The 10 Best Oil-Absorbing Products of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Shiseido Oil Control Blotting Paper sops up oil while keeping makeup pristine in the process.

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Best Oil-Absorbing Products

InStyle / Tamara Staples

If you have oily skin or even a combination complexion with a shiny T-zone, stocking your beauty routine with oil-absorbing products can quickly mattify your complexion in a pinch. Nothing short of mattifying miracle workers, these products — which come in the form of papers, powders, sponges, and rollers — soak up excess oil to prevent a shiny complexion from stealing the show.

Of course, like most beauty products, there are many, many oil-absorbing products on the market — and they’re not all worth the hype. To find out which are the best, we put the most popular oil-absorbing products to the test. We recruited a dozen testers to try over 20 products in our lab, keeping in mind ease of use, absorbancy, and overall appearance. After looking at ratings and insights we were able to narrow the list down to the top 10 that sop up oil like magic. At the helm of that list is the Shiseido Oil Control Blotting Paper, which is beloved for its ease of use, featherlight feel, absorbing power, and ability to not disrupt makeup in the process.

Best Overall

Shiseido Oil-Control Blotting Paper

5
shiseido-oil-control-blotting-paper

Macy's

What We Love: The papers are extremely lightweight and don’t disrupt makeup underneath. 

What We Don’t Love: Some shoppers report that the powder transfers to the face and leaves a film.

During our test we tried an array of papers, rollers, sponges, and jellies, but none performed nearly as exceptionally as Shiseido Oil Control Blotting Paper. Our tester loved everything about this product — from the paper’s ultra-lightweight feel to the mattifying powder-coated finish, and especially how well it soaks up excess oil. “The sheet is the perfect size to touch up an oily T-zone,” she says, noting that the papers are soft and smooth to the touch. “There was a lot of oil visible on the paper after blotting and I was happy to see it didn't smudge or remove any of my makeup.” In fact, after using these our tester was amazed to find that her makeup looked “flawless and airbrushed."

Logistically, these blotting papers have a powder-coated finish that’s formulated with oil-absorbing kaolin clay, as well as zinc oxide, which is often found in SPF. Together, these ingredients absorb excess oil and soothe the skin. While our tester didn’t have a single con about this product, it’s worth noting that some shoppers say the powder in the sheets can leave a film on your face if you press too hard.

Price at time of publish: $20

Active Ingredient: Kaolin Clay | Format: Papers | Sheets: 100

shiseido-control-blotting-paper

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Papers

Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers

5
tatcha-aburatorigami-japanese-blotting-papers

Sephora

What We Love: These papers are made with natural ingredients to absorb oil and calm skin.

What We Don’t Love: They do remove a tiny bit of makeup in the blotting process.

Over 15,000 Sephora shoppers adore the Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers — and so do we. From the soft, lightweight feel of the papers to just how well they soak up excess oil to reveal a natural-looking matte finish, there’s so much to love about the popular papers.

“I have oily skin and I felt fresh and not overly matte [after using these],” says one tester. “There was a significant difference — my skin normally is oily, but the blotting paper helped keep it matte without stripping my face of too much makeup.”

Unlike some of the other products on this list that are infused with a long list of ingredients, these are made simply with just two: ​Natural abaca leaf and gold flakes to soak up excess oil and reduce inflammation (a common benefit of gold on the skin).

Price at time of publish: $14

Active Ingredient: Abaca Leaf and Gold | Format: Papers | Sheets: 40

tatcha-aburatorigami-japanese-blotting-papers

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Budget

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Matte Blotting Paper

5
nyx-matte-blotting-paper

Amazon

What We Love: They’re super affordable and work well to absorb oil.

What We Don’t Love: There are only 30 sheets in a pack — so you could run out quickly if you use multiple a day.

NYX Matte Blotting Paper has amassed over 1,600 five-star ratings on Amazon — and for good reason: The thin, smooth, lightweight papers are easy to pull out of the packaging (without risking extras coming out in the process) and seamlessly make shine disappear.

“The texture of the paper felt very soft and light on my skin,” our tester marvels. “I hardly felt the paper on my skin at all, but it absorbed all of the excess oil right away.” While it removed all traces of grease, the papers didn’t remove any makeup, which made them stand out even further, especially as a budget pick.

