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The conundrum posed to anyone with oily skin is: how do I moisturize with a product that has some weight to it, but also won’t leave me with covered in greasy bumps? Though I would categorize myself as combination, meaning I’m always trying to fix something, this winter was a particularly slick one that forced me to find an answer. Because while I love a good air-whipped formula or lightweight lotion, they simply didn’t get the job done and eventually, my skin was somehow oily and flaky at the same time. If “the struggle is real” were actually in the dictionary, a picture of my face would have been next to it. So to say I needed a list of rich moisturizers for oily skin that actually work would be an understatement.
As it turns out, the issue doesn’t really begin with moisturizer. According to Cayli Cavaco Reck, Founder and Creator of Knockout Beauty, we first need to stop assuming that our skin is actually oily. What you’re really seeing is skin that is unbalanced, thus only presenting as oily. “With this in mind toner is a really important step for balancing the skin,” she says. Whether a cleanser leaves you dry or your hormones are out of wack, this crucial step combined with a moisturizer will do the trick.
Also, remember that your moisturizer doesn’t necessarily need to feel rich, but the ingredients should be. Reck’s go-tos for keeping skin moisture-balanced are Vitamin A and Vitamin B3. The former is best recognized as the key ingredient in retinol, an exfoliant that improves texture and tone. B3, also known as niacinamide, is a water-soluble molecule that helps retain moisture once it’s been put into the skin. When combined in a routine, they get the job done and then some.
“Using a cream like La Creme Venom ($204) that has Tamanu Oil, a form of vitamin A, allows you to use a rich cream that is also not going to break you out. January Labs Day ($68) and Night Creams are also great for this purpose,” says Reck of her favorite skin soothers. “The day cream is rich in vitamin B, which is the ultimate skin problem solver. The night cream has lactic acid so it will help to return the skin to its naturally more content acidic state while also gently exfoliating. Kat Rudu Jet Secret ($95) is also great.”
Ahead, more moisturizers for finally eliminating the grease keeping you from that spring-ready glow.
La Creme Venom
In addition to the regenerating powers of Tamanu oil, a natural source of Vitamin A, there’s also actual bee venom that dramatically increases blood circulation in the skin to almost instantly create the illusion of firmer, lifted skin.
$204 at La Creme Beaute
January Labs Revitalizing Day Cream
This one’s got a hefty does of B3, in addition to hyaluronic acid for hydration, allantoin for healing acne scars, and peptides for strengthening the skin’s barrier.
$68 at January Labs
Kat Rudu Jet Secret Mask Cream
This rich cream is also infused with Tamanu oil, in addition to hyaluronic acid for restoring hydration and lactic acid for gentle exfoliation.
$95 at Kat Rudu
Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream
Touted as a must-try for combination and oily skin types, this light moisturizer contains a handful of green, leafy vegetable ingredients that are a source of both A and B3 vitamins.
$48 at Youth to the People
Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum
Suitable for all skin types and all seasons, this gel moisturizer contains 10 percent niacinamide (aka B3) in addition to humectants for not only delivering moisture to the skin but forming a barrier to keep it there.
$90 at Credo Beauty
Skin Inc. Vitamin B3 Serum
Apply this shot of B3 to the face before or mixed-in with your favorite moisturizer to ensure that what you’re applying doesn’t throw your skin off-balance.
$35 at Sephora
Pond’s Clarant B3 Even Skin Tone Daily Moisturizer
This new everyday sunscreen-infused moisturizer also contains Vitamin B3 so you can not only protect your face from UV exposure but repair previous sun damage simultaneously.
$9.99 at Target
Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Safe for both day and night use, this corrective formula utilizes retinol to smooth lines and ferulic acid for sun protection and enhancing the effectiveness of other ingredients.
$75 at Sephora
InstaNatural Retinol Moisturizer
This all-natural day moisturizer includes both retinol and hyaluronic acid to exfoliate and hydrate without depleting the skin of its natural nutrients.
$18.97 at Amazon
Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer
A highly underrated moisturizer that contains enough retinol to deliver moisture while also warding off acne and dark spots.
$16.19 at Body Merry