7 Best Mattifying Moisturizers for Less Oil & Shine

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7 Best Mattifying Moisturizers for Less Oil & Shine
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

BEST FOR SENSITIVE AND ACNE-PRONE SKIN

ZELEN Life Moisturizer

BEST FOR COMBINATION TO OILY SKIN

Embryolisse Hydra Matte Emulsion

A mattifying moisturizer hydrates your skin and soaks up excess oil without stripping it of its natural oil. Matte moisturizers are an excellent option for those who don’t like the greasy, shiny look.

In this article, we have put together a comprehensive list of the 7 best mattifying moisturizers currently on the market.

We will provide a detailed review of each product, highlighting its best features, who it is most suitable for, along with their strengths and weaknesses.

We’ve ensured there is something for everyone. Read on to find your favorite.

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageZELEN Life Moisturizer
  • Organic formula provides natural matte effect
  • Fast absorption due to light, non-greasy texture
  • Vitamin and antioxidant-rich, boosts hydration
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bb2-table__imageEmbryolisse Hydra Matte Emulsion
  • Evens skin tone
  • Leaves skin soft without shine
  • Matte effect is long-lasting
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bb2-table__imageErnest Supplies Protective Matte Moisturizer
  • Contains vitamins A, C & E
  • Plant-based moisturizer, anti-aging
  • Protects skin
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bb2-table__imageL'Occitane Perfecting & Mattifying Fluid
  • Illuminates skin
  • Leaves skin without shine and not oily
  • Signature pivoine pure complex
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bb2-table__imageELEMIS Peptide4 Adaptive Day Cream
  • Ultra-light formula
  • Essential Fatty Acids strengthen skin moisture barrier
  • Controls sebum, even in T-zone
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bb2-table__imageToo Cool for School All-in-One Egg Mellow Cream, 5-in-1 Firming Moisturizer
  • 5-in-1 multi-purpose moisturizer
  • Tightens skin and improves elasticity
  • Anti-aging, mattifying look
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bb2-table__imageL'Occitane Cade Complete Care Moisturizer For Men
  • Hydrates and evens skin tone
  • Smoothing matte effect
  • Great for men with fine lines
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Before you buy: 5 Things to consider when purchasing a mattifying moisturizer

Before you decide to pick up a mattifying moisturizer, there are a few things to consider.

Matte moisturizers are created differently with different purposes in mind. No one moisturizer can have all the benefits, but they tend to have a dual or triple function.

Here are the key considerations you should make before you make your selection:

1. Skin type

Your skin type is very important when it comes to mattifying moisturizers. These moisturizers’ very function is to make you have a dry, matte finish to your skin.

If you have dry skin or have dermatoses like atopic dermatitis, etc., you may want to be careful about picking up one of these. And if you do, you must pick one up rich in essential oils that will hydrate and moisturize your skin.

Similarly, if you have sensitive skin, certain essential oils, honey, egg yolks can cause a reaction. So knowing your skin type is critical. People with oily and combination skin do very well with mattifying moisturizers.

2. The matte effect

We understand that not everyone is a fan of dewy, shiny skin. The matte effect is not just popular with the oily and combination skin types.

A mattifying moisturizer is a great option for someone who uses an oil-based formula for sunscreen, serum, or toner. The matte effect does tend to provide a finish that is smooth and without a shine. If that’s what you want, then a mattifying moisturizer is for you.

3. Acne

Mattifying moisturizers, while being hydrating does tend to soak up sebum or inhibit its production. This can clog some pores or feel like it does. If you have hormonal acne or cystic acne, be very selective about the mattifying moisturizer you choose.

It must be one that has is suitable for acne and breakouts, one that is lightweight and does not clog your pores. It should be a quick-absorbing formula.

4. Ingredients

Mattifying moisturizers tend to have ingredients that soak up extra oil. These include honey, egg yolks, essential oils, etc.

Are you allergic to any of these? Have you tried these on your face before? Have you ever reacted to any of them? Do any of your other skincare products have similar products?

You do not want to be using a serum or toner that also has them as this would be too dehydrating for your skin.

5. Additional skin issues

Many mattifying moisturizers tend to serve other skin needs too. Some have anti-aging properties, some have antioxidant properties, some even out the skin tone, others reduce fine lines.