Like the Tatcha Blotting Papers, these sheets are made simply, with 100 percent pure pulpate paper. And while you get 30 papers for less than $5, you may need to repurchase often if you use multiple a day.

Price at time of publish: $4

Active Ingredient: Pure pulpate paper | Format: Papers | Sheets: 30

nyx-matte-blotting-paper

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Splurge

Clinique Stay Matte Universal Blotting Powder

4.9
clinique-stay-matte-universal-blotting-powder

Sephora

What We Love: It comes with a thin, soft sponge for easy application.

What We Don’t Love: The included sponge could have a better design.

Clinique Stay Matte Universal Blotting Powder is adored by over 5,000 Sephora shoppers thanks to how well it mattifies a shiny complexion. Where some powders leave a garish white cast, this does not. “It didn’t leave any trace on my skin,” says our tester. Dabbing this powder over your face completely eliminates the look of shine. “It will not smudge makeup as long as it's pressed, but if the sponge slides on the skin, it will smudge your makeup,” she adds.

If our tester could change one thing about this popular product, it’d be the sponge that with comes it. The thin, flat sponge doesn’t have a loop to grip, so it can be tricky to remove from the compact. It’s also worth noting that, since it comes with a sponge, you’ll be reusing the same tool to absorb oil over and over again, which isn’t the most hygienic. Still, you can wash the sponge with your other makeup brushes to keep it clean, and the overall performance is simply unbeatable.

Price at time of publish: $27 (originally $36)

Active Ingredient: Talc and silica | Format: Powder

clinique-stay-matte-universal-blotting-powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Charcoal-Infused

Boscia Black Charcoal Blotting Linens

4.9
boscia-black-charcoal-blotting-linens

Amazon

What We Love: The papers are thin, soft, and smooth, allowing them to easily cater to the contours of the face.

What We Don’t Love: It comes in a cardboard package that can get easily dinged up if free-floating in a bag.

Where many blotting papers are white or light pink, Boscia Black Charcoal Blotting Linens are black. Infused with oil-absorbing black charcoal, these sheets work to instantly soak up excess oil, leaving skin looking beautifully mattified — and you can see that they work! “I noticed the excess oil on the blotting paper,” says our tester. “The papers do a good job absorbing my face oil and they’re great for freshening up during the day.”

Beyond how well they work, these papers are stowed in a slim cardboard package that fits easily in the palm of a hand, as well as in a zippered pouch in a bag. We especially recommend the latter, as simply tossing the cardboard package in a full bag could lead to crumpled corners, which wouldn't affect how well the papers work, but still — we like our beauty products to look the part.

Price at time of publish: $10

Active Ingredient: Charcoal | Format: Papers | Sheets: 100

boscia-black-charcoal-blotting-linens

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Natural

PleasingCare Natural Bamboo Charcoal Oil Absorbing Tissues

4.9
pleasingcare-natural-bamboo-charcoal-oil-absorbing-tissues

Amazon

What We Love: They easily and effectively absorb excess oil without disrupting makeup in the process.

What We Don’t Love: The papers are pretty small, so you’ll likely have to use more than one to sop up every trace of oil.

Over 11,000 Amazon shoppers have awarded PleasingCare Natural Bamboo Charcoal Oil Absorbing Tissues five-star reviews — for more than one reason. From the convenient packaging to the simple makeup, these oil-absorbing papers are the full package.

“I love that the blotting papers are organized neatly inside a credit card-size paper container,” says our tester. “Each sheet is simple to pull out for use.” As easy as they are to use, she does mention that, for extra shiny faces, multiple papers are needed. “I ended up using two sheets as the first absorbed a nice batch of oil, but I needed another for the rest of my T-zone,” she explains. After all her grease was sopped up, she was left with a mattified, fresh-looking face. 

According to our tester, the only thing that could make these charcoal-infused papers better is if they were a bit bigger. “But that's a minor improvement, as I could see this being handy when you need a quick touch-up and only have a small purse to put it in,” she adds.

Price at time of publish: $7

Active Ingredient: Bamboo Linen and Charcoal | Format: Papers | Sheets: 100

natural-bamboo-charcoal-oil-absorbing-tissues

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Stone Roller

Revlon Volcanic Stone Face Roller

4.8
revlon-volcanic-stone-face-roller

Amazon

What We Love: It removes oil while slightly cooling the skin.

