Moisturizers for Oily Skin in Winter

Skincare changes with the seasons. When the weather sways from fall to winter, our holy grail products no longer work! Sometimes a little extra moisturizer can do the trick, or maybe something new completely. Check out our guide to moisturizers for oily skin in winter!

Terms to Know

Before we jump into it, let’s break down some of the terminology. The Picky blog has plenty of articles relating to each, so make sure to check them out to brush up on some skincare science knowledge!

  • Humectant: This is a type of moisturizer formulation that attracts and pulls water into the skin. They act as hydrators and delay evaporation of water from the skin. Some examples include glycerin, panthenol and sorbitol. Read more about humectants here.
  • Emollient: Lightweight oils that soak into the skin to fill the empty spaces. Help create smooth skin texture and common examples of this type are plant oils and silicones. Read more about them here.
  • Occlusives: Another form of moisturizer that is much thicker than the rest. Creates a layer that prevents any water from evaporating away from the skin. Some examples include butters, petrolatum, silicones and waxes. Read more about occlusives here.
  • Skin Barrier: The most superficial layer of the outer most layer of skin, and works to protect from external irritants while also preventing water loss. Read more about skin barrier here.
  • Hydrophilic/Hydrophobic: Hydrophilic is where there is attraction to water while hydrophobic means there is typically resistance to water.

Hot Climate – Gel

If you’re in a hotter climate, that can mean humidity. So when the humidity is high, use a gel moisturizer! This is because gel moisturizers are full of hydrophilic humectants. Meaning they draw in water to the skin, so if the atmosphere is already full of water it keeps your skin even more hydrated!

Picky’s Picks

Neutrogena – Hydroboost Water Gel

The Hydroboost Water Gel from Neutrogena helps deliver hydration and absorbs into the skin quickly. Thanks to key ingredients like hyaluronic acid and dimethicone to lock in that moisture but without the oil (oil and alcohol free formula).

Clinique – Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is an oil-free and light jelly texture full of hyaluronic acid, fruit extract and more to refresh oilier skin types. Vegan and oil-free formula that gives long lasting hydration.

Cold Climate – Cream

For those in a colder climate, gel moisturizers may not be what you need. When the humidity is low, humectants draw water away from the epidermis. And without an occlusive layer to trap the water in, it can evaporate away from your skin. Resulting in dehydration!

You want to keep the water from evaporating, so it may be best to switch to a moisturizer containing occlusive agents. These help seal in the moisture and prevent trans epidermal water loss through the formation of a hydrophobic barrier on the skin’s surface. Therefore a gel-cream or cream formulation may be best!

Picky’s Picks

IUNIK – Centella Calming Gel Cream

If you need a little more hydration, but without the weight, then IUNIK’s Centella Calming Gel Cream is for you. A light and moisturizing gel cream that’s been a K-beauty hit! With 70% centella asiatica leaf water and 10% tea tree leaf water to cater to sensitive skin while also delivering that moisture.

Kiehls – Ultra Facial Cream

A step up on the thickness for creams, but won’t clog your pores. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream gives hydration for the whole day thanks to ingredients like squalane, glycerin, fruit and seed oils and more. This cream is great for both oily and dry skin types since it absorbs quickly and deeply moisturizes.drama

Ingredients To Look For

If you’re looking for a moisturizers to suit oily skin in winter then definitely check out these ingredients. Not only for oily skin, these ingredients are great for most skin types!

  • Ceramides: A naturally occurring component in our skin that helps prevent transepidermal water loss and creates a strong skin barrier. Ceramides pair perfectly with cholesterol and fatty acids!
  • Squalane Oil: An oil that occurs naturally in our skin and acts as an emollient.
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides: Another emollient that makes skin feel nice and smooth.
  • Dimethicone: The most common form of silicone which forms a protective barrier (a.k.a occlusive) to help fill in the lines.
  • Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, this ingredient is great for smoothing wrinkles, pore control, moisturizes and strengthens the skin barrier.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Helps skin healing, soothes inflammation, hydrates and also has antibacterial properties!
  • Panthenol: An emollient and humectant great for wound healing, anti-inflammation and soothing!
  • Glycerin: Most widely used humectant to attract water and keep skin hydrated.
  • Shea Butter: Emollient that keeps skin hydrated and plump. Sometimes can be a bit heavy for oilier skin types, but patch test to make sure!


Some tips to keep in mind from our Picky Experts are: Apply moisturizer to damp skin so you can seal in more of the water and hydration. Also try and mix your favorite oil to your gel based moisturizer to give it more hydrating power!

Also read our posts on What’s the Right Moisturizer For My Skin Type? and All About Moisturizers to get more insight on moisturizers.

Find What’s Right For Your Skin

Want to find more moisturizers for oily skin during the winter? Picky is the perfect tool to find what’s best for your skin type. Picky helps you find the right match! Whether with the Picky Match system or manual concern and ingredient filters through Mega Search Filter. Make the most of your Picky app to find the products right for you. Download Picky now and check out our Instagram for more skincare science content.

3 Responses

  1. We don’t have winter in the Philippines but this would be helpful too for colder seasons and for when the dry air in the office (due to air conditioning) causes dryness in the skin as well!!

  2. I love that this page has options for cold and hot climate 🔥❤️ I’m always wondering if the products would work in a very tropical country like the Philippines. 😁

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