You want to select a formula that targets the skin issue you’re facing. So if you have redness or acne or have lost some skin elasticity, then you may want to pick a moisturizer that balances the oil and works on these other issues too.

The 7 best mattifying moisturizers

1. ZELEN Life Moisturizer

ZELEN Life Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Lightweight, non-greasy formula
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Alcohol-free, silicone-free, and fragrance-free and cruelty-free
  • Absorbs fast and boosts hydration

The best mattifying moisturizer for:

Most skin types battling acne, scars, and frequent breakouts.

Overview:

ZELEN Life’s Moisturizer is an organic oil-based moisturizer that is formulated with jojoba, calendula, and clary sage. These ingredients are rich in vitamin C, E, and antioxidants. Their blend creates a lightweight cream that is quickly absorbed and non-greasy.

Jojoba is a carrier oil with anti-aging properties that helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It accelerates the skin’s healing, and it regulates the skin’s natural oil (sebum), which helps to mattify the skin and control breakouts.

Studies have shown that certain jojoba oil compounds penetrate the skin and reduce the synthesis of fatty acids.[1]

Calendula is a natural oil that nourishes the skin. It’s a natural antiseptic and thus heals the skin while reducing redness from irritations and blemishes.

Clary sage also assists in diminishing the effects of aging giving a youthful and radiant appearance.

It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that promote wound healing and reduce irritations and bacteria.

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, etc.

Its formula also provides advanced hydration due to its occlusive ingredients and is non-comedogenic. This makes it suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

The good:

  • Moisturizes and hydrates the skin without clogging pores
  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
  • Acts as a protective barrier
  • Has a smoothing, calming, and soothing effect on the skin while leaving it refreshed and revitalized
  • Contains essential vitamins, essential fatty acids, as well as essential antioxidants

Things to think about:

  • No SPF

Bottom line:

This is a top-quality moisturizer will keep your skin healthy and looking its best. It is an excellent mattifying moisturizer, particularly for those dealing with acne breakouts and scarring.

2. Embryolisse Hydra Matte Emulsion

Embryolisse Hydra-Mat Emulsion

Best features:

  • Long-lasting matte effect
  • Tones the skin
  • Non-greasy

The best mattifying moisturizer for:

Oily and combination skin looking to even out skin tone.

Overview:

Embryolisse’s Hydra Matte Emulsion is a moisturizer that is rich in sugar derivative, apricot oil, tapioca starch derivative, and shea butter.

Sugar derivatives draw in hydration and lock it into the skin. This has as a result, in smoother and softer skin. It also assists in balancing out excess amounts of sebum, giving this way a mattifying effect.

Apricot oil not only does it hydrate the skin but also tones and calms it without leaving a shine.

Tapioca Starch, and Shea Butter, keep the skin matte throughout the day, hydrate, and eliminate shiny, greasy skin.

Shea butter is extracted from the kernels of the shea tree. It is made of triglycerides with oleic, stearic, linoleic, and palmitic fatty acids.[2] Apart from its hydration effect, it possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.[3]

The good:

  • Keeps face matte all-day
  • Makes my makeup last longer when used as a primer
  • Moisturizes without the shine
  • A little goes a long way

Things to think about:

  • Has a subtle smell

Bottom line:

This is an excellent mattifying moisturizer for someone who wants to even out their skin tone.

3. Ernest Supplies Protective Matte Moisturizer

Ernest Supplies Protective Matte Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Hydrates the skin
  • Rich in Vitamin A, C & E

The best mattifying moisturizer for:

Those looking for a mattifying moisturizer with antioxidant properties.

Overview:

Ernest Supplies’ Protective Matte Moisturizer provides deep hydration without making the skin shiny or oily.

It contains potent vitamins that help protect the skin and slow the signs of aging. The skin is hydrated and balanced due to the inclusion of vitamins A, C, E, jojoba oil, sodium hyaluronate, and antioxidants (from cupuaçu, etc.).

Jojoba oil and sodium hyaluronate are mainly responsible for the skin’s hydration. They also assist in combating aging by reducing wrinkles and fine lines.

Cupuacu is a unique ingredient. Cupuacu Butter is also known as Theobroma grandiflorum seed butter. It comes from the Cupuacu Tree found in the Amazonian forest in Brazil.

