How to Apply Makeup on Oily Skin
August 28th, 2020

How to Apply Makeup on Oily Skin

I've lived with oily skin all my life. And I have finally - some 40 odd years later - finally learnt how to apply skincare and makeup so that it helps balance my skin and controls the oil slick WITHOUT drying it out. 

Trust me - I've been a Beauty Editor, an Editor in Chief and a beauty junkie this entire time. I've tried every product and know every trick. Here are the definitive tips that WILL work. 


1. Gel cleanser

Because of course it starts with skincare, and cleansing is important.

I still can't get my head around a cream cleanser, they just leave too much of the product on my skin for me to like, but a beautiful gel cleanser (KEY: NON-FOAMING) is a must to get your oily skin balanced.

If you use a foaming cleanser, you'll end up drier than you should be and then your skin will overcompensate by producing more oil. So it might feel fine at first, but in 30 minutes? Oil slick.

Stop the cycle, use a gentle cleanser. Give up the bubbles. You do not want squeaky clean skin, that's just asking for more oil!


2. Use a face oil

I can't stress this enough. I avoided anything oil-based all through my 20's and 30's because I was afraid it would make me oilier. Nothing, not a cleanser, moisturiser, foundation or a blush touched my skin if it had oil in it. My skin ended up dehydrated. 

What its craving is OIL. A good face oil will hydrate without clogging and without giving you pimples. It will not dry your skin out (like oil-free products) which prompts it to make more oil.

A BRILLIANT face oil (like Recreation Vibrant Skin), will actually smooth your skin out, taking away tiny bumps underneath the skin and put an end to the clogged pores. It will balance your oil production like nothing you've ever used before. It will also provide a gorgeous, smooth, glowing base for you to put makeup on top of. 

Skip the moisturiser if you're using Vibrant Skin and you've got oily skin - it's enough. 

The rest of skincare is up to you but remember what will dry you out and therefore make your skin produce more oil are things like Alcohol-based toners (that Clinique phase did my skin in real good) and anything that doesn't hydrate without clogging. You still need hydration for oily skin.


3. Massage into face with a gua sha or sculpting face tool

It helps to get the circulation going into your skin and helps prime your skin for the incoming makeup, not to mention the long-term detoxifying and lymphatic drainage benefits. Try Recreation's jade gua sha.

4. Use a pore reducing primer

My favourite is the IT cosmetics Bye Bye Pores which has niacinamide in it but find one that is right for you. Rae Morris also has a good one in a compact that is basically just various silicones which leaves you matte, with slip. Experiment here. Whatever leaves you less oily throughout the day is the one you're after. 

5. Start with a liquid foundation

The liquid foundation you use is up to you, my favourite clean matte foundations are the Jane Iredale Beyond Matte Liquid Foundation and the Ere Perez Quinoa Foundation. And my favourite but unfortunately not-clean matte foundations are the Hourglass Immaculate and Chanel Ultra Le Teint Velvet. Create a light base with any of these.

You can stop here if you just want your makeup to last a few hours.

For longer? There are two tricks from here. 

6. Primer THEN Liquid foundation

If you are a liquid-foundation-all-the-way-gal, you want to skip step number 4, go straight to Step 5: foundation on moisturised skin.

Then after you apply one layer of foundation, let it dry and add a thin layer of primer on TOP. Let it dry (wait at least one minute, more if poss) and apply a layer of foundation on top of that primer. 

THIS WORKS and lasts much longer than if you applied your primer first. Plus keeps the natural, liquid foundation finish that has glow without being powdery. You're welcome

7. Finish with a mineral powder foundation

If you are more hardcore than sticking with liquid, and really want long lasting all day coverage that doesn't clog your skin and cause breakouts like long-wearing liquid formulas: Double up with a mineral powder foundation.

Yes, on top of the liquid foundation. (So skip step 6, that's an alternative to step 7, do one not both).

For a big day/night out, nothing beats the combo of liquid foundation then mineral foundation on top of it.

You then don't need powder. Your natural oils mix with the mineral foundation and it settles into the smoothest combination you never thought was possible after about 30 mins - which is when we want it to look its best anyway. 

Best mineral foundations include Inika Mineral Makeup and the Jane Iredale Mineral Pressed Foundation.

From here you can add on - highlighter, bronzer, blush etc. 

This is a guide to creating a glowy, non-shiny base that lasts the distance.

Let me know how you go in the comments! 


Photo: @itsnicoleelise

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