What We Don’t Love: It's not the most hygienic option.

The Revlon Volcanic Stone Face Roller is one-of-a-kind, as it uses real volcanic stone to soak up excess oil. Its diameter is similar to that of a quarter, and it’s roughly the height of a lip gloss — so it’s larger than a slim pack of blotting papers, but with how well it works, over 30,000 Amazon shoppers have given the innovative product their five-star seal of approval (and it also received perfect scores from our testers).

“This immediately drew the oil out of my skin and left a dry trail behind it,” reveals one tester. In addition to absorbing oil, she says that the stone has an almost cooling feeling, which is even more refreshing on the go. “Overall, it seems like a high-quality product,” she concludes.

One thing you’ll want to keep in mind with this roller is that, since it’s not disposable, you’re basically reapplying any bacteria that was present in your sebum back on your skin, each time you use it — if you don’t regularly clean it, that is. “To clean, twist the roller’s ring to unlock, and pull out the stone,” the brand instructs users. “Wash with a gentle cleanser, rinse, and air-dry before locking it back in.” To make things easier, our tester admits that she wishes it came with a built-in cleaning mechanism.

Price at time of publish: $15

Active Ingredient: Volcanic Stone | Format: Roller

revlon-volcanic-stone-face-roller

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Travel

Jenny Patinkin Blotter Baby Mattifying Roller

4.6
Jenny Patinkin Blotter Baby Mattifying Roller

Bluemercury

What We Love: It’s very easy to clean.

What We Don’t Love: The small, shiny roller is a bit slippery, which makes it easy to drop.

Smaller than the Revlon roller, the Jenny Patinkin Blotter Baby Mattifying Roller is perfect for travel, our tester says, likening it to a “small shiny egg.” The roller is made of limestone clay, which easily picks up excess traces of oil to reveal a less shiny complexion in its wake. That said, our tester admits that it does pick up a touch of makeup along the way, too. Still, since it soaks up oil and doubles as a soothing face roller, she admits that it’s a great oil-absorbing option, especially for those looking for a little extra self-care in the form of boosted facial blood circulation.

Whatever you do though, our tester emphasizes the importance of cleaning the ball, which pops out of the roller, making it more hygienic. “Twist the white ring to release the ball and then wash with warm water and soap,” the brand says. “The quick drying ball can then be replaced into the holder.”

Price at time of publish: $22

Active Ingredient: Limestone Clay | Format: Roller

jenny-platinkin-blotter-baby-mattifying-roller

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Sponge

beautyblender Blotterazzi

4.9
Beautyblender Blotterazzi

Amazon

What We Love: The sponge is so lightweight you can’t feel it on your skin, but it picks up plenty of oil.

What We Don’t Love: Along with oil, it picks up a touch of makeup.

Ever since beautyblender emerged as a cult sensation in makeup applications, they’ve been working to release products to simplify every aspect of your beauty routine. One product they created that’s earned high praise is the Blotterazzi Sponge. The pack includes two thin pink teardrop-shaped sponges encased in a vented white plastic teardrop-shaped compact that’s also equipped with a mirror. The shape of the sponges makes absorbing excess oil along the T-zone and under the eyes easier than ever.

“My skin appears less oily and more matte than it did before using the Blotterazzi,” says our tester. That said, it does pick up a touch of makeup along the way, but still, our tester assures us that she’d recommend the Blotterazzi to anyone looking to absorb excess oil. “The product can be cleaned and reused which makes it a great value,” she adds, praising the product.

Price at time of publish: $10 (originally $20)

Active Ingredient: N/A | Format: Sponge

beauty-blender-blotterazzi-sponge

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Multitasker

Mally Beauty Evercolor Poreless Face Defender

4.9
mally-beauty-evercolor-poreless-face-defender

Amazon

What We Love: It’s a powder-balm that gives skin a smooth, matte finish.

What We Don’t Love: It’s very easy to use too much.

Mally Beauty Evercolor Poreless Face Defender is in a class all its own thanks to its powder-balm formula that feels like a little pad of jelly. It comes with a sponge that has both pointed and curved edges, which makes it easy to apply all over the face. The unique product can be used before makeup as a primer, or after makeup as a setting or blotting product. So long as you only use a little bit (ie: tap the sponge in the balm before tapping it on your face, as opposed to rubbing or swiping product out of the compact), it feels weightless and doesn’t disturb makeup.

