Makeup Tips for Oily or Combination Skin

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Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

It’s a Savvy Sunday and I’m here to share another one of my makeup and beauty tips. These tips will be for those with oily or combination skin, but will also be a good read for those with normal to dry skin.

I was chatting with my cousin-in-law (who’s not really into makeup but reading my blog had sparked her interest) earlier this week and she asked me for tips on how to control her oiliness. She wants to use a foundation or BB cream that’s not too pricey, but hates retouching every few hours. So, I had recommended a very affordable foundation to her, and in answer to her question, I came up with this post.


Step 1
Cleanse and Moisturize

Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

Having a clean and well-moisturized skin is very important before putting on makeup. The common mistake of people with oily or combination skin (like me) is that we tend to think that because our skin is already oily that we don’t need to moisturize anymore because it’ll just make us more oily. I found out that this is not really the case. When we don’t moisturize, our skin gets dehydrated and produces more sebum in the process, thus aggravating the problem. Having more sebum also tends to produce more pimples and skin problems.

Another thing that we should remember is not to wash our face too often. However important having a clean face is, washing it 2 to 3 times a day is already enough. Washing often dries out the skin and again causes more sebum production. When I feel that my face is getting oily, instead of washing, I just use a good blotting paper to rid of the excess oil.

I use Tony Moly Premium Snail Intense Care Snail Foam Cleanser to wash my face with, and then moisturize with Tony Moly Premium Snail Intense Care Snail Cream.

Step 2
Prime and Mattify

Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

Using a primer does make your makeup last longer, evens out the skin texture and makes pores look less obvious. There are also primers that not only prolongs your makeup longevity, but also controls shine and oiliness and aids in having a matte finish. If I want a matte and shine-free finish, I alternate between Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer and Make Up For Ever Face Matifying Primer. I only apply the mattifying primer on my T-zone and a little bit on my cheeks, and not on my whole face.

The primer acts as a protective barrier between my skin and makeup, and helps absorb sweat and prevent oiling up on these areas. If I am using a new foundation or moisturizer, sometimes I still do get the shine. In these instances, instead of touching up with a powder, I just blot the shine or sweat away using a blotting paper.

Sometimes I still forget, or am just too lazy, to use a mattifying primer, and when I’m having too much fun at a party that I forget to blot away the shine, I tell you that it’s definitely not a pretty sight! Dewy-ness overload. Lol!

Step 3
Choose an Oil-Free Foundie

Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

Unless you are going for a dewy look, stay away from moisturizing foundations. Based from my own experience, moisture-rich foundations such as Koh Gen Do Aqua or Chanel Vitalumiere Hydra tend to fade easily when my face starts to get shiny. Mixing a little bit of sweatproof sunblock with the foundation will help prevent fading for hours, but this breaks me out.

I’d much rather use foundations that are oily skin-friendly. Oil-free liquid foundations are recommended for those with oily skin, but you still would have to test a product if it’ll work on you because we all have different skin types and sensitivity. I once bought a Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation without testing it, thinking that it’ll work on me, but I ended up giving it away because it didn’t control my oil and shine, and just gave me pimples.

My HG Oil-Free foundations are DiorSkin Star Studio foundation (reviewed here), Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover foundation and Chanel Perfection Lumiere.

Step 4
Set It with Powder

Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

Never forget to set your makeup with powder to ensure a matte finish. Powder, whether pressed or loose, helps in controlling shine and oiliness, aside from setting your makeup. There are even oil-absorbing powders out in the market.

My favorites are Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder and Laneige Satin Finish Loose Powder. I sometimes use Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation if I had used just a BB or CC cream instead of liquid foundation. I didn’t like the Pro Finish powder foundation at first because it oxidizes so much on me, but now I use it whenever I want to balance out the brightness of my face.

Step 5
Play with Shimmers

Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

Using shimmery blushes, highlighters or even eyeshadows is not really popular among women with oily skin. This is because shimmery makeup make us appear more oily and shiny where they’re applied. They also accentuate the pores!

