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Including the best face moisturizer for combination skin, the best for the whole body, and more.
Often the final step in your skincare routine order, moisturizing plays a pivotal role in skin health. And if you’ve ever tried a new one only to break out the next day, you’re not alone. It can be difficult finding the right one for your skin type—especially if you have dry patches and oily areas. That’s why finding the best moisturizer for combination skin is so important.
These powerhouse products walk the line of being effective without stripping the skin of its natural oils in areas that are drier. Basically, the best moisturizers for combo skin manage to hydrate without clogging pores, leaving glowing, clear skin in their path.
Meet the experts: Lauren Penzi, M.D., board-certified dermatologist; Janiene Luke, M.D., board-certified dermatologist; Azadeh Shirazi, M.D., board-certified cosmetic dermatologist; and Marisa Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist.
While certain ingredients lend themselves to the best moisturizer for oily skin or the best face moisturizer for dry skin, the greatest ones for combination skin include a variety of noncomedogenic (meaning they don’t clog pores) hydrators that work together to tackle your complexion’s needs.
“Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin that hydrate the skin, as well as ingredients that help to protect the skin barrier like ceramides,” notes Lauren Penzi, M.D., board-certified dermatologist.
Before you throw in the towel (or purchase a slew of expensive products), we have you covered. Ahead, you’ll find expert recommendations for a variety of combination skin concerns. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get glowing!
Tested during Good Housekeeping Institute’s most recent facial moisturizer study, Philosophy’s ultra-light moisturizer received great reviews from combination skin testers. It moisturized skin by 28% over six hours, according to their clinical study which employed a Corneometer, that measures skin hydration levels. Almost all of the testers (95%) loved the scent and most (90%) felt it had a nice texture and left skin feeling smooth. “My skin feels more vibrant, and within two weeks, I felt like I had new skin,” says one tester. “My T-zone wasn’t as oily, and my dry spots disappeared.” Another said, “It was lightweight and did not make my face feel greasy.”
Another tested during Good Housekeeping Institute’s facial moisturizer study, this cream from Aveeno was loved by those who have combination skin as well as sensitive skin types. All of their testers ranked it the fastest-absorbing facial moisturizer and best for making skin feel hydrated. They also enjoyed the texture and most agreed that the product soothed skin and didn’t cause irritation or redness.
“This lightweight facial moisturizer protects against UV rays while providing oil-free hydration with a matte, satin finish,” notes Dr. Penzi. “It has nourishing ingredients such as edelweiss flower and vitamins E, B3 & B5, and is great for people with both sensitive and acne-prone skin,” says Dr. Penzi.
This gel moisturizer is an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula that won’t clog pores, notes Dr. Penzi. “It quickly absorbs and instantly quenches dry skin for a healthy-looking glow,” she says. Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology, New York Presbyterian-Cornell, also loves this moisturizer for its lightweight feel. “This lightweight water gel-cream is a great moisturizer that can be used daily, combining the benefits of a gel as it absorbs easily and cream as it maintains long-lasting hydration,” she says. It’s also a favorite of Jennifer Garner, who has said in the past that this gel “instantly plumps skin.”
“A lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer that provides hydration without shine. It contains prebiotic thermal water, ceramide-3, niacinamide, and glycerin to help restore healthy-looking skin,” says Dr. Penzi. Dr. Garshick also recommends this one, but for its pore-minimization efforts. “It has a magnifying effect, improving the overall appearance of oil and pores,” she says.
Dr. Penzi says this body cream is “a powerhouse moisturizer for dry skin that contains prebiotic Thermal Water, Ceramide-3, Shea Butter, Glycerin, and Niacinamide. Its triple action helps rebalance the skin microbiome, restore the skin’s protective barrier, and replenish the skin’s lipids,” says Dr. Penzi. She includes this pick in her list of best options for those with combination skin.
This lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer with sunscreen is a great everyday pick. It is not heavy and features ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides that help the skin retain its natural moisture and restore the skin’s barrier, says Dr. Penzi.
Dr. Penzi says this moisturizer provides 24-hour hydration “while also helping to restore a youthful appearance due to the addition of retinol and peptides. It visibly helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, pores, and dyspigmentation,” she says,
“Nourishing ingredients help restore the skin barrier. Postbiotics balance the skin’s microclimate and calm the skin,” says Azadeh Shirazi, M.D., board-certified cosmetic dermatologist. “It’s also formulated without preservatives or fragrance in a sterile pump suitable for those with sensitive skin.”
“This nourishing, but lightweight lotion is great for those with sensitive combination skin as it contains key ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides to support the skin barrier, but still absorbs easily,” Dr. Garshick notes. “It is fragrance-free, paraben-free, lanolin-free, and sulfate-free, making it especially good for those with sensitive skin.”
Janiene Luke, M.D., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist, recommends this affordable option for all-over use. “This is lightweight, fragrance-free, and oil-free,” she says, “[it’s] formulated with hyaluronic acid. There is also a ‘balm’ version which is great during winter because it doesn’t leave a greasy residue.”
Dr. Luke loves this product, despite its hefty price tag. “I love this serum because it is packed with several ingredients that target fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and oily/combination skin,” explains Dr. Luke. “It contains bilberry, sugar cane, and white willow bark which help exfoliate the skin.”
Check ingredients. “Choose a moisturizer with ingredients that hydrate the skin and won’t clog pores, while reducing oiliness and shine,” explains Dr. Penzi. “Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin that hydrate the skin, as well as ingredients that help to protect the skin barrier like ceramides.”
Consider cost. You don’t need to spend your whole savings on a great moisturizer, though some can get pricey. Before you purchase, think of the part of the body it’s for and how often you’ll be using it (day and night versus just evening, etc.), then compare it with the size of the bottle to figure out if it’s worth the price to you.
Don’t be afraid of new products. If more than one moisturizer calls to you, it’s totally okay to have different ones for different days. But it’s important to note that consistency is usually key to see results.
In short, it depends on what the two moisturizers are, according to Dr. Garshick. “Not necessarily as some products may be formulated to address combination skin types as they can hydrate without feeling greasy or leaving the skin looking oily,” she says. “Certainly, some people may opt for two different moisturizers, using one that is more mattifying in the morning and more hydrating in the evening, but that can be related to personal preference.”
We spoke with Lauren Penzi, M.D., board-certified dermatologist; Janiene Luke, M.D., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist; Azadeh Shirazi, M.D., board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and founder of a Jolla Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center; and Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology, New York Presbyterian-Cornell. The Best Overall Moisturizer for Combination Skin and the Best Value Moisturizer for Combination Skin selects were tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute as part of their most recent Facial Moisturizer study.
For more than 70 years, Prevention has been a leading provider of trustworthy health information, empowering readers with practical strategies to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Our editors interview medical experts to help guide our health-focused product selections. Additionally, Prevention also examines hundreds of reviews—and often conducts personal testing done by our staff—to help you make informed decisions.