The Best Oil-Free Moisturisers To Keep Your Skin Healthy And Hydrated


Oily skin types have the joys of experiencing fewer fine lines (yay) but there’s also a tendency to be more blemish-prone and you might notice that 3PM shine creeping up after your morning coffee. Understandably, those with combination and oilier complexions might be wary of moisturisers, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether.

‘Oily skin types can be tempted to leave the skin without moisturiser, worrying it will cause more breakouts. However, our skin will often then over produce oil which may lead to more breakouts,’ explains Sarah Carr, Liz Earle Lifestyle Ambassador. ‘Hydrating your skin with an oil-free moisturiser can help the skin to produce less oil. They can act as a great make up base for oily to combination skin types too.’

As for what to look for, medical aesthetician and founder of Bea Skin Care, Bianca Estelle, recommends water-based ingredients that retain water within the skin such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. ‘Neither of these ingredients will clog pores and niacinamide in particular will help to balance sebum levels in the skin. Often, breakouts are a common complaint amongst oily skin types and niacinamide can help to reduce the appearance of pigmentation caused by ongoing breakouts,’ she says.

If you’re on the oilier end of the spectrum but are experiencing dryness due to topical treatments such as retinoids or benzoyl peroxide, Estelle suggests incorporating a more nourishing cream in the evening, twice a week. Alternatively, try layering a hyaluronic acid serum such as Bea Skin Care Acne Hydrator Serum underneath your face cream for an extra hit of hydration.

Not sure which oil-free moisturiser is the one for you? Fear not, because we’ve rounded up the ELLE edit of moisturisers designed to keep even the oiliest skin sheen-free and plump as you like. From La Roche Posay to Summer Fridays, these are the best oil-free moisturisers you need in your life.


Alpha Beta Daily Moisturiser

Dr Dennis Gross Skincare


For lightweight hydration with a (hefty) side of glow, look no further. Dr Dennis Gross is well-known for its brightening products (its peel pads are a classic) and this moisturiser contains radiance-boosters such as lactic and glycolic acid, while salicylic acid keeps blemishes at bay. That said, this also features ceramides to keep the skin barrier intact.


Effaclar H Moisturising Cream

Retinoids or benzoyl peroxide are commonly prescribed to treat acne, and while they work wonders, there is a tendency for the skin to experience dryness and sensitivity. This creamy moisturiser restores comfort and hydration, without exacerbating breakouts. It doesn’t contain any harsh acids either, just good ol’ ingredients such as niacinamide and squalane.

Hollywood’s go-to facialist, Kate Somerville, knows a thing or two about good skin. This featherlight hydrator is perfect for oily and combination skin types who are also looking to plump up any fine lines, as it contains amino acid derivatives.


Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream

‘Cloud’ is the perfect way to describe this lightweight moisturiser. It immediately sinks into skin, leaving no greasy residue behind. A thirst-quenching drink of water for you face.

From the founder who brought us the ultra-chic Tan Luxe comes this range of accessible, no-frills skincare. This formula is chock full of ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier, niacinamide and soothing green tea.


Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream

There’s a reason Kiehl’s original Ultra Facial Cream is their best selling product ever: it works. So, our expectations for the oil-free gel version were high, and luckily we weren’t disappointed. Specifically developed for oily skin, this re-formulated version of a skincare icon helps to moisturise skin while the appearance of oil is visibly reduced. Buh bye greasiness, hello hydration.


CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

One for all the sensitive skin sufferers out there, CeraVe is your one stop shop for neutral, fragrance-free skincare that soothes and hydrates without exacerbating acne or redness.


Master Antioxidant Cream

Moisturisers that aim to plump up fine lines tend to err towards the heavier side, but thankfully, Bea Skin Care’s Master Antioxidant Cream has all the smoothing, brightening and protective benefits without leaving you looking shiny by midday.


Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturiser – £47

SHOP NOWUsing milk thistle and glycerin, this ultra lightweight cream brightens and calms skin whilst also protecting it from pollution.


Natural Moisturising Factors +HA

The Insta-famous skincare brand has done it again. Hitting us with a hyaluronic acid-rich formula that hydrates your skin without leaving a greasy film, this oil-free cream is a snip at just under £5.


Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator – £39

SHOP NOWSuitable for all skin types but particularly effective for those with oily complexions, this cream-gel moisturiser works to plump and hydrate skin for 72 hours.


Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream – £45

SHOP NOWA literal cloud of moisture for your face, this lightweight gel is packed full of hyaluronic acid to give your skin much needed hydration.

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