Differin Oil Control Moisturizer: NOPE!

Normally, I’d research the hell out of a product before I buy it.

But, when I went to Target a couple weeks ago, I made an impulse buy.

Yep. You guessed it. I bought Differin’s Oil Control Moisturizer with Sunscreen.

And now I’m going to review it.

Spoiler alert: It’s a no from me.

Consistency + Application 👎 

The consistency is similar to any regular ole sunscreen. That is, it’s slightly watery and slightly chalky.

Beyond that, it spreads easily–no excessive rubbing required.

Now, it’s time to get into the negatives.

When I apply it to the back of my hand, it sinks in. When I apply it to my face, it doesn’t.

Instead, it just sits there–a film of grease atop my face. Hour by hour, I become greasier and greasier. By the end of the day, it looks like I dipped my face in a vat of oil.

That’s not what I would expect from an “oil control” moisturizer. It’s actually the opposite of what I would expect.

And I’m royally pissed about it!

Plus, it doesn’t feel particularly moisturizing. It’s like my skin is oily + bone dry at the same time. Which is weird because I’m not dehydrated (at least not at the moment).

Conclusion: This might work on someone with dry skin, but those of you with oily skin might want to reconsider your buying options.


Thankfully, the formulation is fragrance-free.

And while it doesn’t have a pungent/perfumey smell, it does have a faint sunscreen smell.

But even that’s not a big deal. The smell doesn’t linger–it fades into nothing within 10 minutes.

Get to Know Your Ingredients


Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene

Inactive Ingredients: Allantoin (read more about it here), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Panthenol, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polysorbate 61, Potassium Sorbate, Silica, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sucrose Tristearate,Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Water, Xanthan Gum, Zinc Gluconate


Octocrylene is a chemical sunscreen. And while it does a decent job at blocking UVB rays, it doesn’t really provide protection against all UVA rays. If it’s not the best sunscreen option, why is it so popular? Well, that’s easy. It’s used to stabilize formulations. You see, some chemical sunscreens–like avobenzone–are notoriously unstable. They need to be formulated with the right ingredients to actually work.

*Just be careful, a lot of people are allergic to this stuff.

Allantoin is skin-smoothing + exfoliating + moisturizing ingredient found in things like the comfrey, chamomile, and–wait for it–urine. Don’t worry though. Companies almost always use synthetically-derived compounds so you don’t have to worry about any of that nasty stuff.

Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate is an aluminum salt. One study found that sunscreens formulated with ASO reduce the grease-factor that’s typically associated with sunscreen.

Panthenol, a kind of vitamin B5, is a moisturizing ingredient that helps with everything from moisture retention (aka TEWL) to skin aging.


To be fair, I liked the packaging.

Too many moisturizers come in tubs and jars. So it’s refreshing–not to mention more hygienic–to find a moisturizer that comes with a pump.

The pump is pretty decent too. You can control how much you squirt, so you won’t run the risk of wasting precious product with unexpectedly-early squirts.

What I Liked

  • The packaging (gotta love the pump)
  • Fragrance-free

What I Didn’t Like

  • Not very moisturizing
  • Way too greasy for my oily skin
  • Chemical sunscreens make my eyes burn

Where To Purchase

If you still want to give this moisturizer a shot (after reading this semi-scathing review), check it out here on Amazon.

Otherwise, you can check out this article for a moisturizer that I do recommend: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Vs. Gel Cream