The 6 Best Oil-Based Moisturizers for All Skin Types

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The 6 Best Oil-Based Moisturizers for All Skin Types

In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

Best for Clean skincare

ZELEN Life Moisturizer

Oil-based moisturizers are a boon for those battling dry skin.

Even for oilier skin types, oil-based moisturizers help the skin retain moisture and are a smart choice for dry weather.

We’ve rounded up the best oil-based moisturizers on the market.

Keep reading to find 6 excellent options for your next oil-based moisturizer, along with a detailed review for each.

We’ve ensured there is something for everyone. Let’s jump in.

Quick summary

Before you buy: 5 Things to consider when purchasing an oil-based moisturizer

There are a few things you should consider when it comes to the best oil-based moisturizer. You cannot simply start one without being sure this is the right product for your skin.

1. Skin type

You have to know your skin type. Since oil-based moisturizers are deeply hydrating, you must understand that this greatly benefits those with dry skin and skin conditions that involve peeling and dryness.

Oily and combination skin types may not require a very heavy oil-based moisturizer but rather an oil derivative moisturizer. So knowing your skin type is crucial as to which percentage of oil would be suitable for your skin type.

2. Experience with essential oils

Have you used essential oils before? Essential oils do not agree with some. They do have different properties. Tea tree oil has astringent properties, while lavender has natural healing properties.

Every essential oil has different effects and, in higher concentrations, can be intense for certain skin types. Know that if you pick up an oil-based moisturizer, you must patch test first.

3. Application

Oil-based moisturizers are not all lightweight and quick to absorb, so their application differs. Especially if you’re someone that wears makeup or has an entire routine. You may want to find out how to apply the best oil-based moisturizer to your skin and wait until it absorbs entirely before you proceed with the other steps.

4. Problem areas

The primary role of any oil-based moisturizer is hydration. Not all of them have dual functions. However, many natural oil-based moisturizers contain organic ingredients that naturally have multiple properties.

And so, some play an active role in lessening fine lines while others even out skin tone. If you have eczema or sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, or wrinkles, it’s best to pick an oil-based moisturizer that also targets these problem areas.

5. Budget

Since many oil-based moisturizers are organic products, they can range from affordable to slightly expensive. Especially the dual-acting ones. Oil-based moisturizers are typically applied only once a day.

In some cases, just a few drops are potent enough to keep you hydrated all day long. So don’t just consider the price but the product’s longevity and how it can help your skin.

We’ve covered the whole range and even listed out how much you will need in a single application. In most cases, you won’t need more than a pea-size amount.

The 6 best oil-based moisturizers

The 6 best oil-based moisturizers are listed below.

This is an extensive list full of hydrating products suitable for a variety of skin types and problem areas.

ZELEN Life Moisturizer (Best for clean skincare)

ZELEN Life Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Organic formula that is alcohol-free, silicone-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free
  • Handcrafted
  • Classy and antibacterial airless pump bottle

The best oil-based moisturizer for:

All skin types, including oily skin. Particularly those looking to absorb excess oil.

Notable ingredients:

Jojoba, calendula, clary sage

Overview:

The ZELEN Life Moisturizer is a handmade matte, oil-based moisturizer that contains a plethora of organic premium ingredients such as jojoba, calendula, and clary sage oils. This means that you will not find any harmful chemicals such as parabens, alcohol, silicones, etc. Therefore, it is suitable for all skin types (including sensitive skin.)

Formula:

Diving deeper into the benefits of this product – Jojoba oil prevents the overproduction of sebum on the skin due to its similar composition. It tricks the skin into not producing more. By balancing the skin’s production of sebum, it reduces the chances of clogged pores and acne breakouts. Whatsmore, it also provides great hydration to the skin while not feeling thick and greasy.

