Effaclar MAT Daily Moisturizer for Oily Skin
1.35 fl. oz. for $31.99
Last Updated:12.31.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This lightweight moisturizer with mattifying properties contains a small amount of dry finish silicones, but the matte finish you’ll get is short-lived due to the amount of glycerin and the thickener isocetyl stearate. The amount of alcohol in this product isn’t good news, and is borderline for causing irritation. La Roche-Posay maintains that this exfoliates skin with something they refer to as LHA, but nothing on the ingredient list matches that acronym. This contains a form of salicylic acid, but not in an amount considered effective, so don’t expect any exfoliation from this merely average product. By the way, given that La Roche-Posay prides itself on being a product line for someone with sensitive skin, the number of potentially risky ingredients is embarrassing, including fragrance, acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, and polymethyl methacrylate.


Daily mattifying moisturizer that helps clear sebum-clogged pores at the source with absorbing micro-spheres. Transforms oily skin cell by cell with micro-exfoliating LHA.


Aqua, Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Isocetyl Stearate, Alcohol Denat., Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Silica, Cyclohexasiloxane, PEG-100 Sterate, Cocamide Mea, Zinc PCA, Glyceryl Stearate, Triethanolamine, Isohexadecane, Sodium Citrate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Nylon-12, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Polysorbate 80, Acrylates/C10-30 Alyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopherol, Methylparaben, Salicylic Acid, Parfum/Fragrance

Brand Overview

La Roche-Posay At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few good cleansers; anti-aging formulas tend to be stably packaged to get the most out of the air/light-sensitive ingredients; many fragrance-free options; a unique lip moisturizer; some praiseworthy specialty products.

Weaknesses: Some problematic, overly irritating exfoliants; several ho-hum moisturizers and sunscreens; ineffective skin-lighteners; disappointing toner.

L'Oreal-owned La Roche-Posay has a pharmaceutical lineage based in France, and the company speaks of their thermal spring water as the cornerstone of their commitment to dermatological skin care. Sound familiar? L'Oreal-owned Biotherm makes similar claims for the water in their products, yet their marketing niche is spas, while La Roche-Posay caters to doctors and consumers interested in effective, no-frills skin care. Regardless of the source of their water, or how many minerals there may be in it, or the other benefits they assert it has, water is water and skin can't tell the difference. Even if the water were somehow "special," it takes a lot more than water to create and maintain healthy skin. This is something La Roche-Posay is aware of, because they do offer a fairly broad range of products to address the various needs of skin.

Their thermal spring water is said to be a rich source of selenium. Selenium is a nonmetallic element that has potent antioxidant ability. However, almost all of the research surrounding its benefits pertains to dietary or supplemental consumption, not to topical application. According to the research, selenium is absorbed into skin and helpful when applied topically only when applied as l-selenomethionine (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, July 2004, pages 149–155). It is unknown whether the water La Roche-Posay uses contains this form of selenium, but we wouldn't bank on it for a unique benefit.

For a dermatologist-oriented line like La Roche-Posay, most of the products are surprisingly devoid of state-of-the-art or other interesting ingredients. There are some standout products, such as those with retinol and stabilized vitamin C; however, most of them are one-note options that offer the help of their promoted ingredient but don't commingle it with anything else of value to skin. It's ironic that although there's not a jar package to be found in this line, most of the moisturizers lack light- or air-sensitive ingredients, so jar packaging actually wouldn't be a problem. In fact, most of the moisturizers are downright monotonous. For the money, these products will leave your skin wanting more.

If you steer your way to the well-formulated products La Roche-Posay offers, you will find some first-rate options. They're not as varied as what many other lines offer, but for a pragmatic, no-frills approach to serious skin care, they'll do just fine. In fact, among all of the L'Oreal-owned skin-care lines, La Roche-Posay comes closest to successfully competing with the best of the best. It's up to you to decide if "close" is good enough. However, if you need to avoid fragrance and a range of potentially irritating plant extracts prevalent in the products of many brands, this line may suit your skin to a T.

Note: La Roche-Posay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although La Roche-Posay does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about La Roche-Posay, owned by L'Oreal, call (888) 577-5226 or visit www.laroche-posay.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Does Control Oil

This does mattify my shiny skin and makes it feel really smooth, but at the same time I need something more moisturizing. I'm 50 and it's hard to find a balance for skin that's oily but aging/mature at the same time.

Reviewed by
Stings & pills

I found several problems with this product. First of all, it contains no kind of sun protection, yet it is considered a daily moisturizer. Furthermore, it did not provide the anti-shine, anti-enlarged pores effect promised on the label. T I was happy to read above that LHA is a BHA, because, as I have oily skin, Paula recommends BHAs for oily skin and there are not many out there eon the market. It stings after application and also it starts to pill and roll off my skin after drying.

Reviewed by
Meredith R.
LHA is a BHA

The acronym LHA in the description stands for Lipo Hydoxy Acid. The correlating ingredient is the copryloyl salicylic acid which is an LHA. It's the ester of salicylic acid and a form of BHA. It's not as widely known as a BHA because L'Oreal may own a patent but it is found in other L'Oreal lines such as Lancôme as well. I agree that this is confusing.

Reviewed by
Leah P
It controls the oil

I love this product. I have a very oily skin. In the past, I have tried multiple name brand moisturizers, but none live up to this product. As the description stated, it is super light weight, and leaves your skin moisturized but not oily for the entire day. The only problem I have with this product is the price. With a $31, you only get 1.35 oz of the product. I don't think that amount is worth the price. I am currently in search of a cheaper product that can replace this.

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