UPDATED 2021. Did you know that oil-free moisturizers aren’t only for those with oily skin? Actually, most people can benefit from them, especially during hot, humid weather when everyone’s skin is prone to getting a little oilier. That’s right. Even those with really dry skin can benefit from a good oil-free moisturizer. The job of a moisturiser is to soften and hydrate the skin, so whether you have oily skin or not, the goal is the same.
You know how your skin feels like an oil machine after eating pizza? Well, that’s what oily moisturizers feel like for many. Introducing the best oil-free moisturizers in 2020! Get your skin feeling how it should, soft, hydrated and oil-free!
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Best Oil-Free Moisturizers in 2021
I love a hydrating moisturiser that doesn’t clog pores. And the Mario Badescu Oil-Free Moisturiser is just the product for that. It is infused with Lemongrass extracts that also brightens your face in the process. This is a great versatile moisturiser for everyday use as it is also formulated with broad-spectrum SPF. It does the job to keep your skin moisturized during winter and summer!
This moisturiser contains stearic acid. And it’s an oil-substitute ingredient that has been shown to protect the skin’s surface against water loss. Stearic acid helps shore up the skin’s protective barrier.
With this moisturiser, you won’t need to switch products come summer when your skin gets pretty oily. It’s got SPF, water-retention properties, and pore-friendly extracts. What more can you ask for a moisturiser?
It does, however, smell like suntan lotion which could put some people off. But if you don’t mind smelling like the beach, then you’ll love this moisturiser!
The Mario Badescu Oil-free Moisturiser goes on light, non-greasy (well of course!) and dries quickly. Another key point, it goes under makeup beautifully! The gel-like texture provides a nice base like a good primer will. It blots your pores like a mask and prevents any dreadful buildup of oils that clog. Your makeup can now look natural, and your skin stays nourished.
- Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Quick drying
- Brightens skin and evens complexion
- Soothes redness
- Doesn’t smell so great
Get ready for woke skin with the Origins Ginzing Ultra-hydrating Energy-boosting Gel! It’s a moisturiser that contains caffeine to boost your skin’s regenerating capabilities and it’s 100% vegan. It’s formulated with blends of Grapefruit, Lemon & Spearmint oils to revitalize your skin’s senses. Filled with great skin food that will get your skin out of exhaustion, almost like your morning coffee for your brain.
The moisturiser feels super luxurious and works as a hydrating gel. Although on the thicker side in terms of texture, it goes on ultra-lightweight and sinks into your skin beautifully and quickly.
It leaves your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated and definitely lives up to its ultra-hydrating name. If you want a piece of this amazingness, grab yourself a tub, you won’t regret it!
It’s a gel moisturizer that is perfect for oily/combo skin, but not limited to. It also works wonderfully on all skin types including dry, normal and sensitive. If you’re not into citrus scents, this moisturiser’s orange aroma will convince you otherwise. The scent has a heavy punch but fades away after a while.
Overall, it does *exactly* what it says. Your skin is delivered into oil-free paradise and I can’t rave enough about this product.
- Lightweight and quick absorption
- Suitable for dry and dehydrated skin as well as oily
- Good for all skin types
- Targets dryness, redness, and dehydration
- Moisturising and hydrating
- Contains fragrance
If you’ve been skipping your moisturizer for a while due to all the ones you’ve tried making you feel greasy, then you obviously have not tried the First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel.
This gel formula provides the First Aid in beauty mishaps. It keeps your oils levelled and moisturised. For those obsessed with a matte finish, this mattifying moisturiser should raise your eyebrows (and standards!).
It is a gel moisturizer that is packed with unbelievable ingredients to both hydrate and control oil. The moisturiser includes natural oil-fighters FMLT SeboCure. It’s a proprietary blend to help diminish sebum. It also helps in reducing greasy skin and discouraging future blemishes from forming.
Zinc PCA and Lecithin in this product also help decrease surface sebum and reduce the appearance of pores for a coveted base for makeup. It has antioxidant-rich Glasswort extracts to help boost skin’s hydration levels, while Ceramide 3 helps protect the skin’s barrier, giving the skin a more plump appearance.
It absorbs super quickly and gives your skin a true matte finish that you thought you can only achieve through a foundation. I’m predicting non-comedogenic gel moisturiser will become a staple in your skincare routine once you try this one! First Aid Beauty has yet to disappoint!
