9 Best Esthetician-Approved Water-Based Moisturizers For Oily Skin (2024)

Hydrate your skin without risking acne or excess shine with these water-based moisturizers.

Reviewed by Vanessa Huerta, Licensed Esthetician Vanessa Huerta Vanessa HuertaLicensed Esthetician facebook_icontwitter_icon
Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Kirtana Divakar MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Last Updated on
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If you hate to apply a moisturizer on your face, you probably have oily skin. Who would want to make their oily skin even greasier by using a moisturizer? Wait! Choosing the best oil-regulating water-based moisturizer for your oily skin can do the trick for you. Oily skin is a result of excess secretion of sebum. A good moisturizer specifically made for this skin type helps you manage this condition and keep your skin hydrated. But how does a water-based moisturizer differ from a regular moisturizer? How does it benefit your skin?

Water-based moisturizers are non-sticky and gentle, leaving a non-oily finish. The fast-absorbing formulas can influence sebum secretion and prevent clogged pores, breakouts, and acne. Also, they replenish the skin, improve moisture, and keep oiliness in check. These moisturizers contain only botanical extracts and are devoid of harmful chemicals.  Vanessa Huerta, a cosmetic chemist with 20 years of experience, explains, “While oily skin still needs essential fatty oils included in a skin care routine, a water-based gel moisturizer will leave you with a lighter finish and optimal hydration.”

Top Picks
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Best Non-Comedogenic:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
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Best For Minimizing Pores:Alba Botanica Hawaiian Oil-Free Moisturizer
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Best Non-Greasy:L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Water-Based Cream
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Best Hypoallergenic:Palmer’s Coconut Water Facial Moisturizer
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Best Anti-Aging:Tatcha 一 The Water Cream
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Best Lightweight:Natural Outcome Oily Skin Moisturizer
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Best Anti-Inflammatory:Klairs Fundamental Water Gel Cream
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Best Sebum Control:Good Vibes Orange Refreshing Face Gel
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Best For Acne Scars:Florencia Sage And Citrus Lightweight Moisturizer
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9 Best Water-Based Moisturizers For Oily Skin That You Must Buy In 2024

1. Best Non-Comedogenic:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.5
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel Moisturizer Image: Neutrogena

Give your oily skin the hydration it deserves with this Neutrogena Hydro Boost water-based gel moisturizer. The water magnets and skin conditioners present in this daily moisturizer work together to strengthen the moisture barrier. This dermatologically-tested product contains purified hyaluronic acid, which attracts and locks moisture into the skin. It is also formulated with glycerin, which hydrates and rejuvenates your skin, making them soft and plump from within. With its unique progressive release system, this formula seals in moisture for up to 24 hours, preventing dryness. Click on the video review to find out the benefits of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel and the right way of using it.

Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.9 x 4.1 inches | Weight: 1.76 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Long-lasting effect
  • Provides 2x hydration
  • Dermatologically tested
  • Ophthalmologist-tested
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Clinically proven to strengthen skin barrier
  • Temporarily relieves irritation due to rashes and eczema

Cons

  • Might not treat acne
  • Doesn’t provide SPF protection

protip_icon Remember
Sunscreen is essential, especially if you have acne. Pair your moisturizer with a strong SPF every time you step out.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has received 8,067 reviews from customers on Amazon, indicating its popularity and reliability.

2. Best For Minimizing Pores:Alba Botanica Hawaiian Oil-Free Moisturizer

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Oil-Free Moisturizer
Image: By Alba Botanica

Does your skin feel extremely shiny and greasy after applying a moisturizing cream? Here is a water-based shine-free lotion for oily skin by Alba Botanica to solve this problem. With antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea, papaya, Gotu kola, cucumber, and aloe vera extracts, it repairs skin damage, boosts collagen production, has a calming effect on the skin, and keeps it healthy. Hyaluronic acid facilitates hydration to prevent acne, breakouts, and dryness. This rich cream also tones down oiliness, reduces the appearance of pores, and delivers visible results in the form of an even-toned, smooth, and radiant complexion to your skin.

Product Dimensions: 2.76 x 2.76 x 7.87 inches | Weight: 3 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Soothing effect
  • Free of synthetic scents

Cons

  • The consistency might be slightly sticky.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product is so liked by shoppers that it has gained over 5,376 great reviews on Amazon.

