be pleased to learn that the brand’s Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream has all the nourishing benefits of the brand’s Miracle Broth but in a light, fresh gel format. From the weighty pink and green packaging to the melting texture, this is pure luxury. Expect skin that feels fresh, soft and balanced.

Editor's Pick: Saturday Skin Pretty Pop Probiotic Power Whipped Cream

ishonest’s very own Kathryn Vandervalk knows the combo skin struggle all too well, but since discovering this underground buy, her complexion has been all the better for it. The formula is full of probiotics and niacinamide to support healthy barrier function, but the real selling point is the texture—an airy, whipped cream that really hydrates without heaviness. It’s a great alternative for those who want more than a gel or lotion.

Final verdict

There are so many great options out there, but some of our top favorites are Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion for its beautiful texture, Tatcha Water Cream for its skin-loving ingredients, and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel for a great wallet-friendly option (that really works).

Pazyar N, Feily A, Kazerouni A. Green tea in dermatology. Skinmed. 2012 Nov-Dec; 10(6): 352-5.

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