Dermalogica – Active Moist Oil-Free, Lightweight Face Moisturizer Review

Suitable for oily & combination skin types, formulated with prebiotics & botanical extracts to improve skin texture & combat dehydration. Our Aesthetician’s Choice for the best lightweight, oil-free non-comedogenic moisturizer.

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Overview: Dermalogica – Active Moist Oil-Free, Lightweight Face Moisturizer

Video: Dermalogica Active Moist – Oil-Free Hydration!

Winner: Instyle's Best Beauty Buys & Icons of a Decade; Beauty Launchpad Best Skincare Products – Readers Choice; Psychologies Magazine – Best Skin-Confidence Cosmetics Moisturizer

Verdict: The best lightweight, oil-free non-comedogenic moisturizer

Best for: Normal, Combination, & Oily Skin; Dryness & Dehydration, Uneven texture

Brand & Product Line: Dermalogica

Type: Humectant, AM/PM moisturizer

Formulation Base: Water-based moisturizer

Color: Sheer white

Consistency: Lightweight, fluid

Finish: Sheer, matte finish

Clean Beauty: No artificial colors or fragrances.

Cruelty-free: Certified Vegan. Cruelty-free.

Green & Sustainable: Eco-friendly. Uses recyclable cleansers. Partnership with TerraCycle. All paper & cartons are FSC certified to be sustainable for forests. Manufactured in California.

Safety Studies: Professional-grade skincare since 1986.

Part of: The Best Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers for Oily Skin; The Best Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin


  • Contains Prebiotic Moisture Complex and a unique combination of plant extracts to improve skin texture and prevent dehydration
  • Natural botanical extracts Lemon, Cucumber and Burdock help refine skin
  • Sheer, easy-to-apply formula glides effortlessly and absorbs quickly
  • Lightweight, oil-free formula is ideal for oily or combination skin
  • Works well under makeup
  • Can be used AM and PM for daily hydration
  • Free of parabens, artificial fragrances, and other potentially harmful ingredients
  • Cruelty-free and vegan


  • May not provide enough hydration for those with very dry skin
  • Some users may find the price point to be too high
  • Can be drying for sensitized or sensitive skin
  • Contains common allergens, fragrances

Product Review: Packaging, Formulation, Ingredients, Clean Beauty, Sustainability, Results

Video: Active Moist | Dermalogica

The Active Moist by Dermalogica is a lightweight, oil-free lotion ideal for oily skin or those who prefer oil-free moisturizers.

It provides daily hydration without leaving the skin shiny.

The formula includes lemon, which acts as a natural astringent, refining the skin, while lavender and cucumber soothe and hydrate.

The moisturizer is sheer and easy to apply, quickly absorbing into the skin. Apply a pea-sized amount with upward strokes daily for best results.”

Packaging, Size, and Versions:

The most popular size is 1.7 fl oz / 50 ml, sold in a tube with a flip-top cap. This size is perfect for daily use and can last for several months.

Active Moist is also available in larger sizes, such as 3.4 fl oz / 100 ml, sold in a pump bottle. This size is ideal for those who use the product more frequently or want to save money by buying in bulk.

In addition, Dermalogica offers Active Moist in travel-sized tubes, which are convenient for on-the-go use or for trying out the product before committing to a full-size purchase.

Key Ingredients:

Active Moist by Dermalogica contains several key ingredients that provide lightweight hydration and improve skin texture. 

These ingredients include:

  • Prebiotic Moisture Complex – This complex helps balance the skin's microbiome and creates a protective layer to prevent moisture loss.
  • Lemon – Lemon is a natural astringent that helps to refine the skin and reduce the appearance of pores.
  • Cucumber – Cucumber is known for its soothing and hydrating properties, making it an excellent ingredient for oily skin.
  • Burdock – Burdock extract helps improve the skin's texture by removing impurities and excess oil.

These ingredients work together to provide lightweight hydration that doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy or shiny. 

The formula is oil-free and easy to apply, making it a great option for those with oily or combination skin. 

With regular use, Active Moist can help to balance the skin's oil production and improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin.

Complete Ingredients:

Water/Aqua/Eau, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Coconut Alkanes, Cetearyl Alcohol, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Saccharide Isomerate, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Propanediol, Polysorbate 60, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Allantoin, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Polyquaternium-10, Ethylhexylglycerin, Triethyl Citrate, Myristic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Lavandula Hybrida Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Aminomethyl Propanol, Citral, Linalool, Limonene.