3. Best Non-Greasy:L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Water-Based Cream

L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Water-Based Cream
Image: L’Oreal

Are you looking for a mild water-based clarifying cream for oily skin? If yes, you should consider this one by L’Oreal Paris. This formula of this lightweight cream contains pure aloe water and 3 types of hyaluronic acid, which hydrates your skin for up to 72 hours. This revitalizing cream will amaze you by lending you a matte finish with the radiant glow that you always wanted for your skin! It also contains vitamins C and E, which repair and rejuvenate dull, damaged skin while fighting against acne and breakouts. Watch an honest review of the Loreal Paris Hydra-Genius Water-Based Cream.

Product Dimensions: 1.71 x 2.11 x 6.6 inches | Weight: 10.41 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Lightweight
  • Reduces sheen
  • Refreshing effect
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Rich in amino acids and antioxidants
  • Delivers plump, fresh, and healthy skin

Cons

  • Some may find the scent overpowering.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 7,350 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are so in awe of this product.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Best Non-Comedogenic
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Oil-Free Moisturizer
Best For Minimizing Pores
L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Water-Based Cream
Best Non-Greasy
Dimensions 2.9 x 2.9 x 4.1 inches 2.76 x 2.76 x 7.87 inches 1.71 x 2.11 x 6.6 inches
Weight 1.76 Ounces 3 Ounces 10.41 Ounces
Rating
Reviews8,0675,3767,350
Price$16.11$16.39$18.54

4. Best Hypoallergenic:Palmer’s Coconut Water Facial Moisturizer

This cooling moisturizer stands tall as one of the best moisturizers for oily skin on our list. It is enriched with coconut water and papaya enzymes, which infuses antioxidants into your skin and rehydrates it for a soft, silky, and nourished finish. The shine-control formula also includes hyaluronic acid, which acts as an excellent hydrating agent to boost moisture and radiance all day. Besides this, the nourishing facial cream also contains aloe juice, sunflower seed oil, and shea butter to attract and lock in extra moisture for an extended period. This dermatologist-tested moisturizer helps prevent acne, spots, blemishes, and breakouts while unclogging the pores. Click on the video review to find out the benefits of the Palmer’s Coconut Water Facial Moisturizer.

Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 2.8 x 2.2 inches | Weight: 7.05 Ounces.

Pros

  • No GMOs
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Works on all skin types
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes

Cons

  • The consistency might be too watery.

protip_icon Pro Tip
If you have oily skin, always cleanse and use a toner before applying your water-based moisturizer.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The extensive 4,372 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are vouching for this product.

5. Best Anti-Aging:Tatcha 一 The Water Cream

Tatcha 一 The Water Cream
Image: Tatcha

This Tatcha water-based moisturizer for your face is what you need for hydration and nourishment. The blend of Japanese wild rose and leopard lily will tighten your pores, smoothen your skin, to give you flawless skin you longed for. This formula also includes green tea, rice, and algae to help your skin look oil-free and glowing. This water-based cream hydrates and clarifies your skin by enhancing natural skin turnover. If you’re looking for a moisturizer to not only hydrate your mature skin but also repair it, this Tatcha water-based pH-balanced moisturizer has got your back.

Product Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 6 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Purifies skin
  • Fights premature aging
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Diminishes acne scars
  • Deeply delivers treatment benefits

Cons

  • May not be suitable for dry skin
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has gained over 518 positive reviews on Amazon, making it an all-time best-seller.

6. Best Lightweight:Natural Outcome Oily Skin Moisturizer

Natural Outcome Oily Skin Moisturizer
Image: By Natural Outcome

Don’t miss out on this vegan gel-type moisturizer for oily skin, which comes with many skin benefits! This skin care formula containing watermelon and aloe vera gel will leave you stunned with its amazing hydrating and healing properties. This mattifying moisturizer helps in cell regeneration, slows down aging, and gives you an oil-free look. This water-based lotion for oily skin infused with lime and apple extract is all you need for your skin to look glowing, young, and radiant. If you still have doubts about the lightweight gel formula’s amazing power to deliver visible results, check out what the Amazon reviewers have to say about it.

