The Best Face Serum for Oily Skin

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Blotting papers, mattifying primer, shine-reducing powder—if you have oily skin, this is basically your survival kit. But wouldn't it be nice if you could address the situation from the get-go and not have to constantly fix it throughout the day? Of course it would. Which is where your skin-care routine comes into play. Adding a shine-fighting serum before your moisturizer helps to keep oil slicks at bay and prevents any resulting acne from surfacing.

We're talking about retinol. Yes, it's great for fighting the signs of aging, but it’s also used for oily, acne-prone skin. It unclogs pores and rebalances skin to prevent new breakouts from forming, while helping to clear old blemishes at the same time. Retinol does cause skin sensitivity, so be sure to only use it at night and protect your skin during the day with sunscreen.

Ready to say goodbye to grease for good? Here are four of our favorite retinol serums.

The 3 Best Vitamin A Creams on Amazon

sunday riley luna1

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

This retinol is suspended in a hydrating oil to combat any dryness that may occur.

peter thomas roth retinol

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion Pm Night Serum

With 1.5 percent retinol, this serum helps not only to regenerate and restore skin; it also moisturizes with vitamins C and E.

fab retinol1

First Aid Beauty Fab Skin Lab Retinol Serum

If you're oily and sensitive, try this 0.25 percent retinol formula. It's just enough to get you glowing without causing irritation.

skinceuticals retinol1

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5

If you prefer a thicker consistency than a serum, this retinol cream is the perfect compromise. It delivers 0.5 percent retinol to help target oil, lines and dullness. Want more or less? The brand also makes a 0.3 and 1.0 percent formula to cater to your specific skin needs.

BL Headshot


Brianna Lapolla formerly held the role of Senior Commerce Editor at PureWow covering all things shopping across beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Now, she's putting her 12 years of...