Please be aware that ingredient lists may change or vary from time to time. Please refer to the ingredient list on the product package you receive for the most up-to-date list of ingredients.

Ingredient Analysis:

The Good:
  • Doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, oils, parabens or sulfates
  • Reef safe
  • Paraben-Free
  • Sulfate-Free
  • Alcohol-Free
  • Potential anti-aging from 1 ingredient: Citric Acid
  • Potential antioxidant: Arctium Lappa Root Extract
  • Potential soothing: Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Extract, Allantoin
The Bad:

Clean Beauty & Cruelty-free:

Dermalogica is committed to sustainability in various ways. The company reduces its environmental impact, promotes ethical practices, and supports social responsibility initiatives.

For example, Dermalogica‘s packaging is designed to minimize waste and uses post-consumer recycled materials whenever possible. The company also works with suppliers who share their values and adhere to ethical standards in sourcing ingredients.

In addition to sustainability, Dermalogica also prioritizes clean beauty. The brand formulates their products without ingredients known to be harmful or irritating to the skin, such as parabens, artificial fragrances, and sulfates.

Dermalogica also uses cruelty-free testing methods and is recognized as a Leaping Bunny-certified brand. By combining sustainability and clean beauty, Dermalogica aims to positively impact both the environment and the health of its customers.

Product Formulation & Results:

Video – How to choose the right moisturizer for your skin type!

Hello, I'm Heather, a licensed professional skin therapist and the head of education for Dermalogica

Today we will talk about moisturizers and, more specifically, how to choose the right moisturizer for your skin. 

If you are not using a moisturizer daily, your skin can become very dehydrated, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and accelerated aging. 

Also, you're leaving yourself exposed to all of those environmental factors, pollution, and all of that dirt and grime that we live with daily. 

Moisturizers can be tricky to decide which is best. We've all purchased the wrong product, and we've all had that moisturizer that made our skin break out or that moisturizer that doesn't give us enough hydration. 

I want to help you stop making mistakes when purchasing your moisturizer and get to know your skin a little bit better. 

So the first thing that we need to know is – is your skin oily, is your skin dehydrated, or is your skin dry? Or you're a combination.

The number one thing that I hear is that “I have oily skin; I don't need to use a moisturizer.” That's not true. Oily skin produces too much oil, but often it does not produce enough water and becomes dehydrated. 

What can also happen if you're not locking moisture into that oily skin? Your skin overcompensates and tries to produce more oil, exacerbating your oily skin condition. 

The next thing that you need to determine is – is my skin dehydrated, or is my skin dry? They are two completely different skin concerns. 

If your skin is dry, it lacks oil. If your skin is dehydrated, it lacks water or moisture. 

So a couple of easy ways to find this out – if you have dry skin, true dry skin, it's genetic, so that means that you will have dry skin everywhere. The skin on your scalp and hands will be dry. So your skin isn't dry if you are still getting breakouts or blackheads or an oily shine during the day.

Different skin conditions need different types of moisturizer. I like to think about it a little bit like how you pick your makeup. 

Oily skin needs a sheer moisturizer, dehydrated skin needs a medium moisturizer, and dry skin needs a full-coverage moisturizer. So you can choose from these options. 

So now we know what we're looking for – am I looking for sheer, medium, or full coverage? Let's talk about some of the picks we can get with each of those different moisturizers.


The first one that I want to talk to you about is oily skin. 

Now, we've already talked about oily skin. It can be horrifying; the thought of a moisturizer on oily skin can make you feel nervous. It's going to make your skin worse; you're going to look oilier; you're going to look shinier. 

But the key is to make sure that you have an oil-free, water-based moisturizer. But what you also want to do is be able to help to control the oil, refine the skin, and also ensure that we're getting that proper infusion of moisture, water hydration, into the skin. 

So my favorite is Active Moist. Active Moist is a prebiotic moisturizer that balances your skin's natural microbiome. It has a huge amount of hydration here but no oil. It's very lightweight on the skin, so it feels very sheer. But it will take away any of that tightness you might be feeling on the skin. 

It has lemon and burdock in it. These help to refine your pores–those hair follicles sometimes look larger on oily skin, while giving you that huge amount of hydration. 

When you use Active Moist on your skin, it is very, very lightweight, so you can see how fluid that is. It won't leave an oily, heavy shine on the skin. It also doesn't leave that heavy film on the skin that can be intimidating when you have oily skin.


My top pick for dehydrated skin is our Skin Smoothing Cream

Skin Smoothing Cream has HydraMesh technology. It works on a molecular level, creating an invisible mesh that holds in moisture. 