Cupuacu can be absorbed by the skin quickly while retaining hydration. Its ability is far better than shea butter or lanolin. Just 1 kg of Cupuacu butter can absorb 4.4 kg of water. This is what makes it such a good emollient.[4]

The good:

  • Anti-aging properties to restore damaged skin
  • Plant-based ingredients

Things to think about:

  • Scent can bother those with sensitive skin

Bottom line:

Those looking for a mattifying moisturizer with anti-aging properties.

4. L’Occitane Perfecting & Mattifying Fluid

L'Occitane Perfecting & Mattifying Fluid

Best features:

  • Illuminating properties making the skin look luminous
  • Good for oily skin

The best mattifying moisturizer for:

Those looking for a mattifying moisturize that illuminates the skin.

Overview:

L’Occitane’s Perfecting & Mattifying Fluid hydrates the skin for a radiant and flawless appearance. To achieve a tidy and luminous effect, use this mattifying fluid as the foundation for your skincare routine.

Its main ingredient is the peony flower. Paeoniflorin, found in peonies, has been demonstrated in studies to have depigmenting properties.[5]

Peony extract blended with the astringent and rebalancing capabilities of lemon extract, satisfy the demands of combination and oily skin. The blend regulates excess oil on the skin to promote a mattifying look.

The lotion has a light but non-greasy texture and leaves the skin beautiful and smooth all day.

The good:

  • Floral scent
  • Can be worn with makeup
  • Skin looks free of excess sebum

Things to think about:

  • Lasts about eight hours

Bottom line:

This is perfect for those with combination to oily skin who are looking for an illuminating and mattifying moisturizer.

5. ELEMIS Peptide4 Adaptive Day Cream

ELEMIS Peptide4 Adaptive Day Cream

Best features:

  • Non-greasy formula
  • Mattifies and balances the skin leaving it silky smooth
  • Mineral-based

The best mattifying moisturizer for:

Combination skin that requires a primer and has blemishes.

Overview:

ELEMIS Peptide4 Adaptive Day Cream is a great moisturizer to be used as a primer. It helps to create a flawless-looking complexion while mattifying and balancing the skin.

It has a lightweight texture that is not sticky and provides long-lasting hydration.

Its formula consists of mineral microspheres, honesty seed oil, Elemi’s Peptide⁴ amino acids, and Swiss botanical plants such as butterfly bush, thyme, and mallow.

Mineral microspheres absorb and balanced excess oil for a mattifying effect throughout the day.

The honesty seed oil supports the strengthening of the skin’s moisture barrier due to the fact that it is rich in fatty acids.

B. asiatica, or butterfly bush, is an evergreen shrub that grows in East Asian countries, including India and Nepal. It possesses a vigorous antioxidant activity and higher contents of total phenol and flavonoid.[6]

Thyme and mallow work together to protect the skin against environmental elements.

Peptide⁴ is a combination of four amino acids derived from yeast extracts that assist the skin’s natural processes, resulting in a rejuvenated and nourished look.

Overall, a great cream that works well as a makeup base and sebum control.

The good:

  • Good base for makeup
  • Controls sebum, even in T-zone
  • Rich in fatty acids to add moisture

Things to think about:

  • Can be drying for normal skin

Bottom line:

This is an excellent mattifying moisturizer for oily and combination skin that serves as a primer.

6. Too Cool for School All-in-One Egg Mellow Cream, 5-in-1 Firming Moisturizer

Too Cool for School All-in-One Egg Mellow Cream

Best features:

  • Improves elasticity of the skin
  • Safe to use in the under-eye area

The best mattifying moisturizer for:

Combination skin with loss of elasticity.

Overview:

Too Cool for School All-in-One Egg Mellow Cream is a 5-in-1 anti-aging moisturizer. It can be used as a serum, primer, neck or eye cream, toner, or sleeping mask for a more hydrated, softer, and tighter skin.

It contains a high concentration of egg yolk extract, egg white extract, and Inca omega oil, all of which provide excellent nourishment to the skin. Studies have shown that egg whites formulation can increase wound healing.[7]

It’s also loaded with collagen fibers that help to promote a younger and more elastic mattifying look. Niacinamide also helps to enhance the skin’s tone and radiance.

Ceramides heal and nourish the skin by forming a protective barrier.

It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals such as parabens or sulfates, making it suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It is not very heavy, it glides easily, and is not sticky.

