Buying a primer for oily skin can help reduce the appearance of large pores, mattify your complexion and keep your makeup in place throughout the whole day. If you've tried primers in the past that didn't quite do the trick, we're here to help you find the right one online!
In this article we compare the best primers for oily skin in the UK, from drugstore brands to cult favourites from Too Faced, Fenty, and Lancôme. whether you're looking for pore minimising, oil control, cruelty-free products or one with SPF, we've ranked the top 10 available on Amazon, Cult Beauty and Boots. Moreover, we have partnered with Makeup Artist Claire Higgins for reviewing and fact-checking the article so that we can deliver you the best information.
A qualified Beauty Therapist and Makeup Artist. I provide professional makeup services for all occasions, whether it be for a bride on their wedding day or backstage at a photo shoot. I also enjoy teaching through hosting live talks on my social media, masterclass events, and 1-1 training. My favourite style of makeup is most definitely vibrant. I love a colourful eyeshadow palette... or 10!
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Claire is a qualified Beauty Therapist and Makeup Artist; she provides professional makeup services for all occasions from bridal to backstage at photo shoots. Claire also teaches masterclass events as well as 1-1 training, and when she gets the chance, enjoys sharing her expertise hosting live talks on her social media. She's a big fan of the vibrant style and loves a colourful palette... or 10!
Oily skin is caused by excessive sebum production, leaving you with areas of greasy, shiny skin. You might notice oily skin due to a change in the weather, hormones, or it might even run in the family. Either way, while we love the au natural glow, sometimes it can get tiring having to use blotting tissue to tone down the shine - we get it.
A mattifying primer can reduce shine by absorbing excess sebum to give you a more matte complexion. Mattifying products will often contain an astringent to reduce sebum production as well as absorbing any excess oil.
Make sure to pick a long-lasting primer to ensure that it's durable enough to last all day. Otherwise, you may find the excess oil will cause your makeup slide off, meaning that the half an hour you spent perfecting your contour was wasted!
Enlarged pores practically go hand in hand with oily skin. The pores get over filled with a mixture of sebum and dead skin, causing them to clog and gradually enlarge as the clog swells. Not to mention that once the opening of the clogged pore is exposed to the air, it becomes a blackhead, commonly seen around the nose and chin areas.
Of course, you don't want to dry out your skin completely. Ingredients such as alcohol will dehydrate the skin, resulting in even more oil as your skin over produces sebum to compensate for the loss of moisture. To reduce the size pores, you need to use light formulations in your skin care routine, avoiding any emollient-heavy creams or gels that could cause clogging.
If you are looking for a product which will cover a number of skincare needs, using a BB cream is highly suggested!
A good toning primer can be a huge aid to those who struggle to manage their oily skin. You may find that when washing and prepping your face, your cleanser doesn't quite get every last scrap of dirt. This can lead to oil buildup and clogged pores that will stop your primer from working its mattifying magic.
Toning primers contain astringent and anti-bacterial ingredients to help flush your skin of any toxins. Working to penetrate deeper into the pores, a toner can help to dissolve the dirt that is held low beneath the surface to clean your skin.
Not only this, but ingredients like blue agave extract help to balance the oil production and limit excess sebum production. Just be careful, as heavily toning primers can cause the skin to dry out if they're overused.
We have a comprehensive guide on the best toners for oily skin!
To make sure that your primer does its job of combatting the glow, look for silicone-based ingredients to soak up sweat and sebum. Some key ingredient names to look for are cyclopentasiloxane, silica, mica and dimethicone.
In addition to being moisture repelling, silicone can play a large part in the healing of acne scars. If you have red or inflamed patches of acne, or you're conscious of acne scars, choose a primer that contains silicone to reduce the appearance of imperfections. Silicone creates a seamless and smooth canvas on the skin before makeup is applied, which is ideal for those suffering from texture and fine lines.
Silicone also helps to retain moisture in the skin by creating a protective barrier after carrying out skincare prep. Silicone-containing formulas also improve the longevity of the product, so the more silicone-based ingredients, the less likely your makeup will smudge.
As oily skin needs to be treated with moisture absorbing ingredients in order to mattify the skin, you may notice that your skin can become overly dry. To prevent this, choose a primer with hydrating ingredients.
Look for ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid and propylene glycol. Both of these are highly effective humectants, a type of hydrating ingredient that draws in moisture from the surrounding atmosphere to the skin.
You may also want to try moisturising ingredients such as aloe vera or fruit oils and extracts, which not only help to hydrate but nourish the skin with vitamins and antioxidants. A great bonus for oily skin as it helps to balance the skin tone!
To help keep your skin moisturised on a daily basis, check out our guide on the best moisturisers for oily skin!
The sun protection factor, or SPF, is a measurement that indicates how well a product will protect your skin from the sun's UV rays. Exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause long term and irreversible damage, affecting both your skin's appearance and health.
You'll always need a bit of SPF in your skin care routine, so what better way to apply it than by using a primer? Primers are applied closer to your skin than other cosmetics, making it more effective as a barrier against sun damage.
That said, many primers only have a low SPF rating, if any at all. So you may want to apply a high SPF sunscreen in addition to your primer on bright and sunny days or if you will be outside for prolonged periods of time.
