For combination skin types, finding a moisturizer that suits your skin can sometimes feel like solving a Rubik’s cube. “The biggest struggle with combination skin is finding products that will moisturize your dry areas without adding to the excess oil on your T-zone,” says dermatologist Arash Akhavan.
He explains that while those with severe differences in their combination skin types may benefit from a two-step moisturizing process (like starting with a lightweight oil-free lotion and following with a thicker cream for the dry areas), those with less of an extreme difference between their oily and dry patches can look for certain ingredients and textures to properly control and hydrate both zones.
When you’re on the hunt for a combination skin-approved moisturizer, Dr. Akhavan suggests looking for “a very lightweight lotion or gel containing hyaluronic acid or aloe vera to effectively hydrate the entire face without contributing to oiliness.”
As far as what to steer clear of, dermatologist Jason Emer suggests avoiding heavy creams and ointments with occlusive ingredients (read: ingredients that create a seal over your skin to prevent environmental particles from entering or hydration from leaving) like petrolatum or waxes, as these can clog pores and make oily skin even shinier. “Some facial lotions and creams use glycerin, urea, lanolin, petrolatum, and dimethicone, but I find this may cause more outbreaks or irritation,” he adds. Instead, he suggests looking for lightweight moisturizers made from a base of hyaluronic acid or a non-comedogenic oil like olive oil.
Ready to find the perfect moisturizer for your combination skin? We’ve done the hard work for you. Below, you’ll find 10 of our favorite moisturizers for this skin type. Whether you’re looking for a boost of glow or anti-aging benefits, there’s a formula in here that you’ll want to incorporate into your routine ASAP.
About the Experts:
Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder and director of The Dermatology & Laser Group in New York City.
Dr. Jason Emer is a dermatologic surgeon based in Los Angeles. He runs his own practice in Beverly Hills and regularly shares skincare tips and insight into skin treatments on his popular Instagram page.
1. BEST FOR BRIGHTENING COMBINATION SKIN
SUNDAY RILEY Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream
SUNDAY RILEY makes so many of our skincare dreams come true, and this product is no exception. It’s made for combination skin and is ultra-lightweight and gentle, but powerfully moisturizing at the same time. This oil-free gel-cream even contains two forms of advanced hyaluronic acid to infuse your skin with moisture that won’t clog pores.
2. BEST MATTIFYING MOISTURIZER
FIRST AID BEAUTY Ultra Repair Oil-Control Moisturizer
When your dry patches are extra dry and your oily patches are extra oily, it can be enough to drive you skincare-crazy—but that’s where this sensitive-skin approved formula comes in. Free of parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances, this moisturizer is able to provide deep hydration with a matte, oil-controlled finish. Heavy-hitting hydrators like hyaluronic acid and oat extract keep your skin soft and smooth while oil-absorbing microspheres and niacinamide keep excess sebum in check. Two problems with one solution? Total skincare relief.
3. BEST MOISTURIZER WITH ANTI-AGING BENEFITS
JUICE BEAUTY Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer
Rather than using a base of water or petroleum, this moisturizer uses a blend of antioxidant and vitamin-rich botanical juices to provide faster, more visible results. This formula has so much goodness inside: Organic aloe, shea butter, jojoba oil, and hyaluronic acid hydrate your skin without leaving it feeling greasy, peptides firm your skin, and vitamin A and vitamin C reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and free radical damage.
4. BEST MORNING MOISTURIZER FOR COMBINATION SKIN
H2O+ Hydration Oasis Refreshing Gel Moisturizer
One of Dr. Akhavan’s top moisturizer recommendations for combination skin is “a very lightweight lotion or gel lotion containing hyaluronic acid,” and this formula meets the mark. This ultra-lightweight gel moisturizer absorbs in seconds, making it an ideal base for makeup. It also uses hyaluronic acid to give your skin a major moisture boost while trusted ingredients like ceramides, lipids, and amino acids fortify your skin’s moisture barrier to keep that essential hydration locked in all day long.
“This stuff is so light and airy,” one Ipster says. “My skin really soaks it up and there’s no powder or greasy after-effects.”
5. BEST GLOW-BOOSTING MOISTURIZER
IT COSMETICS Confidence in a Gel Lotion Moisturizer
Loving the oil-free gel moisturizer? Here’s another one that deserves a spot on your skincare shelf. The weightless formula absorbs into the skin almost instantly, providing intense hydration as well as a number of other skin-loving benefits. A primary ingredient here is cactus flower extract, a favorite among oily skin types thanks to its antimicrobial properties and ability to flush out excess sebum from pores.
6. BEST MOISTURIZER WITH SPF
MURAD Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++
Save some extra minutes in your mornings with a moisturizer that doubles as your sunscreen. This daily-use moisturizing lotion hydrates and revitalizes your skin, using vitamin C to brighten and broad-spectrum sunscreens to shield you from sun damage and environmental aggressors. Finally, potent ginkgo biloba leaf extract protects you from free radicals and keeps your skin looking healthy and youthful. Bonus: This light, citrus scent gives you an energizing boost in the a.m.
7. BEST MOISTURIZER FOR SENSITIVE COMBINATION SKIN
LATHER Ultra Light Face Lotion
Sensitive skin types will love this nutrient-rich moisturizer that contains plant-derived squalane, safflower, and nourishing rose extract. The non-greasy formula quickly sinks into the skin, leaving it feeling soft and hydrated. It’s also formulated without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, or synthetic fragrance or colors, making it significantly less likely to irritate your skin while it keeps you hydrated.
8. BEST NATURAL MOISTURIZER FOR COMBINATION SKIN
DERMEDICINE ADVANCED SKINCARE Weightless Face Moisturizer SPF 25
Do you love keeping your skincare routine clean? If so, take one look at this moisturizer’s ingredient list—you’re gonna love what you see. Aloe vera provides your daily dose of hydration while a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protect against sun damage (without leaving a white cast behind). Plus, nourishing ingredients like fruit stem cells, green tea, and kola nut extract to help defend against visible signs of aging like sunspots and discoloration. Finally, antioxidant-rich sage extract and birch bark extract are included for their natural brightening properties.
“Loved this light sunscreen,” says Ipster peters_k. “My face is very sensitive and I had great results with this.”
9. BEST SMOOTHING MOISTURIZER
AHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer
Here’s another formula that puts quality, natural ingredients at the forefront. This vegan moisturizer is packed with mineral-rich water from the Dead Sea, hydrating and smoothing amino acids, and skin-conditioning vitamins E and B5. The light, fast-absorbing texture makes it a great everyday choice for combination skin types. Lather it on every morning for a daily dose of hydration that leaves zero residue behind.
One Ipster describes this moisturizer as “light but moisturizes wonderfully without feeling oily or thick.” Another says, “It really feels weightless and leaves my skin super smooth.”
10. BEST BALANCING MOISTURIZER
PURLISSE BEAUTY Watermelon Energizing Aqua Balm
Not only does this oil-free gel-cream smell heavenly (like watermelon candy!), it’s also perfect for getting balanced, healthy skin. Made with vitamins A, B, and C, this lightweight moisturizer hydrates combination skin without leaving your skin feeling (or looking) shiny or greasy. Aloe vera, a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, reduces any puffiness, while white tea protects your skin from cellular damage, and cucumber firms and soothes. It’s the ultimate balancing moisturizer for a sweet-smelling burst of freshness and a natural-looking glow.
Want in on all the IPSY Glam Bag fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.
Like this article? Share it with your friends by clicking one of the icons below!