Calendula is a natural oil that contains great antiseptic properties that aid in skin healing and reduce redness from acne and UV damage. Studies have found that calendula prevents damage from UVB radiation when applied regularly.[1] Calendula is also a rich antioxidant minimizing signs of aging such as wrinkles and protecting against environmental stressors. Lastly, Clary sage tightens the skin while preventing irritations and blemishes due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

I found the ZELEN Life’s Moisturizer cream to be very lightweight and non-greasy. When applied, it glides onto the skin effortlessly and is quickly absorbed. Despite being lightweight, it gave my skin hydration levels similar to what I would expect from thicker creams.

However, if you like your moisturizer scented then this moisturizer might not be for you. While it has a wonderful natural citrusy scent from its premium ingredients, its smell fades away soon after application. If you are looking for a fragranced moisturizer, then the L’Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum might be for you. It has a divine floral scent derived from a variety of flowers such as Immortelle and Meadowfoam. However, keep in mind it is more expensive, though.

While this moisturizer provides great antiaging properties, if you are looking for a stronger action then consider Whish Restoring Face Oil – Oil Serum, Skin Moisturizer. It is formulated with Bakuchiol which, is considered the natural version of retinol. Thus, it is still suitable for very sensitive skin types as it doesn’t have the numerous side effects of synthetic retinol.

Lastly, the packaging:

In terms of packaging, this moisturizer covers both appearance and functionality. It looks very premium while protecting the cream from contamination due to its airless pump. This is extremely crucial for people with acne since the growth of bacteria (from the environment or touching with hands) can increase the risk of acne breakouts.

The good:

  • Tightens the skin
  • Curbs bacterial growth
  • Moisturizes and hydrates the skin without clogging pores

Things to think about:

  •  Some may not appreciate the matte finish

Bottom line:

This is a fantastic oil-based moisturizer that absorbs excess oil and balances sebum production giving you a glowing matte finish.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

L’Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum (Best for scent)
L’Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Reduces fine lines
  • Brightens aging skin
  • Luxury

The best oil-based moisturizer for:

Those with fine lines and wrinkles, who are looking for a great smelling moisturizer.

Notable ingredients:

Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam), Helichrysum Italicum Flower (Immortelle), Acmella Oleracea extract

Overview:

Who doesn’t know L’Occitane? It is a household name for its quality, premium skincare products. And Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum is evidence of that.

It is a luxurious serum moisturizer that smells fantastic and is meant to be used overnight due to its powerful antiaging properties. Its main ingredients include meadowfoam, immortelle, and acmella oleracea.

Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba) hydrates the skin and has strong antioxidant properties. This helps to combat causes of aging, such as sun damage. It has glucosinolate derivatives, 3-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate (MBITC), and 3-methoxyphenyl acetonitrile (MPACN) which are well-known for their UV-protective properties. MBITC and MPACN have been shown in studies to have anti-photocarcinogenic and anti-photoaging properties in the skin microenvironment.[2]

Immortelle flower (Helichrysum Italicum) is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial. This superior combination of properties makes it exceptional for preventing premature aging. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines while keeping the skin healthy and youthful. Last but not least, Acmella Oleracea extract smoothes the skin, promoting a more even complexion.

The texture of the serum is lightweight and absorbs really easily. The packaging shouts premium with a beautiful pump at the top, which also helps to apply the correct dosage. As for the scent, where do I begin? I am not usually a fan of fragranced skincare products but this is an exception. The scent is just so good not to give it credit. It has a floral scent that is noticeable during application and then gradually fades away after around 5 minutes. Literally, I need this as a perfume.

However, it is really expensive for the amount you are getting  (30 ml.) If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option while maintaining a premium feel, then consider the ZELEN Life Moisturizer. It also contains organic botanical ingredients while providing good antiaging action due to its inclusion of jojoba, sunflower, and clary sage. While its scent is more natural, subtle, and citrusy rather than the fragranced floral of L’Occitane’s, it still smells great!

Despite this serum’s lovely scent and antiaging properties, I believe it doesn’t provide enough action against acne breakouts. If you are looking for something that is hydrating but has a better “acne action,” then Priori Barrier Restore might be more appropriate for you. It is formulated with chamomile and allantoin which are both well-known ingredients for their effectiveness against blemishes.

