Best Primer for Oily Skin

I once believed that primers were just one of those unnecessary and gimmicky makeup products that no one really needed. But then adult hormones kicked in and my once perpetually oil-controlled face became, for lack of a better term, an oily and acne-prone mess. So I started getting serious about skincare and makeup. Throughout this skincare journey, my opinion on primers has massively shifted that I now depend on primer to ensure that my skincare products are locked in place for as long as possible and that my makeup won’t fall off my face. So what best primers for oily skin are most effective? See my selections for the best primer for oily skin below. Trust me—they’re worth it.

High-End Picks for The Best Primer for Oily Skin

Best Overall Primer for Oily Skin: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. All Day Oil-Free Makeup Primer with SPF 15. Vegan and Cruelty-Free. (1 Ounce).
153 Reviews
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. All Day Oil-Free Makeup Primer with SPF 15. Vegan and Cruelty-Free. (1 Ounce).
  • VEIL MINERAL PRIMER. Elevate your foundation with a silky, state-of-the-art primer that extends its wear for a perfect complexion that lasts.
  • FEATURES. This oil-free primer conceals redness (even rosacea) while minimizing the look of pores, fine lines and wrinkles to create a smooth, even canvas. Foundation glides on and stays on over the airy formula, which delivers SPF 15 sun protection and repels water so makeup always looks freshly applied.
  • HOW TO USE. Apply ½ to 1 pump of Veil Mineral Primer to clean, moisturized skin prior to concealer, foundation and powder application. This formula works with any cream, liquid and powder foundation.
  • FORMULATED WITHOUT. This product is vegan and was not tested on animals. It does not contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, nanoparticles, oil, fragrance, gluten or synthetic dyes.
  • REDEFINING CRUELTY FREE. Since its launch in 2004, Hourglass Cosmetics has been known as the cruelty free cosmetics brand. Now as they enter a new chapter, they’re redefining what cruelty free really means via research and specialized ingredients.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Ultra-Silky, Oil-Free Mineral Primer
  • SPF 15
  • 100% Vegan and Cruelty-Free
  • No parabens, oil, phthalates, sulfates, gluten, nanoparticles, synthetic dyes, or fragrance
  • Effectively Repels Water

I kid you not when I say that the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is the best face primer for oily skin on the face of the earth. Really—it is that impressive. This cult-favorite primer for oily skin is very skin-friendly and really glides on smoothly like silk. Plus, it’s truly like a smoothening “veil” for your face that it’s also hailed by women and men worldwide as the best primer for large pores (especially those pesky ones on your nose) and facial lines. It can likewise mute the redness of rosacea and acne scars and even blur pitted acne scars. I also don’t get breakouts with this primer.

And its water-resistant, no-crease, mattifying, and oil-control properties are simply unmatched. You can even do a HIIT workout or a yoga glass and your makeup will still not budge. Just pat the sweat off, spritz some mist on your face, pat dry, and your makeup will still be good to go. Likewise, while this heavenly primer is admittedly pricey, it will last you a long time because you only need half-a-pea size amount for your T-zone, less if it isn’t that hot outside.

