Makeup tips for oily skin

B BeingcoolBeauty 31 Comments

I have oily skin.

In the past, this was something I was ashamed of, as if it was something I could fix by not doing something or by doing something better.

Over time, I have come to realise that this is just my skin. I can’t actually change the amount of oil I produce. Sure, there are things that can help, but my skin is my skin and I have had to learn to live with it.

Today, I thought I would share my makeup tips for oily skin.

As with all makeup application, it is actually what happens BEFORE you put make-up on that makes all the difference.

I have a bit of an unconventional view of looking after oily skin, I learnt these things through a skin specialist who was finally able to sort some of my skin issues out.

  • Don’t over clean your skin: it can be tempting to wash and wash and wash oily skin but this can create more oil. Wash your face once in the morning (if it needs it) and twice at night to get rid of make-up.
  • Don’t be tempted to use scrubs a lot: a scrub is great for getting rid of dead skin cells but, used too often, they can encourage your skin to produce even more oil. One to two times a week is plenty.
  • Don’t use too many lotions and creams: one advantage of oily skin is that it moisturises itself. I don’t use any night creams or moisturises and haven’t for years, my skin has become used to producing just enough moisture from the inside. Also, folks with oilier skin have less wrinkles – true.
  • Do use a vitamin serum (or similar) and an eye cream: there are some things that can help to give a better skin texture and provide nutrients for your skin. If you are over 25, use an eye cream. You will be glad you did when you cross over into the bigger digits.
  • Do use a sunscreen: everyone should do this. Everyone. Choose one that doesn’t clog your pores.
  • Do drink lots of water: everyone should do this, but, for those of us with oily skin, this is key to cleaning out your system and avoiding lots of blockages (zits, pimples etc).
  • Do keep your hair clean: if you have oily skin, you probably have oily hair. Keeping hair clean can have a great impact on the oil levels on your face too.

Okay now that we have talked skin preparation, we can talk makeup.

The first rule is that you are to avoid anything that BLOCKS your pores.

So look for products that are paraben free, non-comedogenic, sulfate-free and oil-free.

Most makeup products list their ingredients, the good ones even list the things they DON’T have.

There are lots of these kinds of products around these days, they are easy to source and you will be glad you found them.

Following are the steps I use when applying make-up:

1. Begin with clean skin.

2. Apply a skin essence or vitamin serum and eye cream. Allow a minute or so for it/them to soak into skin.

3. Apply a sunscreen – unless this included in your BB cream or make-up.

4. Apply a primer – or – if you are using a BB cream, skip this step.

5. Apply concealer under your eyes and to spots you may need/want to cover up.

6. Apply BB Cream (unless you used a primer) or foundation. Allow a minute or two for this to set.

7. Apply a loose powder with a clean makeup brush in light outward strokes.

8. Apply the rest of your makeup: eyeliner, mascara, blush, lipstick.

9. Give yourself a cheeky grin and be ready to face the day.

10. Try not to touch up your makeup too much through the day, by adding more and more and more powder will block your skin and leave it looking cakey and dull.

Here are the items I use every day for everyday wear. Most of these items can be bought in department stores or even in your local supermarket.

Make-Up for Oily Skin

1. Burts Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser

2. Sk-II Facial Treatment Essence

3. Burts Bees Radiance Eye Cream

4. Garnier BB Cream (I don’t use one for oily skin, I find it too drying). Find this in your supermarket

5. Dermalogica SkinPerfect Primer

6. Covergirl Eye Concealer. Find this in your supermarket

7. Brushes. Buy good quality and clean them regularly

8. Nude Loose Powder – non clogging, lasts for ages.

9. Eyes – you don’t really need special oil free products for eyes, however, I like my make-up to stay put. These brands have worked for me:

Mascara: Bourjois Beauty Full Volume  in Black

Eyeliner: Rimmel Scandaleyes in Sparkling Black 

Eyebrow Pencil: Rimmel in Hazel 

10. Boujoir Blush in Rose d’Or

11. Red lipstick. Wear it with pride. Really, you can’t go wrong with a pop of colour.

Having oily skin needn’t be a drama. It just requires some care.

My husband has dry skin and just can’t seem to get enough moisture, so I figure we all have issues with whichever skin type we have.

I have been to beauty counters and doctors and naturopaths and sales ladies who come to your door in apricot coloured cars (you know who I mean) and  I have scrubbed, applied, cleansed, wiped, sprayed and blotted my skin with almost all of the latest fads.

But, what I found to have worked the best is to simplify, to use a few really great products that work and to give my skin a break.

Do you have oily skin? What brands and products have you found to work for you? 

B BBeingcool B writes over at I write about fashion, food and life.

