3 Oil-Control Moisturizers That Actually Work

Most of the year my major skin concern is getting my oily T-zone to behave. But now that the weather is getting colder, I’m also tasked with getting the rest of my face hydrated. Moisturizers aimed at combination skin are supposed to be excellent for this, but often they’re only good at either controlling oil or softening skin--usually not both at the same time.

Here, I share with you three oil control moisturizers that actually lived up to their claims on my skin. For reference, I tested out 10 products to see how well each performed on my skin on average when wearing no base and when wearing a light dusting of powder foundation on top.

If You're Looking For A True Multitasker Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Some Ingredients: Antioxidants to combat free radicals, Reservatrol for anti-aging, and Zinc Oxide for sun protection.

Finish: Mostly matte, but still supple-looking.

Consistency: BB-cream-like, as it is slightly thick. It melts into the skin quickly, and it has a milky brown tint that isn’t noticeable at all once applied.

Hydration Factor: Amazing. My skin instantly felt softer.

Oil-Control Factor: Wonderful. It kept shine under control for about six hours on my T-zone before I needed to touch-up with some powder.

Even though it doesn’t scream oil-control moisturizer (it screams anti-aging instead), Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense is probably the best oil-control moisturizer I’ve ever used. It was surprisingly great at moisturizing and controlling oil production, and it left a soft, not tight, matte finish upon first application. And it’s such a wonderful multitasker, too. It easily replaces four products for me in the morning: mattifier, moisturizer, primer and sunscreen.

If You're Looking For A Non-Drying, Instant Matte Finish On A Budget Mineral Fusion SPF 15 Oil-Free Moisturizer with Mattifying Kaolin Clay

Some Ingredients: Kaolin Clay to soak up oil and Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide for sun protection.

Finish: Very matte but leaves a white cast.

Consistency: It feels like sunscreen mixed with lotion, but then it quickly thickens and sets on the skin.

Hydration Factor: Good. It creates a barrier that locks in moisture on your skin.

Oil-Control Factor: Very good. After a couple of hours, a tiny, tiny bit of shine started peeking through, but I noticed that overall, my skin was producing less oil at a slower rate when wearing this compared to when I was wearing other oil-control moisturizers.

If you like your skin matte and you have a very oily T-zone, Mineral Fusion SPF 15 Oil-Free Moisturizer will soak up excess oil incredibly quickly--and it will make your pores look smaller and less noticeable. Since this product sets very quickly, I have to massage it into my skin very fast. Despite the matte finish, my face didn’t feel dry. An important thing to note is that you shouldn’t wear this moisturizer on its own unless you have very pale skin. It leaves a white cast, so you should definitely put foundation or powder on top (which I’m assuming most of you beauty-obsessed ladies do anyway).

If You Prefer A More Natural, Dewy SheenMurad Balancing Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 PA++

Some ingredients: Vitamins A, C, and E to make your skin glow, Japanese Alder Flower Extract to prevent blackheads, Lactic Acid and amino acids to balance oily skin, and Octinoxate, Avobenzone, and Oxybenzone for sun protection.

Finish: Glowy, not greasy.

Consistency: Thin and light, causing it to melt into the skin effortlessly.

Hydration Factor: Very good. It’s moisturizing enough to protect parts of my face that usually behave but tend to get dry during the colder months (cheeks, chin, etc.).

Oil-Control Factor: Good. It balanced my skin and provided a stable, dewy shine.

If you don’t mind some sheen in order to combat dryness, Murad Balancing Moisturizer is a great choice. This product was good at balancing my skin, and as the day progressed it produced a dewy sheen on my T-zone that didn’t get worse by the end of the day. It also kept my cheeks and chin feeling nice and soft.

  • Do you have combination skin? What's your HG winter moisturizer?
  • Do you prefer a matte finish or a dewy look in the colder months?