By: Jennifer Appenrodt

Skin Condition: Oily Skin

The how’s, the why’s and the best proven products to control oily skin.

We all strive for skin that glows—but if you’re someone with oily skin, “glowing” is something you actually dread. (Grease = glow.) Whether you deal with the occasional oil slick or are constantly blotting away shine, oily skin has many different degrees—and luckily, many different solutions.

What causes oiliness?

It all starts with sebum, which is the technical term for the oil our skin naturally produces. Our glands create sebum, and then store it in our pores. Eventually, the sebum begins to seep into our skin and contribute to keeping hydration levels healthy. But when our body produces too much, that’s when things get greasy. 

Also—as most of us have experienced first-hand standing in a hot subway car or sunbathing—weather can also cause seasonal slickness. Why? “Sweat evaporates slower when the weather is humid,” explains beauty chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. “This makes the skin feel especially oily.”    

How to treat oily skin:

Despite what most might think, starving oily skin of moisture is the wrong thing to do!

“Our skin cells still need water to function properly,” says Wilson. “So depriving skin of ingredients that will give thirsty cells a drink is not a good idea.” However, you don’t want to hydrate by adding more oils to the skin. (It obviously has plenty.) Instead, you want to use humectants to draw water from the lower skin layers to the upper layers, which Wilson says will create an irrigation effect. 

As for stopping excess oil from forming, there are a handful of effective ingredients that help regulate or normalize sebum production. These include butyl avocadate, farnesyl acetate, panthenyl triacetate and azeleic acid. You can also absorb oil with silica and starches—they keep oil from staying inside pores until ingredients that really help regulate sebum kick in.

Proven Products for Oily Skin
Our team of chemists check the claims of every product we sell, making sure its ingredients do what they say. The products below contain ingredients that are proven to treat and prevent oiliness.




VMV Hypoallergenics Spring Cleaning Purifying Facial Wash for Oily Skin
What: This incredibly lightweight cleanser gently whisks away impurities like oil, dirt and other gunk that can clog pores, leaving skin refreshed, hydrated and mattified.



Bayberry Naturals Breakout Banisher Facial Cleanser
What: This 100 percent vegan foaming cleanser gently deep cleans the skin without stripping moisture with highly absorptive activated charcoal that sucks dirt and oil from pores like a powerful sponge.



Shea Terra Tamanu & Green Clay Purifying Soap
What: This clarifying soap purges pores and repairs the skin with green clay and soothing shea butter.



NUXE Aroma-Perfection Purifying Cleansing Gel
What: A perfect purifier for oily and combination skin, this gel cleanser forms a foam to keep oil slicks and breakouts away.



Natura Siberica NATURAL & ORGANIC Cleansing Foaming Mousse
What: This thick-yet-light cleanser is perfect for oily and combination skin, as its rich lather foams away excess dirt, oil and makeup, leaving skin clean and refreshed.




VMV Hypoallergenics Spring Cleaning Anti-Bacterial Scrub for Oily Skin
What: illed with natural pumice grains that gently buff your skin to a beyond-smooth, this purifying scrub smoothes over skin—curbing oil and breakouts with antibacterial zinc PCA.



Natura Siberica NATURAL & ORGANIC Exfoliating Face Scrub
What: A rich exfoliating face scrub that contains up to 30% of rutin, which stimulates the regeneration processes and regulates lipid balance.





VMV Hypoallergenics Spring Fresh Oil-Free Nourisher SPF 15 for Oily Skin
What: Formulated without oil, this feather-light formula adds a thin veil of moisture and SPF protection over oily skin to keep it balanced and shine free.




Recipe for Men Anti-Shine Moisturizer
What: This moisturizer features an ultra-fine powder that reduces skin shine by soaking up excess sebum and cutting down reflections.



VMV Hypoallergenics Spring Fresh Oil-Free Nourisher for Oily Skin
What: Formulated without oil, this feather-light formula adds a thin veil of moisture and SPF protection over oily skin to keep it balanced and shine free.



Snowberry Bright Defence Day Cream No.1
What: A brightening day cream for oily skin that adds youthful luminescence while hydrating and preventing free-radical damage.



NUXE Aroma-Perfection Anti-Shine Fluid
What: A moisturizing treatment that wards off shine with kaolin, marrow seed oil and jojoba oil, which mattify skin and reduce excess sebum.


Om Aroma & Co. Hydrate: Truffle Face Cream for Oily Skin
What: An all-over day cream for oily skin that restores radiance, softens the look of lines and evens skintone.


suki Pure Facial Moisture - Balancing
What: While this moisturizer hydrates with jojoba and grape seed oils, it also controls shine with rice bran oil, which mimics sebum to ward off oiliness.



Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil
What: A lightweight, fast-absorbing oil that helps balance excessive oiliness, supports elasticity of pores and visibly reduces blemishes.



Marula Oil: The Leakey Collection
What: Loads of fatty acids help the oil absorb deeply and rapidly to boost hydration and moisture retention—yet it controls oil production and always leaves skin looking beautifully matte, never greasy.




VMV Hypoallergenics Superskin 3
What: This refreshing toner features a potent dose of mandelic acid, specifically to keep oily skin in check.




clariSEA Perfecting Clay Mask: Face
What: This deeply clarifying mask includes a powerful doses of therapeutic French kaolin clay and seaweed extract, which draw out impurities, eliminate excess oil, heal blemishes and tighten up pores.


VMV Hypoallergenics Id Anti-Acne Toner
What: Thanks to a high concentrations of beta-hydroxy acid and salicylic acid, this toner cuts through oils to get deep down into pores to remove debris and bacteria.



Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Toner
What: A daily toner for oily, irritated or large-pored skin that contains daisy and nasturtium extracts to tighten the appearance of pores and reduce the appearance of blackheads and blemishes.




Christopher Drummond Beauty Finale Finishing Powder White
What: This all-natural, vegetarian-based finishing powder features silica powder to help control excess oil.




TATCHA PETAL FRESH Original Aburatorigami
What: These all-natural leaflets remove excess oil and sweat without disturbing makeup or stealing moisture.