Makeup Tips for Oily Skin That Will Keep You Looking Fresh All Day Long

<p>Andry5 / Getty Images</p>

Andry5 / Getty Images

The best makeup tips for oily skin can be a game-changer for keeping your beauty look on point. For starters, the excess oil associated with oily skin can challenge even long-wear makeup formulas, allowing them to slide or smudge throughout the day. On top of that, sweat and heat during the summer can speed up that process — which can be discouraging at best.

Whether you've been meaning to try a '70s-inspired beauty look or just perfect your classic winged-liner, it's hard to see makeup you applied in the A.M. rundown your face by midday. To find a solution, we tapped professional MUAs Christin Cook and Nicole Bueno.

Meet Our Expert

  • Christin Cook Zito is a professional makeup artist based in Nashville, Tenn.

  • Nicole Bueno is a celebrity makeup artist. She has worked with Janelle Monae, Tiffany Haddish, and Laverne Cox, among others.

Ahead, they let us in on their best tips for locking your makeup into place come oil, sweat, or sun.

Cleanse Thoroughly

Starting with a good base is key to your makeup looking its best — meaning, investing in the proper skin-care routine is a non-negotiable. Begin by washing your face with a cleanser made especially for oily skin. Not only will it remove any sebum that built up overnight, but it will also help to prolong the wear of your makeup.

You may even want to opt for a double-cleanse, suggested Zito. She likes to use a makeup wipe to give skin a first pass before washing it with a rinse-off cleanser to remove oil, plus any residual makeup, dirt, and debris.

Moisturize Properly

While it seems counterintuitive, oily skin still requires moisture. If your skin isn't properly moisturized, it may overcompensate by producing even more oil.

"A lot of people don't realize that excess oil can actually be caused by dry skin, and the body is producing extra oil to combat the dryness," explained Zito.

A toner with a humectant, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid, will help draw that hydration into the skin. Zito preps clean skin with Embryolisse Mattifying Moisturizer or Danessa Myricks Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder in Universal, both of which absorb excess sebum and reduce shine.

Related: The 9 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Prep with Primer

While it seems like a nice-to-have rather than a necessity, makeup primer falls into the latter category when it comes to oily skin. It works to set the base for makeup to grip onto and blur uneven texture. Bueno even recommended using a dedicated eye primer, too, as the eyelids tend to get oily. Try Urban Decay Primer Potion or MAC Cosmetics 24hr Extend Prep+Prime Eye Base.

Related: We Have Hopelessly Oily Skin, but These Primers for Oily Skin Make Us Look Shine-Free and Flawless

Make It Matte

Whether skin care or makeup, choose products with the right ingredients to leave skin matte and velvety — but not overly flat. Zito and Bueno suggested looking for oil-free products. Also, avoid occlusive ingredients like beeswax. These can feel heavy on the skin and cause dehydration, which can lead to excess oil production and potentially clog pores.


Opt for powder-based, long-wear formulas for complexion products like your blush, bronzer, and highlighter. Bueno is especially fond of silicone-based or mineral products, which can help absorb oil throughout the day.

Add Radiance

While makeup tips for oily skin usually aim for matte as the goal, a slight sheen to skin will add warmth and dimension — in other words, you don't want to eliminate shine entirely. So consider adding a drop of liquid highlighter to your foundation before applying it directly onto your face.

"It adds glow without compromising the formulas of the other products," said Zito, who blends Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter into foundation to get that glow from within.

Also, find the right balance between matte- and radiant-finish products. For instance, you can pair an oil-free, mattifying foundation with a hydrating concealer to add dimension and light, noted Bueno.

Set Your Look

As with makeup primer, setting spray might seem unnecessary; however, Zito and Bueno said otherwise.

"After I finish the makeup process, I always use a setting spray on oily clients to seal everything," said Zito, who recommended Urban Decay De-Slick Spray or the Cinema Secrets Super Sealer Mattifying Setting Spray. Meanwhile, Bueno is a fan of One/Size On 'Til DawnSetting Spray since it locks makeup in as if it were waterproof.

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