What to look out for in a primer for oily skin?
One of the things you’d want to look out for in a primer suitable for you: silicone derivatives. Silicone provides slip and lubrication, allowing the feel of the product on the skin to be soft and smooth. Furthermore silicone acts as a filler, thereby filling any enlarged pores and texture, while providing a blurring effect, to create a smooth canvas.
To identify silicone derivatives, look at the ingredient list; they are usually the ones with names that end with -cone (such asdimethicone and cyclomethicone). The Benefit POREfessional Primer is one of the primers that contain silicone derivatives.
Another kind of primer targeted for oilier skin types are more viscous and flowy, as compared to the almost creamy texture of silicone primers. These primers contain water (aqua) and other humectant ingredients such as glycerin. Humectants draw moisture from the surroundings to the skin, thereby providing hydration. More often than not, oily skin types are a result of insufficient hydration, which the skin then overcompensates through increased sebum production. Such primers include the Cover FX’s Custom Blot Drops.
As much as possible, avoid primers and products that contain alcohol. While alcohol provides a nice cooling and dry-touch feel, it runs the risk of sensitivity and could be drying the skin instead. Also think twice before you pick a primer that contain oils – you definitely don’t need more of it if you want your makeup to stay.
How to choose a primer for oily skin?
So how would you know if a primer is good when you test it at the counter? While the best measure is to get a sample and try them for a few times under regular makeup, this is not always possible especially for drugstore primers. In cases when you can’t secure a sample, we have these tips:
Try silicone primers on the back of your hand. Pores should look blurred and less visible. The product should feel soft, smooth, and almost powdery even.
As for more hydrating primers, they should make the skin feel softer, hydrated, supple, and eventually dry down to a matte finish.
We know that the search for a great primer for oily skin can be a daunting one; after all, there seem to be so many options out there. To help you out, here is a compilation of nine best face primers and three best eyeshadow primers for oily skin that have received great reviews by people who have tried them, and some of them have been tried by this writer. Go to the store to check out this list of products and find the one you love most!
1. SOFINA Primavista Ange Long Keep Base UV SPF16 PA++
It is a well-known fact among tourists heading to Taiwan that you must stock up on SOFINA Primavista Ange base makeup products there – a true testament to the Japanese brand’s popularity. In fact, it has even been awarded the No.1 selling base makeup brand in Taiwan*!
One of the brand’s best-selling products is the SOFINA Primavista Ange Long Keep Base. This is a long-lasting primer that helps your foundation to stay fresh for long hours even if you have oily skin, while simultaneously protecting the skin from harmful UV rays with SPF16 PA++.
The oil-control formula actually solidifies sebum so that you don’t get excess oil on your skin, which will cause your makeup to slide, smudge, or cake. You also get less oily-looking shine and stickiness even if you are sweating profusely in Singapore’s hot weather.
Besides boasting long staying power, this primer helps to adjust and even out your skin so that your foundation goes on easily. You will love the lightweight texture that feels like nothing on your skin, as well as how you instantly sport a healthy and bright glow instead of an oily sheen!
That’s not all: the Primavista Ange Long Keep Base is formulated with skin-loving ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, so that your skin remains deeply hydrated to keep sebum production under control. It is also non-comedogenic tested, so you don’t have to worry about this clogging your pores and giving you breakouts either.
Our editor and 20 readers have tried this primer and absolutely love it – read their glowing reviews here.
*Taiwan Nielsen Research: Value sales in Cosmetics offline market in Makeup Base segment from Oct 2015 – Sep 2018
2. Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
Becca’s Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector claims to be a “liquid blotting paper” that can be used “alone, below, or after foundation” to help you control the sebum and the shine. It is also alcohol-, fragrance-, silicone-, and oil-free. Users on Influenster raved about how this primer help control their oily and combination skin, but warn of a slight learning curve to use this product. Less is more with the Ever Matte primer (pea-sized amount is sufficient), and you should be using patting instead of rubbing motions to blend the product into the skin.
Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector retails for SGD56 on Sephora.
3. Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer
One of Benefit’s most famous products, the POREfessional Face Primer is packed with silicone derivatives and help diminish the appearance of pores and fine lines. Despite having a flesh-tone, this lightweight and oil-free primer blends naturally into the skin. Reviewers on Sephora love this product and gave it 4 out of 5 stars, commending it for its mattifying and blurring qualities.
