Finding a great moisturizer is hard at the best of times, but when you factor in a combination skin type, things get even more tricky. You need a formula that’s hydrating but non-greasy, lightweight but still comforting—something that will balance and clarify your complexion, leaving it soft, healthy, and happy. Formulas that work best on combination skin include those that mimic the skin's own make-up and natural moisturizing systems.
“Combination skin is generally shiny around the t-zone but dehydrated elsewhere, so a light, water-based moisturizer is important to restore balance within the complexion,” says esthetician and skin expert, Melanie Grant. “I tend to recommend fluids, gels, and lotions as these provide the skin with essential hydration without stimulating excess shine.”
We conducted in-depth research on the best moisturizers for combination skin, evaluating top-rated formulas on their active ingredients, texture, feel, and the types of skin concerns targeted. We considered moisturizers with and without SPF protection as well as how quickly the moisturizer is absorbed into the skin. In addition to extensive research, we also included some options that our editors swear by. After considering dozens of options and consulting with an esthetician for her recommendations, we landed on these picks.
Keep reading for the best moisturizers for combination skin.
Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion
Packed with humectants
Creates a dewy finish
The texture of this product is one of the many things we love so much about it. A unique water-gel cream, it’s super fresh and cooling—as if tiny water droplets were bursting across your face. It's slightly more hydrating than a traditional water cream, yet not quite as rich as a traditional cream. The formula is full of hyaluronic acid and Japanese marine algae (from the Blue Zone of Okinawa), meaning it delivers soothing moisture without shine. It's also packed with amino acids and vitamins to help improve skin elasticity and increase moisture. Expect plump, balanced skin with a subtle dewy finish.
Price at time of publish: $65
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Japanese marine algae | Skin Type: Balanced, oily, combination, dry, sensitive | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Need to reapply often
Thanks to hyaluronic acid (a molecule that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water), this lotion is super lightweight and moisturizing. It's one of our favorites because it's gentle, non-greasy, hydrating, and generally just really efficient at calming and balancing combo skin. It's also great for applying on the body, making it a versatile choice at an affordable price.
Price at time of publish: $11
Active Ingredients: Ceramides (1, 3, and 6-II), hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, combination | Size: 8, 12, or 16 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel
Thank you, Neutrogena, for providing us with drugstore skincare that still feels luxurious. This moisturizer is like a tall drink of water for the skin thanks to high levels of hyaluronic acid, a molecule that can draw water into the superficial layers of the skin. The fresh, water-gel consistency is great under makeup, too. If you're looking for something incredibly lightweight to wear during humid months or sweaty workouts (without compromising on moisture), this is the one for you.
Price at time of publish: $30
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: Balanced, oily, combination | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No
Best for Mature Skin
Augustinus Bader The Cream
Thin, lightweight texture
Streamlines any skincare routine
Helps smooth appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Some reviewers note that it can have a funny smell
When Hailey Beiber, Victoria Beckham, and Lili Reinhart all confess their love for a single product, you know there must be something special about it. Augustinus Bader’s The Cream contains a signature trigger factor complex: a combination of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins, and synthesized molecules to activate the body’s stem cells. The result is skin that’s smoother, stronger, and more youthful in appearance. But the super light texture means it won’t exacerbate shine. Yep, it seems you can have it all.
Price at time of publish: $180
Active Ingredients: TFC8, vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin B5 (panthenol), hydrolyzed rice protein, aloe vera juice, shea butter | Skin Type: Combination, oily, acne-prone | Size: 1 ounce | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Blemish-Prone Skin
Skinfix Barrier+ Skin Barrier Niacinamide Restoring Gel Cream
Lightweight, gel texture
Contains antimicrobial peptides
Has a slightly funny smell
This moisturizer is a great option for anyone with combination skin, but especially recommend it for those dealing with breakouts. The lightweight, gel texture feels refreshing and moisturizing on the skin, and we appreciate that, unlike some other gel moisturizers that don't seem to keep the face feeling balanced for long, this one provides long-lasting hydration. The formula contains niacinamide to help even tone and control oil, as well as an antimicrobial peptide that helps to balance the skin's microbiome to keep it looking and feeling healthy. Plus, it's fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and comes in hygienic packaging.
Price at time of publish: $48
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, antimicrobial peptide | Skin Type: Dry, combination, balanced, oily | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Minimizing Pores
Tatcha The Water Cream
Refines the look of pores
Pricey compared to similar formulas on the market
This stuff is legendary in the world of skincare, and for good reason. The oil-free gel-cream is formulated with Japanese botanicals, like wild rose which helps to reduce the appearance of pores, and Tatcha’s hadasei-3 blend of algae, green tea, and fermented rice. The texture is incredibly weightless and fresh-feeling, so it feels lightweight but soothing and hydrating when you apply it. The gold applicator wand and luxe packaging is a nice touch, too.
