The Best Budget Friendly Skincare for Oily Skin

Woman washing face with foaming cleanser.

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Featured products are independently selected for review. A small commission may be earned from purchases made through links in this article. For more information please visit Disclosure.

High Quality Skincare on a Budget

As anyone with oily skin already knows, it can be a challenge to find skincare that won’t make skin appear greasy and shiny. Finding high quality ingredients at a price that will clean out your pores but not your wallet is even more challenging. If you’re on the hunt for the best budget skincare for oily skin then read on!

Gentle and Effective is Key

In an attempt to reduce oiliness many use products that are far too aggressive and are likely using them way too often. I remember one makeup trial I had with someone who was concerned about the breakouts she was experiencing. Her skin was oily yet oddly dry. I asked her a few questions about her routine and she stated she used a mud mask everyday. Every. Single. Day. I suggested she reduce the mask to once a week and no more than twice at the most.

The next time I saw her on the day of her wedding her skin was clear and hydrated. She mentioned she had taken my advice and only used the mud mask once a week. The problem with using products designed to absorb oil too frequently is they can leave the surface of the skin dry and flaky. The skin then produces even more oil and this results in a dreaded combination, dehydrated oily skin. 

Simplicity and Convenience

Taking care of your skin doesn’t have to be complicated. These days many of us don’t have an infinite amount of money to spend on skincare or the time to perform a routine with countless steps. We may want products that are easy to find at a drugstore or large retailer where we do other shopping. It’s even more convenient when products are available from online retailers that ship right to our doors in two days or less. 

With this in mind I’m sharing my thoughts on what is in my opinion some of the best budget skincare products for oily skin. I’m hesitant to use the term affordable because what may be so to one individual may not be to another. Only you can decide something’s worth for yourself. Many brands offer generous rewards and loyalty programs which I encourage looking into. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few perks too.  

I don’t think it’s necessary to use a product line in its entirety from any singular brand. However for the purposes of this article finding a full line with all the products needed for a basic skincare routine was important. The skincare landscape is saturated. It’s confusing to navigate for many. I think it can be easier for a skincare novice to start out with a system from one brand and then branch out to other lines. Holy Hydration! from the brand e.l.f. ticks all the boxes of product categories for a basic full skincare collection. The vegan cruelty free collection features hyaluronic acid (HA) as a foundational ingredient and is widely available at drugstores, brick and mortar mass retailers and online. Not only is this line recommended for oily and combination skin, it’s also appropriate for normal, dry, sensitive and aging skin types as well. 

Holy Hydration! Daily Cleanser 

e.l.f Holy Hydration! Cleanser best budget skincare for oily skin.

$6/3.71 oz  ($1.62/oz)

This cleanser contains Ceramide 1, Ceramide 3 and Ceramide 6-II, three of the most commonly used ceramides in skincare. Ceramides are lipids that compose about half the outer layer of human skin. These important components in part comprise our skin barrier. However, as we age naturally occurring ceramides become less plentiful. They are often added in synthetic form to skincare products which help restore the skin barrier. They are mostly useful in lotions, serums and other topicals so I do question just how effective ceramides are in a cleanser. In any case this face wash is mild and produces a creamy lather that doesn’t dry out my sensitive combination skin or sting my eyes. The sulfate free formula contains moisture retaining glycerin. The brand includes hyaluronic acid among the ingredients but again I’m skeptical of how much benefit it provides in a rinse off product like a face wash.

The cleanser has a light clean somewhat fruity fragrance which isn’t overpowering and hasn’t caused any skin irritation or given me a migraine. The largest size available is slightly less than 4oz. It’s a perfectly good cleanser but I can’t say it’ll replace my usual face wash which is fragrance free, comes in a 16oz size and is available at a slightly better price point per ounce. 

Holy Hydration! Triple Bounce Serum  

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Triple Bounce Serum best budget friendly skincare for oily skin.


The Triple Bounce Serum adds a extra layer of hydration before the application of moisturizer. It hydrates with glycerin, Vitamin B5 and three different weights of hyaluronic acid. HA when applied topically hydrates the surface level of the skin and is well tolerated by most people. The serum also claims it brightens with Vitamin B3 (niacinamide). I don’t have dark spots or hyperpigmentation so I can’t attest to this statement. I doubt it’s moisturizing enough on its own for drier areas for those with combination/oily skin. Layering under moisturizer helped plump and hydrate my skin though. The texture is that of a fluid liquid gel. This formula doesn’t contain added fragrance and it isn’t oily or sticky.

Holy Hydration! Eye Cream

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Eye Cream best budget skincare for oily skin.

$10/0.53oz  ($18.87/oz)

With ingredients like jojoba and coconut oil derived emollients, this eye cream’s formula has a rich feel without being greasy. It’s fast absorbing and left my eye area hydrated but didn’t contribute to milia which earned it an A+ from me. The formula contains two types of peptides which are amino acids that help improve the condition of the skin by boosting collagen production and diminishing fine lines and dark circles making this eye cream appropriate for use across multiple age groups. Concealer and eye makeup also layered easily over the fragrance free formula. 

Holy Hydration! Face Cream

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream

$13/1.8oz   ($7.22/oz)

This face cream moisturizes with glycerin, squalane and hyaluronic acid. It’s available in three versions including the original which contains the same light fragrance as the cleanser as well as a fragrance free version and one with SPF. It shares many of the same active ingredients as the eye cream and much like that formula the face cream is thick but not oily and absorbs fully within minutes. I didn’t get shiny as the day progressed although I wouldn’t consider this a mattifying moisturizer. I haven’t noticed any breakouts or an increase in blackheads from using this formula. As expected, foundation plays nicely with it too.   

Holy Hydration! Gentle Peeling Exfoliant

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Gentle Peeling Mask

$10/3.04oz ($3.28oz)

This skin smoother is a gommage style formula. The term gommage is French for to erase or to scrub and is an exfoliation technique. The exfoliant contains ingredients that when rubbed against the skin form little beads. Many reviewers think these beads are dead skin peeling off but alas it is not so. That’s just how gommages work. These little beads help gently slough dead skin cells along with enzymes such as papaya extract which further refines the skin’s surface. Gentle Peeling Exfoliant, like all the other products in the collection, is appropriate for all skin types including sensitive.  

Concluding Thoughts On Budget Friendly Skincare for Oily Skin

The only skincare product Holy Hydration! lacks is a stand alone sunscreen. However, at these prices keeping a jar of face cream with SPF for daytime and either the original face cream or the fragrance free version for evening may not prove too costly. The entire skincare routine runs about $51 to $64 depending on whether you opt for both the SPF and non SPF versions of face cream.

The brand features a rewards program and allows customers to scan receipts so their e.l.f. purchases from other retailers like Target, CVS and others will qualify for loyalty points. Obviously we’re not talking the pinnacle of luxury here but it can’t be denied the products are effective. The Holy Hydration! collection from e.l.f. has every product needed for a complete skincare routine at a price that virtually can’t be beaten making it the best budget skincare for oily skin as well as all other skin types. 

Featured products are independently selected for review. A small commission may be earned from purchases made through links in this article. For more information please visit Disclosure.

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