The 12 Best Drugstore Face Primers for Oily Skin, Recommended by Dermatologists and Makeup Artists


The 12 Best Drugstore Face Primers for Oily Skin, Recommended by Dermatologists and Makeup Artists
These drugstore primers will ensure your makeup stays put on oily skin.

If you have oily skin, keeping makeup from sliding off your face can be a constant battle. "Just like oil and water don't mix, oil and foundation don't mix," says celebrity makeup artist Michanna Murphy. "Oily skin can easily break down foundation if it's not absorbed into the skin first." This can leave your face looking greasy by lunch and your foundation looking uneven.

That's why it's especially important to apply a primer before applying makeup if you have naturally oily skin. Between SPF and foundation, primer can help create a smooth skin surface while reducing surface oil and shine, says Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles. Naturally tends to settle into a slippery look, holding makeup in place in the process.

But not just any primer will do the trick: "When you use the right primer, your makeup lasts longer," says Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York and author of " Author of Skin Rules.

How to choose the best face primer for oily skin from the drugstore
Choose an oil-free foundation: "Oil-free foundation can work wonders for oily skin because it doesn't add excess oil to the oils your skin naturally produces," says Murphy. Plus, oil-free primers often contain ingredients that mattify skin (like salicylic acid and witch hazel).

Don't skimp on moisturizer: A primer that contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid will keep your skin hydrated. Avoid dryness and your skin won't feel the need to produce excess oil to compensate for dandruff, says Dr. Shane House.

Find a concealer primer: Murphy says most people with oily skin have larger pores than those with dry or combination skin, so a concealer primer can significantly improve your look. Blurring foundation (often containing silica or dimethicone) also helps fill in pores, smooth skin texture and absorb oil.

Photo-friendly: If your T-zone is oily, consider a flashlight-friendly foundation as your go-to. "They contain talc and zinc to combat glare on the skin," says Murphy. However, if you have a darker skin tone, you should use as little product as possible because these foundations can leave an ashy or white cast on the skin, she adds.

Without further ado, here are some of the best drugstore face primers for oily skin that experts say deserve a spot in your makeup bag.
1. Rimmel London Matte Primer
Don't let the price fool you, says New York-based makeup artist Desireé Delia -- Rimmel's Stay Matte Primer is formulated to stay on for up to eight hours. It's lightweight to help minimize the appearance of pores and has a sheer formula that suits every skin tone.


2. E.l.f. Matte Putty Primer
Enriched with oil-absorbing skincare ingredients like kaolin clay and white charcoal, e.l.f's Matte Putty Primer is just what you need to keep your skin glowing this summer. It has a rich, velvety texture that's perfect for setting makeup and glides smoothly on skin for a poreless finish.

3. Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

For a smooth, pore-free look, you can't go wrong with Maybelline Baby Skin Face Primer. Its main ingredient, dimethicone, fills pores, reduces redness, and helps absorb excess oil. "It can also be used as whitewash," Lerma said.


4. L’Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Primer

To control shine and make your makeup last longer, invest in this drugstore matte primer from L'Oréal Paris. The lightweight formula glides easily onto skin, minimizing pores and hiding fine lines and wrinkles. The silky smooth surface is just an added bonus.


5. NYX Professional Makeup Shine Killer Primer
As the name suggests, NYX's Shine Killer Primer is the ultimate tool for your makeup arsenal. This oil-absorbing and anti-oil primer contains charcoal to help create a barrier between skin and makeup. It also has a light beige color that dries to a translucent matte finish. Pat it on oil-prone areas of your face, such as your forehead, nose and chin, to control shine.

6. Neutrogena Gloss Control Matte Primer + Serum

If you love using serums, then you have to try this serum-to-primer selection from Neutrogena. Can be used with or without makeup, it contains rice protein that absorbs excess oil like a sponge. It's sheer and dries to a matte finish while helping to blur pores.

7. COVERGIRL CoverGirl Outlast All Day Primer

This top-notch foundation from CoverGirl costs less than $10, but it feels a lot more expensive than it actually is. The cruelty-free formula is rich in silica, an ingredient known for filling pores and smoothing uneven skin texture. It can also be applied to transparent surfaces, so it is suitable for all skin tones.

8.REVLON Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer

This perfect primer from Revlon contains high-resolution filter technology that mimics photo filters and creates an airbrushed look. Its pink tint helps brighten skin tone and fade imperfections. The oil-free formula also leaves skin feeling lightweight.


9. NYX Angel Veil Perfect Skin Primer

This drugstore primer is essentially a copy of expensive luxury brand primers but offers the same quality at less than half the price. "It's also oil-free, contains large pore-blurring ingredients, and has a matte finish," says Murphy.


10. No. 7 Airbrush Primer

MŌDA Brush executive artist Dominique Lerma says the primer contains hydrating hyaluronic acid beads that reduce pores and fine lines and help smooth skin. If you have fairly sensitive skin, you're in luck: No7's Airbrush Away Primer is also hypoallergenic.

11. Wet n Wild Prime Focus Impossible Primer
Made with skin-loving ingredients like gooseberry and Jeju flower extracts, this all-purpose primer provides skin with extra moisture and a matte finish. The silicone-free formula ensures silky smooth application and helps minimize pores for a flawless, soft-focus look.


12. Milani Make It Last Setting Spray
Primer and setting spray in one? Yes, please! This highly rated multi-tasking setting spray really does it all. The vegan formula prepares, moisturizes and brightens your skin. This means your skin doesn’t need to produce excess oil to retain moisture. Once your makeup is complete, spray a few more sprays to set it. You can also use it as a cool and refreshing drink on hot summer days.

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