Price at time of publish: $70
Active Ingredients: Japanese wild rose, Japanese leopard lily, Hadasei-3 Complex | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 0.34 or 1.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"After each application, my face felt really hydrated but light at the same time. There is a freshness you feel upon applying The Water Cream, almost like a cooling sensation in a way. I continued to enjoy how it felt on my skin during the day and at night." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best for Redness
Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer
Simple but effective, this light gel formula from Aveeno contains oat extract, which is proven to reduce redness, calm the skin, and restore healthy barrier function. There’s also glycerin (a humectant) and panthenol to help increase moisture levels. But what we love is the texture—light, and cooling, it glides onto the skin effortlessly, delivering fresh hydration that doesn’t exacerbate shine.
Price at time of publish: $28
Active Ingredients: Prebiotic Triple Oat Complex, glycerin, panthenol | Skin Type: Dry, sensitive, combination | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Rich Barrier Moisturizer
Helps plump skin
Can feel slightly heavy on oily areas
If you're looking for a combination skin-friendly moisturizer with plumping benefits, look no further than this option from Peter Thomas Roth. It has a rich but somehow still water-like texture that instantly replenishes the skin with much-needed moisture thanks to the inclusion of a hyaluronic acid complex in the formula. It also contains a special moisture barrier boosting complex which helps to increase the look of the skin's thickness, thus creating a more plumped appearance. It's worth noting that some people with oily skin find this moisturizer to be a bit thick, so we recommend using this one at night if you're prone to oiliness.
Price at time of publish: $58
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid complex, moisture barrier boosting complex | Skin Type: Dry, combination, balanced | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No
Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream
A little bit goes a long way
Lightweight, cream-gel texture
Can feel slightly greasy on oily areas
If you're looking for a moisturizer that's refillable in an effort to be more sustainable, this is a great choice. It has a super moisturizing formula with a rich, gel-like texture that feels almost like a cream—it's a bit strange but in the best way. It spreads easily and immediately quenches dehydrated skin, leaving it looking luminous and feeling hydrated. And once you use it up, you can just buy a refill container and pop it into the jar. This is not only sustainable, but it will also save you a few bucks.
Price at time of publish: $39
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid | Skin Type: Dry, combination, balanced, oily | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Turns out, there’s a stack of effective moisturizers for combination skin out there. Our top pick is Dr. Dennis Gross' Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion for its beautiful texture that absorbs easily and works effectively to plump skin with hyaluronic acid and algae. For a more affordable pick, consider CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, a drugstore option packed with nourishing ceramides.
Meet the Expert
Melanie Grant is an esthetician, facialist, skin expert, and the founder of Melanie Grant Skin Health, a clinic with outposts in Sydney, Melbourne, and Los Angeles.
What to Look for in a Moisturizer for Combination Skin
Grant says that it's important to seek out a moisturizer formula packed with humectants as these will bind water to the skin, increasing hydration without triggering oil overproduction. “Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera, and panthenol are all great,” Grant explains. The Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer is a wonderful drugstore option that contains glycerin, a popular humectant.
On the opposite end of the scale, she advises steering clear of heavy occlusives like shea butter, lanolin, coconut, and mineral oil as these are too heavy and will contribute to oil production and thus congestion.
On that note, Grant suggests that combination skin types seek out a light gel or fluid moisturizer. “Rich creams, balms, and butters are better suited towards extremely dry skin.” Though most of the moisturizers on this list are lightweight, if you really want something that feels practically weightless on the skin, we recommend trying the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel.
What are the benefits of moisturizers for combination skin?
“It’s a common misconception that oily skin—even combination skin—should be starved of moisture,” Grant explains. “The right moisturizer should replenish and rebalance, helping to improve texture, luminosity, and skin clarity.”
If you skip out on all moisture, any dry spots will become drier, whereas areas prone to excess shine will get confused and create even more oil—a lose-lose situation. That’s why a light but effective moisturizer for combination skin is paramount.
How often should you use moisturizers for combination skin?
Grant explains that moisturizers for combination skin should be used morning and night as the final step in your skincare routine (except for sunscreen during the day).
How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives.
Why Trust Byrdie
Emily Algar is an experienced writer who covers all things beauty. Her work has appeared in many big-name publications, including Popsugar, Vogue Australia, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, and more.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any moisturizers for combination skin from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
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