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We Tried the 5 Best-Selling Primers for Oily Skin — Here's What Really Worked

Because no one has time to try a thousand different primers
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As someone who has struggled with oily skin since my teenage years, you can bet that I've tried just about everything on the market to make sure that my makeup stays in place as long as possible. Of course, having a good skin care routine is the first step because, as most of us know, having great skin is how you have great makeup. But even when your daily skin regimen is helping control oil, sometimes it's just not enough — and that's where makeup comes in.

Luckily, almost all beauty brands know that oil-control is a priority for many makeup wearers out there, so they've created sebum-vacuuming products like primers, setting sprays, powders and more to help with the annoying problem.

When it comes to primers, you'll see hundreds — if not thousands — of them on the shelves that claim to control oil all day without issue. Unfortunately, some products simply don't hold up their end of the bargain. Good thing you have us. We've tried an abundance of makeup primers for oily skin to find out which ones really work. From Murad to It Cosmetics, here's what we thought about the top five best-selling oil control primers.

Image via Imaxtree

Unique Features: This primer can be used on top of foundation too, is sweat-resistant and free of silicone, oil, alcohol and fragrance.

Tested & True: This primer means BUSINESS. It was easily the most mattifying of them all, but my issue is that I don't get obnoxiously oily, so it was almost too much oil control for me. If you're someone who applies makeup then needs to blot within, say, an hour, you will fall in love with this option, but if you're someone who gets a bit oily in the T-zone, you probably won't vibe well with this pick. I feel like this would be the perfect option for a mid-summer day or when I'm headed to a concert or party where I'm going to be hot, sweaty and dripping oil.

Overall Rating: 6/10

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Unique Features: It features an incredible anti-acne treatment, heals existing blemishes and has a gel-like consistency.

Tested & True: While this primer is technically a makeup product, I appreciated the fact that it worked like skin care at the same time, using a 1 percent salicylic acid to help control and heal pesky breakouts. As soon as you apply this lightweight, gel-like primer, you'll see your skin looking more matte, but it also works to smooth out any texture in the skin, which was a nice added benefit. The oil-control properties of this primer did work well, but I did find myself blotting a bit sooner than I did with the other primers I tried.

Overall Rating: 6/10

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Unique Features: This guy has a blurring effect, serious skin care benefits and makes skin look airbrushed.

Tested & True: While the main feature of this primer is to control oil throughout the day, I think that the pore-smoothing ability was just as impressive. This primer felt lightweight and made my skin look airbrushed as soon as I applied it. Another positive thing was that it actually made my skin feel more plump and hydrated, which is another benefit of this beauty. It uses collagen to help make the skin look and feel more youthful and who doesn't want/need that? I felt that my oil was nicely controlled for most of the day, and I really only had to blot right before leaving work towards the end of the day.

Overall Rating: 7/10

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Unique Features: It's actually a skin care product, has SPF 15 and hydrates skin simultaneously.

Tested & True: What I loved most about this primer is that it is actually a skin care product. As a beauty junkie, I'm constantly trying new products, which means I'm no stranger to breakouts, so anything that can help heal blemishes while controlling oil is a win-win for me. This primer was liquidy and has a stickier consistency than the others, but I found that it controlled oil the longest. It went on smoothly, made my skin look instantly matte and my foundation glided over it perfectly, despite its stickier finish.

Overall Rating: 9/10

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