The 14 Best Primers for Oily Skin, Ranked by a Beauty Editor

Growing up with acne-prone and oily skin taught me many things. Namely, how to conceal a spot, the quickest way to take down a breakout overnight, and that moisturiser is not the enemy. It also taught me that when it came to makeup application, I had to be incredibly picky about the products I used on my face. Choosing formulas that felt light and not greasy, that wouldn't clog my pores or irritate spots, and that would minimise shine and make my makeup last longer became my top prerogative. 

My skin is much less oily now—I learned the hard way that over cleansing and scrimping on moisture was not the way to deal with it—but when I need to ensure my makeup lasts all day or stands up against hot, humid weather, I employ the same useful tips and techniques that I learned as an oily-skinned teenager.

Essentially, I know how annoying it is when your makeup has slid down your face by midday, when no amount of powder will prevent your T-zone from shining, and when your pores seem to be visible no matter how many layers of foundation you apply.



My secret weapon? Primer. These days, many of the best makeup primers are designed to hydrate skin, to add glow and radiance, and to give skin a fresh, dewy finish. But if you have oily skin, then you probably want the exact opposite. The best primers for oily skin will mattify your complexion, reducing shine, preventing oil from disturbing your foundation, blurring the appearance of pores, and keeping your makeup locked in place from dawn 'til dusk.

The best formulas rely upon ingredients like silicones to create a physical barrier between makeup and skin, while creating a smooth canvas for makeup. What's more, many primers for oily skin contain ingredients like niacinamide and salicylic acid, which help in the long term to control oil, reduce breakouts, and balance skin's moisture levels.

I've tried and tested hundreds of primers over the years, so there's no better person to share an ultimate list of the best primers for oily skin.

1. Benefit Cosmetics Porefessional Face Primer

2. The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

3. Milk Makeup Pore Eclipse Mattifying Primer

4. Beauty Pie Velvet Finish Primer

5. Refy Face Primer 

6. e.lf. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer

7. Estée Lauder The Mattifier Shine Control Perfecting Primer

8. Dr. Jart+ Pore Remedy Soothing Primer

9. Urban Decay All Nighter Face Primer

10. NARS Soft Matte Primer

11. Paula's Choice Shine Stopper

12. ONE/SIZE Beauty Secure The Sweat Primer

13. Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Primer

14. Indeed Labs Nanoblur Instant Skin Finisher

Next Up: Makeup Artists Say These 13 Concealers Fully Banish Creases, Cracks, and Flakes

Freelance Beauty Editor

Grace Day is a beauty editor and content creator. She has over 10 years of beauty-industry experience, spanning editorial, retail, and e-commerce, which gives her a unique understanding into how people shop for their beauty routines.

While studying for a history degree (specialising in the history of beauty) and working as a beauty adviser in department stores, Grace started writing her own beauty blog in order to share the products she discovered while dealing with acne. After graduating, she moved to Beauty Bay as beauty editor and content manager. Grace is currently a beauty contributor to Who What Wear. She has also written for Hypebae and PopSugar and works as a brand consultant and copywriter.