If you are looking for a completely unscented moisturizer then consider Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer. I found that it doesn’t give a noticeable scent even on application.

The good:

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Makes the skin glow
  • Amazing scent

Things to think about:

  • Has a fragrance
  • Makes some breakout

Bottom line:

This is an excellent choice for aging skin and people that value scent.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer (Best makeup primer)

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Soothes inflammation in the skin
  • Natural fragrance and color

The best oil-based moisturizer for:

Those looking for a makeup primer or have eczema.

Notable ingredients:

Chamomile, vitamin E and B5

Overview:

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer can be described as an everyday essential if you wear makeup a lot, as it is a great makeup primer. Its formula’s main ingredients are chamomile, vitamins E, and B5, making it suitable for all skin types.

Look here:

Chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and acne-fighting capabilities. A study showed that chamomile penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin easier. This can carry its anti-inflammatory abilities much deeper making it very suitable for skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.[3]

Vitamin E helps nourish and stabilize the skin while providing hydration. The inclusion of hyaluronate also assists in retaining hydration to the skin. Vitamin E is also a natural antioxidant. It protects the skin from the negative effects of oxidative stress, such as photoaging and lipid peroxidation damage. Many studies have indicated its great antioxidative and anti-inflammatory ability when it comes to its photoprotective and antiphotoaging properties.[4]

Vitamin’s B5 main purpose is to calm the skin. It acts as a natural moisturizer while providing anti-aging and healing properties. It plumps the skin from the inside out making it look younger with fewer wrinkles.

How it feels:

This oil-based moisturizer has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly. Even though some found it a little bit sticky, this wasn’t experienced by me as I found it non-greasy. Do note that “stickiness” can be the effect of over-applying. Only a dime-size amount is needed on the application. As for the bottle, I would say it is nothing special as nothing catches the eye design-wise. However, it is fit for purpose.

The scent:

If you are looking for a scent then you will not find it in this moisturizer as it is pretty much unscented. If you are looking for a scented moisturizer then consider L’Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum. Its formula contains a plethora of flower extracts blended with fragrance which create an absolutely magnificent floral scent. Be aware though that fragrance can irritate your skin if it is more on the sensitive side.

The good:

  • Leaves no residue
  • Soothes and calms the skin
  • Serves as a good makeup base or primer

Things to think about:

  • Might feel sticky

Bottom line:

This is an excellent oil-based moisturizer for those who wear a lot of makeup or suffer from eczema.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice (Best for deep hydration)

ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Silicone-free formula
  • Intensely hydrating

The best oil-based moisturizer for:

Those with very dry skin types, who are looking for great hydration.

Notable ingredients:

Aloe vera, cucumber, kiwi, cica, bergamot

Overview:

ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm is a natural gel moisturizer with notable ingredients aloe vera, cucumber, kiwi, cica, and bergamot. The result is a blend that provides rich hydration and leaves the skin refreshed and smooth. Thus, it is best suitable for combination to dry skin types.

Examining the ingredients:

Aloe vera calms the skin as it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It can assist in healing burns, blemishes, and hydrating dry skin.

Cica and Kiwi are rich in vitamin C, making them great for minimizing the effects of aging such as wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation. Kiwi has been shown to be very moisturizing due to its very high water retention rate.[6] Cica has been proven to have great antibacterial and antimicrobial properties assisting in fighting conditions such as acne and redness. Cucumber also assists in providing hydration while giving a refreshing feel to the skin.

Bergamot oil provides multiple benefits. This includes the reduction of inflammation, mood alteration, anxiety, pain, and skin diseases.[5]

All of the above botanical oils blend together to create a vegan-friendly gel that has a lightweight texture. As such, it is perfect for your daily routine. The scent is balanced and not overpowering and dissipates after application. The bottle reflects the premium nature of ELEMIS as a brand. The pump at the top keeps the gel clean from contamination and assists in applying the correct amount.

