Raise your hand if you’re oily and makeup slides right off your face! Insert ALL the raising hand emojis over here. I never really understood primers until more recently. How crazy right? I just didn’t realize that makeup wasn’t supposed to stay on. Silly, I know.
Oftentimes I would joke that my makeup just slides off my face. And it really does. There was a part of me that just thought the foundation should work better, not that I needed a better primer to keep it on.
Thanks to YouTube and Instagram I am always learning more and more about makeup. And as I am the oiliest person I know, I’m here to share a few favorite primers that work really well for oily complexions. These primers help to keep your makeup on your face all day long while minimizing your pores too.
Plus, I found the best primers at several price points too. From a solid drugstore primer find to mid-range prices and a few more pricy primers. But thankfully a little goes a long way with primers so you’ll get a ton of use out of these products.
I wanted to test out a few products over the last few months and finally have a good list of primers I personally love. For my big primer testing, I ended up actually picking up a few of those smaller mini sizes they offer.
Nearly all of the ones I bought from Sephora had that option which I think was such a great way to test these out. Plus, since you use so little, it really is a solid way to try some new products. And it makes it perfect for travel size makeup.
Best Primers For Oily Skin
You may notice that there’s a handful in the image above that are not listed below. That’s because they didn’t make the cut. The BECCA primer is not great but does a good job of blurring your skin and reducing redness. The same goes for the Charlotte Tilbury Youth Glow.
Instead, here are the favorites of my go-to primers for oily skin. Try one of these when you need your makeup to stay put all day long.
*My Holy Grail
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer
I got into Fenty Beauty with their foundation that’s matte and stays put (almost don’t even need a primer). So I knew their primer had to be good and you bet it is! There are two other options to choose from as well. There’s the Instant Retouch primer and a hydrating one. I have used both Instant Retouch and the Mattifying and like them both. I think the mattifying is much more effective for oily folks.
I’d say this one is my #1 favorite from the list. Feel like it does the best job of keeping my slickest foundation on my face!
Smashbox Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer
I’ve used Smashbox primers for a few years now but this is their newest version. The Oil & Shine Control and yes it does just that! I really like how this keeps my makeup in place throughout the day. They have several other types of primers if you’re struggling with large pores or redness. Always impressed by their products.
This is my #2 runner up. Smashbox always does a fabulous job in the primer category and the new Oil & Shine Control is a solid formula!
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
The most expensive of the bunch, this Hourglass primer is a luxurious feeling and does the job well. However, I would still say the others do just as good of a job, if not better. So unless you have serious brand loyalty, I’d check out the others.
E.l.f. Matte Putty Primer
For an affordable drugstore primer, this E.l.f. one came highly recommended. For $7.99, it does a good job. But I wasn’t super blown away. I’d be interested to try a few others of theirs to see. This is definitely a putty and you have to scrape some out and then rub it on your skin. It did a decent job of keeping my makeup on but I wasn’t super impressed. Might be better for a non-SUPER oily person.
The Ordinary High Adhesion Silicone Primer
This silicone based primer is a great affordable option at under $7. It has blurring and mattifying ingredients to help keep oil at bay. It’s non-greasy yet hydrating and reduces the look of pores and any imperfections.
Water Based vs Silicone Based Primers
Something to keep in mind when shopping for a primer, is to be aware of it being water based or silicone based. And also if your foundation is water or silicone based. This has a huge effect on how well your products last.
Why does this matter? When you have a silicone-based primer with a water based foundation, your makeup will not look as smooth and will create a broken texture. Water should go with water, silicone with silicone.
If you’re oily, the primers designed best for your skin type will likely be silicone-based anyway. This ingredient helps to block the oil from coming through. Water based primers are ideal for dry skin types as they are more hydrating.
Look for the ingredient cyclopentasiloxane or dimethicone at the top of the ingredient list to know that your primer and foundation are silicone-based. This will ensure a super long lasting makeup look.
Best Setting Powders & Sprays For Oily Skin
Once you use your primer and then apply all of your makeup, it’s also key to set it all. It’s an extra bit of insurance policy for us oily people. I’ve used a few over the years but would have to say only two have stuck around in my makeup bag. These are to me the best setting powders and setting sprays to help keep your makeup on for the entire day.
Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
A few sprays of this on top of your makeup help to set everything and keep things in check. And a little insider trick, you can use a bit of it on a spoolie has a hairspray to set your brows or any flyaways on your part.
Laura Mercier Setting Powder
This product has been in my makeup bag for years. It’s really the only thing I used to use to combat makeup sliding off my face. It’s not enough on its own for me, clearly. But used alongside a good primer, this also helps to keep me looking oily and sets my product.
Haus Labs Setting Powder
I absolutely love this setting powder for two reasons. One, it simply works. It comes in 4 colors and a transluent option. But the other reason why I love it is for the design of the packaging.
Instead of having at on of product coming out of all the holes, it has a mesh overlay. All you do is tap your brush on the mesh and you get the perfect amount of product.
Photo by Hannah Lozano
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