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Best Products for Oily Skin - Long Lasting Foundation, Primer, Powder & Eye Makeup


If you have oily skin, you know how difficult it can be to find long lasting makeup that won't fade or rub off.  Many products are suited toward dry or combination skin, and do not last for more than a few hours on oily skin.  Finding the right products becomes even more difficult in the summer, when high temperatures and humidity put any makeup to the test.  Here is a list of the best products for oily skin that will allow you to stay shine-free and fresh faced during any season.


After exfoliating and using an oil-free face wash, you should apply a primer before using foundation, in order to smooth the skin & help makeup bond to the skin. The right primer will protect pores from foundation, while giving you a perfect air-brushed finish. Those with oily skin should avoid primers with a high silicone gel content, as most of them do not effectively absorb oil and can plug pores. The best primers for oily skin are:


Clarins Instant Smooth Primer - a pale pink thick primer that easily glides onto skin and becomes transparent.  Very gentle on any skin type, and especially compatible with oily skin to reduce the appearance of pores, lines and blemishes. 

Mattify! Cosmetics Ultra Powder - a clear powder primer that soaks up 5 times its weight in oil, blurs blemishes, and refines pores.  The Mattify Powder is highly effective alone, but those with extra oily skin may want to apply the Clarins Primer first, and then the Mattify Ultra Powder.  This method provides the most oil control and the longest lasting foundation.


Don’t bother spending money on: Derma Doctor Tease Zone Oil Control Gel / Primer – May work on combination skin, but does absolutely nothing to stop very oily skin.  Gives a slick coat to the skin when used under makeup, and actually doesn’t allow for long wearing foundation. Skin gets oily within an hour of application.


Don’t bother spending money on: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Light – Leave this for those with dry or combination skin.  Does not allow for long wearing foundation on oily skin, and actually causes skin to feel oilier. The high concentration of silicone gel in the product can also clog pores and lead to breakouts.


Next, apply a foundation designed for oily skin.  Most drugstore liquid foundations do not provide long wear on oily skin, so you are better off with high-end brands.  Investing in a quality foundation is well worth the extra cost, especially if you want to avoid constant touch-ups.  If selecting a mineral foundation, avoid those with Mica and Bismuth (as these ingredients cause oily skin to look even greasier). Here is a list of the best foundation for oily skin:


Clarins Truly Matte Foundation (Liquid) - provides medium to full coverage, sweat resistant, lasts 6-8 hours

Estee Lauder Max Coverage Foundation (Liquid) - full coverage, light weight & water resistant, lasts 8-10 hours

Illuminare Ultimate All Day Mattifying Mineral Foundation (Liquid) - full coverage, mineral makeup, water resistant, lasts 8-10 hours

Colortration Primary Color Foundation (Liquid) - full coverage, light weight & fully waterproof, lasts 10-12 hours

Mark Powder Buff Natural Skin (Pressed Powder Foundation) - medium coverage, very blendable, light weight, lasts 4-6 hours

L'Oreal True Match Blendable Compact (Pressed Powder Foundation) - medium coverage, blendable, lasts 4-6 hours


Don’t bother spending money on: Revlon Colorstay Foundation – Feels thick, heavy & greasy on oily skin. Provides minimal coverage and does not stay put for more than a couple of hours, even when primer, setting powder, and fixative spray are used.


Now, to maximize the longevity of your foundation, apply a setting powder. It is important to either pat the powder onto skin, using a powder puff or gently brush onto skin with a fluffy powder brush. Never rub the powder onto skin, or it will cause foundation to streak and smudge - giving you an uneven finish. Powder will set your foundation for long wear, and help absorb skin oil that would otherwise disrupt your makeup. The Mattify! Ultra Powder mentioned as a primer above also works beautifully as a setting powder. It is ideal to use as a re-touch powder, because it is transparent and does not look heavy – even if reapplied several times throughout the day. Avoid repeated touch-ups with dark colored powders, as this can lead to heavy "cakey" looking makeup.  Also avoid powder formulas that contain mica because they cause oily skin to look shinier.  Here is a list of top face powders for oily skin:


Mattify! Ultra (Loose Transparent Powder) –  super oil control face powder, blurs imperfections & pores, perfect for touch-ups, sets makeup 4+ hours

Coty Airspun (Loose Colored Powder) - somewhat oil absorbent, blends easily, blurs pores, sets makeup 3+ hours

Estee Lauder Double Matte(Pressed Colored Powder)- somewhat oil absorbent, stay-true color with a perfect finish, sets makeup 3+ hours

Maybelline Mineral Powder (Pressed Colored Powder) - smooths skin, covers minor blemishes, sets makeup 2+ hours


Don’t bother spending money on:  Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder –  This strangely tinted white/lilac face powder does absolutely nothing to absorb oil.  Most drugstore brands of pressed powder are better than this one.


Don’t bother spending money on:  Diorskin Crystal Nude Matte Skin Perfector - A waxy, sticky compact that does very little to control oil and smudges makeup when applied over foundation.  Also, when you blot the sponge over your face, sebum transfers from your face… to the sponge… to the container – creating a breeding ground for bacteria.


Long Lasting Eye Makeup can be a challenge for those with oily skin. Sebum (skin oil) dissolves the composition of eye shadow – resulting in causing fading, bleeding and creasing. Those with oily skin will have longer lasting results with oil absorbent and/or waterproof eye makeup.


Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Shadow (Eye Shadow Pencil) – waterproof eye shadow, huge array of color choices, easy to apply, dries quickly

Stila Cosmetics Smudge Stick (Gel-Based Automatic Eye Liner) – water resistant, smudge proof, long lasting, large array of high pigment colors

Styli Style Line & Seal 24 (Pencil or Fiber Tip Liquid Liner) – waterproof, smudge proof, lasts until you remove it, perfect for smoky eye or cat-eye looks

Mattify! Cosmetics Sparkling Eye Shadow (Loose Powder Shadow) – very long lasting, use wet as liner or dry as a shadow, oil absorbent, high pigment

MAC Eye Shadow (Compact Powder Shadow) – long lasting, very high pigment, easy to blend, comes in a vast array of colors

Cover Girl Lash Blast (Waterproof Mascara) – creates long & lush lashes, dries within 1 minute, stays on until you take it off

L’Oreal Telescopic (Waterproof Mascara) – small round brush allows for targeted application, incredibly long lasting and waterproof


Don’t bother spending money on: Cream Eye Shadows – they streak, smudge, smear and remain sticky all day, even when a setting spray is used. Unless the cream shadow is marked “waterproof”, this type of shadow won’t have any staying power on oily skin.


Finally, to set your makeup in place, a setting spray should be used. Even if you’ve applied all of the longest lasting, waterproof formulas available, you may still find that your oily skin causes makeup to smudge. Using a setting spray ensures at least 4 hours of budge-proof, smudge-proof, water-proof makeup. There aren’t many of these on the market, but the ones that do exist all work wonderfully to prevent makeup melt down. Mist one of these onto your face with your eyes closed and after ALL makeup has been applied.  The sprays take about 30 seconds to dry fully. If you need, minor touch-ups with liquid makeup can be done over the spray throughout the day, and face powder can be easily applied once the spray has dried, without any problems.


Model in a Bottle – water resistant, feels 100% natural, dries to a perfect undetectable finish, sets makeup for 6-8 hours

Ben Nye Final Seal – water resistant, feels somewhat natural, touch-ups with liquid makeup not recommended - flakiness occurs, sets makeup 6-8 hours

Urban Decay All Nighter – dries to a light weight & undetectable finish, feels 100% natural, best applied under and over makeup, sets makeup 4-6 hours

Colortration Barrier Spray - feels somewhat natural, very long lasting, water resistant, works well in high humidity, sets makeup for 8-10 hours


Don’t bother spending money on: MAC Fix + Spray – This is more of a “refresher” than a spray designed to set makeup.  The product is packed with vitamins and feels ultra refreshing – but does not set makeup for long wear.  Suited best toward dry skin, skip this one if you’re oily.


As a person with incredibly oily skin, I have tried hundreds of products that failed the test of longevity. The items I mention in this blog are tried-and-true for long wear on oily skin, and many are items I use consistently to achieve a flawless shine-free face.  I’ve spend hundreds – maybe even thousands of dollars – trying various products to control my oily skin.  About 80% of all I’ve purchased were not worthy of repeat purchasing. To date, the products mentioned above are the top products I’ve found for shiny skin. I have not been paid by the companies for promotion of these products – this is my personal description and opinion of the items, and I have purchased them myself.  Hopefully this guide can help you select the best products for oily skin, without having to spend a fortune guessing which items are suited for a shiny face!



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I will give u a big thumb for writing and sharing this article with us.

by mariasemuel 1 year, 2 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

Great article. I am using Estee Lauder Double Wear max coverage and it is absolutely amazing for oily skinned beauties. Completely love it. I have very oily, acne prone skin. It stays whole day as it is. Couldn't be any better. Doesn't break out. I am sure all products mentioned above would be the best for us oilies :)

by myglossyaffair 1 year, 2 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

Hi, Amazing article... It has become my oil bible. Did u try dermablend? I see it isn't on your list . Also d colortration setting spray isn't recommended for face use on d site? How did that work out for u

by NoeR 1 year, 5 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

Very nice .Thanks a lot....

by browsecart 1 year, 6 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

Thanks for this great advice, Kristi!

by alictasia 1 year, 8 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

Wow, what a great list of foundations for oily skin. Personally, I love the BareMineral foundation, it's one of the few that doesn't give me any breakouts.

by FoundationLover 2 years, 1 month ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

nice article because i have oily skin and acne, and finding good make up is like going thru a mine field..because it has to be water based..simple, non- irritating ingredients, long lasting and cannot clog pores..

by BerenicePonce 2 years, 1 month ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

Thank you for this article! The best review of make up products for oily skin. Seems like other reviews are written by people with not-so-oily skins, and those cosmetics almost never work. But this is trustworthy and I definitely have to try some of the products you mentioned!

by patricia89 2 years, 4 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

hey- loved the article and book marking it- I already have the Mattify powder and I love it!!! I'm going to try the clarins foundation on your reco :D

by beena_chavan_bandwalkar 2 years, 4 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

Response to Erikalinz:   Thanks for the compliments on my article! Yes, I would recommend all of these products for acne prone skin. My skin is horribly prone to acne, and none of these products seem to irritate it or cause breakouts. Two products specifically have really helped me out… the Mattify Ultra Powder from Mattify Cosmetics and the Acne Stop from Original Skin Store (think I mentioned that in one of my other blogs). I always make sure to put the Mattify powder on underneath my liquid foundation because it stops the foundation from clogging my pores. I’ve made the mistake of either forgetting to apply the Mattify or being too lazy, and I almost always get a few breakouts when I don’t use it. The Acne Stop is a liquid salicylic acid that I use to dab onto the center of breakouts, and it shrinks them down to nothing in just a day or two. Just be sure to exfoliate well, as it can cause some peeling. Hope these tips help you out!

by kristigirl77 2 years, 4 months ago Report as inappropriate | Remove Comment

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