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Balancing Oily Skin Without Mattifying

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Every skin type brings its challenges. For people who have oily skin types, the main focus is to reduce the amount of excess sebum which typically either accumulates at the t-zone area or the entire surface of the face. It can be tempting to reach for mattifying skincare products – these are usually in the form of a creams or gels which act as a semi-matte base for other products which follow. Mattifying and oil-free products may solve the problem in the short-term, however this quick fix only provides a temporary solution which doesn’t exactly address the concern in the long run.

With this in mind, it is more beneficial and healthy for your skin to concentrate on adding skincare products into your skincare routines which balance skin. By ‘balance’ we are referring to skincare products and ingredients which control skin’s moisture barrier by stabilizing that medium between the right amount of moisture and oil. After all, our skin naturally produces sebum for a reason and skin should not entirely be deprived of it.

So how do we balance oily skin?

4 simple things are key:

  1. Cleanse with products which remove excess sebum, but simultaneously replenish lost moisture. Cleaning oils and balms are great at this.
  2. Ensure the that products you use throughout your skincare routine are of a low pH level of 5.5-8 to tackle the irritation and redness that often come with having oily skin and reduce the stress on the oil glands.
  3. Look for antioxidant rich plant extracts which also supply long-lasting hydration past initial application.
  4. There’s no need to completely eliminate facial oils from your evening skincare routine. It’s just a matter of finding the right one for you.

Now, let’s move on to discussing these points in more depth that’s easy to remember and can realistically be achieved regardless of your lifestyle.



Fortunately, most cleansers are suitable for oily skin types. We can use cleansing foams, gels, milks and balms! The important thing is to select a k-beauty cleanser which aims to eradicate surfaced sebum, but has multiple hydrating factors. When used in leave-on skincare products, fatty acids such as Myristic and Lauric acids are unlikely recommended for oily skin that has enlarged pores or is acne-prone. Although, in rinse-off cleansers they are highly beneficial for cleansing without dehydrating skin.

We can’t stress enough how much we love the Dr Ceuracle Pro Balance Pure Cleansing Oil, which combines countless seed and fruit peel oils with a 5-probiotic complex. These form a nourishing cleanser which improves the health of a compromised skin barrier.



Now we don’t mean to remind you of your school days in Chemistry lessons, but knowing the pH level of your skincare products is a basic principal to bear in mind when correctly caring for oily skin. Where some acidic ingredients are good for skin – mildly acidic acids – others will imbalance skin and could lead to skin producing excess oil in the fight to neutralize the pH level of skin’s surface layer. Think of sebum as skin’s natural way of protecting itself from factors that are a threat to it’s natural healthy functions; factors including overly acidic skincare products. Some acids hydrate, i.e. Hyaluronic acid, whereas others such as citric acid dehydrate and throw skin off-balance when used in strong doses.

So what’s the simplest way to determine the pH level of a product without using a pH testing strip? Well it’s not as complex as you may think. The majority of Korean cleansers, particularly foam and gel cleansers, clearly outline on the front of the product packaging the pH level. A suitable cleanser for oily skin will have a pH level of 5.5-6.5 give or take. Otherwise, reach for cleansers labelled as hypoallergenic or low-irritant and always do a patch test to see how your skin reacts. Of course key words such as moisturising, calming, soothing and hydrating all tend to be targeted at oily skin types; they're not just for sensitive skin.



Green tea, tea tree, aloe, hyaluronic acid, eucalyptus, cactus water, clay, charcoal, milk lipids, rice and other grains high in Vitamin B and mugwort/artemisia are just a select few well-known skin balancing extracts. Other notable ingredients are BHA – cares for congested pores, Ylang Ylang and Niacinamide (vitamin B3) – regulate sebum production, and as mentioned above – seed oils.



Botanical non-comedogenic oils are best for oily skin. For reference, here is a list of non-comedogenic oils with a rating of 0 (doesn’t clog pores) and 1 (very low likelihood of clogging pores) on the comedogenic scale.

  • Sunflower oil - 0
  • Grape seed oil - 1
  • Safflower oil - 0
  • Rosehip oil - 1

At Kōsame, our product descriptions provide extensive detail to make it clear on which products are ideal for each skin type. The oil control section of our website highlights plenty of low pH/balancing skincare products for you to consider.

Words: Emma Moseley from SimplyEm's Blog
Photography: Bianca Batson

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