Best Primer for Sensitive, Acne-Prone, and Oily Skin: Tatcha The Silk Canvas

Tatcha The Silk Canvas: Velvety Makeup Perfecting Primer Helps Makeup Last Longer and Instantly Perfects Skin- 20 grams | 0.7 oz
152 Reviews
Tatcha The Silk Canvas: Velvety Makeup Perfecting Primer Helps Makeup Last Longer and Instantly Perfects Skin- 20 grams | 0.7 oz
  • VELVETY PRIMING BALM of pressed silk smooths and makes makeup last longer while keeping it out of skin, helping to minimize clogged pores and breakouts. This multi-tasking skin-protecting, makeup-perfecting primer for face, eyes and lips.
  • BLURS: Silk extracts feel nourishing on skin and instantly diminish the look of pores, fines lines and imperfections for the perfect canvas before makeup. PRIMES: Silk powder makes makeup glide on more evenly and last longer, minimizing excess shine with a soft focus finish.
  • PROTECTS: Protective barrier derived from botanicals acts as a barrier between makeup and skin, helping to minimize clogged pores that can lead to breakouts. Anti-pollution natural active ingredients fight immediate attack from environmental stressors and help support the skin's barrier function to act against future attack, visibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles and dullness.
  • ENHANCES: Pink and gold pearl helps even skin tone for a healthy look. ANTI-AGING: Hadasei-3, a trinity of Japanese superfoods, green tea, rice and algae, visibly restores youthful radiance.
  • FORMULATED WITHOUT: Parabens, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, sulfate detergents, phthalates, urea, DEA or TEA. Ideal for all skin types. Non-comedogenic. Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested. Cruelty-free.

Reasons to Buy

  • Protective Priming Balm
  • Contains Natural Active Ingredients such as Silk, Gold and Pink Pearl Powder, and Tatcha’s Signature Anti-Aging Superfood Trinity, the Hadasei-3
  • Cruelty-Free
  • Non-Comedogenic, Non-Sensitizing, and Non-Irritating

The Tatcha Silk Canvas is a velvety primer in balm form that effectively protects, primes, blurs, and smoothens the skin as well as helps makeup stay on longer while reducing breakouts and clogged pores. Its silk extracts nourish the skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines, large pores, and blemishes for an even and smooth canvas. The included silk powder also helps makeup glide on effortlessly and last longer, efficiently promoting oil control with a soft focus and dewy finish.

Likewise, this balm primer’s botanical-infused protective layer keeps makeup from seeping into your skin to prevent congestion that could result in irritation or breakouts. In addition, its gold and pink pearl powders help even the skin tone, while Hadasei-3, which is basically algae, rice, and green tea extracts, helps provide that youthful glow.

Essentially, what I love about this best primer for acne-prone skin is that it’s a remarkable primer that also delivers anti-acne as well as skin-nourishing and protecting ingredients. Oh, and the smell is simply heavenly.

Mid-Range Picks for The Best Primer for Oily Skin

Best Primer for Large Pores: Benefit Cosmetics the POREfessional Pore Minimizing Face Primer

Benefit Cosmetics the POREfessional Pore Minimizing Face Primer 0.75 Ounce
407 Reviews
Benefit Cosmetics the POREfessional Pore Minimizing Face Primer 0.75 Ounce
  • Quickly minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines for smoother-than-smooth skin.
  • Apply this silky, lightweight balm alone, under or over makeup.
  • The translucent formula contains a vitamin E derivative known to protect skin.
  • Compliments All Skin Tones.

Reasons to Buy

  • Oil-Free
  • Smoothens and Conceals Huge Pores
  • Matte, Natural Finish
  • Helps Lock in Makeup and Make it Stay Longer
  • Suitable for All Skin Tones

Reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores quickly, with the cult-fave Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pore Minimizing Face Primer. As with almost all primers, you can use this alone, over, or under makeup. It also contains vitamin E to safeguard your skin from pollutants. This face primer has a balm consistency and natural-looking tint suitable for different types of skin tones.

A lot of women swear by this primer and I am one of them. Do note though that compared to the Hourglass and Tatcha primers, you may find this less spreadable so you need to  focus on applying it on areas where you really need oil-control and pore minimizing. For its price, however, it really delivers on its promises. This is an excellent option for those who prefer or need thicker coverage.  