Comments 31

  1. I thought I had dry skin for years but I actually just had dehydrated skin. By exfoliating three times a week and upping my water intake, now I’ve got normal skin. I’m starting to develop a bit of an oily T zone though as I’m getting older – what’s with that?!

    Have you tried an eyeshadow primer for your eyelids, B? Even if you’re not wearing eyeshadow, it will absorb oil on your eyelids and brighten the area. I’m loving Urban Decay eyeshadow primer at the moment, but for not much more than a chai latte, Face of Australia’s matte one is very good.

    1. I have an ‘eye primer’ which is good, but I am a bit forgetful in the mornings… I will check it out the one you mentioned though. I have found that by using better quality products, I don’t get as much rubbing off.

      Age is a funny thing, you think you have something sorted and then BAM something changes. Keeps us on our toes I guess…

  2. I suffer oily skin too B, and another thing I’ve found that really helps to avoid horrid breakouts is to change my pillowcase twice a week. It’s made a HUGE difference to my skin. Great post x

  3. I have oily skin and my recent and best discovery has been using coconut oil as cleanser, works fantastically. Simply apply to skin and rinse off with hot water and a clean washer. It removes eye make up and the added bonus is my eyelashes are looking longer and stronger than they have in years. It will bring out impurities in your skin but shortens the life cycle of spots and virtually eliminates blackheads. I am in my 40’s and have had oily skin all my life. Coconut oil also works well on teenage acne and prevents the skin from drying. I now only use an oil as a facial moisturiser Antipodean Divine facial oil and am amazed that doing the opposite with my skincare routine has worked so well.

    1. Oh wow! How amazing! I will have to look into this!

      I have a friend who uses baking powder and coconut oil as a deodorant – very good for your skin and VERY economical!

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. I am an oily skin sister too, B!
    Absolutely agree with you 100% – the simpler the routine, the better. I’ve found cutting out a myriad of products has actually helped my skin, as has sticking to natural based skincare products.
    Also…DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE! This was a terrible habit of mine and one I am still in the process of breaking.
    My husband also has super dry skin. He uses the Bulldog men’s skincare products (found in Woolies) and for moisturiser uses Rosehip Oil. He found regular moisturisers did nothing for his skin and though he bucked my suggestion for weeks (claiming Rosehip Oil sounded like it was for girls), he now cannot live without it!

    1. Oh girl…we are oily sisters and our husbands are dry skin brothers! Mr Cool uses rosehip in winter….

      I agree with the no touching your face, makes a big difference!

      The simpler the better is so true. The less my skin has to deal with, the healthier it is. It is easy to think that we need to ‘fix’ our skin – but, really, our skin knows what it needs, we just need to let it do its thang!

      Thanks for stopping by. XX

  5. I have ridiculously oily skin! Not helped by the fact that I currently live in hot and steamy Singapore. One thing that I adore is my oil blotting papers, I use one mid afternoon to soak up all the oil and I feel as fresh as a daisy afterwards. I use Sephora ones here in Singapore, but in Australia I loved the MAC ones and I think the Body Shop may do some as well?

      1. They soak up the oil and sort of leave a fine powder finish. If I don’t feel like reapplying my makeup (ie. I’m not going out anywhere that evening), I feel refreshed just using the blotting paper. If I have somewhere to go, I will simply reapply a little finishing powder and I’m good to go! Well worth a try.

        1. I also find these very good and like Barb I use a couple mid-day to de-oil, then pat a little more of my regular powder on top and that sees me through til the end of the working day. The best ones I’ve found here in the UK are Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets – there’s no powder on them, but somehow they soak up oil brilliantly. Sadly they’re now discontinued, but I just picked up 10 packs of 50 on ebay for a song! ; )

  6. Thanks B for this post- as an oily skin girl and acne sufferer, even at 36 which sucks, I am finally off the pill and trying to deal with the breakouts, so this info helps alot.

    1. Oh wow… you and I could be twins!

      I think water and some zinc is probably a great place to start too. I think our skin shows how well we are on the inside, to a point anyway.

      All the best with your skin journey! Being an adult with pimples is the pitts, been there, doing that!

  7. No I have very dry skin and have done for a while,could be due to my *ahem age ,but I do love Dermalogica Primer it works on both oily and dry skins.I will tell my sons Girlfriend to have a look at this post though as she has oily skin,Thanks for this Post B!

    1. Oh Lisa, thank you!

      My husband has really dry skin, it makes me appreciate the skin I have – he has to apply moisturiser at least 3 times a day! No time for that!

  8. I have really oily T Zone and swear by Revlon’s Photo Ready powder to finish up after applying a light liquid foundation. I go without makeup whenever I can to avoid excess cleansing.

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