However:

While this product provides superior hydration using only vegan ingredients, it is not cruelty-free. ELEMIS doesn’t test its products on animals, but it does sell its products in mainland China where animal testing is required by the government. If you are looking for a great natural moisturizer that is both vegan and cruelty-free then ZELEN Life’s Moisturizer might be more appropriate for you. It contains botanical ingredients such as jojoba, calendula, and clary sage while being PETA approved. Nevertheless, it is important to note the ZELEN Life’s Moisturizer has a creamy texture rather than a gel texture.

If you are looking for a moisturizer for more mature skin, then Whish Restoring Face Oil provides greater anti-aging action. It is formulated with Bakuchiol which is considered the natural version of retinol.

The good:

  • Makes skin feel soft
  • Has a cooling effect on the skin
  • Provides deep hydration

Things to think about:

  • Can tingle the skin on first use

Bottom line:

This is a great oil-based moisturizer that works well for those with dry and combination skin types.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Priori Barrier Restore Complex fx140 (Best for acne)

 Priori Barrier Restore Complex fx140


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Reduces acne breakouts
  • Smoothens sun-damaged skin

The best oil-based moisturizer for:

Those with acne-prone skin.

Notable ingredients:

Lactic acid, ceramides, anti-irritant complex

Overview:

Well, who hasn’t experienced an acne breakout at least once in their lifetime? If you didn’t, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Barrier Restore Complex fx140 by Priori is formulated with ingredients such as ceramides, lactic acid, and an anti-irritant complex whose main purpose is to assist in fighting acne.

Let’s take a closer look:

Ceramides are epidermal lipids necessary for the skin’s barrier function [7]. People with skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and other skin conditions have diminished skin barrier function. Ceramides contain essential fatty acids and other molecules which promote the restoration of the skin’s barrier health.[8] Furthermore, they assist in locking moisture into the skin to provide long-lasting hydration. This calms irritated flaky skin and promotes a smoother complexion.

Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that has been proven to help tremendously with blemishes. It unclogs pores (which are most often the cause of acne breakouts) by removing dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Lastly, its advanced anti-irritant complex contains ingredients such as chamomile, allantoin, and coconut oil, which provide great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Despite the rich hydration that this cream provides, it is very lightweight and doesn’t leave a greasy feeling. The bottle is plastic, however, it has a decent and durable design. People with acne will appreciate the pump, as you can get the product out without contaminating the cream with your hands. Nevertheless, I believe for its expensive price tag, the packaging should be more pleasing on the eye.

Scent:

This product is pretty much unscented like the Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer. If you are looking for a moisturizer that has a great scent while still being effective against acne, then the ZELEN Life Moisturizer or ELEMIS’ Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice are great options. Their scents are naturally derived, making them appropriate for those with sensitive skin.

Also, if you are on a budget, then ZELEN Life Moisturizer will provide you with more value for money. You get the same amount of product 1.7 fl oz/50 ml for a cheaper price while still being luxurious due to its inclusion of premium organic ingredients.

The good:

  • Feels hugely moisturizing due to the ceramides
  • No fragrance, no parabens

Things to think about:

  • More aqueous than oil-based

Bottom line:

This is a very good oil-based moisturizer for acne-prone skin.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Whish Restoring Face Oil – Oil Serum, Skin Moisturizer (Best antiaging)

. Whish Restoring Face Oil – Oil Serum, Skin Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Natural anti-aging properties through bakuchiol
  • Glowing skin
  • Just a few drops are enough

The best oil-based moisturizer for:

Those with mature skin looking for an anti-aging solution.

Notable ingredients:

Bakuchiol, sweet almond oil, olive oil

Overview:

Whish’s Restoring Face Oil is an oil specifically formulated to fight the signs of aging without using conventional retinol. Whish is replacing retinol with Bakuchiol, which is 100% its natural substitute. This is because retinol can cause several side effects to the skin, such as dehydration, irritations, skin peeling, and sunlight sensitivity.

Bakuchiol is a phytochemical derived from the plan Psoralea that gives you the same antiaging properties but without the negative side effects. It can be used during the day or night because it protects your skin from UV damage, as it has been proven to improve cutaneous photodamage.[9] Sweet almond oil adds to the antiaging capabilities of this moisturizer because it contains vitamins A, E, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Zinc.

