On Oily Skin: How to Control The Shine

Image by Frederik Heyman

Image by Frederik Heyman

I’m part Greek, and I swear I was born with olive oil seeping from my pores. I should have some sort of blotting paper endorsement — it’s literally taken me years to figure out how to control the shine!

I [now] know i’m pretty lucky to have oily skin. It acts as a natural moisturizer and anti-aging agent, reducing fine lines. But growing up, my shiny face drove me nuts.

What I discovered was that when you wash your face, the hot water basically strips you skin. Which if you’re oily, and not moisturizing correctly, can cause your face to go into panic mode. Your pores will overproduce oil to make up for the loss, giving you more oil than you started with! Working against my cleansing habits and genetics, I’ve finally figured out how to keep the oil under control: 1. use a gentle cleanser and 2. use a light-weight moisturizer.

If you’re oily, I recommend switching to a gel or lightweight cleanser to help retain some of the good oils when you wash your face. I have a few suggestions below. The second switch was my moisturizer. If you struggle with overactive oil glands, play with gel-based moisturizers or face oils. Gel based products (not all of them are clear) are lighter weight, absorb really fast and are easy to layer if you need more. Using a face oil may sound counterproductive, but oil fights oil, and found my skin reacts really well when I use oil as a moisturizer.

Light Weight Cleansers


Skin Laundry’s Extra Deep Gel Face Wash is a great product to use for all skin types. I really liked this face wash because it stops blackheads in it’s tracks and also exfoliates dead skin via salicylic acid.


If you want to target oiliness and acne, I would recommend checking out Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Daily Cleanser Acne Treatment is another solid cleanser using sulfer, oats, honey and rice — all ingredients that help with redness, acne and oil control.

Another gentle cleanser that focused more on skin tone and hydration was Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple Cleanser. This moisturizer just melts into your skin and was even great for removing eye makeup.

Light Weight Moisturizers


I’ve had a lot of luck with Sunday Riley products, so it wasn’t a surprise when my skin just drank the Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream. What I like about this cream is that it not only kept my skin hydrated but it also lightened up my acne scars. I love a two-in-one product!

It took me a long time to understand what type of moisturizer works best for me, and Belif’s True Cream Aqua Bomb was a good gateway in the world of gel based moisturizers. This product is incredibly light weight and surprisingly hydrating.


This moisturizer is a bit on the expensive side but I like that it doesn’t leave my skin feeling sticky. Tatcha’s Water Cream moisturizer kinda does it all: reduces oil, tightens pores, smoothes skin, brightens skin, and keeps skin clear of blemishes.

If you want to start dabbling in the world of oils, I highly recommend starting with True Botanical’s Pure Radiance Oil. This product replaces your moisturizer and keeps you hydrated all day without feeling greasy. I really liked the products from their Clear line and love that this is a natural skincare line.

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