10 Best Primers for Oily Skin

Almost everybody loves an uncomplicated makeup look. But if you have oily skin, you might find your makeup slips and slides all over the place.

Made with pore-blurring, oil-absorbing ingredients, a primer for oily skin could be just the thing you need to keep your makeup in place.

Primer is designed to keep your skin shine-free and matte for hours. Applied properly, the best blurring primer for oily skin helps your makeup apply smoothly and adhere well for a long-lasting, even finish.

Silicone-based or not, a primer for oily skin is a fast-track way to even-looking skin.

Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer_10 Best Primers for Oily SkinPixi Flawless Beauty Primer_10 Best Primers for Oily Skin

We’ve rounded up the top 10 makeup primers for oily skin to get you started.

Designed to help reduce the look of enlarged pores and fine lines, this vegan & cruelty-free face primer makes oily skin look fresh and smooth. Especially designed for skin that gets shiny quickly, this formula creates a matte look. An ideal blend for oily skin, elf Poreless Face Primer contains Tea Tree to tackle blemishes and other imperfections. Vitamin A and Vitamin E work together to help damaged skin look healthier and more even. The skin-loving, anti-ageing ingredients in this primer also help protect the skin from free radical damage (e.g. pollution). The smooth canvas this primer creates helps your favourite foundation adhere—but you can also wear primer on its own for a ‘me-but-better’ look.

Creating cult products aplenty, Napoleon Perdis is a brand that wants you to reach your potential. If you’re dealing with greasiness AND blotchiness, this could be the best primer for oily red skin. A shine-control formula that won’t break you out, it smooths and evens your complexion whether you wear makeup or not. Just a small amount creates a smooth base for any foundation or concealer you want to apply. If you’re constantly touching up your face, a good primer can stop your makeup from separating, especially around your nose (such a common problem area). For optimal results, apply this formula with a foundation brush and let it set before following with foundation.

If your skin shines day and night, you won’t go too far wrong with a silicone based primer for oily skin. Cruelty-free, vegan, and artificial fragrance-free, The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer may be the best inexpensive primer for oily skin out there. It's adaptive Silicones hydrate the skin while blurring the look of imperfections and improving makeup longevity. This smoothing formula keeps your skin nourished and healthy-looking, no matter what your age. A non-greasy hydrator that helps reduce the look of your pores, this formula keeps your skin looking its best so you can crack on with your day. Apply a small amount and feel free to use your fingertips to blend it in.

There’s no doubt about it: Giorgio Armani has established itself as a must-have beauty brand over the past few years. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer moisturises, increases the longevity of makeup, and adds new radiance to dull-looking skin. Oily skin still needs a hit of hydration every now and again. This luminating primer leaves skin soft and prepped for any products you want to layer on top. Your foundation will apply more evenly and give your skin a luxurious-looking glow. Crafted to keep the skin hydrated for up to 48 hours, this blend benefits even rough, textured skin.

Made with special-effect Silicones that create a smooth base for makeup, M.A.C Cosmetics Prep + Prime Skin has a lightweight texture that wears well. Great to layer under foundation, concealer, or powder, this primer also works on its own to even out bare skin. Designed to give your skin a natural, radiant finish, this primer also contains calming botanical extracts. Algae, Green Tea, and Mulberry reduce redness and soothe irritation. The antioxidants in the blend help protect the skin from any damaging agents. And the optical diffusers give the skin a long-lasting glow. If you have oily, shiny skin, this lightweight texture won’t sink into your pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Yves Saint Laurent formulas are always illuminating, always full of goodness. Harnessing the same magical light of cult classic Touche Eclat, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Blur Primer evens your skin texture and blurs imperfections. Suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin, this non comedogenic face primer doesn’t cause or aggravate breakouts. Crafted to minimise the look of fine lines and wrinkles, this primer smooths the skin and prepares it for makeup. If you have dry patches (or combination skin), this skin-loving formula will help balance your complexion and leave it beaming with health. Apricot Kernel Oil and Maracuja Oil hydrate the skin without leaving a greasy residue. Apply a small amount to the centre of your face and blend outwards for best effect.

