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Best Makeup Primer for Oily Skin

What’s the Best Makeup Primer for Oily Skin that you’ve tried?

Share your pick!  And don’t forget to share why 🙂

I have normal-to-dry skin, but I think Hourglass’ Mineral Veil is a pretty good primer for most skin types.

Thanks to Diane for today’s topic!


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Bonnie Avatar

Hi Kiss & Make-Up
Wondering if you have tried Hourglass Mineral Veil and if you might be able to compare it to The Dior Pore Minimizer. I have very oily skin, and Hourglass has worked “okay”, but not great. I’ve considered trying Dior, but have hesitated due to price – I hate spending that much money on a product that might not work for me. I purchased a mini of the Hourglass on Sephora but don’t use it consistently. Makeup application is smoother, I but can’t say there’s additional longevity and my oiliness seems slightly worse.

Amber Avatar

Have you tried the Wayne Goss method of applying a tiny bit of powder over your primer but before your foundation? I tend to get oily (and live in a humid environment) and this trick has been magical for making my foundation last. I use Hourglass Veil and Immaculate.

Neda Avatar

I have oily skin and do not like the hourglass primer or the benefit porefessional or any of the Guerlain primers. My favorite primer thus far is the Tarte timeless smoothing primer, it is very smoothing not slippery or silicony!

Lauren Avatar

I have tried a lot of primers, including Hourglass Mineral Veil. I think it breaks me out, to be honest. My favorite primer is the Estee Lauder Mattifying Primer. It doesn’t break me out at all and is a lot cheaper than the Hourglass (around $36 for one ounce, which lasts forever). Plus the texture is more pleasant than many other primers because it doesn’t have that awful greasy feeling.

Right now, I’m not using any primer. I am using my Paula’s Choice RESIST Skin Clearing Hydrator followed by the Resist Light Serum under my makeup. Those products perform just like a primer in my opinion.

kjh Avatar

exactly. seldom wear primer, more just play with it…the minis. hourglass is ok. but every AM i do PC Resist light serum + AACSH. (serum, then moisture) PC products have changed the chemistry of my skin significantly for the better. Since day job is ‘real face,’ i usually use the SLD wrinkle defense, concealer, something lip, + away. Being zinc deficient, I guess, the TM just absorbs…don’t get the whitish cast. while i don’t agree on PC view of color cosmetics, i find the skincare reviews + ingredient dictionary to be invaluable + now i understand why the 1000s of bucks i spent on high end blemish treatment never worked. also, primers do not seem to help with powder foundations as much as with liquid…+ i usually stick to jane iredale or bare minerals.

Sarah Avatar

MoM is way too alkaline to be put on the face. Our skin is slightly acidic, and MoM destroys the acid mantle, leaving skin unprotected. It destroys the oil causing bacteria, but also the good bacteria, and can cause acne, irritation (which leads to signs of aging) , etc. Totally not worth it for anyone, but especially if you have acne. I can’t stress how awful this stuff is for skin!

charlotte Avatar

Sorry, but I’ve been using it daily for four years and it has never done a single thing negative. In fact my acne is almost non existent now. I have yet to see any proven damage to the skin, only gossip, and makeup artists have been using it for years.

MzCrafty1908 Avatar

Co-sign! I have been using it for a longggg time. It works great and it does nothing to my skin. I also don’t use it all over the face. Only in my t-zone.

Sarah Avatar

Paula’s Choice Shine Stopper is great because you can use it as or with primer or above makeup to absorb oil for at least a few hours.

I also like MAC Matte primer. It is very silicone-y which I’m not that fond of, but it does the job for a few hours as well.

I haven’t had much luck with primers… They don’t really do much for me, shine breaks through after a few hours, always! 🙁

I just got samples of Veil Mineral Primer and Clinique Universal Superprimer, so I’m excited to try those. 🙂 The Clinique one interests me because it has a good assortment of antioxidants, so if it works, I’m all about making makeup my skincare too! Even if I have to combine it with Shine Stopper, it’ll still be quite a bit cheaper than Veil Mineral.

Teniola Avatar

I have tried only two primers, which were the Hourglass Veil and Smashbox Photo Finish primer. I was not too fond of the Hourglass one, and I really fell in love with the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I have been using it for years but I think my skin is getting too use to it. Any other recommendations would be awesome. Im pretty oily in my T-Zone, and normal every where else.

