5 Fantastic Makeup and Beauty Products to Help with Oily Skin

Published in: Beauty Tips, Drugstore Beauty Finds, Just For Fun, MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Skin Care

Is your skin slicker than a used car salesman? Do your pores ooze oil all day and night? If you suffer from oily skin, you’re not the only one. I did for years (and still do at times).


Rule No. 1: Don’t despair. There’s hope. 🙂

“Hi, Karen. You’ve said before that you have oily skin, as do I, so I was wondering what you do (what products you use/have used) to combat it?

I have literally tried EVERYTHING, but my skin is still an oil slick!


— Ashley

Hi Ashley,

I feel your pain! I was constantly struggling with oily skin throughout my 20s. I know it’s all natural, but I’m still a little grossed out by it, that greasy feeling and the relentless shine. I remember back in college when I’d fall asleep in my books. I’d wake up, peel my face away and see oily patches on the page. Awesome!

Now that I’m in my 30s, my skin’s a combination of oily and dry. Some spots are dry, but others are oily, like my forehead and cheeks. I use (and love) several products to keep the oil slicks at bay.

1. Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash, $5 for a 6.7-oz tube

This citrus-scented cleanser for normal-to-oily skin removes everything — oil, makeup, dirt, you name it. Yet it doesn’t feel harsh or leave my skin feeling tight or dry, thanks to botanicals like aloe vera, rosemary and spearmint. I loved it so much that I stockpile it when it’s sale. Plus, it’s only five bucks and carried in most drugstores.

2. DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew, $38 for a 1.7-oz tube

Okay, it’s totally expensive, but DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew is both oil- and fragrance-free, feels light as air, sinks into my skin quickly and packs just enough moisture for my skin. Even oily skin likes moisture, and a good moisturizer slows the evaporation of water from the skin (see: Moisturizer For Oily Skin). It also never, ever gives me breakouts.

3. Olay Facial Lotion Oil Free SPF 15, $12 for a 6-oz bottle

When I was in college I went through an awful bout of acne, and a dermatologist recommended Olay Facial Lotion Oil Free. I used it for years and still love it to this day. It feels light on my skin, can be worn beneath makeup and, like DDF Ultra-Light, doesn’t give me breakouts. I don’t use it anymore because I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough for my dry parts.

4. MAC Blot, $22 for a 0.42-oz compact

If MAC ever discontinued this oil-absorbing pressed powder I’d cry a thousand tears. It comes in five shades (Light, Medium, Medium Dark, Deep and Deep Dark) and works overtime to absorb oil, reduce shine and set makeup. love

5. MAC Blot Film, $12 for 30 sheets

So maybe you’re not into powder. No worries. MAC also makes Blot Film, which is basically a good blotting paper. Just dab on your oily spots to take down the shine without leaving powder residue. If you’re on a tight budget, I find that Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets ($6 for 50 sheets) work great too.

What the Twitter-verse has to say twitter

I also tweeted for oily skin tips on Twitter this afternoon, and these girls came to the rescue.

But wait, there’s more!

You may also want to check out this post on Caring For Oily Skin. There are a few more tips in it you might find helpful.

If you have any more oily skin tips and product recommendations, don’t be shy. 🙂 Please share them in the comments.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Onward to Friday!


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So far, 34 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Arianne says:

    For a base for my makeup, I swear by Cover FX Clear Prep FX mattifying primer. I wear it in the summer and I go shine free for the entire work day.

    I’ve met MAC Blot Powder once, but I don’t own one yet. I think we might fall madly in love. 🙂
    Arianne recently posted … You Need This- Vasanti Soft Finish Matte Lipstick in USA

  2. Christina says:

    ohhh I love the Neutrogena Acne Stress Control moisturizer! It’s the only one I’ve tried with salicylic acid in it that doesn’t dry my skin out. I keep meaning to get the Mac Blot but I always get distracted by the LE stuff lol.

  3. shusheshe says:

    This is more for acne, but it worked great for my oily skin in my university days.

    Body Shops Tea Tree Skin Facial wash and the clearing toner from the same line. Kept the oil AND the acne down to a minimum

  4. Rads says:

    Am using Shiseido’s mattifying moisturizer now, and it’s awesome for oily skin..but now that it’s the drier part of the year, I want to try Lush Vanishing Cream – I am just too scared to try it in summer, though my sis told me it’s awesome 😀
    Rads recently posted … Lush Silky Underwear

  5. Laura says:

    Ohh I’ll have to try some of these products, thanks for the tips! I love Mac Blot powder too – it’s the best at taking away midday shine. Also, in reference to your boot search, you might want to check out:

    http://www.anneklein.com/Ari/90447604,default,pd.html (AK Anne Klein Ari – there’s better pics on zappos but these are cheaper)

    http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?searchCID=4016&vid=1&pid=819907&scid=819907002 (Enzo Angiolini Randies)

    Funnily enough I was just on the hunt for black suede boots too. I ended up buying both so I could try them on and decide, and I’m still unsure!