One of the best primer for extremely oily skin, this gentle blend of natural fruit extracts minimises the look of pores and helps reduce shine. The sulphate-free, cruelty-free, vegan primer is formulated to keep oily skin looking fresh and smooth. Working to control the amount of oil on your complexion, this Smooth Affair blurs the look of fine lines and also soothes inflammation and redness. Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener is made with fruit extracts help brighten the skin. Jojoba Seed mimics your own sebum, so the skin can relax its production of oil.

INIKA Certified Organic Matte Perfection Primer has oil-absorbing properties, which minimise the look of shiny patches and stop your foundation from separating. This primer has been formulated with active botanical ingredients that help prevent a gleaming T-zone. INIKA relies on only high-performing, vegan, cruelty-free, and toxin-free ingredients. INIKA Certified Organic Matte Perfection Primer helps calm redness and skin sensitivity with Willow Bark Extract. Willow Bark, along with Organic Liquorice Root, also helps hold back excess oil production. And the gentle, lightweight mix feels comfortable on your skin.

Cruelty-free Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer creates an even base and a soft, healthy-looking complexion. Whether you apply foundation or not, this tinted formula helps even out your skin’s tone. The primer is also loaded with impressive ingredients that target the more annoying signs of ageing. This clever formula smooths uneven texture, blurs fine lines and imperfections, and adds radiance. If you have oily skin, this primer will help even out the look of your skin and help keep shiny patches to a minimum. The Hyaluronic Acid in this mix helps plump your skin with moisture to give you a hydrated look. Vitamin E helps maintain the condition of your skin and provides antioxidant protection.

One of the best mattifying primers for oily skin.
One of the best mattifying primers for oily skin.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Shine Control Primer tames the look of frustrating shine and also helps reduce the appearance of pores. Designed to even out the skin’s texture and tone, this blend is easy to layer comfortably under foundation. Made especially for oily and combination skin, this primer won’t interfere with the colour of your foundation. An oil free silicone based primer, this formula is crafted to make makeup application effortless, which is why it can be found in professional makeup artist kits across the globe. Great for all ages, this lightweight formula can be worn alone if you just want a smooth, even complexion without ‘makeup’.

Makeup Artist, Amelia takes us through which primer to use for different skin types in the video below...

Does oily skin need primer?

Frankly, all skin types can certainly benefit from the right primer. You’ll create a good canvas for any powders or liquids you want to layer on when you apply a primer first. Most primers typically contain Polymers that create a smooth finish with or without foundation. But the best mattifying primer for oily skin contains special ingredients such as Silica to reduce shine.

Primers especially designed for oily skin help keep your makeup in place and combat excess sebum production. Working with your natural skin type (rather than fighting it), oily skin primers keep makeup matte and colour-true. As well as reducing areas of high shine, an illuminating primer will keep your skin looking glowy but not greasy.

Is hydrating primer good for oily skin?

Yes, a hydrating primer is good for oily skin. Just because you struggle with shiny skin, doesn’t mean that your skin is well hydrated. Primers with Hyaluronic Acid keep your skin plump and healthy-looking. The best blurring primer for oily skin doesn’t strip moisture from your face; instead, it keeps the skin looking soft as you layer other makeup on top.

If you have oily skin, you might also deal with blackheads and blemishes. Helping blur the look of acne and imperfections, an oil free primer for your face won’t trigger acne-prone skin. Battling shine that crops up around the T-zone, a hydrating primer for oily skin might also contain Salicylic Acid and Witch Hazel.

Is silicone based primer good for oily skin?

Put simply, yes, a silicone primer is good for oily skin types. When you have oily skin, sebum can creep out from your pores and dislodge your foundation and concealer. That’s what gives you a patchy look! If you have shiny skin that’s hard to keep covered, you'll help your makeup last longer when you prime your skin.

Designed to mattify your skin, a silicone-based primer is more often than not oil-free, so it won’t add to your slick-skin issue. If you do decide to use a silicone-based primer, it’s important you give your skin a good cleanse at night.

We get it: when you’re sleepy and just want to crawl into bed, removing your makeup is the last thing on your mind. But when you use a silicone primer, it’s a good idea to just do the damn removal thing. Although it locks in moisture (good!), a silicone-based formula can also trap bacteria and excess sebum on your skin (bad!). Without a decent cleanse, you could experience a breakout or two.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

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