Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30 – review

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The wht team samples the latest from the skincare legend

Three Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30 on a white backgroundphoto: we heart this

The older I get, the more clearly I see that a good, solid moisturizer should be the foundation of any successful beauty routine. In my 30s, I am finding that I am still experiencing the acne and oily complexion of my teenage years. Sadly, I must now also contend with a whole new crop of skin maladies. Recently, I have been dealing with dry patches, some fine lines, unevenness, and at times just a generally dull complexion. I think that my skin is trying to tell me something—maybe that it needs more moisture!

There was a time when I generally avoided moisturizer. It seemed counter-intuitive to add moisture to my oily face. I have since learned that my skin will only get oilier when it is deprived of adequate moisture. And, of course, all of the beauty magazines are constantly reminding me of the importance of antioxidants, when considering either a moisturizer or a smoothie. Also, it is a necessity for me to have a good SPF in any daytime moisturizer that I use. It is often almost impossible to find a high-quality moisturizer that meets these requirements. Luckily, skin care legend Mario Badescu has come to the rescue with an exciting new solution.

The Mario Badescu skin care salon has been a fixture in New York City for over 40 years. They are a cult favorite among celebrities and beloved by many. We heart this first reviewed this amazing skin care line with a glowing post back in 2009. The line covers all aspects of cleansing, treatment, and moisturizing for a variety of skin types.

One of the newest additions to the Mario Badescu skin care line is the Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30 ($26). It has a short and impressive list of ingredients that includes green tea, aloe vera, and St. John’s Wort. According to the company, the green tea is a strong antioxidant that helps to protect against the damage of aging. The aloe vera is extremely hydrating, and the St. John’s Wort helps to soothe and repair delicate skin. Plus this moisturizer is paraben-free and contains UVA and UVB protection. It is recommended for a number of skin types including combo, sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin and it will not clog pores.

This was my first chance to experience the renowned Mario Badescu line. Now I understand the hype. This moisturizer has all of the bells and whistles. It offers some great anti-aging properties, while simultaneously providing an adequate SPF. The formula is lightweight and very easily absorbed. Also, it does not seem to leave a weird whitish cast on my skin like many sunscreens do. I found the formula to have no offensive scent. I am also thoroughly impressed that this moisturizer did not irritate my often very sensitive skin.

In addition, I loved flip-top lid. This is great because it allows you to control the amount you dispense. I highly suggest using a small amount if you have oily skin. The moisturizer leaves a very dewy finish. But this can be severely amplified for those with large pores and oily skin if portion control is not practiced.

Overall, this is a lovely moisturizer. It helps to control my dry patches, and my very pale skin did not burn while using this on vacation. I would give this moisturizer 4 stars only because I wish it would help to mattify my face a bit. But I guess that we can’t really have it all, right?

I can’t wait to hear what the other reviewers thought of this latest addition to the Mario Badescu line – they’ll be by in the comments to leave their thoughts so be sure and check back. In the meantime, wht readers – what are your must have Mario products?

Click Here to Shop Mario Badescu online!

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also contains an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • kellie76

    Kellie is a perpetual grad student, glamorous geek and writer. She hopes to one day soon add the title of history teacher to her repertoire. She resides in the frozen tundra of Northeast Ohio and is an avid consumer of books, tv, music, video games, beauty stuff, and accessories. skin tone: NC15 skin type: oily and acne prone favorite beauty product: lip products and face primers

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  1. I really do like this moisturizer. It isn’t fancy. It doesn’t make a lot of false promises. But it gets the job done with some good solid, high quality ingredients. I am still loving it at 4 stars! I also really, really, really want to try the Mario Badescu pink Drying Lotion! Is anyone here a fan?

  2. I’ve never tried any of Mario Badescu’s products, and your post made me want to check the line out, @kellie76! This oil-free formula sounds like something I’d love in the summer, and the SPF30 is such a bonus.

  3. @kellie76 – the Pink Drying Lotion is pretty fantastic for pimples and white heads. I’ve had a jar for years and Stef always coveted it – I think we finally traded products because I really didn’t use it too much. Unfortunately, I suffer from cyctic acne – and the miraculous pink potion doesn’t do anything for that type of acne. However, it’s great for drying up “normal” pimples. It sucks up the gross innards of the pimple, calms the area and doesn’t dry out the skin surrounding the pimple area.