Best Gel Primer for Oily Skin: Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Photo Finish Foundation Primer by Smashbox for Women - Transparent , 1 oz Primer
655 Reviews
Photo Finish Foundation Primer by Smashbox for Women - Transparent , 1 oz Primer
  • SMASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation Primer Unificateur Deteint, 1 Ounce
  • SMASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation Primer Unificateur Deteint, 1 Ounce
  • SMASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation Primer Unificateur Deteint, 1 Ounce
  • Cruelty-free ; Vegan

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight, Gel-type, Blurring, Oil-Free Primer
  • Infused with Antioxidants Vitamin E and A
  • Vegan and Cruelty-Free
  • Suitable for Every Skin Type

The Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Foundation Primer is a clear, gel-type primer that blurs imperfections and smoothens the skin. You can count on its mattifying and blurring properties, as well as its claim to make makeup stay on longer since it was originally developed with professional photo shoots in mind. And when they say it’s “photo finish”, it really is! I’m in love with the gel-type and lightweight finish of this primer. 

Likewise, Smashbox says that you can also use this on your hair for taming frizz. Crazy right? But yes, I tried it (fun fact: I have curly locks with the occasional frizz) and it really did help reduce the frizzies.

Best Mattifying Primer for Oily Skin: BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

BECCA – Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector, 40 ml / 1.35 oz
627 Reviews
BECCA – Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector, 40 ml / 1.35 oz
  • Silicone-free primer that controls excess oil and reduces shine
  • Gives instant skin tightening and metrifying effect
  • Offers a smooth matte surface throughout the day

Reasons to Buy

  • Oil-Absorbent Microspheres
  • Mattifying Botanical Complex
  • Skin-Balancing Antioxidants
  • Alcohol, Silicone, Fragrance, and Phthalate-Free
  • Cruelty-Free

The Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector is a liquid primer that effectively blurs pores and offers oil-control for up to 12 hours. This silicone-free, mattifying, and oil-free primer will really keep your face looking flawless and effortlessly fresh. I find that this primer is really perfect for those with super oily skin and those who exercise with the “no makeup” makeup look. If you want that ultra-matte look, this is the primer for you.

Best Skin-Nourishing Primer for Oily Skin: Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer

tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer 30 mL
49 Reviews
tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer 30 mL
  • New, with box. 100% Authentic
  • Size: Full Size 30ml / 1fl.oz
  • Tubo come with factory seal from manufacture.

Reasons to Buy

  • Skin-Nourishing, Mattifying, and Re-texturizing
  • 100% Vegan
  • Infused with Potent Skin-Loving Botanical Antioxidant Extracts
  • Lightweight Finish

The Tarte Poreless Primer is an excellent waterproof, re-texturizer, and mattifier that boasts of optical matte-blur technology that minimizes imperfections. This Tarte primer also makes your face a matte, shine-free canvas to help your foundation last for up to 12 hours. This lightweight, silky gel is likewise suitable for combination and oily skin and helps resurface uneven skin tone, huge pores, acne scars, dry patches, and fine lines.

The nutrient-rich formulation of this Tarte primer contains botanical antioxidant extracts to boost your skin’s health and safeguard it from free radicals. Aside from its potent mattifying and shine control effects, what I really love about this primer is its nourishing ingredients that you can feel upon application.

Best Primer for Combo Oily and Dry Skin: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer 1.35 oz
344 Reviews
Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer 1.35 oz
  • Got a beauty hangover? Our replenishing face primer is your instant cure. It hydrates, smoothes and brightens skin for a dewy, healthy looking finish.
  • When long days of work and late nights of play give you abeauty hangover, this is your instant cure. Hangover is a revolutionary makeupprimer infused with coconut water, probiotics and skin revivers that worktogether to boost skin’s radiance, promote elasticity and help hydrate whilelocking down makeup for fresher, longer and more flawless wear.
  • We harnessed the science of hydration to create a creamy,penetrating primer that acts like an energy drink for the skin by replenishingmoisture levels. It can be worn alone for a dewy, healthy looking finish orunder bronzers, foundations and powders to create the perfect canvas.
  • Hydrate and brighten skin. Promote skin’s elasticity and tone. Soothe and smooth the skin.
  • FULL SIZE: 1.35 fl oz - 40ml. New - with box. 100% Authentic