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XX Revolution Quick FiXX Mattifying Primer
A Lightweight Primer With Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients Such As Witch Hazel
Long-Lasting and Feels Like Velvet on Your Skin
A Non-Drying Primer With Anti-Inflammatory Bamboo Extract
MAC Studio Fix Mattifine 12hr Shine-Control Primer
A Long-Lasting, Mattifying Primer Infused With Algae Extract And Witch Hazel
Lasting Matte Primer
Controls Shine for up to 9 Hours
Matte Perfection Primer
A Favourite Priming Product of Makeup Influencers
Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer
The Best Luxury Primer
Primed & Ready Mattifying Pore Minimiser
The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin
Professional Makeup Shine Killer Primer
Gives Bare Skin a Natural-Looking Matte Appearance
Beauty Pro Filt'r Mattifying Primer True Matte
A Lightweight Mattifying Formula from Rihanna's Beauty Brand
This primer from XX Revolution helps to illuminate, hydrate and blur pores. Its lightweight texture and mattifying properties makes it perfect for anyone with oily skin.
What makes this primer stand out is the inclusion of witch hazel and pink clay which are both anti-inflammatory ingredients which will help to create a smooth base and finish!
The clue is in the name, this product gives a sleek matte finish to your makeup application. The mattifying primer feels like velvet, lasts for the whole day and you only need to use a tiny bit to go a long way.
This silicone-based primer does a great job at hiding imperfections and blurring the appearance of wrinkles. It's also a fantastic product for anyone looking for a sweat resistant primer to use during the summer or on holiday.
This elegantly packaged primer is infused with bamboo extract which is packed full of benefits for oily skin. Bamboo extract aids in collagen production to help firm pores and encourage faster healing for acne prone skin.
The formulation is non-drying and binds makeup together to prevent fallout, clumping and sliding. Our concern is the durability of this product, as there is only one silicone-based ingredient it may not stand up quite as well against sweat.
One of MAC's most loved products, this mattifying primer combats visible pores, controls shine, as well as helping to improve skin texture for up to six hours.
Not to mention, it's rich in beneficial ingredients such as algae extract and witch hazel, this primer will help leave skin looking healthy and improving the quality of foundation wear.
Rimmel's Lasting Matte Primer has a smooth and silky texture that's easy to spread. In fact, you only need to apply less than a pea sized amount to instantly create a makeup-ready canvas across your entire face. With the ability to control shine for up to nine hours, this is your go-to product for any night out.
With a light and breathable texture, you will hardly tell that you're wearing this primer at all. Making it ideal for those who prefer minimal makeup.
Effectively control shine with this primer from Huda Beauty. This product is designed to minimise oil production and reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles for a matte and even skin texture.
This gel-like primer is 60% water, with a range of plant extracts to adequately moisturise and nourish the skin. The formula also contains minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium to help your skin look younger and more radiant.
Smashbox's Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer is a reliable choice given it is one of the most popular primers on the market. This gel-to-powder primer is easy to apply and creates a silky-smooth finish to the skin.
Abundant with great ingredients such as witch hazel, salicylic acid and zinc, this primer is the perfect solution for those looking to maintain an oil-free and smoother looking face throughout the day.
Collection's Primed & Ready Mattifying Pore Minimiser uses an anti-bacterial formula that contains witch hazel, a naturally astringent and anti-inflammatory ingredient used to treat acne-prone skin.
It's transparent and ultra-lightweight, so it won't cause your make-up to cake or clog your pores. Best of all, a little goes a long way and at an already affordable price, you can save yourself a bit of cash if you're buying primer on a budget!
Not-too-thick and not-too-thin, this primer's a winner in the texture department. You can wear it under makeup without it feeling too heavy for a shine-free finish, or on its own to give bare skin a natural-looking matte appearance that will last all day.
How ever you choose to apply it, make sure to combine this primer with a suncream on sunny days or if you're planning on being outside as unfortunately, this product does not provide sun protection.
With its ability to fight shine all day long, it's no surprise that Fenty's Pro Filt'r mattifying primer has become such a popular product online. The formula, which includes blue agave extract, is so lightweight that it will absorb easily into the skin, leaving only the thinnest possible layer of product to seamlessly bind with your makeup.
Although great for people with oily skin, make sure to use this product sparingly. By applying too much, you could risk drying out your skin, especially with the lack of moisturisers in the formulation.
Yes, you can wear primer without foundation. Yet, although primer will help to smoothen the appearance of skin, the majority of primers are colourless so will not give you any coverage like a foundation does.
It is important to ensure that you use moisturiser first as you need to properly hydrate your skin ready for make up. Primer, on the other hand, should be seen as the first step in your make up routine rather than part of your skincare routine!
Written and researched by Annie Speight
No. 1: Revolution Beauty ｜XX Revolution Quick FiXX Mattifying Primer
No. 2: Sleek MakeUP｜Mattifying Primer
No. 3: Honest Beauty｜Matte Primer
No. 4: MAC｜ MAC Studio Fix Mattifine 12hr Shine-Control Primer
No. 5: Rimmel｜Lasting Matte Primer
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