It’s a fairly common misconception that you don’t need to use moisturizer if you have oily skin. In reality, the opposite is true: Just because your skin produces excess oil does not mean it’s properly hydrated. Unfortunately, finding a suitable moisturizer for oily skin is often easier said than done. Many face creams contain heavier ingredients that, while beneficial for normal or drier skin types, can leave oily skin feeling slick, weighed down, or even greasy. And let’s face it: No one wants greasy-looking skin.
Thankfully, you can hydrate oily skin without adding shine, so long as you pick the right formula. Here, we’ll help you do just that. Ahead, we’ll introduce you to six of our best face moisturizers for oily skin, including formulas designed to address specific skin concerns like acne (which can go hand in hand with oiliness). You’ll also learn a little bit about why oily skin needs hydration, plus a few tips on how to minimize shine without drying out your skin. Keep reading to discover the best Kiehl’s formulas to round out your oily skin routine.
What Is Oily Skin?
Oily skin is a skin type characterized by a higher-than-average production of sebum, skin’s natural oil. This excess production of oil is largely influenced by genetics and hormones. However, various other factors—like stress, diet, hot weather, and humidity—can also increase sebum production. If not addressed, excess oil production can result in clogged pores and shiny-looking skin.
Why Do You Need Moisturizer If You Have Oily Skin?
Skipping moisturizer is never a good idea, regardless of your skin type. Neglecting to use a moisturizer in your daily skincare routine can make your skin vulnerable to water loss, ultimately leading to dehydration. If your skin gets too dehydrated, your body will begin to overproduce oil to compensate for the loss of natural hydration. This response can make your skin more oily-looking and worsen any skin concerns you may have (like clogged pores) without addressing the underlying dehydration. In other words, moisturizing is essential—especially for those with oily skin. The key is finding a formula that suits your needs.
Our Best Moisturizers For Oily Skin: 6 Essential Picks
Now that you know why it’s crucial to moisturize if you have oily skin, you can work on finding the best formula for your needs. Read on for our recommendations on the best Kiehl’s moisturizers for oily skin.
For All Oily Skin Types: Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
For your skin to look (and feel) its best, it needs hydration. Following healthy skin habits like drinking enough water can help maintain your skin’s hydration in the long-term, but topical moisturizers provide instant benefits.
To boost your skin’s moisture without a heavy or greasy feel, try Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. This ultra-lightweight moisturizer with glacial glycoprotein and micronized amino acid is uniquely suited for oily skin. The alcohol-free formula absorbs quickly to impart skin with lightweight yet lasting hydration, enabling the skin to better retain moisture. With consistent use, it helps visibly reduce shininess and promotes a fresh, healthy appearance, even in hot and humid climates.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Pop this moisturizer into your skincare fridge for a refreshing, cooling sensation with each application.
For Combination Oily Skin: Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream
If you’re oilier in some areas (like the T-zone) than others, you probably have combination skin. To help keep it balanced and hydrated without feeling weighed down, seek out a water-based moisturizer, like Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream. This weightless formula with calendula extract provides an instant boost of soothing hydration that lasts up to 24 hours. It also helps visibly improve skin texture and tone while reducing signs of dehydration, like redness and fine lines, for a more radiant appearance over time.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: In the warmer months, try putting your moisturizer in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before smoothing it onto your face and neck. The cooling sensation will help your skin feel refreshed and invigorated.
For Acne-Prone Oily Skin: Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion
As we touched upon earlier, oiliness and acne often go hand-in-hand. Various external and internal factors can trigger acne, but all breakouts have the same root cause: clogged pores. Clogged pores are a common concern amongst those with oily skin types and often progress to more severe forms of acne, like blackheads or whiteheads.
To help keep your breakouts under control when you have oily, acne-prone skin, you want to find a non-comedogenic face moisturizer for oily skin. Try Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion, formulated with salicylic acid (also known as beta-hydroxy acid) and niacinamide. This lightweight daily moisturizer is clinically-demonstrated to help diminish acne breakouts and improve skin’s overall texture.* When used regularly, it also helps prevent new breakouts from forming to reveal skin that looks clearer and more even.
*Tested in a dermatologist-controlled clinical study.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: If you’re battling frequent breakouts, make sure you have a pore-cleansing face wash, like Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment, on hand, too. We also recommend reading up on the best ingredients to help manage acne in our article The Best Ingredients For Treating Pimples.
For Sensitive Oily Skin: Skin Rescuer
Any number of factors can trigger sensitivity, but typically it’s related to a disruption of the skin’s natural moisture barrier. This barrier, made up of essential lipids, water, and nutrients, helps protect your skin from irritants like pollution and extreme weather. When it’s not working correctly, these aggressors can disrupt your skin’s natural balance, leading to discomfort, redness, and visible signs of irritation. Factors that can contribute to sensitivity include using harsh skincare products, over-exfoliating, or neglecting to use a moisturizer—all of which are habits that may be common amongst those with oily skin.
Thankfully, proper care can help keep your skin barrier working as it should and reduce sensitivity. For daily hydration without a heavy feel, try Skin Rescuer. This lightweight moisturizer for stressed skin delivers all-day hydration and helps strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier. With regular use, it also helps decrease the visible signs of irritation, like redness. Use it morning and night to help comfort and balance your skin.
For Shiny Oily Skin: Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion
Oily skin can often appear shiny or even greasy, particularly around the T-zone. To help control shininess without drying out your skin, we recommend swapping your daily moisturizer for a water-based face lotion, like Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion. This unique moisturizer, made with vitamin E and desert plant extract, traps moisture in the skin to help restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It also helps visibly reduce the appearance of excess oil on the skin’s surface, allowing for a shine-free yet well-hydrated look.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Learn more ways to manage a shiny T-zone in our article How To Manage an Oily Forehead and Stop Shine In Its Tracks.
For Men’s Oily Skin: Oil Eliminator 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer For Men
While everyone’s skin is unique, research indicates that men frequently experience oily skin and associated concerns, like enlarged pores.I If you’re a guy with oily skin, we recommend seeking out skincare products made specifically for men’s oily skin, like Oil Eliminator 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer For Men. This specialized men’s face moisturizer hydrates the skin while helping absorb surface sweat and oil, leaving the skin shine-free for up to 24 hours. When used consistently, it helps minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and decrease oiliness for smooth, clean-feeling skin.