7 Best Mattifying Moisturizers for Less Oil & Shine [2020]
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7 Best Mattifying Moisturizers for Less Oil & Shine

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best mattifying moisturizer
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 in 2020

1. ZELEN Life Moisturizer

moisturizer zelen life

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 handmade with organic oil-based jojoba, calendula, and clary sage. These ingredients are chock full of vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidant-rich compounds.

The light, non-greasy formula glides on effortlessly. It provides quick-absorbing advanced hydration as it leaves your skin soft, smooth, and protected all day and during winter.

This non-comedogenic occlusive moisturizer is perfect for most skin types – dry, oily, combination, as well as sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Its key ingredients are all-natural – jojoba, calendula, and clary sage.

Jojoba is a carrier oil with anti-aging properties that helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It speeds up the skin’s healing process, and it regulates the production of sebum (the skin’s natural oil), which helps 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 derived from the marigold flower that nourishes the skin. It’s a natural antiseptic that heals the skin while reducing redness.

Clary sage is a flowering herb native to the Mediterranean region and tightens the skin while giving it a youthful, radiant glow.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent skin irritations and antibacterial properties that curb the growth of bacteria.

It is chemical-free and doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, or synthetic colors and fragrances.

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

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 enriched in sugar derivative that acts like a micro-sponge. This formula fixes the moisture and tones the skin with apricot oil. The matte emulsion leaves the skin moisturized and soft without the shine.

This formula ensures optimum moisturizing and long-lasting matte effect. Even hours after application, the Hydra-Mat Emulsion works to control excess sebum.

It has a non-greasy, cool gelled texture that penetrates the skin, absorbs excess sebum, and reduces shininess thanks to its a tapioca starch derivative.

Tapioca Starch, along with Shea Butter and Vitamin E, keep the skin matte throughout the day, eliminating 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]

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

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 super-hydrates your face without it feeling heavy or greasy. Its mattifying ingredients reduce shine and control oil.

It delivers powerful vitamins to help protect the skin and reduce signs of aging. Vitamins A, C, and E, along with jojoba oil and sodium hyaluronate, hydrate and balance skin

This formula will keep your face moisturized and protected from the environment. Ernest Supplies have made it easy to feed your face today to protect it from tomorrow. What makes it extra special is its unique matte finish.

This award-winning natural, anti-aging facial moisturizer is packed with antioxidants, acai, cupuaçu, and green tea extracts.

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

Cupuacu can penetrate the skin quickly and retain moisture. This ability is far superior to shea butter or lanolin. 1 kg of cupuacu butter can absorb 4.4 kg of water. This is what makes it such a good emollient.[4]

The jojoba oil and sodium hyaluronate maximize the hydrating benefits of this easily-absorbed moisturizer. It will help you fight the signs of aging while restoring your skin. It will also keep your skin protected and looking great for years to come.

Ernest Supplies uses carefully sourced plant-based ingredients.

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

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 helps moisturize for radiant and perfect-looking skin. You can use this mattifying fluid as the base for a skincare routine to create a neat and luminous look.

This light, fresh lotion helps keep skin matte and leaves it looking beautiful day after day.

The skin feels perfectly clean, comfortable, and glow with freshness. You can use it either on the entire face or focusing on shine-prone areas.

Consumer tests showed that the skin looked more supple among 90% of its users. After one month, the skin was more luminous.

The complex formula comes from a peony flower that comes into bloom. The flower transforms, revealing a unique natural beauty, with perfectly velvety, fresh, and luminous petals.

The L’Occitane Laboratory developed the pivoine pure complex, which combines the perfecting properties of its peony extract from the Drôme region with the astringent and rebalancing properties of a Mediterranean lemon extract, to meet the specific needs of combination to oily skin.

Studies have shown the depigmenting potential of paeoniflorin found in Peony.[5]

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

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 unique priming moisturizer that adapts to your skin’s needs throughout the day. It helps to create a flawless-looking complexion from dawn to dusk. It mattifies, blurs, and balances the skin.

The ELEMIS Peptide⁴ Adaptive Day Cream is a daily moisturizer that primes the skin, leaving it with a satin-matte finish that never feels dry. The skin’s oil production tends to peak in the early afternoon, leading to excess shine in the T-zone.

This daily moisturizer adapts to your skin’s needs. It contains mineral microspheres that help absorb excess oil, keeping your complexion looking balanced and smooth throughout the day.

This feather-light formula has a soft mousse texture that delivers an instant burst of cooling hydration to the skin.

Its balancing mineral microspheres absorb excess oil for a mattifying effect that never leaves your skin feeling dry.

The skin-synchronizing Peptide4 and cold-pressed honesty seed oil help support the skin’s moisture barrier, while Swiss botanical extracts, including Butterfly Bush, Thyme, and Mallow, help maintain the skin’s natural defenses against the environment.

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

Honesty Seed Oil is rich in fatty acids to help soften and strengthen the skins moisture barrier.

Peptide⁴ is a set of four amino acids from yeast extracts that help support the skin’s processes for a revitalized and replenished appearance.

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

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 Firming Moisturizer. It is an all-in-one firming/anti-aging moisturizer that serves as a serum, priming moisturizer, neck cream, eye cream, and sleeping mask for plump, supple, resilient well-moisturized skin.

It’s highly enriched with egg yolk extract, albumen (egg white) extract, and inka omega oil to provide intensive nourishment to the skin. Studies have shown that egg whites formulation can increase wound healing.[7]

It is also infused with collagen fiber to support the appearance of more elastic skin. Niacinamide also drastically improves the tone and brightness of the skin.

Ceramides create a protective barrier on the skin to repair and nourish. This uniquely formulated face cream is made even to be safely used under the eye area.

It is the perfect solution for dryness, dullness, and loss of elasticity. Apply an appropriate amount on cleansed face by gently tapping and massaging.

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

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 total care for oily skin. Grape seed oil and Cade essential oil hydrate and nourish the skin, while protecting it from irritation and environmental aggressors.

Oak, Beachwood, and Birch extracts combine to soothe and firm the skin, increasing regenerative activity. Studies have shown antibacterial, wound healing, and anti-inflammatory properties of oak bark extracts.[8]

This easily absorbed formula may be applied immediately after shaving and can be used in the morning and in the evening.

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

Dr. Pamela Q. Fernandes
Dr. Pamela Q. Fernandes

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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