- Matte finish
- Quick Absorption
- Suitable for acne-prone skin
- Good for normal, combination, oil and sensitive skin types
- Reduces acne scars and breakouts
- Contains fragrance
Neutrogena may be a drugstore brand, but it ranks right up there with the high-end skincare products in terms of their effectiveness and results. Especially when it comes to their Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Correct & Cover Pink Grapefruit Moisturizer. It’s got a tinted version and a regular version. And both contain active salicylic acid to eradicate your annoying acne.
It is a brilliant moisturiser that targets two birds with one stone. This moisturiser balances your oils, and effectively erases your blemishes.
As for the tinted version, not only does it cover your skin beautifully and naturally, it’s also not cakey or heavy on your face. At the same time, it literally destroys the blemishes under it and, of course, gives your complexion a nice even colour.
It’s easy to apply and blend, and it leaves your skin with a fresh clean feeling. More importantly, there is zero oily feeling or texture. It sits at an affordable price and is a must for people who have acne trouble on top of wanting a light moisturiser (tinted or not). I think you probably gather that I highly recommend this moisturizer!
Salicylic Acid 0.5%
- Contains Salicylic Acid acne treatment
- Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores)
- Non-greasy formula
The Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Moisturiser is one of the loveliest lightweight moisturizers out there!
After using the Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Moisturizer, you will wake up to the softest skin. That’s all thanks to the 30% Hyaluronic Acid complex that attracts and retains water from moisture in the air.
It also contains Pentavitin, which provides up to 72 hours of hydration and can help replenish your skin’s moisture depleted by outdoor heat and sunlight. What’s great about this ingredient is that it doesn’t get washed away, unlike hyaluronic acid. This means that you really get lasting hydration with this moisturizer, even for a few days! How amazing is that?!
The product really feels like a cloud on your skin. It’s one of the most soothing SPF products to wear and apply. It’s just absolutely glorious. Upon application the cream instantly spreads and sinks in, leaving no sticky residue, and making your skin feeling supple and moisturized. It gets even better after it sits. It’s like an instant spa feeling. Your skin will be quenched and looking gorgeous.
This product should earn a spot in your beauty arsenal. This is, in my opinion, one of the best hyaluronic gel moisturisers to ever become available!
- Lightweight, quick absorption formula
- Hydrating and moisturising
- Soothes and reduces irritation
- Targets fine lines and wrinkles
- Evens out complexion
- Broad Spectrum SPF 45
“Your skin shouldn’t outshine your personality”. And you’ll understand that even more when you try the Anthony Oil Free Facial Lotion. It is formulated with glycerin and vitamin B5 to condition your skin into becoming your charisma-boosting coach. This greaseless face lotion lightly hydrates and smoothes oily skin, preventing any dryness around-the-clock. It contains aloe and chamomile to calmly maintain your skin for a more supple and healthier appearance.
It absorbs quickly and smoothly and you’ll instantly feel like you are prepped up for some major personality haul. This product can seem expensive at such a small size. But you don’t need much to treat your entire face, apply it to the areas that need intense moisturizing. That may not happen too often, once you’ve used this moisturizer on your skin, the effects last a really long time.
It’s a lightweight lotion formula that is super effective and nourishing for the skin.
- Lightweight, quick absorption formula
- Soothes and reduces irritation
- Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
- Dermatologist tested
- Contains fragrance
This is one of the best gel moisturisers out there! The NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-free moisturiser absorbs fast, gets rid of flakiness, causes no irritation, has no fragrance, lasts all day, and works fantastic during both summer and winter! That’s like a checklist of everything you need in a good moisturizer!
The moisturizer balances your skin with Dynamic Aqua Technology. With a heavy-weight formula, it hydrates and plumps while Japonica Root Extract strengthens the skin and prevents moisture loss.
NARS also infused this moisturizer with their exclusive Light Reflecting Complex™ which restores youthful radiant skin. In other words, it brightens your complexion as it reflects light. In addition to all that, it contains a load of antioxidants, cell-renewing and collagen-boosting properties. Wild thyme extracts, plankton extracts, and beech bud extract to name a few of their star-studded list of quality skincare ingredients.
It won’t ever feel like a chokehold on your budget because the product itself lasts for many months despite its inconspicuous size. This moisturizer is a pretty bold take on skincare for a makeup brand. However, fortunately, they’ve got full control of their skincare as demonstrated by this fab moisturiser!
- Dermatologist tested
- Ideal for normal to oily/combination skin
- Moisturises and hydrates
- Gets rid of flakiness and irritation
- Paraben, alcohol and synthetic free
- Fragrance free
- Tub packaging is not the most hygienic
Acne and clogged pores will be a thing of the past with Paula’s Choice Clear Oil-free Moisturizer. It’s packed with ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to keep your skin feeling underwater minus the breathlessness.