The POREfessional Face Primer comes in three sizes and retails for SGD21 (7.5ml), SGD54 (22ml), and SGD91 (44ml) at Sephora. The brand has recently also launched the POREfessional Pearl Primer that offers brightening effect to skin. We’ve reviewed it here.
4. Cover FX Custom Blot Drops
Awarded 4.45 stars out of 5 on Influenster by fellow makeup lovers, Cover FX Custom Blot Drops is definitely much raved about. These drops can be directly applied to the skin as per normal primer, or it can be mixed into any products, like serums, moisturisers, and foundations, to provide a matte finish. However, this product does contain denatured alcohol, which might have caused some reviewers to claim that the Blot Drops actually make their complexion oilier. We suggest trying a sample of this product to see if it reacts well with your skin before deciding to make a purchase.
Cover FX Custom Blot Drops retails at SGD62 and is available at Sephora.
5. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer in Soft Matte
The Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer in Soft Matte by Fenty Beauty contains many silicone derivatives that provide the soft matte finish. Unlike Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer, this primer also contains significant amounts of water and glycerin (first and fourth ingredient), that could provide hydration to the skin as well. As such, this primer might be offering the best of both worlds, as it is both pore-filling/blurring and hydrating. This might explain why the primer has garner over 120 reviews and over 4 stars on Sephora despite being released only in September 2017. This is definitely a primer you might want to put into your to-try list.
Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer in Soft Matte is sold at Sephora at SGD48.
6. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Another highly raved about primer is the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. This lightweight primer claims to alleviate the look of redness while minimising the appearance of fine lines and pores. It also provides broad spectrum SPF15 as it contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (i.e. physical sunscreen – but you need to still apply sunscreen). A reviewer on Sephora calls the Veil Mineral Primer his “go-to primer of all time”, while another calls it the “holy mother of all grail”. This primer is expensive among the other options out there, so try to get hold of a sample first or get the travel size to see if it agrees with your skin.
The Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is available at three sizes and retails at SGD31 (travel size), SGD89 (standard size), and SGD123 (jumbo size) at Sephora.
7. Innisfree No Sebum Blur Primer
This is one of the most affordable options in this list, but still packs a punch in the oil-control department. Besides keeping shine at bay, the Blur Primer also evens out texture and pores. Its formula contains Jeju green persimmon extract and Jeju green complex that provides additional skincare benefits as well.
Innisfree No Sebum Blur Primer is sold at Innisfree stores islandwide and costs SGD17.
8. Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer
Like the Benefit POREfessional primer, the Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer is also flesh-tone and leaves a similar finish on skin. There are several variants in the Step 1 range, so you can choose according to your skin type and concern. Those who have oily skin will typically opt for the Mattifying Primer, but here’s a trick we love: apply the Hydrating Primer first, let it set, and then apply the Mattifying Primer only on troubled areas. This will help give you skin a smooth, natural-looking finish.
Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer is available at Sephora for SGD37 (15ml) and SGD70 (30ml).
9. Rimmel Stay Matte Primer
A drugstore favourite, Rimmel Stay Matte Primer is effective and affordable. A reviewer gives a favourable yet balanced review of this primer on Influenster (it had gotten 3.94/5 stars). She claims that the primer’s promise of controlling shine up to eight hours is too ambitious and was good for about 3 to 4 hours on her oily skin. However, she loves how hydrating this primer is, and recommends it to people with combination skin too.
Rimmel Stay Matte Primer is sold at Watsons for SGD17.
10. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Another famous primer suitable for oily skin is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. It is a colourless gel that is made of mostly silicone derivatives as well. The formula also contains vitamins A and E, antioxidants, and peptides, which claims to protect the skin from environmental damage and pollution, while providing a flawless base for makeup. This original is suitable for all skin types, while the Light version is aimed at sensitive, acne-prone, oily, and combination skin types. Photo Finish Primer also comes in a hydrating version that contains hydraplex, an extract from desert plants that help with moisture retention.
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer retails for SGD25 (15ml) and SGD68 (30ml) on Sephora.
11. Benefit Cosmetics Dr. Feelgood Mattifying Balm
While most people are familiar with POREfessional, this priming balm is a great product that is often overlooked.
A weightless and invisible balm that is designed to mattify shine on the skin, it leaves a silky-soft canvas that is perfect for flawless makeup application.
Besides wearing it before you put on your makeup, this primer can also be used for midday touch-ups or even worn alone or over makeup for mattifying. Sounds like a perfect primer for oily skin to us!
Benefit Cosmetics Dr. Feelgood Mattifying Balm retails for SGD56 (24g) on Sephora.