Remember, with dehydrated skin, you lack water, so it can feel tight and uncomfortable, but you're still getting that oily shine during the day; you've still got oil production on the skin. So you want to use something other than a heavy-weight moisturizer. 

With the Skin Smoothing Cream with HydraMesh technology, it will lock moisture into the skin. But at the same time, it introduces a huge amount of moisture without feeling heavy. 

From this, it's slightly richer than what we saw with the Active Moist. It's a little bit heavier. So remember, this is your medium-weight moisturizer. 

Skin Smoothing Cream contains hyaluronic acid, which binds moisture to the skin. It also contains mallow, cucumber, and arnica. These ingredients will help add to that hydration with HydraMesh technology. It locks everything in while still keeping that moisturizer relatively lightweight.


For a dry skin, you need to take it up a notch.

Remember, dry skin lacks oil. There's no oily shine on the skin; there are no blackheads or breakouts. We want to infuse that skin with oil and use a lipid-based moisturizer. 

Intensive Moisture Balance is our richer moisturizer. When we put it on the skin, it feels thicker because it has that oil base. It's more like cream than fluid.

For oily skin, oil-free. For dehydrated skin, that medium-weight moisturizer will add large quantities of water hydration. And then, for true dry skin, use an oil-based moisturizer. 

If you still need help with your skin, there are several things that we can do to be able to help you. One of the things that you can do is visit a professional skin therapist. Alternatively, you can use our Face Mapping website. We're going to link it below for you.

We hope you learned something today, and we want to share many more tips and tricks with you.”

Heather Hickman, Senior Director of U.S. Education for Dermalogica

About the Brand

Video: Powered by purpose.

We stock several professional-grade skincare in our clinic, including Dermalogica.

They are among the few companies with provisions for skin therapists that include best-in-class education, personalized skincare solutions for clients, and skincare products. They also prioritize sustainability and social impact.

Dermalogica was founded in 1986 by Jane Wurwand, a trained skin therapist who saw a need for effective, science-backed skincare products that could be used in professional treatments and at home.

One of the things I appreciate most about Dermalogica is their dedication to education. As a company founded by a skin therapist, they genuinely understand the importance of knowledge regarding skincare. They offer extensive training programs for their employees and other skincare professionals so that everyone can stay updated on the latest research and techniques.

In addition to their focus on education, Dermalogica provides personalized skincare solutions for clients. They offer a range of products that can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual's skin, and they work closely with skin therapists to develop treatment plans that are tailored to each client's specific concerns.

Dermalogica is also known for their “clean” formulations, free from ingredients like artificial fragrances, colors, and harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin. They use only the highest quality ingredients, including plant extracts, vitamins, and antioxidants, to nourish and protect the skin.

Dermalogica is also a sustainable brand. They use eco-friendly packaging and are constantly looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. And through their partnership with TerraCycle, they make it easy for customers to recycle their empty Dermalogica containers.

Dermalogica is also committed to social impact. They are a certified B Corp, meaning they meet rigorous social and environmental performance standards, accountability, and transparency. They support several organizations and initiatives working to improve women's and girls' lives worldwide, including FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship) and the She's the First organization.

Overall, I highly recommend Dermalogica to anyone looking for effective, science-backed clean skincare products committed to sustainability and social impact.

Dermalogica – Active Moist Oil-Free, Lightweight Face Moisturizer

Dermalogica Active Moist Moisturizer is a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer suitable for combination skin types, formulated with prebiotics and botanical extracts to improve skin texture and combat dehydration.

Samantha Welch

Skin type (suitability)
Texture & Consistency
Ease of Application


Dermalogica's Active Moist Moisturizer is a lightweight and oil-free moisturizer suitable for combination and oily skin types. It contains a unique Prebiotic Moisture Complex and natural botanical extracts of Lemon, Cucumber, and Burdock to improve surface texture and combat surface dehydration.

Dermalogica is a clean and sustainable brand committed to education, personalized skincare solutions, and social impact, making it an excellent choice for those looking for effective and ethical skincare products.

This is our Aesthetician's Choice for the best lightweight, oil-free non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Ideal for: Normal, Combination, & Oily Skin; Dryness & Dehydration, Uneven texture



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Tanya Eubanks
Tanya is a seasoned holistic medical aesthetician and product formulator. She has extensive clinical experience and is passionate about cruelty-free, vegan, and environmentally-friendly beauty solutions.