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A woman touching her face and holding a jar of Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream

Expert Advice

Why This Oil-Free Moisturizer Deserves a Spot In Your Routine

The ideal moisturizer should hydrate skin without weighing it down. Learn how to keep your skin soft and healthy-looking with our oil-free moisturizer, ahead.

If you have oily skin, finding moisturizers that hydrate your skin without leaving it shiny-looking can be a challenge, to say the least. Some products formulated for oily skin can be drying, which can make your skin feel tight and dehydrated. On the other hand, creams designed for normal skin types often contain ingredients that can weigh down oily skin and give it a shiny appearance.

That said, moisturizer is still essential, no matter your skin type. The solution: Oil-free moisturizer. These lightweight formulas are ideal for those with oily skin since they help hydrate without adding weight or shine. Ahead, we’ll introduce you to our top-rated oil-free face moisturizer, Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. You’ll also find recommendations on other Kiehl’s products that can help control shine for balanced, healthy-looking skin. Read on for your all-in-one guide to oil-free moisturizer and skincare.

Oils: Yay or Nay?

Oils can be a great addition to your skincare routine, but there is more to consider.. If your skin tends toward the oilier side, heavy emollients and occlusive ingredients can sometimes give the skin a shiny appearance. Those already prone to mid-day shine may therefore prefer sticking to lightweight, water-based moisturizers that hydrate your skin without weighing it down.

How Do You Hydrate Your Skin Without Oil?

While you may want to avoid oil-based skincare if you have shiny or acne-prone skin, that doesn’t mean you should steer clear of moisturizing. In fact, the opposite is true: Neglecting to moisturize can leave your skin feeling dry, tight, and dehydrated. As a response to this lack of hydration, your skin may produce more sebum, or oil. Ultimately, this increased production of sebum can lead to clogged pores and breakouts, as well as a shinier-than-usual appearance. Moisturizing, therefore, is essential, especially if you have an oily skin type.

Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream

The Best Oil-Free Moisturizer From Kiehl’s

For lasting hydration without a shiny finish, we recommend reaching for an oil-free moisturizer packed with lightweight hydrators, such as the best-selling Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. This unique oil-free face moisturizer is formulated with glacial glycoprotein and micronized amino acid, plus several skin-friendly plant extracts. It conditions skin with 24-hour hydration and absorbs quickly for a refreshing feel. Our top-rated formula is also non-comedogenic and suitable for normal and oily skin types. We recommend using this moisture-packed face cream morning and night to promote a more hydrated, shine-free appearance.

What Else Can You Do To Control Shine?

Applying an oil-free moisturizer alone is unlikely to keep your skin totally shine-free. For lasting shine control, it’s a good idea to cultivate a skincare routine designed to help mattify the skin, clear clogged pores, and keep your skin hydrated but not greasy. Below, we’ve put together a simple, five-step routine you can follow morning and night to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Feel free to tweak it as needed or add additional products (like eye cream and sunscreen) as you see fit. Keep reading for your five-step oil-free skincare routine.

Step 1:

Cleanse With an Exfoliating Face Wash

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Cleansing should always be the first step in your skincare routine, regardless of your skin type or specific concerns. For oily skin, we recommend a mild exfoliating cleanser, such as Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser. This effective face wash, formulated with fairly-traded Amazonian white clay and diatomaceous earth, deep cleans skin to remove dirt and excess oil. It gently exfoliates to remove pore-clogging impurities, leaving your skin soft and your pores visibly smaller. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used daily to promote fresher, healthier-looking skin.

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: When washing your face, use lukewarm water. Hot water can dry out your skin, potentially leading to irritation or an increased production of sebum.

Step 2:

Reach For a Purifying Toner

The second step in your skincare routine is toning. After cleansing and patting your skin dry, soak a clean, dry cotton pad in a cleansing toner and sweep it over your face, concentrating on the T-zone. For skin that’s prone to shininess, we recommend Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic, which contains hydrating glycerin, allantoin, and salicylic acid. The mattifying formula helps remove excess oil and dirt that’s been left behind after cleansing while balancing the skin’s natural moisture levels. It also helps minimize the appearance of enlarged pores for a smooth, shine-free appearance.

Step 3:

Address Skin Concerns With a Serum

Next, reach for a lightweight face serum, such as Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum. This potent, water-free formula with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid instantly boosts radiance and helps improve the appearance of uneven skin texture. Within two weeks of regular use, it helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and visibly minimizes the look of enlarged pores—a common skin concern amongst those with oilier skin types. It also helps firm the skin over time. The effective yet gentle formula is suitable for all skin types and can be used morning and night to help promote a smoother, glowing appearance.

Step 4:

Hydrate With an Oil-Free Moisturizer

Here’s where your oil-free moisturizer comes in. After applying your serum and giving it a few minutes to absorb into your skin, apply Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream to your face and neck for intense yet weightless hydration. Our new alcohol-free formula with micro-ionized amino acid helps control pore size and reduces the appearance of shiny-looking skin, even in humid and polluted environments. The unique gel cream absorbs quickly to impart the skin with lightweight yet long-lasting hydration and a residue-free finish. If you’re going through your morning skincare routine, pair it with sunscreen for UV protection (see some options here).

Step 5:

Add In a Weekly Clay Mask

To supplement the mattifying effects of your oil-free moisturizer, add an absorbent clay mask, such as Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask, to your weekly skincare routine. This intensely purifying mask with Amazonian white clay and aloe vera helps draw out dirt, oil, and other impurities that can lead to clogged pores and blemishes. Our award-winning formula is clinically-demonstrated to reduce skin’s surface oil production by 46.7% within just one use, which helps visibly diminish the appearance of enlarged pores. Try using this detoxifying face mask once weekly to deep clean congested pores and refine your skin.

*Based on results two hours after use vs. untreated skin.
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