    (I’m so neurotic that I posted these boots up again lol. I commented on the Lorac post, but I just realized that it’s quite a bit later than when you first posted it and that you probably wouldn’t see it).

  6. Saffron says:

    Ooh the neutrogena acne line is great – I swear by the clear and fade gel to fend off epic breakouts due to stress or hormones.

    I like to think that my having super oily skin at 33 means that I’ll age less severely. May not be true, but I like to comfort myself with it… I have a few suggestions to toss in:

    A cheaper alternative to the DDF might be Clinique’s 3 step moisturizing gel. It’s a great, affordable ($25 for 4+oz plus a gwp if you are strategic 🙂 ), scent-free moisturizer that is just enough moisture for oily skins. It’s also a great base under a treatment product if you’re needing more moisture. It’s cousin, the lotion, is notoriously awful, but this stuff escaped the family reputation and is awesome!

    Anything with sulfur is dynamite for me for breakouts – there are a couple high end ones by in masks PTR and DDF, as well as the affordable Queen Helene, and BE’s acne treatment has it, as does Philosophy’s spot treatment. It stinks, so don’t use it if you want to cuddle. but it’ll beat the crap outta a breakout. I sometimes get mild eczema due to allergies and I find it to be very helpful against that as well.

  7. MG says:

    i have uber oily skin..what’s working for me these days is black radiance oil control primer and kryolan anti shine loose powder

    mac blot ive been using for years now but have found had too faced invisible powder is better

    also try a setting a spray from skindinivia…helps mu last and stay on

    (i guess this was more of what mu to use instead of skin lol sorry! havent found good skin stuff yet)

  8. Vonvon says:

    Thanks for the informative post, Karen!

    I tried leaving a comment earlier from my iPad, but somehow the comment didn’t go through.
    Vonvon recently posted … NEW! Photos &amp Swatches Of Maquillage Spring 2011 Lighting Eyes Creator – BL331- BE313- VI342- PK354 NEW Shades Of Rouge Enamel Glamour

  9. Hedy says:

    ELF oil absorbing papers!
    Hedy recently posted … Shaws coupon matchups- January 14-20- 2011

  10. Kim says:

    I’m just about due for a new face wash so I’ll give Basis a try. I’ve only tried their bar soap in the past and, though it never caused me to break out, it was a bit too drying. We’ll see how the face wash fares! 🙂

    Oh, and you probably heard (totally unrelated) but there’s drama over the dates of the zodiac signs changing. I’m still a Pisces, but further from Aries than I should be for my personality. Nearly all of my friends and the Hubs changed and none of them are like their “new” signs. How about you?

  11. Emily says:

    One of the best facial washes I’ve used to control my oily skin is Clean and Clear’s Morning Burst Shine Control cleansing gel. Give it a week and you’ll be amazed! You can actually use moisturizer! The only downside is that it doesn’t keep acne as clear as other cleansers can.

    Also, I’ve noticed that if I use an astringent (like Biore’s) it helps keep my oil and shine down a bit. Oh, and lots of pressed powder throughout the day. That stuff is my BFF.

  12. Amber says:

    I know I’ve said it a million times, but COLD CREAM! Give your skin some oil and it won’t go so crazy making its own.

    DDF Uber Dry sunblock is a really nice mattifier, but I have some issues with the ingredients so I switched products (it includes retinyl palmitate, which I try to avoid in sunblock). If that doesn’t bother you, give it a try!

    I am loyal to Boscia blotting sheets. They’re one of the better deals — cheaper per sheet than Clean & Clear, bigger, and (IMO) easier to use.
    Amber recently posted … Alarming

    • Amber says:

      Oh! Also, if you’re out and about and you need a blot, those tissuey toilet seat covers in public restrooms are excellent blotters. I know that’s weird, but try it and you’ll be amazed. 😀
      Amber recently posted … Alarming

  13. Nina says:

    i have one more suggestion — Urban Decay De Slick. its meant to calm down the oiliness of the face before foundation and after your makeup is done.

    i keep it in my purse for quick touch ups during the day.