Nicole Avatar

I have normal to dry skin. So, I can say what does not work for me . I generally cannot use primers with that nice smoothing effect. Generally they have a high dimethicone content. They will work ok on my t zone but suck into every dry area of the rest of my face . So,The regular Smashbox, Hourglass Veil mineral,etc are no go’s. I do like Dr Brandt’s Pore’s not more on my t’zone. So, for someone with oily skin that may work well. I have a friend with oilier skin who loves the Hourglass Veil Mineral and it looks gorgeous so I second Christine’s vote for that.

Whitney Avatar

I’ve been liking Pixi’s Flawless and Poreless primer from Target. My skin isn’t super oily, but I get shiny around the t-zone throughout the day, and on the days I use the primer I can see a noticeable difference.

Rachel R. Avatar

I have oily skin, but I’m not a huge fan of primer. They usually feel too heavy and greasy. For me, the best thing for really oily/hot (sweaty) days is BareMinerals BareEscentuals mineral veil, followed by the Original foundation, and a second layer of mineral veil on top of the foundation This combination was all I wore for years. Since entering my 40s, my skin is not as constantly super-oily, so I’ve branched out a little bit.

BareMinerals Prime Time is excellent. Mirabella’s primer is fantastic, and feels super-light. E.l.f. Studio HD Mattifying Balm is pretty good.

Katherine T. Avatar

One of my eyelids is hooded and has a permanent, shiny oil slick on it. Everything (eye primer, shadows, liner) used to slide right off . Then I found Paula’s Choice Resist Super Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30, and that soaks up the oil all day long. I use it under eye primer. It’s advertised as a moisturizer for combo/oily skin, and if you read the reviews, many oily skin people use this as a primer to soak up oil and mattify the skin. And I love that it has SPF too.

Ilovemakeup Avatar

As someone with extremely oily skin (we’re talking shine within an hour of putting on Hourglass Immaculate mattifying foundation with powder on top), THE BEST primer I have ever used is the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Primer Perfector. I wouldn’t use it with the Hourglass Immaculate foundation because it does weird things, but it’s amazing with MUFE Matte Velvet+. It extends the wear of any foundation I use and it prolongs my original matte look for at least an hour.

Cecilia Avatar

ILOVEMAKEUP – I can second that on the Becca Primer. My skin is so oily that what I produce in a day, you can refine it and a fuel a car!

I stay away from any silicone-y primer.. they just don’t work on oily skin; anybody with oily skin can attest to that. For a while I used the Rimmel primer — which is pretty decent if you are looking for a drugstore primer. Becca, on the other hand, takes it up a notch. I had a client meeting, so I wanted my foundation to stay put. The Becca primer felt sticky upon application, but I think that’s what made the foundation stay put. I even put on Benefit’s Majorette CREAM blush on top of the foundation. Left the house soon after I was done with my make up (around 8.45am). I came home about 1ish.. and my skin was starting to shine just slightly around the nose area. To me, that’s pretty good.. used to be my entire face would shine and the foundation would oxidize from all the oil on my skin.

Shelley Avatar

I have yet to find a primer I like. Sprays usually work much better for me. I like urban decay sprays and the Caudile spray. Fix plus makes me oily. I really want to try the new smash box primer spray.

Irene Avatar

I use Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel (yes, really). It’s meant to be used on the skin wherever it rubs, like between the thighs, but it works amazingly well as a primer. I’ve been using it for years on my sensitive combination skin.

charlotte Avatar

#1 Milk of Magnesia. I usually use it under another primer since I don’t need that much control all over and the best I have found are Rimmel Stay Matte and Black Radiance Complexion Perfection, both of which are silica and kaolin clay based. Neutrogena Pure and Clean liquid sunscreen also does a decent job of oil control.. enough for casual days/outdoor activities. I think it’s because it’s mineral based.
MOM changed my life. I’ve been wearing it daily for over four years and it has only improved my skin, I’m less oily even with bare skin now, my pores are smaller, and my acne is almost completely a thing of the past.. I will get one or two hormonal breakouts, or maybe one if I’m under extreme stress. I will admit that oil cleansing helped as well. I simply could not wear makeup when I moved to the deep south.. it would melt off in an hour or two and look worse than nothing at all..with it I can wear a full face and not touch it once during the day.
Somebody is going to comment on here about how it’s terrible for your skin.. prove it. I have yet to see one confirmed case of skin damage caused by MOM other than the occasional allergic reaction which can be caused by any product. I’ve had allergic reactions to shampoo. It is widely used and used frequently by MUA’s as well.

