If you have oily skin, you’re probably no stranger to a shiny T-zone – something we’ve all tried combatting with everything from harsh cleansers to blotting papers. When makeup comes into the picture, it slips and melts away easily in our humidity, which is why primers for oily skin are a godsend for greasier complexions.
To put it simply, primer is exactly what its name implies: it’s a preparatory product that’s applied after your skincare products to create an ideal canvas. It holds onto makeup products that come after, such as foundation, tinted moisturiser, or concealer. If you get your hands on the best primers for oily skin, they won’t just tackle areas of high shine, they’ll also reduce the appearance of fine lines and gaping pores.
What you’re left with is a flawless-looking complexion that doesn’t melt or rub off under your mask midday.
- What to look for in primers for oily skin
- How to use primers for oily skin
- The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer
- Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Mattifying Primer
- Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (Best luxury option!)
- Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
- Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
- Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser (Best affordable option!)
- Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer
- Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer (Silicone-free!)
- Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier
- Supergoop Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40
- IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Primer+ Oil-Free
- Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer
- Innisfree No-Sebum Blur Primer
- Urban Decay All Nighter Face Primer
- Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Face Primer
What to look for in primers for oily skin
While you’re browsing, you’ll want to keep an eye out for silicone derivatives when it comes to primers for oily skin. Silicone creates a smooth, velvety texture that glides on evenly and leaves your face feeling soft.
It also smooths over enlarged pores and uneven texture, while providing a blurred, filtered effect to create a poreless canvas. On top of that, silicone has a mattifying effect, which is why silicone-based primers are particularly good for oily skin. It’s easy to spot silicone derivatives in the ingredients list. They usually have names that end with “-cone”, such as dimethicone, trimethicone, or cyclomethicone.
What you want to avoid are primers that contain denatured alcohol or heavy oils. Alcohol can dry out the skin and trigger sensitivities, while heavier oils can clog pores and add extra shine.
How to use primers for oily skin
When it comes to using primers for oily skin, one of the main missteps people make is applying makeup on right after priming. Instead, wait a full minute or more to allow the primer to settle completely – this will help to curb pilling or enhance patchiness.
Another thing to note is that when you use a silicone-based primer, you should pair it with a silicone-based foundation. If you try to use a water-based foundation on top of a silicone primer, your foundation may become grainy and it won’t spread well or last very long on your skin.
Now, we know that the search for an ideal primer for oily skin can be a daunting one with a multitude of options out there. To lend you a hand, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best primers for oily skin for your consideration.
The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer
The Ordinary’s cult-status High-Adherence Silicone Primer has garnered plenty of praises for keeping makeup in place for hours on end. It hydrates your complexion while mattifying it with adaptive silicones, so that excess shine and fade aren’t an issue by lunchtime. The primer also blurs the appearance of pores and fine lines for a smooth yet lightweight finish.
The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer retails for RM33 (30ml) at Threebs.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer
The best way to prevent a makeup meltdown is with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer. Thanks to the mattifying blue agave extract in the formula, it provides all-day sebum control, so your makeup looks just as good at 9pm as it did at 9am.
You don’t have to apply this primer all over your face if you prefer not to. It works brilliantly for targeted shine control, so you can apply it on your forehead, nose, and chin for a glowy look.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer retails for RM145 (32ml) at Sephora.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (Best luxury option!)
Hourglass’ Veil Mineral Primer doesn’t just stand up to oily complexions, but it also protects against environmental elements too. Its durable formula is oil-free and great at concealing redness as it smooths out the appearance of fine lines and pores.
It also provides broad-spectrum SPF15 that uses a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but of course, you’ll still need to apply your regular sunscreen under the primer. This is one of the most expensive primers for oily skin on our list, so get the travel size first to see if the formula agrees with your skin before investing in the standard or jumbo size.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer retails for RM99 (travel size, 10ml), RM250 (standard size, 30ml), and RM360 (jumbo size, 60ml) at Sephora.
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
One of the most famed primers for oily skin is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This clear gel is packed with antioxidants, vitamins A and E, and peptides, which help to protect your skin from environmental pollutants, damage, and stress.
It has a lightweight, oil-free formula that blurs pores and creates a smooth base for all your makeup looks. It’s fragrance-free too, perfect for those with sensitive skin and noses.
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer retails for RM69 (travel size, 12ml) and RM168 (standard size, 30ml) at Sephora.
Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
Becca might be known for its glow-boosting highlighters, but it also has one of the best primers for oily skin. The Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector acts as a liquid blotting sheet to keep your skin fresh and matte all day. If you want a really matte finish, use the primer before makeup and dab a little primer on top of your makeup.
Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector retails for RM175 (40ml) at Sephora.
Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser (Best affordable option!)