  14. Mel says:

    Isn’t fighting acne and oily skin fun! I’m still dealing with it deep into my 30’s!

  15. Liz! says:

    I have oily skin and acne, and one of my biggest frustrations has been finding a daily product with a mattifying spf I can wear that won’t break me out or make me oiler. I hate that I feel like I should have to choose between fighting acne and getting much needed sun protection! I’ve tried a ton of expensive brands (Boscia, Cosmedicine and the Body Shop most recently) but the one that I keep coming back to for daily use with or without makeup is the one by Clean & Clear Pore Perfecting moisturizer with spf 15. I do find that it is mattifying, it’s never broken me out, and feels so gentle on my skin. I love the product, and it’s the cheapsest, most available one I’ve tried too.

  16. Vicki says:

    I have oily but quite sensitive skin and adult acne (joy!). I have found that using gentle products often works better than the specific “spot” products.

    At the moment I am using Lush’s Herbalism or Angels on Bare Skin cleanser in the morning, followed by their Vanishing Cream moisturiser, then Lush Ultra Bland to remove my make up in the evening followed by their Tea Tree Water and an organic Superdrug night cream. I have definitely seen an improvement in my skin recently.

    Following the glowing reports on here I think I will give Mac Blot Powder a whirl. Love reading all of your recommendations, thanks!

  17. Kiwi says:

    Neutrogena and my skin are best friends for life. I used to have really bad problems with acne, but whenever I started using Neutrogena cleaners it cleared up. The cream cleansers I use on a daily basis, and I adore them.

  18. Shannon Towine says:

    I am SHOCKED how great MAC prep and prime SPF 50 works for my oily skin. I pretty much stay matte. I only use a pea size amount and I am on the same tube from 6 months ago.

    Also palladio rice powder blotting papers from Sally’s are good. They blot and powder at once. These have saved me many times during the summer! Use them once and you are good for hours. These also help bring your foundation back to it’s normal shade if it oxidized 🙂

  19. noemii says:

    For the ddf ultra-lite whatever-moisturizer i’d check out marshalls and/or TJ Maxx because i find it there all the time there at a discount. It saves you at least fifteen dollars more or less. Also, for the same amount as the Mac blotting sheets, you should check out Tatcha blotting papers as they are infinitely better, bigger and beautifully packaged.
    I’ve thought about checking out the MAC blotting powder so i think i’ll finally break down this summer and check it out… I also adore Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Foaming Cleanser as night cleanser every once in a while. I’ve been using it for at least three years.

  20. Fefe says:

    I’m allergic to MAC products so those are a no go for me. I did use Clean and Clear for many many years but in the end I realized it wasn’t doing anything. I switched to the Origin’s line in November and my skin looks the best it has ever looked. Expensive line but definitely worth it. You can stop by a store and they will make samples of anything for you. Loves it.
    Fefe recently posted … Cheers to the New Year!

  21. Jennie says:

    I always thought I had a kind of acne. These big spots that are underneath your skin were all along my cheeks and my jawline. I hated it and I treated it with the most aggressive products like clinique or clearasil. But my skin was still oily and these spots seem to spread. When I was 30 I couldn’t stand it anymore.

    Then I changed my whole treatment. I started to wash my face with hand-seethed soaps with salt in it. I never used anything else since the day I first cleaned my face with soap. Then I realized that my skin is oily but the “acne”-spots are spots that shows up when I treat my skin too harsh.

    My skin’s still getting better every day, now using the soap and a self-mixed toner with mandelic acid in it. My tipp: Don’t do too much!

  22. Deb says:

    If you want to go the natural route, you can try the oil cleansing method. You use castor oil and a carrier oil (olive oil, grapeseed oil, or my favorite sunflower oil) mixed together. The castor oil pulls the gunk out of your skin, carried by the other oil. You should start with a mix of 25% castor to 75% carrier oil to start with and adjust accordingly. Massage a quarter sized pool of oil into your face for five minutes, then put a wet, hot (as hot as possible without burning) washcloth over your face to steam the gunk out until the washcloth cools. Repeat the washcloth step until your skin doesn’t feel oily anymore (usually between 3-5 times). It works wonders – it works with your skin’s natural oil glands because you’re not stripping the oil away. I’ve been using it for about two years and it’s amazing – my skin is never oily, my makeup lasts all day, and my acne has cleared up considerably. Plus, it’s a) the best makeup remover you’ll ever use and b) way, way cheaper than buying all those expensive cleansers and moisturizers!

