Make Up like a Pro: Tips for Oily Skin

It seems like most makeup is designed for people with normal skin, meaning those with oily skin are constantly battling excessive shine, highly visible creases, or caking.

Never fear! By following just a few simple steps and recommendations, your makeup can look matte, even, and fresh as the moment you put it on.

Cleanse and Moisturize Your Face First

Many women get to enjoy the luxury of washing their face and applying moisturizer at night, then simply waking up the next morning and applying makeup without any additional preparation. Women with oily skin are unfortunately not so lucky.

Your skin is busy repairing itself overnight, and for oily skin types, that also means your skin builds up a layer of oil overnight. Gently removing this oil by washing your face will give you a much better base to work on.

And don’t forget moisturizer. So many women with oily complexions think that moisturizer isn’t necessary. But there’s a difference between moisture and actual hydration, and the natural oil you produce isn’t enough to keep your skin fully moisturized. Look for water-based moisturizers, or products specifically recommended for oily skin. You are aiming to hydrate your skin, not make it more oily.

Apply Primer

Applying a makeup primer all over your face will give you a much sturdier and more even base on which to build. Choose a primer marketed for oily skin, or one that promises to help maintain a matte finish.

If you have issues with eye makeup looking cakey and creased after a few hours, try an eye makeup primer (yes, this is a different product than foundation primer) that reduces oil. Eye makeup can be especially susceptible to oily skin, so a primer specifically for eyes can be a real game changer.

Apply an All-Over Matte Foundation

Some women with oily skin make the mistake of applying foundation only on the oily areas in an attempt to even things out. This is actually not the best way to go.

Instead, be sure to apply foundation all over your face using a light stippling motion with a foundation brush. On especially oily spots such as your T-zone, you actually want to go very light on foundation, not heavy.

This may go without saying, but look for a matte foundation and avoid any products that are oil-based, or that include terms such as “luminous,” or “extra moisture.”

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Apply Translucent Loose Powder

The pressed powder compact has been a handbag staple for decades, but it’s not the best approach if you have oily skin. Pressed powder tends to clump when it meets oily skin, drawing attention to the issue rather than camouflaging it.

If you have ever noticed your powder compact has developed hard-packed shiny spots, this is due to the oil on your skin transferring to the makeup itself. See? They just don’t get along.

A loose, translucent powder applied with a powder brush and a light hand is much more effective at reducing excess shine, and setting your makeup.

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Your New Best Friends: Blotting Papers and Setting Spray

Blotting papers are a great way to remove excess oil. These are very thin tissue paper-like sheets that absorb oil away from your skin, giving you a cleaner surface for touch-ups.

Setting spray is an all-over face spray designed to reduce oil, keep your makeup looking matte, and generally set everything in place. It’s perfect for the office, evenings out, or any other time you would normally reach for a powder compact.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with oily skin is to not sabotage your own efforts. Look for products specifically designed for your skin type, and use makeup which advertises a matte finish.


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