Best Primers for Oily Skin in 2019 (According to 6 Experts)

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Have you been searching for the perfect primer for oily skin?

You can now achieve that flawless makeup look with these top recommendations from experts.

Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD

Tsippora Shainhouse

Dermatologist | Founder, Stay Skin Safe

Primers for Acne Skin Types

  • Look for a water-based formula that won’t clog pores. Clogged pores may result in blackheads. (Related: How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Your Nose)
  • Consider a primer with a green tint, which can neutralize the redness in the skin.
  • Look for ingredients like salicylic acid, safflower oil, or licorice extract because they help to reduce oil production, soothe skin, decrease bacteria production and reduce redness. But because many of these ingredients can be drying, it’s important to opt for one that also has hyaluronic acid for non-greasy hydration.

You can try these drugstore options:

E.L.F. Cosmetics Blemish Control Face Primer

Maybelline Face studio Master Prime (color corrects redness)

Primers for Oily Skin Types

  • Look for ingredients like salicylic acid, that reduce surface grease and get into the pores to help manage oil production.
  • Look for hydrating ingredients (eg, hyaluronic acid, aloe, honey, rose water) that help skin feel moisturized, so that it doesn’t over-compensate and produce excess oil.
  • Look for mattifying and shine-minimizing ingredients like Zea mays, witch hazel, Dimethicone, magnesium aluminum silicate, silica, mica.
  • Look for water or gel-based products that protect the skin, sit on the skin, but don’t clog pores.

You can try these drugstore options:

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

E.L.F Mineral Infused Face Primer

NYX #NoFilter Blurring Primer

Revlon PhotoReady Primer (Brightening)

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Lock Primer

For more Prestige Brands, try the following:

Benefit The Porefessional

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

Bare Minerals Prime Time Foundation Primer

Inessa Fishman, MD

Inessa Fishman

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Aviva Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics

The skin needs to be healthy from the inside out, and the main building blocks for this are good diet (lower processed carbs, more healthy fats, and proteins), good hydration, effective stress management, and exercise. From a skincare standpoint, the skin needs to look enough to shine on its own–with little to no makeup.

In terms of primers for oily skin, I really like ISDIN’s SkinDrops product: this is a really lightweight foundation with very powerful coverage. It gives coverage for up to 12 hours and effectively covers up tattoos, discoloration, and various other imperfections.

SkinDrops comes in 3 different shades. I like it mixed with a moisturizer and applied with just 1-2 drops for the whole face for light-medium coverage, and 3-4 drops for heavier coverage.

Daryna Podchernyayeva

Daryna Podchernyayeva

Professional Makeup Artist, WarrenTricomi Salon | Graduate, MakeUpForEver Academy New York

Primer is a makeup product that will help your makeup last longer. One of the problems with oily skin is it’s too much shine. So, the best way to fix that is to use a matte primer. I would like to introduce you to my must have primers for oily skin!

The first primer is Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer. This primer absorbs oil to keep your face non-oily and lock your makeup for a long time.

The second primer is Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector. This primer controls oil for up to 12 hours!

Lastly, Givenchy Mister Mat. This luxurious primer makes your face feel softens and hydrated. The primer contains plant extracts that help control oil and keep healthy beautiful skin.

Linda Lee Tagliamonte

Linda Lee Tagliamonte

Licensed Medical Esthetician | Owner, The Skin Rejuvenator

Not only have I been treating all types of skin for 15 years, but I went into the field of Medical Aesthetics due to my own super oily/acne-prone skin issues.

Having tried dozens of makeup primers, specifically for oily skin over more than 20 years, I have a few that I have found most effective to NOT turn me into an oil slick by day’s end!

OC 8 is a terrific magnifier/primer that truly does the trick! I have applied a thin layer at 6 AM and remained slick-free, with makeup in place, even at 9 PM! This is alcohol-free and terrific for sensitive skin (including mine!).

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer is another GO TO for summery humid days/nights that has never disappointed me! It is very lightweight and will not cause breakouts. This contains Vitamins A, C & E (which I insist my patients/clients use 365 days a year if tolerated), which helps to protect, hydrate and repair the skin.

Nars Pore & Shine is another primer that contains peptides, which we can all use to hydrate, while the skin still remains slick free!

Sanem Ahearn

Sanem Ahearn

Head of Marketing, Colorescience

Control shine and blur imperfections with Colorescience’s Mattifying Perfector Face Primer.

This mattifying primer is specifically formulated to help oily and acne prone skin. Not only does this primer help absorb oil and smooth any imperfections, but it is also formulated with SPF 20 to help protect your skin. A must have to maintain oil control throughout the day.

Adina Mahalli

Adina Mahali

Hair & Skin Care Expert, Maple Holistics

Givenchy Mister Mat Primer works as a remedy for oily skin. Oily skin causes makeup to fade much quicker than if the person had a combination skin type. Priming your skin will make the makeup last longer.

Just like you apply a base coat to your nails before you put the polish, the same applies to makeup. Even though this product is a bit on the expensive side, it’s worth it. It’s a powder gel that can be worn under makeup or on its own. It’s extremely lightweight and actually softens and hydrates your skin.

It absorbs the excess oil without clogging your pores. It also contains plant extracts that help control the overproduction of sebum, which will give you a matte finish.