Best Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin: Steps and Products

Best Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin: Steps and Products

Skin glow is all the rage right now, but if you have oily skin, you may be wishing some of that “glow” would just chill.

Don’t fret– we’re here to tell you all about how to deal with oily skin. We will discuss what causes oily skin, the best ingredients for oily skin, the ingredients you should avoid, and which products you should use for the ultimate skin care routine for oily skin.


Main Takeaways: Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of sebum in the skin. Look for non-comedogenic ingredients and ingredients that balance your skin’s natural oils like squalane, hyaluronic acid, and kaolin clay.

Good to Know: Oily skin is not a bad thing! The oils in your skin keep your skin well moisturized and looking youthful. Excessive amounts of oil, however, can cause clogged pores and breakouts, so it’s important to keep your skin properly balanced.

Recommended Products: Rose and Shine Rose Water Toner, ‘A’ Game Retinol Serum, Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer, and Prince Charcoal Detox Mask​.


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What Is Oily Skin? What Causes It?

Oily skin occurs when your skin produces an excess amount of sebum (an oily, waxy substance produced by your sebaceous glands). Sebum is meant to moisturize and protect your skin, but when your body produces too much sebum, it can get trapped in your pores along with dead skin cells and bacteria, causing breakouts.

Excess oil production is mostly genetic, but can also be caused by stress, hormone changes, and environmental stressors. However, oily skin isn’t always a bad thing! Your sebum helps to preserve your skin, keeping it looking young, and those with oily skin tend to also have thicker skin and fewer wrinkles.

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Here are the most common signs of oily skin:

  • Shiny skin
  • Skin feels greasy
  • Uneven texture
  • Large pores
  • Breakouts

Luckily, there are products and ingredients you can use to help balance your skin’s natural oils, keeping your skin healthy and hydrated, without feeling too greasy.

Illustration of skincare ingredients like aloe and rosewater

Best Ingredients for Oily Skin

When shopping for skincare products, it’s very important to pay attention to the main ingredients in a product. If you have oily skin, look for products with the following ingredients:

  • Squalane mimics the sebum your skin naturally produces, helping to balance your skin’s natural oils.
  • Rosemary Extract helps to naturally cleanse and purify your pores.
  • Aloe Vera is one of the best natural hydrating ingredients; it adds moisture to your skin while also helping to remove any buildup.
  • Rose Oil has been used for centuries in skincare. It cleanses, minimizes the look of pores, and naturally hydrates!
  • Clary Sage acts as a natural toner and helps balance the skin.
  • Activated Coconut Charcoal purifies and detoxifies pores without stripping your skin of nutrients.
  • Bentonite and Kaolin Clay are both super beneficial for balancing oils and improving texture.
  • Tea Tree Oil helps to cleanse dirt and oil from pores and is reported to have antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Hyaluronic Acid helps to balance moisture in your skin and is super hydrating.
  • Retinol, a derivative of antioxidant vitamin A, works to firm your skin and build collagen, keeping pores tighter so they do not overproduce oil.

Ingredients to Avoid

There are also ingredients in skincare that you should avoid if you have oily skin. This doesn’t mean that these ingredients are bad for everyone, but they could make oily skin worse.

  • Coconut Oil - While coconut oil can be great for people with dry skin, it is considered comedogenic, meaning it is more likely to clog your pores, especially if you have acne-prone skin. However, what matters most is how you use it. Using coconut oil-based products to remove makeup and cleanse your skin works well for oily skin, but you should avoid any application that leaves it on the skin, such as a moisturizer.
  • Vaseline - Vaseline is pure petroleum jelly, a mineral oil that creates a barrier on your skin potentially clogging your pores. It’s also a potential carcinogen.
  • Beeswax - While it can be used to hydrate and protect your skin, the barrier it creates is likely to clog your pores.
  • Lanolin - An oil that comes from sheep’s skin, it can lead to an overproduction of oil in already oily skin.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - This is a common ingredient in many soaps and cleansers. However, it can strip skin of too much moisture, leading to increased oil production.

Best Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin

Managing your oily skin all comes down to your skincare routine. We’ve broken down the best morning and evening skin care routines for oily skin. We’ve also included our recommendations for the best products for oily skin.