“I barely feel anything going on — it just feels like I'm tapping a sponge on my face,” says our tester. “I didn't feel any oil or notice any shine after using it. I did a few passes to make sure everything was taken care of, but there was a huge difference even just after the first pass. My mind is kind of blown because using a gel seems so counterintuitive for removing oil.’’

Suffice to say, if your goal is to streamline your beauty routine while minimizing a shiny T-zone, this unique compact can help.

Price at time of publish: $38

Active Ingredient: Dimethicone | Format: Powder-balm

mally-beauty-evercolor-poreless-face-defender

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Our Testing Process

To start, we spent about a week researching the top-rated oil-absorbing products on the market. After homing in on online ratings, we spent 48 hours putting the 21 most popular and effective oil-absorbing products (including papers, powders, and rollers) to the test. We had 12 testers try the products so that they could analyze the performance of each and write down their insights during the process. In doing so, our testers rated every product on a scale of 1 to 5 in three key categories: Ease of use, absorbency, and overall skin appearance. Once the data was collected, we were able to narrow down the original pool of products to the 10 best oil-absorbing products.

clinique-stay-matte-universal-blotting-powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

What to Keep in Mind

Active Ingredient

When shopping for a product that will adequately absorb oil, board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., says to look for active ingredients like clay, charcoal, powder, and starch. “These ingredients have surface areas that are large enough or porous enough to adsorb oil — meaning that they absorb the oil and hold onto it, keeping it from escaping,” she explains.

Format

The best oil-absorbing product format depends on your own personal preference. If you want something tiny to toss in your bag, opt for a slim folio of blotting papers, like our best overall pick Shiseido Oil Control Blotting Paper. If you have a bit more room to spare, a blotting roller or compact works well. Just keep in mind that of all the oil-absorbing products out there, blotting papers are the most hygienic (though, often, the least sustainable since they’re designed for individual use).

Your Questions, Answered 

What is the best thing to use to absorb facial oils?

The best oil-absorbing beauty products are those that can draw sebum out of the skin (or at the very least, off the surface) to reveal a more mattified visage. According to board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., ingredients and products that cling to the oil, or draw them from your skin, and wick them away without water are ideal. All of the items in our list have been vetted in our lab and absorb impressive amounts of oil without the use of water.

What ingredients absorb oil?

Speaking of ingredients that draw oil away from the skin, board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., recommends clay and charcoal, along with talc. On our list, Shiseido Oil Control Blotting Paper’s key ingredient is clay, while the Boscia Black Charcoal Blotting Linens absorb oil with charcoal. As for the Clinique Stay Matte Universal Blotting Powder, talc is what helps it sop up excess oil.

Do oil-absorbing sheets actually work?

Yes! “Oil-absorbing sheets work by using absorbent fibrous threads to draw oil off the skin without disrupting too much of the surrounding skin,” Dr. Nazarian says. “They can even be used over makeup.”

As effective as blotting papers are, Dr. Engelman says that using them too often can strip the skin. “Oil blotting sheets have the potential to strip the skin of its natural oils, which can prompt the skin to overcompensate and produce excess oil,” she warns. “This paradoxical effect is known as reactive seborrhea. So, take caution to use them appropriately and not to overuse them.”

Why Shop With Us

Rebecca Norris has covered beauty for nearly 10 years. For this story, she spoke with a group of 12 testers, as well as board-certified dermatologists Dr. Dendy Engelman, Dr. Rachel Nazarian, and Dr. Hadley King to determine what makes an effective oil-absorbing product. With testing insights and expert input in mind, she presents the best oil-absorbing products.

What Is InStyle Picks?

Did you notice the InStyle Picks seal of approval at the top of this story? That means our team of testers has reviewed every product on this list using a unique methodology to ensure it's really worth your time, money, and attention. We may get samples for free to try but we never promise positive (or any!) coverage in exchange. Put simply: InStyle picks are products we love, and we've put them to the test to be sure you will too.

Want more product recommendations? From best-in-class concealer to the black pants you need for work, check out all of our InStyle Picks content.

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