Oh, but I love shiny, shimmery stuff! What to do?

I found that if I use shimmery or glittery makeup over a dewy base or foundation, my face would really shine bright like a diamond, and this is a big No-No for oily skinned gals. What I do is create a matte base by using a mattifying primer, an oil-free or matte foundation, and set it with an oil-absorbing or just a setting powder. Once I’ve created a matte base, I can freely use shimmery makeup as I please, but still not too much as to prevent looking like a disco ball. Lol!

Step 6
Ready your Lids

Don’t you just hate it when your eye makeup smudges or creases? Usually this is what happens when you’ve got oily skin and lids. Before putting on eye makeup, it’s important to have a dry and grease-free surface to work on.

I hadn’t used an eye primer when I went out last night, well that’s actually because I’ve just thrown away my last eye primer (MAC Prep+Prime) and I still haven’t bought a new one. After dancing for hours, my foundation was still in place as well as all my makeup including my mascara, but my eyeshadow had creased! I know that cream eyeshadows do tend to slide around and gather in the crease, so a primer is really necessary. Not having a primer to use, I should’ve primed my lids with a little bit of foundation and set it with a translucent powder instead.

Step 7
Erase It All

Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

As important as it is to have a clean and moisturized face before applying makeup, it’s just as important to remove all the makeup before going to bed. Use an oil-free makeup remover like Laneige Sebum Clear Deep Cleansing Oil Refresh. For the eyes and lips, I use Laneige Speedy & Safe Lip & Eye Remover especially made for use on Waterproof makeup.

After removing all makeup from the face, it’s important to wash it with a good cleanser again and moisturize, or follow your own nightly beauty regimen.

I hope that these tips have been helpful to those with oily skin like me. Please let me know if you have other recommendations and tips on how to control oiliness and shine for those of us with oily skin.

Alyssa Melanie



  1. I love this post, given that my skin ranges from combi to all out oily.
    To combat oiliness, I use Ben Nye banana powder but it looks so flat, and #5 will surely remedy that problem.

    • I haven’t tried Ben Nye.. I have been wanting to, but the closest store that carries it is always out of the Banana shade 🙁

      We have the same skin condition. It’s frustrating sometimes when your skin changes from oily to combination, and you don’t realize it until you put on your oil-absorbing or mattifying powder and all your dry patches materialize! Lol! What highlighter are you using? Get the Chanel Camelia de Plumes! It’s the best! hahaha

      • I ordered Ben Nye from an online seller here in Dumaguete (amradiantyou in Facebook).

        I use whatever my cousin sends me (she works in MAC — lucky me, right?!), and I’m currently using mineralize skinfinish + a dusting of meteorites all over. Though very rare occassions lang akong mag-makeup. For a regular day, I usually use loose powder+cheek tint+lipstick lang, pag sinipag, eyebrow chienes. I really should pay more attention to my brows. Lagi kong nakakalimutan…

        • Yeah you’re so lucky to have a very kind cousin who’s working at MAC! I haven’t tried ordering Ben Nye from online sellers yet. It used to be available at MUP but that time I had other things on my list, and I haven’t inquired lately because it’s still near the bottom of my list.

          I am lazy, too, when it comes to lining my brows. Lots of times, even on special occasions, I don’t line my brows. It was just recently (a large part due to this blog) that I started to color them using colored brow gels (so much easier than using brow liners!).

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  4. I have a combination skin tend to be oily in the summer , my tips is to rub an ice cube on my skin before applying makeup to reduce pore size, and try to reduce my intake of oily food if i have an event that i want to look not shiny face in the photo ^^

    • Thanks Houyem for your tips. I’ve tried the ice cube trick years before but my face turned red because I have sensitive skin. 😕 Oily foods and chocolates do make me break out, but I don’t care because I love eating those. I just try to limit my intake but I couldn’t really stay away from them, lol.

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