15 Oil-Free Moisturizers an Esthetician Uses to Combat Dry Skin

Updated 05/03/18

Now that the harsh days of winter are slowly fading into our memories, we may soon forget about the care we took of our skin during that tough season, too. It's true that the dry patches and cracked surfaces that blemished our profiles may be signs of the recent past, but their disappearance doesn't mean that our skincare routines should go with them. In fact, if there's one product that should be a part of a daily regimen regardless of the weather, it's an oil-free moisturizer.

"An oil-free moisturizer is a way to deliver much-needed hydration to the oily skin," Kelly Carney, a Los Angeles–based esthetician with more than 15 years of experience, says. "We need to make sure we are giving our skin 'a drink' to maintain its balance of oil and water." While Carney says that oily-skin types would benefit most from these types of moisturizers, everyone can use them to see improvements — even those on the opposite end of the spectrum.

"It is perfectly fine for dry skin to use an oil-free option," Carney continues. "Some people simply prefer the lighter feel of an oil-free moisturizer." When it comes to a regimen, Carney says that an oil-free moisturizer should be applied every morning and evening as the last step of a routine. And if you're not sure where to start, Carney also provided 15 recommendations of oil-free moisturizers that should make their way into your rotation.

oil-free moisturizers
Brooke Testoni
Vichy Normaderm Daily Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion $26

Carney notes that this is an affordable option that's a great "gentle treatment for acne-prone skin," she says.

Pur Soak It Up Intense Hydrating Moisturizer
Pur Minerals Soak It Up Oil-Free Moisturizer $34

This decadent, dewy cream provides immediate relief from dryness and prevents long-term moisture loss," she says. "It sits perfectly under makeup and is a great start to a flawless finish."

Zero Oil(TM) Oil-Free Moisture Lotion 1.7 oz/ 50 mL
Origins Zero Oil Oil Free Moisturizer Zero Oil Oil-Free Moisturizer $30

Looking for something lightweight? Carney recommends this pick from Origins, which gives a "smooth, matte finish."

Mychelle Oil-Free Grapefruit Lotion $23

If you have sensitive skin that's also oily, look for this option to provide moisture that won't act as an irritant, Carney says. 

Mario Badescu Oil-Free Moisturizer $24

This might be the best option for makeup routines on the go. Why? "It absorbs quickly," Carney says, "and keeps pores clog-free."

Cosmedix Shineless Oil-Free Moisturizer $48

Carney is a representative for Cosmedix, and she recommends this moisturizer because it helps "firm, smooth, and brighten the appearance of skin over time," she says. "This unique formula not only provides hydration to oily skin but also provides superior anti-aging benefits."

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double-Repair Moisturizer $20

"This cream sits lightly on the skin and restores its protective barrier," she says. 

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion $29

This lotion "instantly cools," Carney says, and it absorbs fast, too. 

Oil Free Moisturizer 1.7 oz/ 50 mL
Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer $65

Opt for this lightweight moisturizer if you need something to work well with makeup, Carney notes. It'll hydrate your skin throughout the day. 

Philosophy Hope in Jar Oil-Free Moisturizer $39

Philosophy's longtime fan-favorite moisturizer gets Carney's vote because it "plumps the skin without leaving it feeling oily," she says. 

Elemental Herbology Moisture Milk $69

This moisturizer "uses anti-bacterial botanicals to reduce oil and breakouts," Carney says, making it a wise choice for acne-prone skin. 

B-Hydra(TM) Intensive Hydration Gel 1.69 oz/ 50 mL
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra(TM) Intensive Hydration Gel $52

This pick "attracts and holds hydration to the skin without disrupting the barrier function," Carney says, keeping your profile looking smooth in the process. 

Cosmedix Mystic Hydrating Oil-Free Spray $42

Other than its unique spray applicator, Carney likes this option because it "eliminates dry skin, reduces the appearance of oil, and protects skin from environmental and free radical damage," she says. 

The True Cream Aqua Bomb 3.37 oz/100 mL
Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb $62

"This cooling gel cream is perfect for those who don't want a traditional moisturizer on their face," Carney says. 

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Oil-Free Moisturizer $9

If you're looking for a budget-friendly choice that provides gentle coverage, Carney says that this moisturizer is it. 

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