Reasons to Buy

  • Boosts and Hydrates Radiance
  • Promotes Elasticity
  • Smoothens and Soothes your Skin
  • Features Hydrating Coconut Water
  • Wear Under Makeup or Alone

Another cult-fave, the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer was specifically developed to provide all the great benefits of a primer with an added boost of hydration to make you look like you got at least 8 hours of sleep, even if you really didn’t. This iconic primer also features coconut water, skin revivers, and probiotics that work together to give you longer, more flawless, and fresher wear.

This replenishing primer really is an instant hangover cure for the face. It hydrates, freshens, brightens, and smoothens your face for a healthy and dewy-looking finish. It’s likewise hailed as the best primer for dry skin by women with dehydrated skin and those who love to party through the night. Best avoid if your skin reacts to coconut.

Budget Picks for The Best Primer for Oily Skin

Best Budget Primer for Oily Skin: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, Clear, 0.67 Fl Oz (Pack of 3)
99 Reviews
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, Clear, 0.67 Fl Oz (Pack of 3)
  • PORE MINIMIZER FACE PRIMER: A pore-blurring makeup primer, Baby Skin goes on like a moisturizer to help create a smooth canvas over which to apply foundation, and leaves the skin looking matte and poreless.
  • BYE BYE PORES, HELLO BABY SKIN: Apply primer, face makeup & concealer, or wear primer on a bare face for a low-maintenance look that's smooth, matte & moisturized all day. If you're looking to minimize pores, no more searching. This primer is for you.
  • BEST FACE FORWARD: Maybelline has sheer, medium, and full coverage foundation in liquid, stick, and cushion foundation formulas, and a range of concealers, plus face primers, contour, highlighter, and pressed powder to help you create a perfect canvas.
  • MAYBELLINE HAS WHAT YOU NEED to create any look--foundation, bb creams, concealers & highlighters to create a perfect canvas, eyeshadows, brow pencils & eyeliners for any eye look & lip products, from showstopping matte lipstick to au natural lip balms.
  • REMOVE MAYBELLINE MAKEUP WITH MICELLAR WATER: Use Garnier Micellar Water as a gentle makeup remover at night, and as a facial cleanser in the morning to prep skin for Maybelline makeup.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very Lightweight
  • Non-Greasy
  • Reduced the Look of Fine Lines and Huge Pores
  • Leaves Skin Feeling Supple and Smooth

The Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer is one of those super popular budget primers and for good reason. It delivers on all its claims—mattifying, pore concealing, skin softening, and oil controlling due to its dimethicone content. Its powdery finish also gives you that instant baby skin look and feel—definitely one of the best budget primers out there.

Best Long Lasting Primer for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Shine Control Primer

Neutrogena Shine Control Primer, 1 Ounce
178 Reviews
Neutrogena Shine Control Primer, 1 Ounce
  • 8 hour shine control with or without makeup
  • Extends the wear of makeup
  • Matte finish
  • Won't over dry skin or clog pores

Reasons to Buy

  • 8-Hour Oil and Shine Control
  • Extends Makeup Wear
  • Won’t Clog Pores
  • Matte Finish

The Neutrogena Shine Control Primer features a really potent shine and oil-control formula that helps extend the wear of your makeup. It also contains optical modifiers that help reduce the appearance of big pores. The non-greasy, lightweight finish of this face primer has rice proteins that efficiently absorb excess oil to give you that fresh and shine-free look throughout the day. However, if you’re sensitive to fragrance, this one has a really strong one, so think twice. 

