After battling oily skin my whole life (well, since my teens, more like), I think I’ve finally come to terms with it. For the way I see it, you just can’t win a battle against oily skin, so the sooner you realize and accept it, the better.
I mean, think about it. If you have oily skin, it means that your sebaceous glands produce more oil than normal… Do you really think you can change the amount of sebum you produce just by applying something on top of your skin? I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t think that’s possible.
You can use products containing oil-absorbing ingredients that do help a little, but if you really have oily skin, nothing will keep you shine-free all day. What I try to do is use products that won’t make me oilier, which unfortunately, in my experience, is not as easy as it sounds, especially because many products specifically formulated for oily skin on me have opposite effects than they promise.
But luckily, after about 15 years of trial and error, I can now say that I’m finally satisfied with my skincare regimen, and today I’d like to give you a few general tips and product recommendations that I hope may be beneficial to at least some of you.
At which point I’ll insert the usual disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist, and all the advice and recommendations in this post are solely based on my personal experience. Obviously, what works for me might not work for you.
That being said, if you have oily skin and are not satisfied with your skincare, the following tips and products might inspire you to change something in your routine that will hopefully help keep your skin under control.
Cleanse with gentle, yet effective products
You’ve probably heard it a million times already, but I’ll tell you for the million-and-oneth: cleansing properly is essential to keep your skin healthy. As an oily-skinned gal, it’s important you find the right products that get rid of any excess oil without being too stripping.
The Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser fits the bill perfectly. It’s not one of those cleansers you remove your makeup with (for that I love my Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – been using it for years!), but it’s great in the morning (which is my favorite time to use it) or as a second cleanse at night.
Opt for an alcohol-free toner
I feel like toning is probably one of the most skipped skincare steps, and I was “guilty” of that myself until not too long ago, since I still hadn’t found the right product. That’s because many toners contain alcohol (especially those aimed at oily skin), which on me is one of those ingredients that cause the infamous “rebound effect”, making my skin even oilier.
If this sounds familiar, you may want to give the Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion a go. It is very gentle on the skin and, thanks to salicylic acid, it also helps prevent any unwelcome zits.
Hydrate with a serum and skip moisturizer (in the morning)
After years of trial and error, I’ve come to the conclusion that most moisturizers (even those formulated for oily skin) make me oilier. I much more prefer the lightweight texture of serums instead, because I feel like they deliver the hydration I need without the extra stuff my skin tends to reject (if you have oily skin, you’ll know what I mean). At the moment, I’m rotating among the Collistar Pure Actives Hyaluronic Acid Serum, the Oskia Renaissance Brightlight Intensive Pigmentation & Dark Spot Serum, and the Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Refining Night Treatment.
Since hyaluronic acid molecules have the ability to attract and retain more than 1,000 times their weight in water, the Collistar serum is a great one for a nice boost of hydration.
The Oskia Renaissance Brightlight, besides delivering enough hydration for my oily skin thanks to glycerin and hyaluronic acid, has specific ingredients to target pigmentation and dullness, like vitamin C, niacinamide, arbutin and fruit enzymes.
Retinol is said to help with pigmentation, too, as well as skin-aging and enlarged pores. Plus, I’ve noticed that whenever I use Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 at night, the next day my skin gets less oily.
Use a sunscreen specifically formulated for oily skin
As I mentioned in my spring beauty essentials, I love the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF 30 because it has a completely mattifying effect upon application, and also helps keep me matte over time.
Apply a face oil at night for extra nourishment
If you had told me five years ago that someday I’d voluntarily put oil on my skin, I would’ve probably laughed in your face, but these days I actually LOVE using oils as the last step of my nighttime routine. They feel so soothing and luxurious!
If you’re afraid of turning yourself into a grease ball, I suggest you get accustomed to face oils with jojoba, which absorbs pretty quickly into the skin and doesn’t leave much of an oily residue.
Once or twice a week, deep cleanse your skin with a non-drying clay mask
Clay masks are ideal to remove deep down impurities and excess sebum from pores, but some of them can be quite drying. My suggestion is to look for a mask that also contains moisturizing ingredients (like glycerin) and not to leave it on too long.
To stay shine-free as long as possible, I like to start my makeup with a completely matte base. My favorite products to achieve that are the Make Up For Ever Step1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer (but I’ve recently tried the BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector and found it just as good) and Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation, which I’ve already mentioned a number of times.
If I use a satin-finish foundation (let alone a dewy one!), the stage where I could fry an egg on my forehead comes much quicker.
Anyways, no matter how many oil-absorbing products I use, I’ll still get shiny at some point, so I ALWAYS have blotting papers in my purse to freshen up my base. I like them way more than powder for touch-ups because they get rid of any shine without giving me a cakey face.
And that’s pretty much it, my friend. I’d love for you to tell me how you take care of your oily skin, and if you have any favorite products you think I should know of. Thanks! 🙂