best skincare products for oily skin

What are the best skincare products for oily skin?

When your face’s an oil slick, putting a skincare routine together can feel like a mission impossible. It’s hard enough to find a moisturiser that doesn’t add more oil to your already oily face.

But a sunscreen that doesn’t feel like you’ve just rubbed your head into a greasy pan? Or a cleanser that removes excess oil without turning your skin into a tight mess?

The struggle is real. If you’re tired of wasting money and time on trial and error, you’re in luck. Here are the best skincare products – from cleansers to sunscreens and oil-absorbers – for oily skin:

cerave foaming cleanser review

Best Cleanser: CeraVe Foaming Cleanser ($14.99)

Oily skin is the only skin type that can get away with a foaming cleanser. CeraVe Foaming Cleanser has gentle surfactants that foam well, removing every trace of makeup, dirt, and excess sebum from the skin – without leaving it feeling all tight and dry. Plus, it has Hyaluronic Acid to keep skin supple during the cleansing process. It’s a bit stronger than other foaming cleansers out there, but your skin can take it.

Available at: Dermstore, Feel Unique, and Ulta

Dupes & Alternatives:

Related: How To Choose The Best Cleanser For Your Skin Type

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Best Vitamin C Serum: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($33.99)

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, boosts collagen, and even brightens the skin tone. But it’s one of the trickiest ingredients to incorporate into a routine for oily skin. Why? It often causes small breakouts. 🙁 Your best bet is to go with Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a Vitamin C derivative that helps treat acne. It works by reducing sebum oxidation (a main cause of acne and inflammation) by up to 40%! You’ll find it in Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, together with other antioxidants to fight premature aging. It also has Hyaluronic Acid to keep skin hydrated and supple for hours.

Available at:  Free People, iHerb and Ulta

Dupes & Alternatives:

  • InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum ($22.00/£17.75): Available at Beauty Bay and iHerb

Related: All Types Of Vitamin C Used In Skincare: Which One Is Right For You?

Best Exfoliant: Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid ($29.50)

Oily skin needs only one exfoliant: salicylic acid (BHA). Oil-soluble, it easily penetrates through the skin’s oily barrier and deep into your pores, removing all the excess oil, dead skin cells, and anything else that’s clogging them up. While it’s at it, it also exfoliates the surface of the skin before dead cells can fall into your pores, creating another pore-clogging cycle. That’s not all. Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe redness and inflammation. I’m partial to Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid because it has the best texture out of all PC’s BHA exfoliants. Lightweight and toner-like, it doesn’t leave a shiny residue behind.

Available at: DermstoreNordstrom, and Paula’s Choice

Dupes & Alternatives:

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is The Best Exfoliant For Oily Skin

Best Oil-Controlling Product: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90)

You can use a clay mask three times a week to keep oil production under control. Or you can opt for The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. It’s my fave option because these two superstars do wonder for oily skin. Niacinamide is a multitasker that helps treat acne, soothes the redness that always comes along with pimples, fades away the dark spots they leave behind and shrinks your pores. While it’s at it, it also hydrates skin and strengthens your protective barrier. Zinc helps regulate oil production and soothe skin keeping your skin matte for longer. It works so well, it can feel a little too drying on the skin sometimes. If that happens, cut back usage to every other day.

Available at: Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique and Sephora

Dupes & Alternatives: 

  • Revolution Skincare Blemish And Pore Refining Serum 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc ($7.00): available at Asos, Beauty Bay, and Ulta

Related: Can Zinc Help Treat Acne?

paula's choice super-light daily wrinkle defense spf 30 review

Best Sunscreen: Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 ($33.00)

Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 is, hands down, the best sunscreen I’ve found for oily skin. It uses 13% zinc oxide to provide broad spectrum sun protection without irritating skin, but you’d never guess it. Its lightweight texture glides smoothly on the skin and dries to a matte finish that helps keep oil production under control. It’s tinted, so it doesn’t leave behind any white cast either. Plus, it has its fair share of antioxidants to boost the sun protection of the sunscreen. What more could you ask for?

Available at: DermstoreFeel UniqueNordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Dupes & Alternatives:

  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 ($25.00): available at Dermstore and Walmart
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60 ($19.99): available at Blue MercuryDermstore and Ulta

Related: What Are The Best Sunscreens For Oily Skin?

Best Oil-Free Moisturiser: First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel ($30.00)

Oily skin already produces enough oil on its own. The last thing you want is to add more with your moisturiser. The answer? An oil-free cream. I like First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel because it has niacinamide and ceramide to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier and keep skin hydrated all day. Plus, it’s loaded with antioxidants and soothing agents that fight free radicals and inflammation, two of the main causes of premature aging. The best part? It combats oiliness without drying out skin.

Available at:  DermstoreFeel Unique, and Sephora

Dupes & Alternatives:

Related: Why Oily Skin Needs An Oil-Free Moisturiser

epionce purifying spot gel

Best Spot Treatment: Epionce Purifying Spot Gel ($38.00)

Derms love to recommend benzoyl peroxide to get rid of pimples. If you want to go down that route, you’ll be fine. BP works. But I prefer sulfur. It gets rid of pimples faster than anything else I’ve tried. The reason? It’s a multitasker: it has antibacterial properties, so it kills the bacteria that cause acne, helps exfoliate dead skin cells, dry out blemishes, and reduce oiliness. I like Epionce Purifying Spot Gel because it also has azelaic acid, another powerful acne-fighter.

Available at:  Dermstore 

Dupes & Alternatives:

Related: Sulfur: Good For Acne, Bad For Skin?

Best Primer: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer ($54.00)

If you wear makeup – and don’t want to see it melting away by midday -, you need a primer. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer has a lightweight texture that softens fine lines and wrinkles, makes pores look smaller, and helps your foundation last longer. Most importantly for your oily skin, this stuff has alumina, a powerful oil absorber – it’ll keep your skin matte for a few good hours. It also promises to provide sun protection, but don’t trust it. You still need a separate sunscreen.

Available at: Cult BeautyNordstromNet-A-PorterSephora, SpaceNK

Dupes & Alternatives:

Related: The Best Primers For Oily Skin

What do you think are the best skincare products for oily skin? Share your picks in the comments below.