MzCrafty1908 Avatar

Girl…I swear that we are the same person! The only primers that I own, other than MoM are the Rimmel Stay Matte and Black Radiance Primer! Neither of them are as good as the MoM, but if I’m only going somewhere for a few hours, I’ll use them. I also think that a lot of people over exaggerate when they say they have “oily skin” when they really don’t. There’s level to this! Lol

charlotte Avatar

I agree, and MOM is “hardcore”. I usually only need it on my forehead and eyelids, especially in the winter, although if I had an event to attend or it’s super hot.. or my skin freaks out like it does occasionally in the Spring/Fall.. I would use it all over. My forehead is the worst and if I can stop the oil there often times the rest of my face is ok. Another good thing about the other primers is they make great toppers to remove the MOM white cast if you don’t plan on using a base all over.. some days I go with just a bit of concealer or even nothing at all but I still don’t want to be an oil slick.

Erica Avatar

Hallelujah I’m no longer as oily as I used to be as a young’un. My skin is oily combination now and I use different primers depending upon my skin’s needs and the season. My fave for oily skin is Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer w/ Blemish Control. It’s expensive for a primer, but a little dab is all you need. For drugstore I like Rimmel’s stay matte primer. No breakouts with any of the mentioned primers. The Smashbox is the fave of the two.

Rebecca Avatar

I can second the recommendation for the Dior Skin Perfecting Pore Minimizer. It is mattifying but not drying,and a good makeup base, though it only lasts for about 8 hours before it starts breaking down. The Becca Ever-Matte is very matte and long-lasting but it is very drying on me, and it doesn’t work well over serum or sunscreen. The Benefit Porefessional is not as mattifying but it does a great job of smoothing pores and keeping makeup in place. Murad Oil-Absorbing SPF 15 is a great mattifier but not effective on its own as a primer. The Murad under the Dior Primer is my magic bullet for my greasy forehead.

Cas Avatar

DHC pore recovery or something like that, it’s in a little green squeeze tube, is freaking amaze. Using that in combination with a cream foundation is pure magic. I’m oiler than Saudi arabia and it’s the only combo that doesn’t leave my nose a slip n slide by three o’clock

Lee T Avatar

The Hourglass primer results in breakouts for me and I”m 51 but have oily, acne-prone skin, except the under eye area. I use UD poreless primer on cheeks, forehead and nose and Graftobian oil free primer on my chin, where I am most prone to breakouts.

Nicole Avatar

kryolan perfect matt primer works for oily skin in the tropics! for combination skin, i combine smashbox primer on cheeks, then kryolan for t-zone. for oily skin, i use it all over

Jade Avatar

My skin has become quite oily in recent years so I came upon this with great interest! I’ve never found a primer I really love but currently fairly happy with Benefit The Porefessional. Still looking for something better though so I will look into a few recommended here!

Ade Avatar

If you want the benefit from Milk of Magnesia but hesitant because it is too alkaline, just use Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Primer Perfector or Make-Up International SuperMatte AntiShine, both contains Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, the magic behind MoM.

But if you prefer silicone based primers, then try Laura Mercier Secret Finish Mattifying or Mally Beauty Evercolor Poreless Face Defender. Yes, both are stated as a “setting” product, but trust me, it can be used as a primer. Less is more.

That too oily gal that even Estée Lauder Double Wear & Revlon ColorStay wore off after few hours on my face 🙁

Dreamer19 Avatar

I use Bioderma Pore Refiner for mattifying and on top of that L’Oreal Magic Blur to smooth out skin and help with pore issues. Only on my T-zone. They work well together, but if I want something even more “bulletproof” I put Estee Lauder Double Wear light also on my t-zone on top of my foundation (or tinted mosturizer).