Prodcut Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 2.01 x 2.01 inches | Weight : 2.4 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fights aging
  • Lightweight formula
  • Sulfate, paraben, and dye-free

Cons

  • Might not reduce the sheen on the skin

7. Best Anti-Inflammatory:Klairs Fundamental Water Gel Cream

Klairs Fundamental Water Gel Cream
Image: By Klairs

Are you looking for a deeply nourishing face moisturizer with an oil-free formula? If yes, this one from Klairs is one of the best water-based products for oily skin. This formula, with its advanced liposomes, directly penetrates your skin and delivers hydration and nourishment. The key ingredients green tea, panthenol, and hyaluronic acid reduce inflammation and help retain moisture. The delicate mix of jojoba extracts, rosemary leaves, and cica will not just give you a fresh look but will repair and rejuvenate your skin. According to multiple reviews on Amazon, this lightweight moisturizer is a great everyday option and goes well with makeup.

Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 2.17 x 2.17 x 7.2 inches | Weight: 5.15 Ounces

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Deeply nourishing
  • Refreshing effect
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  • Consistency might be a little watery

8. Best Sebum Control:Good Vibes Orange Refreshing Face Gel

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3.9
Good Vibes Orange Refreshing Face Gel Image: Good Vibes

The Good Vibes Orange Refreshing Face Gel is a pore-minimizing, lightweight moisturizer that nourishes your skin without clogging the pores. It is suitable for normal to oily skin types and effectively regulates oil production while combating environmental stressors. It enhances skin tone, texture, and elasticity. The formula is enriched with antioxidants like vitamin C, which fight free radicals and help delay the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It gently removes dead skin cells, brightens your skin, repairs damage, and leaves you with soft, supple, and radiantly glowing skin. Multiple reviews suggest that this gel absorbs really well into the skin and provides long-lasting hydration.

Product Dimensions: 2.56 x 2.56 x 2.36 inches | Weight: 4.59 Ounces.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Offers anti-aging benefits
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • None
Our Tester's Experience

"This gel moisturizer absorbs quickly into my skin and boosts its elasticity. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and leaves my skin nourished. My skin feels smooth and soft and looks radiant and youthful. I like its citrus scent, but the fragrance can be overwhelming for sensitive noses."

9. Best For Acne Scars:Florencia Sage And Citrus Lightweight Moisturizer

Florencia Sage And Citrus Lightweight Moisturizer
Image: By Florencia

Do you worry about your skin looking dull and oily? This Florencia sage and citrus natural water-based moisturizer for oily skin will help your skin balance the oil production and give you a radiant and silky texture. The active ingredients lemon bioflavonoid, sage extracts, and vitamins C and E will purify your skin, diminish acne scars, and protect your skin from damage due to exposure to pollutants. It also contains vitamin A and aloe vera extract to improve elasticity and hydrate parched skin. This water-based face moisturizer for oily skin protects, reduces breakouts, and helps clarify your complexion.

Product Dimensions: 2.25 x 2.25 x 2.25 inches | Weight: 2 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Lightweight
  • Alcohol-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-sticky formula
  • Long-lasting hydration

Cons

  • Might not be suitable for sensitive skin

Our Tester's Experience

"My skin needed intense hydration, and this product has met my expectations. The formula feels lightweight and provides my skin with oil-free hydration. It clarifies my pores and reverses the dull appearance of my skin. I love that it layers well under my sunscreen and makeup products."


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Now that you’ve taken a look at the 9 best water-based moisturizers for oily skin, learn more about how to select the right one with the help of our buying guide. The following are a few essential factors to consider before choosing such a product.

How To  Choose A Water-Based Moisturizer For Oily Skin

  • Ingredients

Ingredients are a crucial factor in skin care, especially if you have oily acne-prone skin. Oily skin requires hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, retinol, glycerin, etc., to control excess sebum generation. For dry and combination skin, products with ceramides, antioxidants, and niacinamide work the best as they minimize moisture loss to the skin. To treat and pamper your sensitive skin, look for products formulated with aloe vera, calendula, chamomile honey, green tea, or shea butter extracts.

  • Formula

When choosing a water-based moisturizer for oily skin, opt for an oil-free and non-comedogenic formula for acne-prone skin texture. It is helpful as they don’t clog your pores and thus, prevents acne and breakouts. They also ensure a mess-free finish without any product buildup or residue.