  23. Karlotta says:

    While some people’s skin turns magically beautiful when pregnant, that wasn’t the direction mine was going in. It was flaky, red, breaking out, and oil-slicked by noon. After a hormone-induced trip to Sephora, I decided to take the advice of a store associate and went with the Korres Pomegranate line (at x-mas they had a nice gift pack of the line). I was skeptical, but changed by mind in about a day. My skin has been improving in every respect since!

    I think there are a couple of important points. First, I was having trouble with dead skin turnover, and the all-natural scrub fixed that. I’d used a scrub regularly before, but it had salicylic acid in it that was drying out my skin. I might try to switch to a good, gentle cleanser and buy one of the sonic skin cleaners for my birthday. Second, the Pomegranate cream-gel is a GREAT product. It contains zinc, a natural and effective mattifier, and a dab does the trick!

  24. Sabrina says:

    Hi…..I think I must have broken all records by having an oil slick for a face while I’m well into my late 40s !! I thought that Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion would be just right for me, but it contains witchhazel, and I’m allergic to that. I am still looking for that one perfect face wash, toner and moisturizer and in the meantime…..am just sticking to the oil-free ones.

    • Ruth says:

      Hi Sabrina,

      I have the same problem as you. I’ve tried everything that can be bought, cheap drug store and expensive department store. I recently switched Avene products, their Cleanance line is incredible. I used to have a face you could fry an egg on just 30 mins after applying all my previous mattifying products, with Avene my shine free face lasts upwards of 6 hours!! I live in Europe, Avene are a French company but I know they have a US website. I also always have spots and large pores; since using Avene I’ve only had to use a spot treatment every 3 or 4 days, as my skin is amazingly clear. See if you can get some samples and try it. I hope it works for you too.

  25. Eli says:

    I just had to put in my two cents
    -my my, it feels as though I have been battling with adult acne since, like,* forever*

    My skin has improved alot in the last few months, thanks to a new regimen:
    -a homemade toner made with organic apple cider vinegar– it isAMAZING: it’s cheap, it smells bad and it works. i mix 1 vinegar/10 water and add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil (not more cuz tea tree oil is irritating)
    -Bioderma solution miscellaire (vichy has a solution miscellaire too but it’s not nearly as good): it takes out all the makeup crap from my face, is super gentle, has no smell and the big bottle lasts forever.
    -for the very few pimples I still have: sulphur-based acne fighting stuff. it reeks but i find it gentler and more effective than peroxide benzoyl.


  26. Nicolle says:

    I love Pevonia moisturizer for problematic skin. Also don’t worry if Mac blot powder goes away because I think Jane Iredale’s pure matte powder is even better!

  27. PS says:

    I didn’t read through all the comments so if this is a repeat, sorry. I sorta have oily skin too and I use blotting sheets through out the day to obsorb the oil. they can be expensive, but if you go to Target you can get Elf Shine Eraser oil blotting shets for a $1 which is a really good deal because they are usually $5 on up.

  28. ashley says:

    Wow! Amazing! Thanks so much 😀

  29. Trude says:

    I’ve had the same problem for years! Finally, at 27, it’s starting to dissipate (and now I get to deal with dry skin). My skin isn’t a big fan of silicone primers, so I’d recommend trying Skindinavia’s No More Shine makeup finish spray – it’s amazing! Really helps keep my makeup from sliding. I also always carry Clean & Clear oil blotters with me. Good luck! 🙂
    Trude recently posted … Happy Friday!

  30. Alex says:

    I also heard that if you are out of blotting paper, a trick you can do is grab a toilet seat cover, fold it into quarters, and use that as blotting paper. No charge! =]

  31. Michele DiCola says:

    I use the Clinque line for my skin when it gets oily. I actually have combination skin with an oily t-zone. But you have to treat that very carefully. As someone said earlier if you do not treat your oily skin it tends to over produce. So I use the 3 step products for combo skin.


  32. leah says:

    Boscia’s Clear Complexion Kit is awesome. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s cheaper than buying all of the full sized versions. It also lasts for a long time- I’ve had mine since Christmas and I’m still not out. http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P274002&categoryId=C16701
    Other than the Clear Complexion Cleanser, which is my favorite, the MVP goes to the Clear Complexion Moisturizer with Botanical Blast. It gives just enough hydration but won’t make skin oily. One boo- it doesn’t have SPF in it, so I use it for night only. For day moisturizer I like Aveeno’s Positively Radiant with SPF 30.

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