Vanda Ungureanu Avatar

My favorite, by far, is the Hourglass Mineral Veil. I’ve tried many, but this is just the best! The CoverFx one has salicylic acid and can help with breakouts, and the Becca Primed And Poreless is ok at covering the appearance of pores, but Veil keeps the oil at bay the best.

MzCrafty1908 Avatar

The best makeup primer for oily skin is MoM! It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for ME. When I tell you that my makeup doesn’t move when I use MoM!? Even when is comes to cheaper drugstore foundations.

Other primers that I own are the Black Radiance Primer and the Rimmel Stay Matte. They are both great, but I only use them if I’m going somewhere for a few hours. If I wear them for more than 3 hours, I’ll have to blot like my life depends on it.

Like I said in an earlier comment, I think that a lot of people over exaggerate when they say they have “oily” skin” when they really don’t. There’s levels to this ish! I get oily EVERYWHERE! My forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, above my top lip, and even on my eye lids!

Now I have heard awesome things about the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Primer. I might give that one a go.

Lauren Avatar

I have very oily skin and I found a combination that works well. I tried the hourglass primer years ago and it broke my skin out like nothing else. I’ve tried Smashbox, Lancome, Dr Brandt – most primers out there and after many years I have finally found a combination that works amazingly and keeps me shine free for almost 8-10 hours. My process is as follows

1) Mac Prep + Prime natural radiance pink – all over face
2) Tarte Clean Slate 12 hour poreless perfecting primer over nose and cheeks (or wherever you have the most issues)
3) Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing powder (powder before foundation? Crazy until you try it – video here I’ve also used Laura Mercier’s setting powder but I think the tarte keeps you more matte
4) MAC Matchmaster
5) MAC Concealer
6) Super light dusting of MAC mineralize skinfinish over nose, cheeks, and chin

I also just do steps 1&2 under bareminerals skin rescue or laura mercier tinted moisturizer

Amanda Avatar

I love the Becca Matte primer especially in the super hot summers here when my already oily skin kicks into overdrive, but sometimes I feel like it makes my foundation go on patchy/ almost dry or cakey looking…. Like it’s clinging to certain spots of the primer. How do you apply it for the best application? And do you also use it over foundation as a touch up like it says it can be? It really helps control oil but any help on best application methods would be very appreciated!

Chantal Avatar

You know what, I totally have that patchy problem too and I’m not really sure how to work around it! I just figure that patchiness is better than super mega oiliness (I really can’t explain just how oily my skin is haha!) And I’ve never tried it over foundation! I feel like it would smear or something… Hmm.

Travelon Avatar

I am #TEAM MOM all the way! I’ve been using it for years with absolutely no problems. I heard all the warning about how it’s so damaging to the skin and ph balance but I have had nothing but outstanding results with it not only controlling my oil but also with it keeping my makeup completely in the exact same spot for the entire day and night. I’ve tried many,many other primers however, none have ever given me the same results as when I use MOM. I don’t wear makeup everyday because I’m not working right now but I certainly would have no problem wearing MOM under my foundation on w daily basis. If I had any signs of problems I would totally say so. I will not be using anything else for the foreseeable future!!!

Sara Avatar

MACs Face Protect SPF 50 is the best oil controlling primer I’ve ever used, and I have insanely oily skin. It’s not really promoted as being a mattyfier but i have not found anything that comes even close. Get a sample the next time you stop by a counter, I could not live without it!

Ericka Avatar

So far, out of all the primers I have tried, Smashbox photo finish light is the best. I have extremely oily skin to the point that none of my foundations would last longer than 4 hours. This along with Estee Lauder’s double wear foundation can get me through my 12-15 hour days.

Becky Avatar

I’m really hesitant to try out the Becca Ever Matte primer since it looks like it has some parabens (Methylparaben and Propylparaben), but I’ve heard so many amazing things about it…!

My favorite primer so far is the Tarte timeless smoothing primer, it’s just sooo good. It mattifies very well, and it actually fills in your pores (I literally have never seen a difference in my pore size with the Porefessional), making you look airbrushed!

Brittany Avatar

I just picked up Too Faced Hangover to try because I honestly hate silicone primers even though they’re usually marketed for oily skin. I’m very oily, but I’d rather have to use blotting sheets a few times than have super slippery skin. Idk what it is, but I don’t like the texture of primers like Smashbox Photo Finish or even the Hourglass Veil Mineral.

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