Primers for Oily Skin: The Ultimate Buying Guide
Primers for Oily Skin: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Primers for Oily Skin: The Ultimate Buying Guide

5 minutes read

There’s a fine line between a face that sports a radiant glow and the shiny patent-like grease slick you get from oily skin.  

Unnecessary shine usually appears on the T-zone — on the forehead, chin, and sides of your nose, where pores are large and open, the skin is sweating a lot and producing much oil. To prevent your make-up from melting and sliding down, you need one more layer to oil-control your skin and smooth your pores before applying a foundation.  

Discover how to cut down the slick and reduce large pores with the best primers for oily and combination skin. 

What makes a good primer for oily skin?  

What qualities should you look out for when buying a primer if you have an oily skin type? A good primer for oily skin creates a smooth base for long-lasting make-up and blurs your pores. It prevents skin oils from dissolving a foundation. When first applying a primer on your face, you can layer the best of your foundation, BB, CC cream, or contouring products afterwards. 

If your skin is prone to blemishes, a primer should not be comedogenic and must not provoke acne flareups, extra oil production, and blackheads. Cosmetic chemists Ginger King and Ron Robinson name the best oil-fighting ingredients that you should look for in a primer or a cream for oily skin type: 

  • niacinamide  
  • oil-absorbing cellulose 
  • clay 
  • charcoal 
  • alpha hydroxy acids  
  • beta hydroxy acids  
  • poly hydroxy acids 

Read: What is oily skin and how to balance it

5 of the best primers for oily skin  

1. Clarins Mattifying SOS Primer, £30.50

For a soft-blur effect on your face, to minimise your pores and skin imperfections, you can apply this clever formula on clear skin or over make-up throughout the day. This product is transparent, vegan, and non-comedogenic and has brilliant oil-control qualities. It is infused with desert date, leaf of life, and strawberry tree extract. This primer helps to absorb excess sebum on the oily T-zone and mattify your skin’s surface. 

SOS Primer

Read: Base 101: How to Make Foundation Look Natural on Acne 

2. Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 30

Use this powder to easily mattify your skin, set the make-up, and protect your face from UV rays. Not like many other sunscreens, this product contains physical SPF ingredient — Zinc Oxide, and doesn’t make your skin greasy. It is easy to apply and locks your make-up without cakey effect.

3. Rae Morris Invisible Mattifier

Rae Morris transparent setting powder can be applied alone or over your make-up for a long-lasting look, mattifying, and blurring imperfections. Meanwhile, it keeps your skin soft and smooth, gives a perfect photo-ready complexion.

4. Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, £30 

Ultra-light and creamy Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch combines a primer and skincare product. It smoothes your pores, wrinkles, or other skin imperfections; on the other side, it doesn’t feel heavy on your skin or clogs your pores. You can apply this product alone before the foundation, mix it with your foundation before applying, and keep your make-up flawless until the rest of the day. 

Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch


Next read: How To Apply Foundation Like A Pro 

Read: Cleansers for oily skin: Your complete guide

5. MAC Prep+Prime Fix+Matte

You can use this spray before or over make-up to reduce your pores and control shine. The product contains oil-absorbing agents and powders to mattify your skin and help to set make-up during the day.

Primers for oily skin and large pores  

Oily skin usually has large pores that produce more sebum and sweat than dry skin types. That’s why it’s easy to get confused about which primer you need for large pores or oily skin.  

  • So, if you struggle with large pores and excess oil on your skin, especially on targeted areas such as the T-zone, try a mattifying stick primer. It will help to absorb sebum, blur pores, and mattify your skin. 
  • If you are worrying about textured skin, post-acne large pores, wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes, etc., choose light shades of colour-correcting and a little bit radiant products, like SOS Primer, which can also hide the textured skin areas.

What other products can help with large pores and oily skin? 

1. A clay mask is a remedy for tightening pores and clearing oily skin. 

2. Toner or lotion for combination and oily skin (especially with ingredients like meadowsweet and glycolic acid) tightens your pores and controls oil production. 

3. Pore Control Serum gives your skin an even texture if used regularly. 

4. For a perfect finish on oily skin, pick up a mattifying foundation that blurs pores and provides a flawless finish. 

Read: The best serums for oily skin


Still looking for a good primer for oily skin? We can’t leave your frequently asked questions without answers. 

Is primer important for oily skin?  

Yes, primer is one of the essential products that help create a flawless make-up base, reduce the look of enlarged pores, and provide shine and oil control. A primer layer will hydrate, colour-correct your skin, and ensure make-up is long-lasting without melting down after a few hours. You can always apply your best make-up primer for oily skin with or without foundation to get minimal natural coverage and shine control. 

Which primer is best for sweaty skin?  

Mattifying and smoothing primers are the best for hot summer days when you sweat a lot but still want to prolong your make-up wear. Even the best primer for oily skin won’t stop sweating, but it can keep your make-up from sliding down with sweat and hold it in place. 

Why does primer make my face oily? 

Some silicone-based primers are not suitable for oily skin. They fill in the pores and lines but can cause acne breakouts, excess oil production and irritation on oily skin. To avoid these side effects, you should choose light-formulated, non-comedogenic, and oil-control primers that are silicone-free. 

Next read: 5 Summer Party Make-Up Looks You Can’t Go Wrong With 

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