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 learned more and more about makeup. And as the oiliest person I know, I’m here to share a few favorite primers that work really well for oily complexions. And in several price points too from a solid drugstore primer find to mid-range prices and a few more pricy ones. 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.
You also may notice that there’s a handful in the image above that are not listed below. That’s because they aren’t my holy grail ones. The BECCA primer is not great, but does a good job of blurring your skin and reducing redness. I sometimes just use that on top of my lotion if I’m running out and don’t want to put on makeup. The same goes for the Charlotte Tilburry Youth Glow. Makeup does NOT stay on with this one for me but again does a fabulous job of blurring the skin and smoothing it out. If you’re not oily and don’t need a primer to be the glue that keeps your makeup on, you may want to check those both out.
Best Primers For Oily Skin
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch 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 a mattifying primer and hydrating one. I would imagine the mattifying one is also great for oily skin.
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 primers.
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 luxurious feeling and does the job well. However, I would still say the others do just as good of a job. 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 other of theirs to see. This is definitely a putty and you have to scrape some out and then rub it in 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.
Best Setting Powders & Sprays
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.
Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
A few sprays of this on top of your makeup helps 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.
Photo by Hannah Lozano