  4. I’ve been a Mario Badescu fan for years! Simple, excellent products that work in a great pricepoint (and they feel like boutique products). The drying lotion is good for overnight pimple reduction (just don’t let anyone see you with pink spots all over your face) and it lasts a lifetime. I tried the moisturizer with the 30 SPF this time around and liked it as I would have expected to. The moisturizer is light, scentless and good all-around protection. It’s not greasy and it doesn’t clog pores. Basically, it does all it promises in its simple little bottle.
    Personally, I find that there are so many Mario Badescu products to covet and this is among the most pedestrian (and effective)of their line. They really do have lots of options for lots of skin types (and have their own coding system which makes purchasing for your skin type as easy as garanimals). My oily skin favorites are the seaweed night cream and the seaweed “soap.” Both leave my skin soft and don’t cause breakouts. The daily moisturizer I tried works perfect in concert with these two…

  5. All right, now on to my review of Mario’s newest – the Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF 30. I agree what I really appreciated about this lotion was the simple effectiveness of the entire product;no heavy fragrance to mask the SPF, a simple bottle that makes application easy, the snap close tip for traveling, the protectiveness of the SPF 30, etc. My only issue was the dewy afterglow – while it’s great for the arms, legs and chest, it wasn’t always great for my oily face. If there was less of a sheen to this lotion if would easily become my daily moisturizer. For now, when I’m feeling oily or it’s a humid day, I skip this one.

    If however you have dry or normal skin, or need a really good protection lotion – I highly recommend it. I wore this lotion all over my body three days in a row when blogging at the LA County Fair. I was outside in blinding sun in 100 degrees from sunrise to sunset and Did Not Burn. Plus over those three days, I only had time to reapply the lotion on one occasion. With all the heat, sweat and lotion, I thought my skin would break out (a lesser evil than a burn) but no such issues. For once an effective SPF that doesn’t clog my pores!

    I look forward to using this lotion on my face in the winter, when the indoor heating sucks so much moisture from my skin. All in all, 4 stars (taking one for the dewey finish) for me and an easy 5 for the dry skinned gals.

  6. I tried this moisturizer out too, and I have to pretty much echo Kellie and Tyna’s reviews! I love the ease of the bottle and spout tip – great for controlling your portion and for travel. This definitely won’t win the award for “packaging inspiration” on the looks aspect, but it is very functional. You absolutely do only need a small amount, as it does leave you a littlen dewy-looking (and I even felt a little heavy/greasy at times when I was a little more heavy-handed with it). It is one that I think I’ll be happy to have in the drier winter months, as Tyna mentioned, but also is not my first choice on a humid day. I also though, am a bit oily – I hope one of us who has dry skin normally tried it and can give their report, because I agree that it’s probably not best suited to my skin type – but I’d probably love it if I were drier. It is great to know that it works all over the body too though, as Tyna also mentioned. I also am going to give it 4 stars for the dewy finish and slightly greasy feel – but may report back with 5 stars in the winter time!

  7. I’d been wanting to try Mario Badescu products for a while and I was stoked to try their oil-free moisturizer. I especially love that it contains SPF 30—that is exactly what my fair skin NEEDS. The moisturizer is not too thick, just a light lotion consistency. I only needed a little dab because this is a powerhouse moisturizer. I will say, like Tyna and Mel mentioned, if you apply too much or if you are an oily-skinned gal, this may give too much dewiness. I used a dime-sized amount (my standard amount of moisturizer for face, neck, and chest) and I looked like a greaseball. I got better results using a much smaller amount–like the tip of a pencil eraser. In any case, it didn’t break me out and seemed to protect my pale self from the sun. Because this seems to make my oily skin look oilier, I am saving this for the cooler months when my skin gets dry and I need the dewiness. 5 stars!

  8. I do trust Mario Badescu products…But as a combo skinned gal, I think my only concern would be the dewiness that you guys are talking about. Thanks for the review @Kellie76!

  9. Oh, I hate to spoil the party (and I am a big Mario fan) but this just didn’t work for me. I am a spf-phobe, and if I can feel it, I’m guaranteed not to like it. This felt like I was applying pure Coppertone to my face, it felt thick and I thought looked a bit white. I also can’t recommend this if you have oily skin. Anything that leaves you with a sheen (or “dewy”)just translates into a greasy feeling for me (and most oily gals I know). Normal to dry people, who like spf, I think you’d be happy. For me, I can only give it 2 stars.

    Though it was a no go for my face, I’m loving it on my body!

  10. Whoops..5 solid stars from me for a solid gold performance! @Stef, really? I thought this was the antithesis of greasy-feeling, and I’m a really oily gal. Oh well…

  11. @sherrishera – I swear, spf is like kryptonite for me…it’s really weird.
    I’m lucky I don’t look like a prune!

  12. Great review, @kellie76! I’m a longtime fan of MB, and now you’ve got me really wanting to try this moisturizer (I too, LOVE flip-top lids!). :)

  13. Many years ago, as a teenaged undergraduate, I used to visit the MB shop in NYC and remember Mr. Badescu being very gracious to me. After his death, his partner Mr. Genesco was also very nice to me. Some 40 years later, it is gratifying to see that his products have attracted new generations of fans and followers. That said, I would take a closer look at the product mentioned. Badescu sells some 20 sunscreens. According to Beautipedia, “none of the sunscreens list active ingredients, and so cannot be relied on for daytime protection”. Your review was very specific about the antioxidants used, but not so with respect to the sunscreen components. Are we actually getting the protection we have been lead to believe? Food for thought, perhaps.

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