The 7-Step Oily Skin Makeup Routine

I’m tired of all the primers, foundations, and powders promising to keep my skin looking shine-free but never following through with their claims. Once, I got so fed up that I applied a mattifying primer under a mattifying foundation, and all topped off with a mattifying powder. Big mistake: in just under 3 hours, my oils broke through and created a horrific cakey disaster to what I thought was the perfect cocktail for shine-free makeup. Over the years, I have been experimenting with makeup techniques to try and control my seemingly unstoppable oil production without looking overly matte. The following is the best routine for shine-free, fresh-looking makeup that I have found…so far!


  1. Gel moisturizer
    Your nighttime skincare routine is just as (& if not more) important to keeping your skin balanced as the products and techniques you use during the day. A super long and detailed post on my nighttime skincare routine will be up once I perfect it…but for now, trust me when I say keeping your skin moisturized will do wonders for your oily skin!! Before applying makeup, however, keep it a little lighter by sticking with a gel-like formula. This will ensure the moisture absorbs into your skin super fast so you are left with a smooth, non-greasy canvas to work with while still giving it some TLC.


  2. Primer
    Further prep your skin for makeup by applying a primer cocktail on your face. Since I primarily get oily on my T-zone and stay somewhat normal to dry on my cheeks, I use 2 different primers at the same time. On my T-zone, I’ll use a smoothing or pore minimizing primer while on my cheeks I’ll opt for a moisturizing primer. Either way, using a primer will increase the longevity of your makeup by giving it something to hold onto. Makeup, like foundations or concealers, will not stay put on bare skin. Therefore, using a primer is vital for keeping makeup on oily-prone skin.
    *Be wary of mattifying primers. Some of them are very hard to work with and pill easily on skin, especially if you go over top of them with an oil-controlling foundation.


  3. Setting spray
    This is a lesser known tip that has made a pretty big impact on how long my oils are kept at bay. To seal in my moisturizer and primer, I mist my face with setting spray. This also creates another barrier against my natural oils and increases the longevity of my face makeup.


  4. Light foundation & spot conceal
    I learned from a makeup artist at Sephora that going heavy-handed with foundation and concealer will decrease your makeup’s longevity. And from my experiences, this is definitely true – caking my face up with extra product causes my skin to produce more oils than usual. All that extra oil breaks down the makeup, creating a cakey, greasy finish that will transfer onto anything that comes near my face. Ugh! Rather than trying to cover up every imperfection with a super matte, full coverage foundation, I use a pea-sized amount of a demi-matte foundation with medium coverage to even out my skin tone. Then, I go back in to spot conceal areas that require more coverage.


  5. Powder with damp beauty sponge under eyes & on T-zone
    …& a light dusting of powder with a big, fluffy brush everywhere else.
    I only recently started dipping my damp BeautyBlender into some translucent loose powder and using it to set the oiliest areas of my face and under my eyes. This trick seriously works! For some reason, applying loose powder with a damp beauty sponge creates an airbrushed, flawless barrier against oils. It also gives your skin this beautiful glowing, but matte finish that can’t be replicated with a brush. However, applying loose powder this way will definitely feel heavy on your skin. I can’t stand that feeling all over my face, so I’ll only set my T-zone & undereyes this way. Everywhere else, I use a fluffy brush to apply the same translucent loose powder.


  6. Setting spray
    To top off all my hard work, I give my face a light misting of setting spray. This is the final barrier against oils. It also helps all the powder I just applied to my face melt into my skin a little to give me a more natural, fresh look. I’m forever in this predicament of not wanting to look oily, but also not wanting to look super matte, flat, and powdery. This last misting of setting spray helps revive my skin a little to look more demi-matte and glowing.


  7. Blotting sheets!
    I love keeping a pack of blotting papers in my purse, whether I’m wearing a full face of makeup or nothing at all. Either way, these sheets are perfect on-the-go touch up tools for people with oily skin issues. Especially for those who keep powder compacts on them to touch up – first, use a blotting sheet to soak up your oils and then apply your powder. This will minimize your chances of looking cakey!