Summer-Proof Your Skin: The Best Primers For Oily Complexions

If your oily complexion is your personal skincare bete noire, then finding the perfect primer could be a game-changer.

As well as locking your make-up in place for the day (making sure it can withstand even the stickiest of Central line commutes), the right primer can help manage an oily complexion by removing shine and minimising the appearance of enlarged pores. Plus, find a product with a high-impact formula and you could notice long-term skincare benefits, too.

From the ingredients to look out for to the purse-friendly drugstore products that will upgrade your make-up game for good, consider this your primer... primer (sorry not sorry).

What are the benefits of using a primer?

Put simply, a primer is the key to a flawless face of make-up. Not only will it ensure that your foundation can be applied smoothly to the skin, it will also help with powder-based products like bronzer and blusher, stopping them from dragging or gathering unevenly. If you're noticing that your make-up tends to fall into your fine lines as the day goes on - or worse, starts to slip off altogether by lunchtime - a primer can help, blurring wrinkles and imperfections and locking your product in place for a long-lasting finish.

How can a primer help minimise the appearance of pores?

Oily skin tends to come hand in hand with another skincare woe: enlarged, visible pores. Benefit's The Porefessional, £26, has been specially formulated to target this particular concern; or if you're after something a little more purse-friendly, try Maybelline's Baby Skin Pore Eraser, £7.99. Adding a retinol-based serum to your skincare regime will also help to minimise their appearance in the long term.

Maybelline's Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

Can primers cause breakouts?

If you have an oily complexion, the likelihood is that you are prone to regular breakouts, particularly around the T-zone area. It's understandable, then, that you might believe that applying another layer of product might make the situation worse. These days, though, most primers (particularly those targeted at oily or combination skin types) have been specially formulated to be non-comodogenic (meaning that they won't clog your pores). In fact, many contain ingredients that will benefit your skin in the long term. Clever, no? However, it's certainly worth paying close attention to the ingredients list...

What is a silicone based primer?

Primers tend to sit within one of two categories: silicone or water-based. Products targeting oily skin are typically the former: silicones help to absord excess oil and mattify the complexion, as well as helping make-up to adhere to the skin for longer. Feeling confused? Take a look at the ingredients list: ingredients ending with -cone and -siloxane will indicate that your primer is silicone-based.

Silicone products don't always work for every oily complexion, though: some might notice breakouts after use, as silicones such as dimenthicone can trap sebum and other impurities. In this case, seek out a water-based formula that uses the lightest silicones, such as the oil-free version of Laura Mercier's iconic Foundation Primer, £30.

Laura Mercier's Oil-Free Foundation Primer

What's the best way to apply foundation after using a primer?

As a rule of thumb, if you're using a silicone-based primer, you'll get the best results with a silicone-based foundation; the same goes for water-based products. Once you're primed and ready to go, blend outwards from the T-zone using a medium-sized buffing brush or rounded sponge, then spritz with a setting spray for extra longevity (we like Urban Decay's All Nighter Setting Spray, £23.50). Consult our beauty team's edit of the best foundations for oily skin if you're in the market for a brilliant new base.

What are the best primers for oily skin?

Funny you should ask. We've compiled our ultimate edit of the best mattifying, pore-minimising primers for oily skin types in the gallery below. May your make-up last until nightfall and your complexion always be shine free...


READ MORE: The Best Eyeshadow Primers That'll Stick Around All Day

READ MORE: Breakout Breakdown: What Is Causing Your Spots?

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