Primer is an often-overlooked but important step in your beauty routine; it preps skin so makeup is easier to apply and will last longer without slipping off. But if you have oily skin, it can be a challenge to find the right one—in the same way that it’s often difficult to find a foundation for oily skin, many primer formulas might make a dry complexion look glowy and radiant, but would deliver far too much shine for skin that’s naturally oily.
We polled makeup artists to find out which primers will actually combat excess oil, not increase shine. Here, their top picks.
Embryolisse Hydra Mat Primer
Looking to eliminate oil but amplify radiance? Makeup artist Jami Svay recommends this primer by French beauty brand Embryolisse. “Glowing skin is an achievable goal for everyone,” she says. “This doesn’t zap out the natural luster of your skin, but helps to control the oil.”
NeoStrata Oil Control Gel
“The more you use it the better it works, but you will notice a major improvement with the very first use,” says makeup artist Mickey Williams of this oil-absorbing, anti-aging primer. “It creates a velvety matte barrier. Makeup sets onto the gel weightlessly, which makes it ideal for anyone who doesn’t like to layer or wear a lot of makeup.”
Physician’s Formula Insta Ready Face Primer
For a drugstore option, makeup artist Joanna Schlip loves this Physicians Formula primer for its lightweight feel. “It wont clog pores, it feels weightless, and has a silky finish that works great with cushion, cream-to-powder foundations, and BB creams for oily skin.”
Smashbox Blemish Control Primer
Makeup artist Azra Red chose this fan favorite as one of her top picks. “It contains salicylic acid that treats blemishes and helps with oil control,” she says.
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer
To maintain a matte look all day long, makeup artist Neil Scibelli loves this MUFE primer in the matte base formula. “The translucent primer instantly minimizes pores and oil production throughout the day,” says Scibelli. “And it won’t change the texture of makeup when applied over it.”