Maybelline’s Baby Skin Pore Eraser might be a great affordable option, but it feels just as undetectable as its pricier counterparts. For days when you want to skip the foundation, it has enough skin-perfecting power to be worn alone. The best bit is that it’s a clear formula, making it a great option for all skin tones.
Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser retails for RM27.81 (20ml) at Watsons.
Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer
Like a bottled Instagram filter, Benefit Cosmetics’ The POREfessional Face Primer is the ultimate shortcut to a flawless complexion. Simply warm up the oil-free formula in your hands and smooth it over your skin before makeup. It doesn’t just keep your makeup in place all day – one reviewer said it lasted through her evening run too. Impressive, right?
Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer retails for RM68 (sample size, 7.5ml), RM168 (travel size, 22ml), and RM284 (standard size, 44ml) at Sephora.
Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer (Silicone-free!)
Not a huge fan of skincare and makeup products that contain silicone? Go with Laura Mercier’s Pure Canvas Blurring Primer. The water-based formula is made without silicones, but still mattifies skin, reduces the appearance of pores, and smooths out uneven texture. That’s all thanks to its blurring powders and conditioning microalgae.
This oil-free primer is lightweight too, so it won’t feel heavy or cause your makeup to pill. Best of all, it sops up excess oil to keep your makeup looking extra fresh throughout the day.
Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer retails for RM168 (50ml) at Laura Mercier.
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier
If you prefer a semi-matte finish that doesn’t dull your complexion, Bobbi Brown’s Primer Plus Mattifier is a great choice. Apart from oily skin, it works well on skin that has a combination of dry and greasy patches too.
This mattifying primer blurs the appearance of pores and fine lines while keeping oily skin looking balanced. There’s sodium hyaluronate in the formula to hydrate your skin as well, all while reducing shine and lending longevity to your makeup look. On top of that, it contains powders that absorb excess oil for a natural, matte finish.
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier retails for RM153 (40ml) at Sephora.
Supergoop Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40
Supergoop’s Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40 is truly the ultimate multitasker. It may have been formulated as a sunscreen, but this do-all instantly blurs the appearance of large pores, uneven texture, and fine lines to create a soft-focus, matte finish. Worn alone or under makeup, this silky formula has a universally wearable tint that’s perfect for all skin tones.
Rub a nickel-size amount over your entire face to keep excess grease at bay, protect your skin with zinc-based SPF 40, and even out redness and discolouration. This is certainly one of the best primers for oily skin you’ll be able to find in the market.
Supergoop Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40 retails for RM80 (travel size, 15ml) and RM185 (standard size, 45ml) at Sephora.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Primer+ Oil-Free
The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Primer+ Oil-Free doesn’t just keep your makeup looking fresh, but it’s also packed with skin-loving ingredients. Cassia bark and ginger root extracts strengthen and hydrate your skin to keep it healthy and glowing. The oil-free formula also refines pores, and it’s so light, you’ll barely feel it on your skin.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Primer+ Oil-Free retails for RM160 (30ml) at Sephora.
Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer
Make Up For Ever’s Mattifying Primer has a sheer beige tint that leaves a fresh matte finish on the skin. The lightweight, creamy formula gives you an even-toned appearance while extending the wear time of your foundation. After several hours, your skin will still look and feel hydrated.
Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer retails for RM99 (travel size, 15ml) and RM160 (standard size, 30ml) at Sephora.
Innisfree No-Sebum Blur Primer
This may be one of the most affordable primers for oily skin on our list, but it still delivers in the oil control department. Apart from keeping shine at bay, Innisfree’s No-Sebum Blur Primer also evens out bumpy texture and reduces the appearance of pores. Packed with Jeju green persimmon extract and Jeju green complex, this primer provides additional skincare benefits too.
Innisfree No-Sebum Blur Primer retails for RM53 at Innisfree.
Urban Decay All Nighter Face Primer
From the brand that gave us the popular All Nighter Setting Spray comes the stellar All Nighter Face Primer. This longwear complexion primer is surprisingly lightweight, and it promises an airbrushed finish that lasts for up to eight hours.
It goes on sheer to leave your skin feeling hydrated and soft, all while reducing fine lines and minimising the appearance of pores. You can wear this under your makeup or alone for a “my skin but better” look.
Urban Decay All Nighter Face Primer retails for RM159 (30ml) at Sephora.
Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Face Primer
The best primers for oily skin keep you from turning into an oil-slicked creature; this particular one from Tatcha does that and also shields your face from the harmful effects of pollution and blue light. It’s all thanks to a combination of silk extract and antioxidant-rich green tea extract.
The Liquid Silk Canvas Face Primer instantly diminishes the look of pores, fine lines, and imperfections for a smooth canvas before makeup. Ultra-fine silk powders will make your makeup glide on more evenly and last longer with its water resistant formula.
Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Face Primer retails for RM230 (30ml) at Sephora.