Morning Routine for Oily Skin

1. Cleanser

If you have oily skin it’s important to wash your face twice a day. Your skin continues to produce oil at night, so even if you wash it before you go to bed, you need to wash it again in the morning. This will help keep your oils balanced. It may seem counter-intuitive, but oil based cleansers can actually be great for people with oily skin, as they don’t completely strip your skin of its natural oils.

Best Face Wash for Oily Skin

Fleur & Bee: So Clean! Facial Cleanser


So Clean! Facial Cleanser contains pink grapefruit peel oil, which helps to cleanse skin and purify, while aloe and sunflower oil restore hydration and protect the skin.

2. Exfoliator (1-3 times per week)

Gently exfoliating can help to slough off dead skin cells and give your skin a deeper cleanse. However, over-exfoliating can strip your skin of its natural oils which in turn would cause an increase in sebum production: the opposite of what you want. So, it’s important to only exfoliate 1-3 times a week.

Best Exfoliators for Oily Skin

Youth to the People: Yerba Mate Resurfacing + Exfoliating Energy Facial with Enzymes

Youth to the People’s Yerba Mate Resurfacing + Exfoliating Energy Facial with Enzymes uses bamboo and diatomaceous earth as natural exfoliants to purify, draw out excess oils, and improve texture.

REN: REN Cleanskin Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic

If you are looking for something gentle enough to use daily, try REN Cleanskin Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic. This liquid exfoliant uses naturally sourced AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) to smooth, hydrate and brighten your skin.

3. Toner

Toners can do wonders for your skin. A good natural toner will hydrate your skin while also cleansing, and minimizing the look of pores. A toner also helps prep your skin for the rest of your routine so that your other products are more effective.

Unfortunately, alcohol is a common ingredient in many toners. You want to avoid toners with alcohol, because it tends to be a main ingredient and will overly dry your skin. Pay special attention when buying natural toners, such as witch hazel, at the grocery store. Look for pure witch hazel; many generic brands will add alcohol and should be avoided.

Best Toners for Oily Skin

Fleur & Bee: Rose and Shine Rose Water Toner

Fleur & Bee’s Rose and Shine Rose Water Toner will keep your skin balanced, hydrated, and refreshed without any nasty additives.

Farmacy: Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner with Moringa + Papaya

Farmacy’s Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner with Moringa + Papaya provides gentle exfoliation, as well as toning, and can be used daily.

4. Serum

One result of oily skin can be uneven skin tone and texture. Improving your skin’s texture and tone is one of the many benefits of a good serum. Look for serums with botanically-sourced toning ingredients, like willow bark or tea tree oil. Plant-based liquid exfoliating ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are key in keeping your skin smooth and pores free of excess oil.

Best Face Serum for Oily Skin

Tata Harper: Resurfacing AHA + BHA Serum

Tata Harper’s Resurfacing AHA + BHA Serum is a light serum designed for oily skin; it uses willow bark to purify and balance the skin, plus it works to gently exfoliate using AHA and BHAs.

5. Moisturizer

You may think that because you have oily skin, you don’t need to moisturize, but that can’t be farther from the truth! Adding moisture to your skin will keep your skin from thinking it's dry, helping to balance your oils. Remember, moisturizing restores oil to your skin, while hydrating restores water to your skin. With oily skin, you still need to keep your skin well hydrated, so lighter facial lotions or creams are generally best for oily skin. Look for water based moisturizers that include squalane, aloe, or hyaluronic acid.

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Fleur & Bee: Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer

Fleur & Bee’s Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer works to balance, brighten and moisturize your skin. This is a water-based face cream that is lightweight and absorbs quickly, so your face doesn’t feel greasy afterwards.

6. Eye Cream

Even though you have oily skin, the skin around your eyes does not have its own oil glands, so it’s likely missing out on some much needed moisture. Because it’s not producing its own oil, it’s not as important for you to find an eye cream that’s suited specifically for oily skin. You want to look for an eye cream that’s addressing a specific concern, such as puffiness, dark circles, or fine lines and wrinkles.

Best Eye Cream for Oily Skin

Fleur & Bee: Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream

Fleur & Bee’s Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream contains squalane, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (and is great for oily skin), plus caffeine and vitamin E to help even skin and minimize the look of dark circles.

7. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is an important step for all skin types. Sun exposure can dry out your skin, lead to accelerated signs of aging, and cause major skin damage. It’s best to use a mineral based sunscreen as opposed to a chemical sunscreen. Mineral or physical sunscreens create a barrier on your skin to protect it from sun damage, while chemical sunscreens can actually be absorbed into your skin. Look for sunscreens that use Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, or both. Those are the only two mineral ingredients approved by the FDA to physically protect your skin from the sun.

Best Sunscreen for Oily Skin

Bare Republic: Mineral SPF 30 Face Sunscreen gel-lotion

Bare Republic’s Mineral SPF 30 Face Sunscreen gel-lotion is lightweight and oil free, making it the ideal sun protection for those with oily skin.

Evening Routine for Oily Skin

1. Cleanser

After you’ve been running around all day sweating and exposing your skin to environmental stressors, it’s very important to wash your face. If you wear makeup, it’s doubly important to make sure you remove your makeup before you go to bed. Leaving it on can clog your pores and make any skin issues worse. If you wear eye makeup, you may also want to invest in a gentle eye makeup remover. Most facial cleansers aren’t meant to take off eyeliner and mascara, especially waterproof formulas.

2. Detox Mask (1-3 times per week)

Using a detox mask 1-3 times a week will give your skin a deep cleansing , ridding it of excess oils and other impurities. A mask can also help to improve your skin’s texture.

Best Mask for Oily Skin

Fleur & Bee: Prince Charcoal Detox Mask

Fleur & Bee’s Prince Charcoal Detox Mask combines the cleansing power of activated coconut charcoal with the balancing power of bentonite and kaolin clay for a super deep clean.

3. Toner

Using a toner again at night will help to cleanse your skin from the day’s exposure to environmental stressors and it will prep it for the rest of your nightly routine.

4. Retinol Serum

A retinol serum or cream is one of the key products for people with oily skin. Retinol is known to regulate and balance oils in the skin, as well as having firming and rejuvenating benefits. Because it can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, it's best to use it at night. When first using a retinol, it’s best to use it only every few days, then slowly add it to your routine until your skin adjusts.

Best Retinol Serum for Oily Skin

Fleur & Bee: ‘A’ Game Retinol Serum

Fleur & Bee ‘A’ Game

‘A’ Game Retinol Serum is a water-based serum that combines the moisturizing power of squalane with retinol for the ultimate skin boost.

5. Moisturizer

Yes, again! You should moisturize your face after you cleanse, everytime, even if you have oily skin. Balancing your skin’s oils is very important, so you should replenish your skin’s nutrients that may be stripped after cleansing. For most people with oily skin, night creams can be too heavy; if you want to use a night cream, look for those that are focused on hydrating your skin, meaning it will restore water to your skin.

6. Eye Cream

It’s especially important to moisturize your eye area after you’ve removed your makeup. Even if you use a gentle cleanser, the rubbing can irritate the thin skin around your eye, so be sure to apply some much needed nutrients before you go to sleep.

Other Tips To Get Rid of Oily Skin

There are other things you can do outside of your AM and PM routines to help combat oily skin

  • Use blotting papers - Carry these papers in your purse with you and gently blot when necessary.
  • Use toner throughout the day - Keep a spray on rosewater toner with you and spritz it on throughout the day for an extra refresh.
  • Wash your face after exercising - Always cleanse your skin after you go to the gym. There is an excess of sweat and oil on your skin, which will lead to clogged pores. Follow up your cleanse with a moisturizer.
  • Take Omega 3 fatty acid supplements - Omega 3 fatty acids can help to balance natural oils.
  • Change your makeup - Your heavy foundation may be causing you more problems. Opt for a powder mineral foundation like BareMinerals Loose Powder Foundation, and avoid silicones.
  • Don’t touch your face! - Your hands and fingers touch everything, and touching your face will spread the germs and bacteria from your to your skin and get in your pores.
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Frequently Asked Questions About an Oily Skin Routine

How do I keep my face from getting oily throughout the day?

Be sure to cleanse your face in the morning and at night to remove excess oils and keep your pores clear. Keeping your skin properly balanced and moisturized also prevents it from overproducing oil.

Should I use a moisturizer if I have oily skin?

Yes! Oily skin means your skin is overcompensating, and if your skin thinks it is too dry, it can overproduce oil. Using a moisturizer will help to balance your skin’s natural oils.

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