This moisturizer is like a mix of gel and cream. It goes on a little thick and gradually starts to feel like you are being kissed by the ocean as you spread it onto your face. It has a lovely matte finish, but don’t worry, it doesn’t steal away any hydrating qualities.
The texture of it is also very plush. It’ll give you that plump, firm hydrated feeling without breaking out. And it doesn’t feel thick or tacky on the skin. It has naturally soothing antioxidants, sourced from pumpkin. And the blueberry ingredients calm any redness, while its ceramides strengthen your skin’s surface. It also contains niacinamide to help you improve your tone and eliminate dryness.
It’s all smooth sails with this gem, it is one of the best oil-free moisturizers around!
- Minimizes breakouts
- Moisturising and hydrating
- Targets dryness and dehydration
- Suitable for combination skin types
Going out with a bare face without any worries is a dream of mine and I’m sure for many others too. The Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion is set out to help women get that goal. It’s your solution for dullness and uneven texture, loss of firmness and elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles.
It is a marine-enriched moisturiser infused with unique Japanese marine algae. These are commonly referred to as “sea grapes” or “green caviar”, and this Japanese alga is fortified with essential amino acids and B vitamins to enhance skin’s elasticity and moisture content.
As you massage the experiential formula into skin, feel the texture break into a fresh water-like gel. Just the texture, colour, smell, feel, and coolness of the product is beautiful. Your skin is bound to always feel so soft and hydrated when wearing this. It perfectly seals in all your other products and dries quickly while leaving you feeling very moisturised.
It balances your skin with lightweight hydration. Aiming to smooth your fine lines and experience a dewy, healthy complexion without looking greasy.
I could talk about this forever. If you haven’t tried it you should!
- Smoothes and firms skin
- Targets fine lines and wrinkles
- Good for all skin types
This moisturizer is hands down one of the best oil-free moisturizers to have ever been formulated! This is magic in a bottle! It’s very gentle on the face and extremely rejuvenating. It’s made with all the necessary skincare ingredients you could possibly need and very few of them which is all the better for your skin! Less is more:)
The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Oil-free (Sensitive) Fluide is telling you that all you need for glowing skin is niacinamide, glycerin, and citric acid!
It’s suitable for sensitive and oily skin and guarantees your face won’t feel irritated. It is so light that you can feel your skin drinking it all in like it’s your favourite beverage.
The texture is thin and applies easily and stays perfect under makeup. You’ll find yourself re-purchasing this moisturizer several times because it really delivers! It doesn’t have any luxurious or indulgent attributes necessarily that are fun to have in skincare. However, I think the clear radiant face is all the indulgence you’ll get and need, as that’s the ultimate purpose in skincare, no?
- Great for all ages
- Targets acne, oiliness, and redness
- Good for sensitive, oily, and combination skin types
- Most suitable for sensitive skin
- Provides lightweight hydration
- Soothes itching and irritation
- Comes in an airless pump bottle
Benefits of Oil-Free Moisturizers
Oil-free moisturizers don’t clog your pores as much as oil-based ones
Certain oils can be incredibly hydrating and nourishing for the skin but if you have oily skin and you’re worried about breakouts, you should definitely look for water-based moisturizers instead. Water-based, oil-free moisturizers are formulated to sink deep into your skin without clogging your pores and causing breakouts. Chances are, oil-free moisturizers won’t have a battle royale with your natural oils, because water-based ones easily slide and seep inside without a fight with your sebum.
Oil-free moisturizers are abundant with Vitamin C & Other Anti-Oxidants
Hydration is essential when you want to help your skin out with forming and retaining collagen. And while there are many moisturizers out there with tons of anti-oxidants AND mostly oils (y’know, for moisturizing), oil-free moisturizers can get away with ditching the oils and still give you all the moisture your skin needs. On top of that, all the nutrients are given limelight in oil-free moisturizers. No need to market you this oil and that oil to hydrate your face.
Oil-free moisturizers protect your skin just as much as oil-based ones
The summer heat is upon us all! And this is why it’s so important to ensure your skin is protected before heading outdoors. An oil-free moisturizer, rich in vitamins and nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin E, aloe vera, and green tea are all amazing protectors for your skin) will help to form a protective barrier against these pollutants, and antioxidants will help to ward off free radicals and UVB/UVA rays. Even more aloe vera and green tea, which are almost always the main ingredients in oil-free moisturizers are known to be treatments for sunburn and light sun damage!