12. First Aid Beauty Pores Be Gone Matte Primer
One of the most pesky problems that those with oily skin often face: enlarged and visible pores.
This is why we are recommending this primer for oily skin. An oil-free formula, this primer has a matte finish and helps to blur out the look of pores instantly. It also helps to make sure that makeup lasts for a long time while maintaining a smooth-looking complexion.
Best part? It is allergy-tested so you can be assured that you won’t have any negative reactions while using it.
First Aid Beauty Pores Be Gone Matte Primer retails for SGD43 (50ml) on Sephora.
13. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Primer+ Oil Free
IT Cosmetics is one of favourite makeup brands because its products are designed for those with blemishes.
This makeup primer is designed for oily skin, thanks to the All Day Grip Technology that makes makes this primer double up as a pore refiner and hydrator.
The oil-free formula allows your makeup last for a long time without it looking dry and cakey.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Primer+ Oil Free retails for SGD62 (30ml) on Sephora.
14. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer
Formulated for those with combination to oily skin, this primer helps to control shine all day long while extending foundation wear.
Despite how effective it is, you’ll be happy to know that it is also lightweight and melts into skin while blurring out blemishes. Apply it all over your face if your skin is extremely oily, but if you have combination skin, simply put it onto the oily areas: around the nose, forehead and chin.
This has received amazing reviews online and most reviewers say that it is one of the best mattifying primers for oily skin they have used.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer retails for SGD48 (32ml) on Sephora.
15. Duck Cosmetics Prime Time Face Primer – Matte About You
Great primers don’t have to come with a hefty price tag – this product proves it to you.
Enriched with antioxidants to protect your skin from external aggressors, this primer is designed for oily to combination skin and help to refine the appearance of your pores so that you can have a flawless canvas to kick off your makeup routine.
It also helps to extend the longevity of your makeup so you don’t have to touch-up regularly throughout the day.
Duck Cosmetics Prime Time Face Primer – Matte About You retails for SGD27 (25ml) on Sephora.
16. Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer
This is an all-rounder that takes care of every blemish you can think of: large pores, fine lines, and even wrinkles.
This is all thanks to its antioxidant-rich formula (hello vitamins C and E!) that help to give skin a firmer and smoother look.
You’ll love that its texture is lightweight and it comes with a fresh powder scent that feels refreshing.
Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer retails for SGD35 (7.5ml) and SGD52 (15ml) on Sephora.
17. NARS Pore & Shine Control Primer
This primer helps to blur out the appearance of imperfections thanks to the soft-focus powders in the formula. The ingredients in the primer also mattifies the skin throughout the day so you’ll have a shine-free complexion.
Besides controlling shine, this product also helps to minimise the appearance of pores so your makeup can look flawless all day long. If you ask us, this is certainly one of the best primers for oily skin you can find out there!
NARS Pore & SHine Control Primer retails for SGD66 (30ml) and is available at all NARS counters and Sephora.
Besides dealing with sebum wrecking our beautiful base makeup, you may also be familiar with how pesky oil on our skin can break apart our gorgeous eyeshadow creations and knife-sharp liner. If you want to make sure your eye makeup game remains strong, invest in eyeshadow primers to help lock it in place. Eyeshadow primers also help your eye makeup blend better, appear more vibrant, and last longer without creasing.
Tried and true popular eyeshadow primers include MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Soft Ochre (warm tone) and Painterly (cool tone) (SGD40 each), Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potions (SGD33-38), and Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer (SGD35).
Other tips to help your makeup stay on for longer
Try translucent loose powder
Putting a powder before a liquid or cream products has always been a makeup faux pas. Yet famous British makeup artist Wayne Goss advocates in his YouTube video to put a light coating of powder before foundation. After moisturising and priming, put a light coat of translucent loose powder, preferably with a damp beauty sponge – any kind of your choice – to help absorb any excess oil before applying foundation over top. This technique has found devotees such as YouTube beauty influencer KathleenLights and Jackie Aina. I personally have done this technique and it does help delay the oils from flooding through.
Setting spray helps too
Here’s a hack that this writer swears by: use a oil-control setting spray to prime your face before the application of foundation. This is how you do it: apply your favourite primer, spritz on the setting spray. Once it dries and sets, apply foundation. Then, set the foundation with powder before another layer of setting spray to remove the powdery look. It’ll also control oil for the rest of the day.
For people with combination skin and or have problems with makeup lasting on the face, you can try setting sprays like the Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray (SGD48) and Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray retails for SGD45, both available at Sephora.