Models Considered
Hours of Research
Researchers Consulted
Reviews Analyzed

Oily Skin Buyer’s Guide: Best Primers

You’ve got your T-zone covered with the right skin care products. However, you still want something to back them up really good. The answer for longer-lasting makeup for people with oily skin is an effective face primer. Every good makeup artist uses a primer of some kind to tackle different skin concerns for flawless makeup looks that will last for hours. If you have oily skin, these are the primers to trust.

Buyers Guide

  1. What does a face primer do?

    Answer: The primer is used to create a flawless canvas for makeup products—it fills in creases, covers pores and flaky patches and it also evens out rough textures. This means any foundation, powder, blush or concealer will not settle on creases and wrinkles, get stuck on dry patches or produce a caky-looking base. It is designed to conceal, blur and refine skin texture plus allow makeup to adhere firmly on your skin and make it last for hours. Primers are available in cream, gel and liquid forms.

  2. What are the different kinds of primers?

    Answer: All face primers have the same purpose—to provide a smooth canvas for makeup to adhere. However, they are not one and the same. There are suitable primers for every skin concern—you have hydrating primers for people with dry/aging skin, color-correcting primers for ashy skin or treating redness, the mattifying kind for oily skin and more. Primers also differ when it comes to formulas and finishes.

  3. What is the difference between water-based and silicone-based face primers?

    Answer: Water-based face primers have a lightweight formula. It contains moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and provide a dewy finish. It’s perfect for those who find silicone-based primers too heavy, are allergic to silicone or want a glowing complexion. Silicone-based primers meanwhile provide an even, smooth base for makeup to slip over. This formula is also made to fill in creases and mask pores for a flawless complexion. Silicone primers often contain dimethicone, trisiloxane, polysilicone and the like in the ingredients list.

Our Top Picks


Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

  • Available in 30 ml. volume
  • Very lightweight formula
  • Up to 8-hour shine control
  • Non-greasy formula

Rimmel is a popular cosmetics brand from the United Kingdom and one of their bestsellers is their Stay Matte Primer. Making it accessible to many parts of the world is a boon for the brand since this is one of the best drugstore primers/budget-friendly products that you can take advantage of. The formula won’t feel heavy on your skin and it controls grease decently. Stay Matte also reduced the appearance of pores and the gentle formula won’t clog your skin. A nice choice for an everyday primer.


NARS Cosmetics Beauty Moisturize Pore & Shine Control Primer

  • Oil-free formula
  • Mattifies and controls shine
  • Blurs pores
  • Enriched with African whitewood and peptides

NARS is the go-to brand for the best concealer, blush and ultra-vivid lip colors. Another excellent find from the brand is their Moisturize Pore & Shine Control Primer, a lightweight, oil-free primer that’s packed with the good stuff from African whitewood, peptides and oleanolic acid. These additions help balance the skin—it reduces oiliness and reduces pores without drying out the skin. The primer also effectively improves lots of makeup looks from natural to rainbow looks.


MAC Prep + Prime Fix+

  • Formula enriched with minerals
  • Lightweight
  • Has chamomile, green tea and cucumber
  • Refreshes skin

The MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ face primer is another cult product that efficiently takes away oil for hours, decreases the appearance of pores and in general just turn the skin into a smoother canvas for the best makeup looks. The addition of soothing ingredients like green tea, cucumber and chamomile are most welcome—it refreshes the skin prior to base and makeup application. Very lightweight and won’t clog the pores.


Smashbox Photo Finish Minimize Pores Primer

  • Stops excess oil
  • Hydrates dry skin patches
  • Weightless finish
  • Contains witch hazel and salicylic acid

The Smashbox Photo Finish Minimize Pores Primer is one amazing face primer with a balanced formula—it’s capable enough to get rid of excess oil but it also helps in hydrating dryer patches on the face. This means you will get skin that is evened out, perfect for your choice foundations and eyeshadow looks. The formula also provides a silky, airbrushed finish without the weight. Its efficacy as an oil-controlling primer is due to the inclusion of zinc, salicylic acid and witch hazel in its formula.


Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer

  • Reduces appearance of pores
  • Minimizes appearance of fine lines
  • Lightweight balm formula
  • Ideal for all skin tones

The Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer will not clog pores nor leave your face greasy as a fastfood meal. It has a translucent, weightless formula enriched with a vitamin E derivative to boost the skin and hydrate it, further decreasing the appearance of fine lines. The translucent formula also makes it suitable for all skin tones. Worn alone or under makeup, you can bet your skin’s texture will improve thanks to its potent formula.


Estee Lauder The Mattifier Shine Control Perfecting Primer + Finisher

  • Reduces shine
  • Provides a silky, smooth canvas
  • Oil-free formula
  • Has caffeine and green tea extracts

The Estee Lauder The Mattifier Shine Control Perfecting Primer + Finisher is one of the best skin care splurges since you will indeed get what you’re after. The formula is quite potent in the fight against oily skin, noticeable pores and rough textures. This weightless, oil-free concoction will never leave your face dry even as it works double time to keep oil at bay. Application presents a face that is airbrushed, matte and silky smooth. A brighter skin tone is achieved as well thru its caffeine, green tea plus other plant extracts.

Make like your favorite makeup artists and invest in a good, effective face primer to keep grease at bay. The face primer is the perfect way to make your foundation and makeup looks shine—it evens out skin texture, fills in lines and creases, reduces the appearance of pores plus it makes makeup last throughout the day.