Nowhere is the anxiety of having too many choices more evident than in the beauty and skincare aisle. You can stand in front of the rows of moisturizers and try to parse out the differences between glycerin and glycol and hope that your memory of high school chemistry will kick in. But the variety in moisturizer brands exists for a reason — no two faces are the same. From environmental factors to genetic ones, our skin reacts differently to different moisturizers. Finding the moisturizer that works for you does come down to some trial and error. But you can narrow it down — the best place to start is with the kind of skin you have.
If you have oily skin, you may be wary of putting a moisturizer on your skin. But just because your skin is oily, that doesn’t mean that it’s properly hydrated. If your skin lacks moisture, it can overproduce sebum, which can result in an oily feeling and breakouts. Fortunately, since oily skin is so common, there are plenty of oil-free moisturizers on the market. These will help restore moisture to your skin without leaving an oily residue.
You should also consider environmental factors. Your skin can be exposed to harmful UV rays, even on overcast days. That’s why we’ve included some moisturizers with SPF protection. And, to avoid that anxious “too many choices” feeling, we’ve kept to just a handful of recommendations. These are the best non-oil-based moisturizers on Amazon.
1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Daily Facial Moisturizer
You could splurge on a niche artisanal brand, but many of the best moisturizers are still made by affordable, name-brand options. Neutrogena’s oil-free moisturizer is designed for sensitive skin, and it’s free of fragrances and alcohol, so it won’t irritate your skin. It’s also formulated to be non-comedogenic — that means it won’t clog pores. The 4-ounce bottle has a convenient pump top, making it easy to slot into your morning routine.
Pros: Affordable price. Free of fragrances, oils, and alcohol. Designed to be non-comedogenic. Lightweight formula won’t feel thick on skin.
Cons: Pump design may make it difficult to get the last of the lotion.
2. Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Face Moisturizer
This affordable option from Clean & Clear is designed to be ultra-lightweight, preventing the greasy feeling that can come from some moisturizers. The oil-free formula is also designed to work well for those who are prone to acne. Cucumber and green mango extracts are designed to leave the skin feeling awake and refreshed, making this a good option for a morning moisturizer.
Pros: Lightweight water-based formula. A good option for those who suffer from acne.
Cons: Does have a fragrant smell, which some may dislike.
3. Brickell Men’s Daily Essential Face Moisturizer
If you’re looking for an option that’s specifically formulated for men, consider Brickell’s daily face moisturizer. The oil-free formula is full of helpful, all-natural ingredients like aloe, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and green tea. The formula is designed to work with all skin types, including oily, dry, or combination skin. It has a pleasant fragrance that’s derived from essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass, giving your face an awakening boost.
Pros: 100% natural, 83% organic formula. Pleasant fragrance from essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass.
4. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30
Using an SPF on top of your moisturizer is important, but it’s even easier if you’re moisturizer includes SPF. This option from Cerave has broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection, providing both moisture and protection from the sun. While it can initially go on smelling like sunscreen, the smell quickly dissipates, and the formula mixes in well. Key ingredients include hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide.
Pros: Provides SPF protection. Includes hyaluronic acid, which moisturizes. Mixes in well. Oil-free.
Cons: Chemical-based sunscreen may be an issue for those with more sensitive skin.
5. EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
This moisturizer from EltaMD is a good option for sensitive skin — it’s noncomedogenic, oil-free and fragrance-free. It moisturizes, smooths, and stimulates aquaporins. It features a convenient pump-design, making it easy to use during rushed mornings. It can help brighten and improve one’s skin tone.
Pros: Good option for normal to oily skin. Free of fragrances and oil. Lightweight formula.
Cons: Expensive, especially considering the small bottle size.