Best Primers for Oily Skin in 2023 (According to 6 Experts)

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 image

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

Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 04:00 am GMT

Maybelline Face studio Master Prime (color corrects redness)

Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 07:05 pm GMT

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

Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 08:15 pm GMT

E.L.F Mineral Infused Face Primer

Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 09:55 am GMT

NYX #NoFilter Blurring Primer

Revlon PhotoReady Primer (Brightening)

Buy on Amazon
09/21/2023 12:50 am GMT

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Lock Primer

Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 05:30 am GMT

For more Prestige Brands, try the following:

Benefit The Porefessional

Buy on Amazon
09/21/2023 11:55 am GMT

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

Bare Minerals Prime Time Foundation Primer

Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 06:21 am GMT

Inessa Fishman, MD

Inessa Fishman

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Aviva Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics

ISDIN’s SkinDrops

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.

$57.00 ($114.00 / Fl Oz)
Buy on Amazon
09/21/2023 07:35 am GMT

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!

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer

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.

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

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

Givenchy Mister Mat

$54.99 ($68.74 / Ounce)
Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 02:30 am GMT

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

$27.99 ($17.49 / Ounce)
Buy on Amazon
09/21/2023 04:15 pm GMT

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

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 Control

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

Colorescience’s Mattifying Perfector Face Primer

Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 09:15 am GMT

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

$54.99 ($68.74 / Ounce)
Buy on Amazon
09/22/2023 02:30 am GMT

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply primer for oily skin?

To apply primer for oily skin, follow these steps:

• Start with clean, moisturized skin.
• Apply a pea-sized amount of primer to your fingertips.
• Gently massage the primer onto your face, focusing on areas prone to oiliness.
• Wait a few minutes for the primer to dry before applying foundation or other makeup.

Are there any ingredients I should avoid in primers for oily skin?

Yes, some ingredients can be problematic for oily skin. Here are some ingredients to avoid in primers:

Heavy oils: Any primer that contains heavy oils like coconut oil or shea butter. While these ingredients may be great for dry skin types, they can leave oily skin feeling greasy and lead to breakouts. Look for primers that use lightweight oils like argan or jojoba oil instead.

Fragrance: Fragrances in primers can cause skin sensitivity and irritation, especially in oily or acne-prone skin. It may also indicate the presence of undisclosed harmful ingredients. Fragrances can contain synthetic chemicals that can harm your skin and overall health. Look for fragrance-free primers or those that use natural fragrances like essential oils.

Silicone: While silicones can help to blur imperfections and create a smooth surface for makeup application, they can also trap oil and bacteria in the pores, leading to breakouts. Instead, try a primer that uses natural, non-comedogenic ingredients like kaolin clay or zinc oxide to absorb excess oil and keep your skin looking matte all day.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a common ingredient in primers as it helps the product to dry quickly and feel weightless on the skin. However, alcohol can dry and irritate, causing the skin to produce even more oil. Instead, opt for a primer that uses natural ingredients like aloe vera or glycerin to provide a smooth, matte finish.

By choosing a primer specifically designed for oily skin and free of these potentially problematic ingredients, you can help control oil production and keep your skin looking matte and healthy throughout the day.

Is it necessary to use a primer if I have oily skin?

While using a primer isn’t necessary for everyone, it can be especially helpful for people with oily skin. A primer can help control oil production, minimize the appearance of pores, and improve the longevity of your makeup throughout the day.

By creating a smooth base for your foundation, a primer can also prevent your makeup from caking or settling into fine lines and wrinkles. Overall, using a primer can help you achieve a more polished, matte look and keep your makeup looking fresh longer.

How often should I replace my primer?

Like all beauty products, primers have a shelf life and should be replaced periodically. Most primers have an expiration date printed on the packaging, but as a general rule, you should replace your primer every six months to a year.

Over time, the ingredients in your primer can break down and lose their effectiveness. That’s why keeping track of when you purchased your primer and replacing it as needed is important. Also, if you notice any changes in the texture or scent of your primer, you should play it safe and replace it.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?