Best Mattifying and Waterproof Primer for Oily Skin: Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer

Matte Makeup Base Primer for Face: Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer for Oily Skin - Pore Minimizer, Shine Control Make Up Primer to Hide Wrinkles and Fine Lines - Cruelty Free Cosmetics - 30g
6,100 Reviews
Matte Makeup Base Primer for Face: Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer for Oily Skin - Pore Minimizer, Shine Control Make Up Primer to Hide Wrinkles and Fine Lines - Cruelty Free Cosmetics - 30g
  • PREP AND PRIME: Get instant, mattifying results with a primer that brightens and balances skin tone
  • BYE BYE PORES: Kick visible pores to the curb and create a smooth canvas with our pore eraser primer
  • LONG LASTING: Lock down your foundation with a light weight, hydrating primer that will last all day
  • OIL CONTROL: The waterproof, non greasy formula ensures your highlight is the only thing that shines
  • NO ANIMAL TESTING: Elizabeth Mott is a cruelty free brand in PETA's Beauty Without Bunnies program. MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. If for any reason you aren’t satisfied, contact us for your money back, no questions asked.

Reasons to Buy

  • Real-Life Selfie Filter
  • Long-Lasting, Non-greasy, Weightless Finish
  • Waterproof and Sweatproof
  • Features Pearl Powder to balance and brighten uneven skin tone
  • Paraben-Free and Cruelty-Free

The Thank Me Later Face Primer from Elizabeth Mott truly gives that real-life selfie filter effect. It’s a lightweight, silky, and smooth primer that reduces the look of fine lines and pores. It likewise works overtime to mattify and keep your makeup in place. No glisten and shine, just a flawless matte finish. Of all the budget options, I love this the most for running, heavy workouts, and swimming.

Top Tips for Making The Most of Your Primer

Priming—this essential makeup step might appear like another unneeded step to add to your already extensive makeup routine. However, this is actually a very practical step if you have oily skin, noticeable pores, and don’t want to spend all day touching up your makeup.

Just as a great undergarment could easily transform your OOTD, the best primer for oily skin will blur your imperfections and make sure that your makeup products apply and look better. You can use the best foundation for large pores, but without a great primer, your foundation won’t perform as well and last as long.

That being said, finding the best primer for your specific skin profile and really making it work for you is an entirely different matter. To do this, below are some simple guidelines for selecting a primer that’s perfect for you and how to apply it the right way:

  • The most crucial thing to keep in mind when shopping for a primer is that you’re unique and your skin comes with different needs and concerns. Essentially, go for a primer that addresses your specific concerns—huge pores, oily, fine lines, dryness, imperfections, or pigmentation. 
  • Always apply primer to clean, moisturized skin, whether you’re using it alone or under foundation. Likewise, never use more than instructed, otherwise, it’s possible that pilling might occur. You’ll also be wasting your money.
  • Begin applying your primer from the center of your face, which is the T-zone, and then gently work the primer outwards and upwards.
  • Always check if the primer can be used right up your lash line because some people are very sensitive to products in that specific area. If you’re one of these people, look for an eye primer to help keep your under eye concealer and foundation locked in.

Key Things to Keep in Mind

A skin prep routine is a vital part of any great makeup routine, and primer is simply an often-necessary finishing touch to your skin prep, especially if you have hard-to-control oily skin. It will really make a significant difference in how long your makeup stays put and looks.

Just as painting a wall requires paint primer for an even and smooth base, the same is true for your face—thoughtfully choosing a primer that fits your particular needs will substantially elevate your makeup’s appearance and wear. Put simply, if you want to control oil on your face, blur all kinds of imperfections, or give your skin a boost of protection and nourishment, you need to use a primer.

From budget to high-end, our list above highlights the best primers for oily skin. Of course we’re curious, which primer did you choose to go with and why that specific primer? Share your thoughts below!

Concerned about facial hair, particularly nose hair? Read our review on the Best Nose Hair Trimmer. You may also like these reviews: The Best Epilator and the Best Blackhead Remover.

Additional Resources:

Allure

https://www.allure.com/story/how-to-use-makeup-primer

Byrdie

https://www.byrdie.com/how-to-apply-primer