My Makeup Never Fails to Get Oily Throughout the Day—Here's the $10 Solve

My Makeup Never Fails to Get Oily Throughout the Day—Here's the $10 Solve

Primers can be such a controversial topic in the beauty industry. While some (like myself) completely swear by them, others can’t stand them or think they’re complete pointless. I will tell you something, though. In my opinion, they’re a must if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Oiliness can be tough to deal with—especially if you have combination skin that gets both dry and oily sometimes. After speaking to countless experts including makeup artists and dermatologists, they all seem to agree that oily skin = unbalanced skin. The deeper layers of your skin might actually be dehydrated—when that happens, it tends to start producing more oil on the surface to overcompensate for the dryness. 

I found that this was definitely the case for me, but it can also take time (and the right skincare) to bring balance back to your skin. I’ve found that using a serum with multiple molecular weights of hyaluronic acid has been a game changer. Hyaluronic acid is lightweight and helps bind water to the skin to decrease moisture loss and leave it more balanced. In the meantime, though, if you have oilier skin, you can definitely try a primer that’s mattifying and noncomedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores) to keep your makeup from melting into a mess within a few hours. For my top picks and a peek at how my $10 favorite performs, keep scrolling below.

Sometimes, I honestly can’t believe that this primer is only $10. I know not everyone is into primers, but I can personally vouch for this one and say give it a try if you tend to have oily or acne-prone skin. I’m wearing it in the photo above, which was a dewier look, but I loved the airbrushed finish it created with my foundation. Normally, I’m not too into formulas that intensely mattify, because my skin is finicky and can be both oily and dry, but this one helps keep excess oil at bay without being too drying—the perfect happy medium. It’s really velvety and really creates that porcelain-skin effect. I usually like a dewier look when it comes to my everyday makeup, and this primer doesn’t make my complexion look dull or dry—it just creates the perfect base for my foundation and other products to shine. It’s proof you can create a glowing look and still keep things matte. 

Trust me, I know most of us don’t like to spend more than $15 on a primer, but I can say Tatcha’s Liquid Silk Canvas is worth the extra dollars. This one is my go-to most days, and it keeps my makeup looking so fresh for days in the office. It also never turns my face into an oil slick by the end of the day and gives my foundation such an airbrushed look. We can thank ingredients such as fibroin, sericin, and silk powder in the formula for that.

A dermatologist once told me that if you’re experiencing oiliness, your skin might actually be dehydrated within its deeper layers and is overcompensating by producing more oil. Let me tell you, my life changed after hearing that statement. I always assumed I should toss formulas that are made for drier skin types because they’d make me even oilier, but it actually helped to balance out my skin. This primer in particular is a favorite of mine because although it’s incredibly featherlight and hydrating, it’s also noncomedogenic and won’t clog pores or cause acne.

Paula’s Choice offers this mattifying primer that features unique “microsponge” technology that helps reduce shine by mattifying the skin’s natural oils. It also minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores and lasts for hours.

Baby Skin lives up to its name. It will create a smooth, silky, matte base for makeup but is also lightweight, breathable, and hydrating.

In addition to controlling shine, this primer from Make Up For Ever contains ginseng to protect from environmental aggressors and mineral clay powder, which helps absorb excess oil on the surface of the skin.

If Milk’s Hydro Grip isn’t quite your thing, don’t worry, the brand has another pore-snatching offering you might want to consider. Pore Eclipse is a water-cream hybrid formula with skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide to minimize pores, bakuchiol to smooth skin texture, and lentil extract to help reduce shine. With an almost perfect five-star rating on Sephora, it’s safe to say this one is a fan-favorite primer for oily skin.

I completely swear by Hourglass formulas. The brand’s Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick ($48) is my absolute favorite stick foundation, and the primer doesn’t disappoint either. It’s translucent and smooth and keeps my foundation looking pretty matte without drying out the surface of my skin. I love the gel-like formula too because it glides on so easily and never feels like you’re actually wearing a primer.

Bobbi Brown’s Primer + Mattifier provides all the usual benefits including pore-minimizing and oil control, but as a bonus, it also helps to balance the skin’s natural moisture levels. I love this one because it’s breathable and does what it says. I never get dry or oily throughout the day when I wear it, and I feel like it helps curb any potential breakouts from wearing a face full of foundation all day.

Those with an oily, acne-prone skin type might want to try this mattifying primer from CoverFX because it contains 1% salicylic acid and African tea tree bark to control excess oil. 

This drugstore classic from Maybelline has been a go-to for me since high school. When I started getting into makeup, this was the first primer I snagged at Target. Even now, as a beauty editor with plenty of options, I still use it! It keeps my foundation firmly in place without making my skin tight or dry after a few hours.

This is another fan favorite among those with oily skin. I’ll admit this one isn’t in my regular rotation because it’s a tad too mattifying for me, but it absolutely does what it says. I’d say it’s a good option for those who tend to get oily right after applying makeup. It’ll definitely curb that and pairs great with the brand’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation.

Benefit’s Porefessional Primer is a cult classic. Professional makeup artists swear by it, and it honestly works well for most skin types—not just oilier skin. It has a balm-like texture that creates such a smooth canvas. I’ve also been using this one for ages, and it never fails me. If you have combination skin like I do, give it a go—you won’t regret it.

This priming moisturizer from Bobbi Brown is a rock star in the space. It has almost a perfect five-star rating on Sephora because it’s that good. Yes, it’s a pricier option, but you’re honestly getting two products in one, so I’d say that makes it worth it. The formula is enriched with vitamins B, C, and E to brighten, replenish, and hydrate the skin. Other powerhouse moisturizers like hyaluronic acid, squalane, and shea butter help lock hydration deep into the skin so it’s more balance and less likely to become an oil slick throughout the day.

Up Next: Celebrity Makeup Artists Agree—These Are the Only Face Primers Worth Your Money

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