Apart from its antiaging action, Whish’s Restoring Face Oil provides great hydration. The inclusion of ingredients such as macadamia ternifolia seed oil and olive fruit oil help with this. Macadamia ternifolia seed oil nourishes and hydrates the skin. Containing acids such as palmitoleic acid, it’s been proven to reduce scarring due to its anti-inflammatory properties. [10]

Olive oil along with starflower and jojoba, also offer great moisturization action while creating a barrier that protects the skin from environmental stressors.

That’s the ingredients covered. How about usability…

I found the serum to be very lightweight and absorbs well into my skin. Despite the nature of its ingredients, it didn’t give me an oily feeling at all. But I did find it to leave my face a little bit shiny.

As for the packaging, I would say it is very premium, feels luxurious, and is even perfect for gifting. Also, I found the bottle design to also reflect its premium price. While unscrewing the top, a small button pops out which you push to get the product out of the dropper. Brilliant! Describing the scent, I would say it is very faint, with many reviewers suggesting it is unscented. While this moisturizing serum has great antiaging properties, its price won’t be for everyone’s liking.

The good:

  • Naturaly protects against UV damage
  • Slows aging
  • Improves acne

Things to think about:

  • Test for oily skin or might clog pores

Bottom line:

This is an excellent oil-based moisturizer that prevents aging and can be used pre-emptively.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

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How we chose these products

As we looked for oil-based moisturizers, we looked for products that had a range of oil. Some had a minuscule percentage of oil with oil-derived products like the humectants, and others were composed of oil.

This is because we wanted to identify which skin types can use them. People with oily skin can certainly use a smaller percentage of oil. In contrast, those with dry skin could go crazy with the oil moisturizers.

We also covered moisturizers for those who wish to pair with makeup. Plenty of formulas cannot be applied with makeup. Some on our list can serve as primers before you apply your foundation and so you can cut out extra products altogether.

Then we covered problem areas. Along with deeply hydrating formulas, we look at products that would treat fine lines, even skin tone, and protect against UV radiation.

There were some other interesting things we also considered, like aromatherapy and retinol alternatives. As you can see, we were creative with this list. We wanted to give you natural options that wouldn’t dry out the skin. So we sought products that could give the synthetic chemicals a run for their money.

Many of the formulas on our list are also made from organic ingredients. They are cruelty-free and sulfate, paraben-free.

Lastly, we tried to look for something that suited every budget.

Some of these are so economical that you just need a few drops to make a difference. And so as you consider purchasing, you will realize that there some affordable options here.

Frequently asked questions

What are oil-based moisturizers?

Oil-based moisturizers contain oil. The main active ingredients in most moisturizers are emollients, humectants, preservatives, and fragrances. We focus on emollients and humectants. Emollients smoothen the skin as they fill in the spaces between dermatocytes. Examples include mineral oil and petroleum jelly.

Humectants draw moisture out of the air. However, even they use oil to trap it. Most moisturizers contain oil derivatives or that mimic its effects by sealing in moisture.

Can I use an oil-based moisturizer if I have oily skin?

Irrespective of skin type, you will need a moisturizer. As mentioned earlier, even water-based moisturizers do contain some minuscule amount of oil. People with oily skin types tend to use lots of cleansers. That action does strip the skin of moisture.

How can you tell a moisturizer is an oil or water-based formula?

That’s the first question you should ask. The answer is by reading the ingredient list. All water-based formulas list water or aqua as their first ingredient.

Oil-based formulas will list oil as the first ingredient and or essential oils.

Can I skip sunscreen since oil-based moisturizers are so thick?

No. You cannot skip moisturizer even if an oil-based moisturizer protects from UV radiation. The minimum SPF requirement is 30, so you must use sunscreen if you’re out in the sun.

Will oil-based moisturizers clog my pores?

No. They should not. Pores get clogged by dirt and debris. However, if you do not exfoliate your skin or are allergic to certain essential oils, it can cause an acne breakout.

