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These Mattifying Moisturizers Are Like Liquid Blotting Papers

Think of them as a primer replacement.

gif of 3 different matte moisturizers

Graphic by Cristina Cianci

For those of us with oily skin, finding the right moisturizer is a lot like Goldilocks's search for the right bed: there's a lot of testing before we discover the formula that fits us the best. It might be tempting to give up on your search and forgo moisturizer altogether—after all, oily skin needs to be dried out, right? Not so much. On the contrary, when your skin is too dry, it overproduces oil to compensate, which only makes matters worse. What you actually need is the right moisturizer that strikes the perfect balance of hydration and nourishment but isn't too thick and greasy. Especially with the colder weather, those of us with oily skin need to find something that will help combat the dryness without causing clogged pores or an even shinier T-zone, which is why we turn to mattifying moisturizers.

Unlike heavy creams, mattifying moisturizers are lightweight, don't cause breakouts, and won't make it look like we poured grease all over our faces. They also control excess oil production and simultaneously hydrate as they cut down on shine. We've tried a lot of products to get you the ten moisturizers we believe have hit that sweet spot and provide all the aforementioned benefits. Click through to see which mattifying moisturizers are the best for oily skin.

Caudalie Vinopure Natural Oil Control Moisturizer
Caudalie Vinopure Natural Oil Control Moisturizer $39

If you have oily skin, you likely deal with blackheads more often than you'd like to. Caused by a buildup of oil and dead skin cells in your pores that have oxidized, those annoying little blackheads are no match for this moisturizer. Formulated with grape seed polyphenols that prevent oxidization and rosewater to keep your oil production under control.

Sephora Collection Super Matte Moisturizer
Sephora Collection Super Matte Moisturizer $16

No fluff—this stripped-down formula gets straight to the point with two main ingredients: mattifying powder to keep oil at bay and sodium hyaluronate to pull hydration into the skin. And at just $16 a tube, you can afford to touch up throughout the day, though you won't even need to.

Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer
Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer $38

The star ingredient in this moisturizer is Japanese green tea, which contributes to a matte complexion by controlling your skin's production of sebum (an oily substance). It also contains burdock root to soak up any excess oil and sodium hyaluronate for optimal hydration without the shine.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel $30

When your skin barrier is compromised, moisture is able to escape and bacteria is able to enter through tiny cracks and wreak havoc (read: cause breakouts and irritation). This formula helps to keep your barrier healthy and hydrated with ceramide 3 and salicornia herbacea. It also targets excess oil and shine with ingredients like lecithin and zinc PCA for an overall matte finish.

WASO Color-Smart Day Moisturizer Oil-Free Broad Spectrum SPF 30 1.9 oz/ 50 mL - matte moisturizers
Shiseido WASO Color-Smart Day Moisturizer Oil-Free Broad Spectrum SPF 30 $40

Made with loquat leaf cells, this sunscreen not only provides SPF protection but also balances the skin's natural oil levels to give it hydration without making it look shiny with the product's matte finish. Plus, the formula adapts to your skin tone to give you tinted coverage.

The Moisturizing Matte Lotion 1.7 oz/ 50 mL
La Mer The Moisturizing Matte Lotion $285

Yes, spending over $200 on a moisturizer is a huge ask. But if you have really oily skin, you won't be wasting a cent here. This mattifying moisturizer goes on super lightweight and uses a lime tree extract to protect against environmental aggressors for smooth, hydrated skin. It has a really nice matte finish to control any excess oil too.

Original Skin(TM) Matte Moisturizer with Willowherb 1.7 oz/ 50 mL - matte moisturizers
Origins Original Skin Matte Moisturizer With Willowherb $35

Willowherb, a flower found in Canada, helps brighten dullness and even out skin tone. As the main ingredient in this moisturizer, it will leave you with a more radiant and hydrated complexion without adding more oil to your face. 

Umbrian Clay Oil-Free Lotion 1.7 oz/ 50 mL- matte moisturizers
Fresh Umbrian Clay Oil-Free Lotion $36

Using clay from Umbria, Italy, this mattifying moisturizer helps reduce sebum production and takes out impurities from pores. It will also calm any flare-ups while locking in moisture. 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifyng Moisturizer - mattifying moisturizer
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifyng Moisturizer $32

This mattifying moisturizer contains Sebulyse technology, which is a formula made specifically to mattify excess oil and tighten large pores. It will also refine the skin's texture and provide moisture. 

Formula 10.0.06 Seriously Shine Free Moisturizer - mattifying moisturizers
Formula 10.0.06 Seriously Shine Free Moisturizer $7

Just because it's the most wallet-friendly item on this list doesn't mean it's the least effective. It contains aloe vera, which calms the skin and soothes out any dryness and irritation, and bamboo extract, which controls the shiniest parts of your face from making you look too greasy.

Next up, check out the seven organic eye creams that will get rid of those bags under your eyes.

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