Finding the right type of moisturizer for combination skin is a year-round struggle, no doubt, but it’s especially difficult during summer. The T-zone seems to become even oilier, with pores looking uncomfortably large, while the cheek area can often suffer from the heat and develop redness and sensitivity issues. And don’t get me started on the higher risk of skin breakouts and blemishes!
As you can tell, yes, I have combo skin, and now that I am also seeing the first signs of aging—mainly, constant dehydration and tautness where my skin is drier—the quest for a good combo skin moisturizer has taken on near-mythical qualities: Does it even exist, that magical cream or gel that can both keep excess sebum in check yet also provide enough hydration for the areas of the face that need it desperately in the hot weather?
During summer, our skin naturally produces more sebum, especially when humidity is also high. We also sweat more, and that mix of sweat and oil is a breeding ground for breakouts. However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of cutting out oils entirely, and skipping on a good moisturizer will only have the reverse effect of what you are trying to achieve—your skin will go into “panic mode” and produce even more oils to counteract what is missing. And, well, if you have combo skin then you should also be mindful of the areas of your skin that are particularly prone to dehydration or even dryness.
The quest for a good combo skin moisturizer has taken on near-mythical qualities: that magical cream that can keep excess sebum in check yet also provide enough hydration.
The trick is to find a moisturizer that manages to be lightweight yet still deeply and intensely hydrates the skin without breaking it out or stressing your skin barrier. So, here are five combination skin friendly moisturizers that are great for summer.
La Mer the Moisturizing Soft Lotion
You would think that the name “soft lotion” would potentially just be marketing speak, but La Mer actually worked hard to achieve this precise dream texture for its luxury moisturizer. Combination skin often fares better with lotions than creams, while water-based gels can sometimes not be enough hydration in summer, especially once you are over the 30-year-old threshold and start seeing more issues with dryness around the cheek area. The La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion contains microcapsules filled with the brand’s famous patented Miracle Broth and their newer Lime Tea Concentrate, a fermented extract of antioxidant-rich lime rinds.
If you are very oily in the T-zone this may be a tad too rich, but otherwise the texture is just perfect for dehydrated combo skin, lightweight and free from any stickiness. Skin feels smooth and velvety after use, with the Miracle Broth plus Lime Tea Concentrate combo offering some fierce antioxidant repairing action to combat signs of premature aging. I find that this doesn’t overwhelm combo skin as much as the richer La Mer moisturizers, while still helping to care for drier areas of the face. I also really love the pump dispenser, which is just so convenient compared to a jar.
SK-II Facial Lift Emulsion
Whenever I see the word “emulsion” in a product name I get instantly excited, because I just know the texture will be delightful! The SK-II Facial Lift Emulsion is another great anti-aging choice, enriched with the patented Pitera complex, a fermented yeast extract also known as galactomyces, which has a brightening and firming effect on the skin.
Especially those of you struggling with hyperpigmentation will enjoy the potent brightening combo of galactomyces and niacinamide, which also has the added benefit of regulating excess sebum production, making this an ideal moisturizer choice for combination skin. The texture is that of a light, milky lotion—it doesn’t provide quite as much moisture as the La Mer Soft Lotion, so I would say it works best for anyone in the 25 to 39-ish age bracket, who is looking for a starter anti-aging product that is fuss-free and easy to incorporate into any routine. This also contains panthenol, which acts as a soothing skin barrier protector and can help calm down overheated, inflamed skin in summer.
Bioderma Hydrabio Crème Rich Moisturizing Care
Now, I know what you’re thinking—a cream with the word “rich” in the title surely is for dry skin only, right? But here is the thing about the Bioderma Hydrabio skincare range: It was formulated specifically with dehydrated combination skin needs in mind, so pretty much all of the products are suited for that skin type. The Hydrabio Crème Rich Moisturizing Care is indeed richer than the other moisturizer in the line, the Hydrabio Gel-Cream, and if you are strongly on the oilier side of the combination skin spectrum, I’d recommend you go for the gel instead. However, I actually prefer the cream, which still feels very airy and more like a milky-soft lotion than a heavy balm.
This contains a combination of sugar molecules such as xylitol, which are hydrating humectants that naturally occur in our body. Salicylic acid and niacinamide help keep excess sebum in check, while squalane and sunflower seed oil support the skin barrier and lock in hydration.
Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream
Even though Dr. Hauschka traditionally doesn’t distinguish between different skin types and their specific needs due to their holistic skincare approach, the Melissa Day Cream was developed with combination skin in mind. Like all Dr. Hauschka products, the cream has a surprisingly pleasant texture, given that most organic moisturizers tend to be a little bit inelegant and take a long time to fully sink into skin. I also really love how soft and light the cream is, ideal for those who prefer a cream to a gel texture but feel it’s hard to find one that isn’t too heavy.
You will enjoy this cream if your combination skin is more on the dry side or is extremely dehydrated, and of course it is a wonderful choice if you prefer natural skincare products. All Dr. Hauschka products are Cosmos certified organic, with a large percentage of their ingredients grown locally in the organic inhouse gardens in southern Germany. Now, a word of warning that this contains coconut oil, so if you are prone to blemishes and bouts of acne maybe choose a different moisturizer! I myself never broke out from this, but as with all skincare, your mileage may vary.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
One of the classics in Kiehl’s minimalist skincare product range, this unisex cream is a great family allrounder, since it works for most skin types and needs. This is one of those basic, almost deceptively simple creams that sneakily wins over your heart once you use it for a while and realize just how good it is. Compared to the Dr. Hauschka Melissa Cream, the Ultra Facial Cream is lighter in texture, almost comparable to the La Mer Soft Lotion, though more compact and a tad richer. The main moisturizing agent is squalane won from olives, an oil-like substance that naturally occurs in our bodies and helps keep our skin supple. Squalane is usually well-tolerated even if other oils break you out, so it’s a good choice for combo skin that has both dry and oily skin needs.
The Ultra Facial Cream is free from alcohol/ethanol and fragrance, so it works well for sensitive skin. I also find that its minimalist packaging and scent-free formula really appeals to men, who sometimes can be a bit, well, fragile about using frilly products. This is also just such a fuss-free cream, which does what it’s supposed to do—mainly, keep skin well-moisturized, smooth and supple—without any needless marketing add-ons.
What are some of your favorite summer moisturizers for combination skin? Let us know in the comments below!