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As far as skin types go, combination skin can be one of the trickiest to deal with. Rather than falling squarely into one category (aka oily or dry), you get a little bit of both worlds. That means your cheeks may be dry and flaky, while your T-zone is oily or acne-prone—at the same time. Happily, the solution to all your skincare woes is simple, and no, doesn’t involve purchasing two different moisturizers to use on different areas of your face. All you need is a good moisturizer that’s specifically made for combination skin.
These formulas magically meet all of your needs; they’re hydrating enough to knock out those dry spots, yet lightweight enough to not feel greasy or clog pores on the slick spots. And if that weren’t exciting enough, there’s a laundry list of great, affordable formulas to be found at the drugstore, so you won’t have to shell out the big bucks to get your complexion in check.
Ahead, the best drugstore moisturizers for combination skin.
Best Overall: Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Combination Skin
The name says it all. This lightweight lotion works in two different ways, hydrating dry areas while simultaneously tamping down shine and absorbing excess oil in slick areas. Plus, it’s not only oil-free and non-comedogenic, but it’s also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, a great option if you have both combination and sensitive skin.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light
Despite the fact that this delivers long-lasting hydration (we’re talking 24 hours worth), it still feels completely featherweight on the skin, absorbing instantly without any greasy residue, even in oily spots. Credit hyaluronic acid, a go-to moisturizing ingredient for combination complexions thanks to its ability to impart intense moisture without ever feeling heavy or overly rich.
Best for Sensitive Skin: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
A fan favorite among dermatologists, this is essentially a universal fail-safe for any and all skin types, combination and/or sensitive included. Ceramides and hyaluronic acid both hydrate and strengthen the skin barrier, yet because it’s oil-free it’s still a good pick for combination skin. The formula is fragrance-free and crazy gentle, safe enough even if you have eczema, and pulls double duty as a body lotion, too.
Best Brightening: SheaMoisture Papaya & Vitamin C Brighter Days Ahead Moisturizer
If you’re looking for a moisturizer that will also help leave your complexion a little glowier (and really, who doesn’t want more radiant skin?), reach for this guy. The namesake ingredients plus lactic acid work to ever-so-slightly exfoliate, all in a formula that delivers the perfect amount of non-greasy moisture.
Best Gel: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel Face Moisturizer
As a general rule, gel moisturizers are a great pick for anyone with combination skin. They hydrate well, but because they rely on water (rather than heavier butter or oils) they never feel greasy. There are plenty of options out there, but you can’t go wrong with this one, a favorite of Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould. The oil-free formula is another one that touts hyaluronic acid, leaving your complexion feeling hydrated yet velvety. Also nice: The texture makes it the perfect makeup prep step.
Best with SPF: Olay Regenerist Whip Facial Moisturizer SPF 25
The texture of this pick is unlike that of any other face cream we’ve ever used; whipped and airy, it truly feels more like a mousse than a moisturizer. And that means it’s not only utterly enjoyable to apply, it also sinks into skin lightning fast, so much so that it’s hard to believe just how creamy it is. Fun-to-use texture aside, it’s also packed with anti-aging peptides and that oh-so-important SPF, a perfect everyday staple.
Best Mattifying: L’Oréal Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care Normal/Oily
We know, it sounds totally contradictory and oxymoronic, but this innovative lotion somehow manages to offer 72 hours of moisture while still mattifying the skin, essentially pretty much anything and everything you could want if you have a combination complexion. Credit a water-based formula that relies on aloe water and hyaluronic acid so that you get the best of both worlds.
Best for Breakouts: Aveeno Clear Complexion Acne-Fighting Moisturizer
For those dealing with not only partially oily skin, but partially oily skin that’s prone to pimples, this is a great pick. The lightweight, oil-free formula is infused with salicylic acid, a superstar ingredient that dissolves excess oil to keep pores clear and breakouts at bay. Bonus points for the addition of a soy complex that brightens and evens your skin tone.
Best Anti-Aging: Bliss Vitamin C + Tri Peptide Collagen Moisturizer
Those seeking some youth-boosting benefits from their moisturizer will appreciate this multi-tasker. The trio of namesake anti-aging ingredients help to brighten, plump, and smooth out skin, all while delivering the perfect amount of hydration. Happy reviewers repeatedly comment on the non-greasy feel and also call out the pleasant citrusy scent.
Best Budget: Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream
Any drugstore product is going to be wallet-friendly (obviously), but this one really takes the money-saving cake, ringing in at less than seven dollars. The formula locks in moisture for 24 hours but is another oil-free gel that won’t clog pores or exacerbate unwanted oiliness. The addition of protective antioxidants is just the icing on the cake.
Best Vegan: e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer
One of team Byrdie’s favorite drugstore moisturizers, this is a simple and straightforward pick that relies on tried-and-true, good-for-your-skin ingredients. Yes, it does contain jojoba oil, but don’t worry; jojoba is actually one of the best oils out there for oily skin. It mimics our skin’s natural sebum and is great at balancing out moisture levels—AKA giving combination skin exactly what it needs. There are also soothing aloe and cucumber in the mix, all in a vegan and cruelty-free formula.
Best Night Cream: Pond’s Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream
Load up on this newbie come bedtime. It touts a unique retinol complex, which not only helps fight wrinkles but also helps keep pores clear, a major plus for oily spots. It’s coupled with niacinamide, a soothing ingredient that has the added benefit of strengthening the skin barrier, a win for dry spots.