Do I have to use a carrier oil for my moisturizer?

No. Most oil-based moisturizers are already diluted in carrier oils. That’s what makes them available to the deeper layers of skin. You can use a few drops of these oil-based moisturizers to your other night creams or formulas if you want added hydration.

What are some examples of carrier oils?

Examples of carrier oils include vegetable oils like jojoba oil, olive oil, almond oil, and rosehip oil. Most oil-based moisturizers have a carrier oil as base oil. And it will be listed at the top of the ingredient list. Read the ingredient list carefully. Oils are usually listed in decreasing order or percentage.

What to do if I react?

Essential oils can sting the skin, especially in higher concentrations. For this reason, we always recommend a patch test first before commencing the product. Mild stinging is expected on first-time use.

However, if you develop redness and burn, wipe with a mild cleansing wipe and cleanse the skin. Patch test another area in a week, and if you still develop the stinging, it might be too strong for you. You can further dilute the product with olive oil and repeat.

How should I start an oil-based moisturizer?

If you have problem areas like acne and redness, apply in small quantities and less frequently, only after you have completed a patch test. Cleanse, tone, and then apply after serum if you are using one.

Alternatively, you can also add this to a regular moisturizer for added hydration. Oil-based moisturizers can feel thick and have an emollient feel, which is excellent for the winter. You won’t need for than a few drops or a pea-sized amount.

Apply only once a day to start with, and every other day. Work your way up from there. Because everyone’s skin is different, you may want to go up or down on the amount and frequency. You’re the best judge of your skin. Take one week to simply trial the product.

Conclusion

An oil-based moisturizer can make a massive difference to people who have dry skin.

For those with eczema, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis, these formulas can be intensely hydrating as they penetrate deeper layers of the skin barrier.

Do you have a favorite oil-based moisturizer?

Let us know your recommendations, and we’ll add them to our list.

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References

  1. Mishra AK, Mishra A, Verma A, Chattopadhyay P. Effects of Calendula Essential Oil-Based Cream on Biochemical Parameters of Skin of Albino Rats against Ultraviolet B Radiation. Sci Pharm. 2012;80(3):669-683. doi:10.3797/scipharm.1112-18
  2. Carpenter EL, Le MN, Miranda CL, et al. Photoprotective Properties of Isothiocyanate and Nitrile Glucosinolate Derivatives From Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba) Against UVB Irradiation in Human Skin Equivalent. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:477. Published 2018 May 15. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00477
  3. Merfort I, Heilmann J, Hagedorn-Leweke U, Lippold BC. In vivo skin penetration studies of camomile flavones. Pharmazie. 1994;49:509–511.
  4. Nachbar F, Korting HC. The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin. J Mol Med (Berl). 1995;73(1):7-17. doi:10.1007/BF00203614
  5. Perna S, Spadaccini D, Botteri L, et al. Efficacy of bergamot: From anti-inflammatory and antioxidative mechanisms to clinical applications as preventive agent for cardiovascular morbidity, skin diseases, and mood alterations. Food Sci Nutr. 2019;7(2):369-384. Published 2019 Jan 25. doi:10.1002/fsn3.903
  6. Richardson DP, Ansell J, Drummond LN. The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(8):2659-2676. doi:10.1007/s00394-018-1627-z
  7. Meckfessel MH, Brandt S. The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71(1):177-184. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2014.01.891
  8. Choi MJ, Maibach HI. Role of ceramides in barrier function of healthy and diseased skin. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005;6(4):215-223. doi:10.2165/00128071-200506040-00002
  9. Dhaliwal S, Rybak I, Ellis SR, et al. Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. Br J Dermatol. 2019;180(2):289-296. doi:10.1111/bjd.16918
  10. Weimann E, Silva MBB, Murata GM, et al. Topical anti-inflammatory activity of palmitoleic acid improves wound healing. PLoS One. 2018;13(10):e0205338. Published 2018 Oct 11. doi:10.1371/journal.po
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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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