All products and services featured are independently selected by Forbes Shopping contributors and editors. When you make a purchase through links on this page, we may earn a commission. Learn more
There’s a fine line between glowing and greasy skin. For oily skin types, having overly active sebaceous glands causes excess shine and can result in melted, smudged, oxidized makeup — during a mid-summer heat wave or a polar vortex.
Prepping oily skin before applying makeup is equally important as choosing the right formula and shade. Adding a primer into the mix can help set makeup in place, among other benefits. These products typically use silicones to temporarily smooth and fill pores and texture irregularities such as fine lines to treat a smooth, even base for makeup application. Some primers also minimize shine and excess oil, thanks to absorbent ingredients borrowed from skincare products.
Tatcha The Silk Canvas Filter Finish Protective Primer is our pick for the best smoothing primer for oily skin.
Primer is best applied after all skincare products (including sunscreen) in order for smooth makeup application and to set the look. Ahead, the eight best primers for oily skin, including options for a matte finish and acne control.
On top of controlling excess sebum, Hourglass’ overachieving primer color corrects redness, blurs pores and fine lines and provides mineral SPF 15 protection — without feeling heavy and sticky on the skin.
This cult-favorite primer minimizes the appearance of large pores in seconds. The lightweight, clear gel leaves skin looking smooth and airbrushed all day long, whether it’s worn alone or under complexion makeup such as foundation and concealer.
By absorbing excess oil, Fenty’s liquid primer keeps oily skin shine-free without making it feel dry and tight. Instead of priming your entire face, it can also be used as a spot treatment to target extra greasy spots around the t-zone.
If you have acne-prone skin, this multitasking primer is for you. It’s powered by salicylic acid, tea tree and vitamin E to treat and prevent breakouts while simultaneously turning your face into a smooth, even base for makeup. As one enthusiastic Amazon reviewer says, “Best primer for acne prone skin!! It stays on your skin for a longer period of time. Personally, I have seen improvements in my skin, including fewer acne breakouts, less oiliness at the end of the day and smoother skin.”
This affordable Neutrogena primer stands out at the drugstore because of its lightweight, serum-like texture and long-lasting matte finish. The rice protein in the formula works like a blotting paper to sop up excess sebum throughout the day.
Oily skin types are the ideal candidates for Tatcha’s fan-favorite Silk Canvas Primer, which has over 1100 five star reviews. The balm’s pressed silk smooths and blurs pores for even foundation application that stays in place all day, while the formula’s botanicals prevent makeup from clogging pores and causing breakouts. Bonus: Use the round spatula instead of sticking your fingertips into the balm to keep it clean.
Thanks to blurring powders and microalgae, this silicone-free primer still gives skin a smooth, matte finish so makeup glides on seamlessly.
Lancôme’s quick-absorb primer gives skin a blurred, satiny-soft finish by diffusing light. In addition to locking makeup in place, this formula ensures their colors stay true and vibrant.