General Tips and Product Recommendations for Oily Skin

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post, Skin Care

Oily Skin Tips Products

Having oily skin, blotting paper is like an extension of my hand, LOL!

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

Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser

I use the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser in the morning to wash off any excess oil and dirt that have accumulated on my skin overnight

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

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion

The Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion is alcohol-free and contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant that helps prevent any blemishes

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)

Ossia Renaissance Brightlight Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Collistar Hyaluronic Acid

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

La Roche Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Gel Cream

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

Jojoba Oil

I love jojoba oil but don’t have a specific brand recommendation. Any will do, as long as it’s pure and cold-pressed

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

Pixi Glow Mud Mask

The Pixi Glow Mud Mask leaves my skin thoroughly cleansed and brighter

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.

Personal favorites include the SEPHORA Mud Mask and Pixi Glow Mud Mask, which I’m using at the moment.



Oily Skin Makeup

My favorite makeup products for a completely matte base

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! 🙂

Carolina Braina

Hey, ladies (and gents), it’s Carolina here, reporting live from Bologna, Italy, to bring you the latest and greatest in beauty from the good ol’ continent! For an extra dose of that timeless Italian glam with a touch of humor and self-irony (because, you know, laughter is the best makeup), come say hi at and Instagram.


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So far, 31 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Erin says:

    Starbucks napkins are perfect if you forget blotters. My favorite blotters are Boscia.
    Erin recently posted … Play! By Sephora May 2016

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Carolina!

    I used to have oily skin back in the day (now I’m combination oily and dry). For my oily spots, which are my forehead, nose and chin, I really like that Make Up For Ever primer you mentioned. I also like Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer. It does such a lovely job blurring pores and it controls oil like WHOA.

  3. Liana says:

    Great post!! I’m an oily girl too so will have to try some of these products! Have you ever tried hourglass veil mineral primer? It’s really good for keeping oil down underneath foundation.

  4. Yes to all of your skincare tips! Even though I haven’t tried the serums you mention or the toner (which goes straight to my wishlist), I use similar steps every day.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … ahuhu Amino Intensive Repair Shampoo – Comfort scents

  5. Rachel R. says:

    I wish I’d seen this info back when I was a teenager. They used to teach us the exact opposite. Lots of cleansing and strong toners. I know now that all that just makes oily skin worse.

    Face and eyeshadow primers are a must for me! They keep products from oxidizing and sliding off or creasing. Blotting paper, too. Less powder and more blotting papers.

  6. Becky says:

    I am with you all the way on this one, my friend! I find also using a moisturiser/serum with a high hyaluronic acid content is great – Mizon and Hylamide’s anti ageing serum are what I reach for!

    And I second the Hourglass Mineral Veil – though it is pretty pricy!

    Beekeyper – Latest post – 6 steps to swoon-worthy skin

  7. Mia says:

    Yessssss!!! I’ve never read such an honest low down on oily skin. Most people seem to think just using a matte primer will solve oily problems. Certainly not for the off shore oil rink that is my face.

    My go to product is a silica based setting powder applied to the forehead, chin and sides of the nose. I use the Australis Ready Set Go powder as it seems to sit on top of your makeup and absorb oil very well. It’s very matte so I wouldn’t use it anywhere that isn’t necessary. Then blotting papers after lunch time.

    Does anyone else have problems with oily eyebrows?

  8. Lauren says:

    Carolina, I also have oily skin. I’ve always hated it until recently…you’ll notice you don’t wrinkle as much! 😄 As for Starbucks, Italy does not need one…you guys know how to make the BEST coffee!

  9. Jen says:

    It’s so nice to see some USEFUL oily skin tips!

  10. Cheyanne says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I have such issues with my overly oily skin!

  11. It took me YEARS to figure out how to care for my oily skin! It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I realized that I was going way too overkill with all the aggressive cleansing and harsh mattifying products. Like you said, gentle yet effective, that’s what we need!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | MAC Tribe Vibe Studio Sculpt Defining Bronzing Powder in Delphic

  12. y. says:

    Wow thanks so much for the tips! I’ve also tried o use more gentle projects but always blot using powder and it makes my acne worse! Will try blotting with paper and skipping moisturizer in morn

  13. Lulle says:

    I used to have oily skin, and I was really mistreating it, so it was both oily and super dehydrated. I used a face oil by Clarins (the Lotus one) and it really helped balance it out. Nowadays I have combo skin that only gets really shiny in the summer.
    That’s one thing that also confuses people: having some shine on your T-zone by the end of the day doesn’t mean you have oily skin. Everybody gets a bit of shine there, for one, and then it could also be related to the products you use, the climate, etc… I’ve talked to so many people who killed their skin with super harsh products even though their skin wasn’t oily to start with!
    Lulle recently posted … Unboxing: Sephora Play! May 2016

  14. hanna says:

    Thanks for the tips. I have combination skin, but still helpful!
    hanna recently posted … Is Course Hero Worth Using?

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