Finding the right makeup for an oily complexion can be frustrating, especially if you live in a hot or humid environment. For years, I have been looking for new products, a “be all end all” savior that would leave me with flawless and matte skin all day long. While I am not sure that is an attainable goal for someone with skin as oily as mine, I have found several products that I have added to my list of Holy Grail cosmetics, and have collected several tips along the way to help ensure a flawless and matte finish.
The right moisturizer is key. Moisturizer for oily skin sounds counterproductive for many people, and they reach for an oil absorbing moisturizer, or skip it entirely. In my experience, this only makes my oil problem worse. When you strip your skin of its natural oils, it triggers excess sebum production, as your body thinks your skin is drying out. This is the exact problem we are trying to avoid! However, the right moisturizer, made of ingredients (natural ingredients have always worked best for me) that mimic the body’s natural oils, nourish the skin instead of drying it out, which helps signal to the body that excess oil is unnecessary. I currently use a moisturizing face mask that also soothes acne, and a daily moisturizer that has green tea extract. A lot of people have also had great success with oil moisturizers, such as those made of grapeseed or rosehip oil.
Almost two years ago, I suffered a massive hormonal imbalance, almost like a second wave of puberty, and it triggered horrible cystic acne and subsequent hyperpigmentation. While I have thankfully been able to mostly control the acne in recent months, I am still left with countless angry red scars, which means I need a heavy duty, high coverage foundation. Finding a foundation that won’t exacerbate my oil problem can be difficult, especially when I am looking for a high coverage foundation. I currently use Rimmel Stay Matte foundation, which not only keeps my face matte for a full day’s wear, it is also affordable. I have tried both high-end and drugstore foundations, and I was stunned and relieved I found a foundation that worked so well for me, along with it being inexpensive. I very rarely get shiny while wearing this foundation, even after 12 or sometimes 13 hours of wear. The key to finding the foundation that works for oily skin is to look at the formulas. Avoid anything that has oil in it, especially if you use a moisturizer that has oil in it.
For many people with oily skin, primer seems vital to ensure the foundation doesn’t slide straight off your face within 15 minutes. However, certain primers can actually do more harm than good. Primers with silicone in them- they can easily be recognized by their velvety or almost slippery texture- can be harmful to oily skin. These primers are great for drier skins, as it ensures the foundation sticks to the primer. However, when it sticks just to the primer, an oily face can cause both the primer and the foundation to slide off, as the foundation doesn’t settle into the skin. Instead, it just sits on top of the skin, staying on top of the boundary the silicone has created. Look for silicone-free primers to help ensure the foundation won’t budge.
Sometimes, even though a face can look matte with the right foundation, it can feel like 10 pounds of oil are sitting on top of your skin. You want to wash your face- but you don’t want to take off a full face of makeup mid-day and start over. This is where blotting sheets come in. Blotting sheets are often cheap, and are a good way to keep your face feeling and looking fresh as the day goes on. Look for blotting sheets that say they won’t take your makeup off; some sheets can remove your makeup as well as the oil. Make sure to PAT, not rub the sheet across your face. Rubbing or smearing them across your face will disturb your makeup, and may even remove some.
A good setting powder can make or break a foundation. Loose powder is better for oily skin, as compacts usually use a form of oil to cake together with the product. Also, try to avoid using a sponge or puff- I’m talking about the ones that typically come in the powder packaging. Using those on an oily face can ruin the puff, as the oil gets caked into the sponge and can lead to bacteria growth on both the puff and in the makeup itself- which can lead to more breakouts. If you prefer more coverage for your skin, a setting powder is also a good way to get more coverage on your skin in a lightweight way- a good quality powder makes a clear difference in the appearance of your skin without being visible. If the powder makes you look cakey- throw it away or return it. It isn’t worth your money!