  • One that tones down the shine

Many moisturizers leave behind a white cast that may not complement your complexion. Hence, it is essential to use a water-based moisturizer with sebum-controlling components such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide that minimize shine.

  • SPF formulation

Who doesn’t love an added benefit along with lightweight hydration? Sunscreen is a crucial skin care step as it shields your skin against harmful UV rays from the sun. We suggest that you purchase a water-based moisturizer with at least 30 SPF with UVA/UVB protection to guard your skin from sun damage.

Infographic: Benefits Of Using Water-Based Moisturizers For Oily Skin

Finding the best moisturizer for oily skin is a common struggle. You need a product that will hydrate your skin without leaving it greasy or clogged. Water-based moisturizers come to the rescue in this situation. The infographic below outlines some of the advantages of using water-based moisturizers for oily skin to keep your skin healthy and radiant. Check it out for more information!

Benefits Of Using Water-Based Moisturizers For Oily Skin (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Water-based moisturizers are best suited for oily skin because their watery consistency offers hydration to this skin type. However, choosing the best water-based moisturizers for oily skin is tricky. But this article has a list of products that you can choose from. These moisturizers have a non-sticky and gentle formula that absorbs quickly and prevents breakouts, acne, and clogged pores. The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel offers lightweight and intense hydration, making it suitable for rashes and irritations, while the L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Water-Based Cream provides a radiant glow and fights against acne and breakouts. If you are in search of moisturizers that tighten and repair the skin, try the Tatcha 一 The Water Cream. These moisturizers are enriched with natural extracts and devoid of harsh chemicals. These products replenish moisture in your skin and keep the oiliness in check. Consider the ingredients and formula, and ensure the product offers SPF protection while choosing the best water-based moisturizers for oily skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of moisturizer is better for oily skin – gel or cream?

Gel moisturizers are most suitable for oily skin due to their lightweight and water-based formulas. Thick cream moisturizer might clog pores and cause breakouts in oily skin.

When do you use a water-based moisturizer – morning or night?

There is no specific time to use a water-based moisturizer. You can use it in the morning, or at night, as a part of your skin care regime.

Is salicylic acid good for oily skin?

Yes, salicylic acid is great for oily skin. Water-based moisturizers containing salicylic acid can fight acne and breakouts while balancing sebum production.

How can I apply a water-based moisturizer?

Prepare your skin with a lightweight facial oil before applying a water-based moisturizer. Take four to five drops of the moisturizer on your palm. Apply it gently on your face without rubbing too much. If you need to go out, do not forget to pair the moisturizer with an efficient sunscreen.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Kirtana Divakar is a skin and hair care enthusiast who is passionate about recommending the most reliable and safe products to her readers. She has curated this comprehensive list of the best water-based moisturizers for oily skin. These products are gentle, control oil production, and help maintain well-nourished skin. She has also included each product’s specifications and a detailed buying guide to help you pick the right moisturizer for your skin.

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Vanessa Huerta
Vanessa HuertaLicensed Esthetician
Vanessa is a Licensed Esthetician with 4 years of experience, certified Usui Reiki Level Two Healer practitioner, and certified by Yakov Gershkovich in Level Two Facial Buccal sculpting. She is also the co-founder of The Switch Suites - a luxury skincare wellness center in Bankers Hill, San Diego.

Read full bio of Vanessa Huerta
Kirtana Divakar
Kirtana DivakarCommerce Writer
Kirtana has a postgraduate degree in mass communication and journalism from St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru, and 3 years of professional experience. She developed a deep passion for writing after reading the brilliant works of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity.

Read full bio of Kirtana Divakar
Shiboli Chakraborti
Shiboli ChakrabortiCommerce Editor
Shiboli has a master’s degree in English literature from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and is a certified skincare coach with four years of experience. As a commerce editor, she guides her team members on the best practices to create crisp and authentic content.

Read full bio of Shiboli Chakraborti
Swathi E
Swathi ESenior Beauty & Lifestyle Writer
Swathi has a postgraduate degree in English literature from The English And Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and over three years of experience in writing on beauty, health, and lifestyle. She also has a diploma in English journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Kottayam, and is a certified skincare coach.

Read full bio of Swathi E