However, be aware that it is not vegan and has a somewhat strong natural smell which some might dislike.

The good:

  • Reduces fine lines
  • Clears blemishes
  • Soothes redness

Things to think about:

  • Contains egg yolk

Bottom line:

This is an excellent anti-aging mattifying moisturizer.

7. L’Occitane Cade Complete Care Moisturizer For Men

L'Occitane Cade Complete Care Moisturizer For Men

Best features:

  • Hydrating and moisturizing
  • Soothes skin

The best mattifying moisturizer for:

Men with oily skin and/or fine lines.

Overview:

The Cade Complete Care Moisturizer delivers complete care for men’s skin. Grape seed oil and cade essential oil moisturize and smooth the skin while preventing it from irritation and harsh environmental elements.

The ingredients of oak, beachwood, and birch work in harmony to soothe and tighten the skin while also promoting regenerative activity. This has as a result the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.

Oak bark extracts have been proven in research to have antibacterial, wound-healing, and anti-inflammatory effects.[8]

All of the ingredients form together an easily absorbed formula that balances the skin’s oil. As it smoothens the skin it can also be applied after shaving.

The good:

  • Evens out skin tone
  • Smoothens the skin

Things to think about:

  • Blocks pores
  • Takes time for absorption

Bottom line:

This is an excellent mattifying moisturizer for men with fine lines.


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How we chose these products

How did we choose our top mattifying moisturizers?

We started by looking for a matte finish. We studied each of the products and looked for formulas that would soak up the extra sebum or grease from makeup and provide an even finish.

There are various formulas on our list, a gel, creams, liquids, and even a mousse. Just to add more dimension to the texture, one of the formulas even provides a satin-matte finish. How about that?

Our list has something for every skin type. Even if you have normal or sensitive skin, you will find something if you’re looking for a matte look. Your skin type should not prevent you from using a mattifying formula.

Additionally, for makeup users looking for a primer or a base for foundation, several formulas on the list serve that purpose too.

We also looked for products that had illuminating properties for those who wanted a glow and antioxidant properties. Some of the formulas have an antibacterial action, and others have anti-aging properties.

The list covers a wide variety of problems, from loss of skin elasticity to dullness. There’s something for everyone. We also considered formulas with different mechanisms to provide the matte effect without compromising its ability to hydrate.

In some cases, the essential oils controlled sebum production. In some, it was mineral microspheres, eggs, trees, or leaf extracts.

The ingredients in some might be new and unusual like butterfly bush, but these are natural alternatives to synthetic compounds, and they have demonstrated so many benefits to the skin.

Irrespective of gender, the formulations on our list are suitable for men and women.

We finally considered the budget. There are different price points reflected in our list as we sought to find something that was affordable in the long run. Since you’ll be using this product at least once a day, we tried to cover every budget.

Frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions

Are matte moisturizers only for oily skin?

No. This general misconception is that matte moisturizers dry up the skin and can only be used by people with oily skin. However, matte moisturizers’ primary goal is to provide moisture and hydrate the skin. They help the skin retain moisture via shea butter, hyaluronate, etc.

How do matte moisturizers work?

Matte moisturizers work by controlling sebum production in some formulas. In others, the compounds soak up the excess oil while adding moisture to the skin.

Every formula is different. However, they always work in a double act of absorbing extra oil or sebum and adding hydration to the skin.

How long does the matte effect last?

It depends on the formula and your skin type. By mid-afternoon, the sebum production peaks, and so some formulations work for a good eight hours. Others might be less and require a touch-up. It varies significantly from person to person. Some formulas last all day.

Can it be used with makeup?

A mattifying moisturizer and layers of makeup can strip the skin of its moisture. However, some can serve as a primer for your foundation as you look for an even base.

How do I identify dehydration?

You will be able to tell that your skin is dehydrated when it feels too tight, its hard to smile or talk, a white powder settles in your T-zone and above your upper lip. You may feel like your face is pulled and stretched.

Alternatively, you may also see excess sebum being produced in the T-zone. A shiny film of oil settles all over your face. This is a reaction by the skin in response to dehydration. Either way, these are signs that your skin is losing moisture.

What should I do if I see signs of dehydration in my skin?

Ideally, mattifying moisturizers tend to hydrate the skin. If you have dry skin, it may worsen it and when you experience this, use an oil-based face wash. This will add essential oils and fatty acids to your skin.