How Do Oil-Free Moisturizers Work
Before we get into oil-free moisturisers, let’s get a general view of oil-based moisturizers first. For dry skin, oil-based moisturisers are great at preventing water from evaporating from the deeper layers. And oil (like petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil) is a really great sealant for those with dry skin so the moisture doesn’t leave the face all too quickly.
But if you have oily skin, you know you don’t want a moisturizer that has a lot of heavy oils, which is why you should go with an oil-free version. Oil-free moisturizers have ingredients that work the same way oil does. They provide the skin with a barrier to help seal in moisture.
You’ll see ingredients like hydrogenated polyisobutene, isodecyl laurate, dimethicone and trisiloxane on the label. They don’t feel as heavy as oil-based moisturizers and are best suited for people with normal, combination, to oily skin types.
Both oil-based and oil-free moisturizers also use ingredients called humectants (think glycerin), which pulls moisture from the environment instead of sealing in the moisture. Humectants plus one barrier ingredient create the perfect balance of moisture for your skin type. Oil-free moisturisers have that same balance just with non-oil humectants like aloe-vera.
Who Are Oil-Free Moisturizers For?
Oil-free moisturizers aren’t exclusively for oily skin types. They have just as many benefits as oil-based moisturisers have for all skin types. And before you pass, yes, they can also be made with SPF properties so there’s no need to worry about your skin feeling a little too thin and light under oil-free moisturisers.
Keeping your skin hydrated is a no-brainer if you deal with dry or flaky skin. However, we’ve been told again and again that even people with oily or acne-prone skin need their daily dose of moisture. And that will always remain true! But, instead of applying a thick heavy cream, which may clog oily skin types, the goal is to apply an oil-free, water-based moisturizer that sits lightly on top of your skin.
Two things to keep in mind when trying to determine if an oil-free moisturizer is for you
The first is your skin type. The second more important factor is climate and weather, which brings all skin types to want to consider using oil-free moisturisers.
Those with oily, acne-prone or combination skin tend to prefer oil-free moisturizers because many oil-free moisturizers are non-comedogenic, meaning that they are less likely to cause acne breakouts. And people with oily skin don’t often need the extra hydration provided from thicker oil-based moisturizers.
If you live in a climate that’s hot and humid all year round then lighter, oil-free moisturizers that easily sink into your skin will probably feel much better and will give you less clogging and acnes to worry about.
For those who have normal or dry skin, an oil-free moisturiser is the way to go, depending on the season. This is because summer can bring humidity which will entail a high-moisture surrounding. Also, skin is often less dry than it is during winter, thus the need to switch to lighter, oil-free moisturizers during summer months.
Bottom line, oil-free moisturizers can be your seasonal friend if you have dry skin. And for those with oily, normal, combination, and even acne-prone skin, I’m pretty sure you have already found your skin confidant in oil-free moisturisers!
Types of Moisturisers
There are many different types of moisturizers; those that are formulated specifically for day or night wear, those that target a specific skin type, and those that target a specific skin problem are just a few examples.
These are moisture absorbers. Heavily humectant-based moisturisers draw water and moisture to the skin cells for hydration.
Some common ingredients: Aloe vera, glycerin, lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid (AHAs)
Best for: Dry, thick skin in climates that are very hot and humid.
Emollients fill in any spaces or gaps between skin cells that are missing moisturizing lipids (fats). These are reserves that the skin draws moisture from. These types of moisturisers are usually oil-based (though they can be water-based too).
Some common ingredients: Lanolin, mineral oil, petrolatum and other oils
Best for: Extremely dry, dehydrated mature skin that needs serious moisture
Ceramides are naturally found in the skin, and those with damaged or depleted ceramide levels show up as dry, damaged skin. By replenishing the skin with lost ceramides through moisturisers with high-ceramide content, it is best able to retain moisture.
Best for: Normal and combination skin types
Most moisturisers may contain all of these, but depending on the target skin type can have more of one ingredient than the other. Such as oil-free moisturisers can have more humectants than it would have emollients (sometimes even none at all!).
Oil-free moisturizers are for everyone and anyone regardless of your skin type! You just have to earn when to call for them and you don’t need to worry about feeling opportunistic cause these badass products know they’re a lifeline for special moments.
This list of best oil-free moisturizers has something for everyone- from budget to skin concern, we’ve got you covered! Let me know in the comment section below which oil-free moisturizer is your fav!
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