After this, tone and apply an oil-based moisturizer. If you see signs of dehydration every time you use a mattifying moisturizer, try another consistency like a cooling gel or a mousse. If the problem persists, it may we wise to use an emollient moisturizer.

Can acne worsen with mattifying moisturizers?

Yes and no. Mattifying moisturizers control the sebum production, and this can occasionally clog up pores.

However, many of these products also contain compounds that have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. These will prevent any acne breakouts.

What should I do if I have an acne breakout?

If you do develop an acne breakout, discontinue the mattifying moisturizer immediately. Use an antibacterial face wash. Gently exfoliate as required.

Then change to a moisturizer that has antibacterial properties. If you develop multiple cystic lesions, now might be a good time to visit a dermatologist.

What are the things to be careful about while using a mattifying moisturizer?

When using a mattifying moisturizer, make sure you are not exfoliating too often. This will remove the top layer and its natural oils.

Also, avoid harsh chemical peels, acids, and retinoids. These will further dry out your skin and cause an imbalance of sebum production. And this imbalance can also contribute to acne.

Conclusion

The best mattifying moisturizer is out there for you, and we hope our list above has served you well.

Which one is your favorite?

Or if you have a favorite that did not make our list and it works for you, then do let us know.

We’d love to hear from you!

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References

  1. Matsumoto Y, Ma S, Tominaga T, et al. Acute Effects of Transdermal Administration of Jojoba Oil on Lipid Metabolism in Mice. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(9):594. Published 2019 Sep 15. doi:10.3390/medicina55090594
  2. Maranz S., Kpikpi W., Wiesman Z., Sauveur A.D., Chapagain B. Nutritional values and indigenous preferences for shea fruits (Vitellaria paradoxa CF Gaertn. f.) in African agroforestry parklands. Econ. Bot. 2004;58:588–600. doi: 10.1663/0013-0001(2004)058[0588:NVAIPF]2.0.CO;2.
  3. Verma N., Chakrabarti R., Das R.H., Gautam H.K. Anti-inflammatory effects of shea butter through inhibition of iNOS, COX-2, and cytokines via the Nf-kappaB pathway in LPS-activated J774 macrophage cells. J. Complement. Integr. Med. 2012;9 doi: 10.1515/1553-3840.1574. Article 4.
  4. Fleck CA, Newman M. Advanced Skin Care – A Novel Ingredient. J Am Coll Clin Wound Spec. 2014;4(4):92-94. Published 2014 Mar 25. doi:10.1016/j.jccw.2014.02.002
  5. Qiu J, Chen M, Liu J, et al. The skin-depigmenting potential of Paeonia lactiflora root extract and paeoniflorin: in vitro evaluation using reconstructed pigmented human epidermis. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2016;38(5):444-451. doi:10.1111/ics.12309
  6. Sai K, Thapa R, Devkota HP, Joshi KR. Phytochemical Screening, Free Radical Scavenging and α-Amylase Inhibitory Activities of Selected Medicinal Plants from Western Nepal. Medicines (Basel). 2019;6(2):70. Published 2019 Jun 25. doi:10.3390/medicines6020070
  7. Jahani S, Ashrafizadeh H, Babai K, Siahpoosh A, Cheraghian B. Effect of ointment-based egg white on healing of second- degree wound in burn patients: a triple-blind randomized clinical trial study. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2019;9(3):260-270.
  8. Bhatia N, Friedman A, Del Rosso J. Applications of Topical Oak Bark Extract in Dermatology: Clinical Examples and Discussion. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(2):203-206.

About The Author

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Doctor and Seasoned Medical Writer

Doctor of Medicine MD (Angeles University College of Medicine)

United States

Pamela Q. Fernandes is a doctor and medical writer. Born and raised in Kuwait, she graduated from Angeles University College of Medicine, Philippines in 2007. Soon after that, she started her career as a medical writer and physician. Pamela is an advocate of preventive health, rural medicine, women’s health and tele-medicine having been active in these roles for the majority of her decade long career in medicine. As a seasoned medical writer, she has worked with many medical publishing houses and doctors, as well as pharmaceuticals, hospitals and practices. She specializes in training material for doctors and patient education material. As an academic writer, she is a qualified writer of articles for medical journals, case reports and medical presentations.

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