However, like any other makeup product, not all primers are suited for oily skin. That is why it is important to know exactly what to look for in a primer for oily skin. We understand this can be quite a difficult decision. So, we prepared our top 10 recommendations and buying guide to help you choose a primer apt for oily skin. We even asked board-certified dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz for some tips and insights!
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
Primers are meant to fill in pores, fine lines, and bumpy textures on your skin. This results in it looking and feeling smoother. As a result, your skin gets a "blur" effect. It gives your foundation or concealer a smooth surface to glide over; your face makeup won't settle into dry patches of skin and creases, which will make it look a lot better.
That said, primers can also be worn alone for a quick and easy way to minimize the appearance of pores. They also have different benefits for your skin as they can regulate oil, help treat acne, and provide protection from harmful UV rays from the sun, depending on their ingredients.
Primers are meant to 'prime' aka prep the skin. But thing is, all primers weren't created equal. So it's definitely a good idea to find out the ingredients incorporated into the primer so that you can maximize its benefits.
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
It's best not to aggravate your skin's shine by layering an oil-based product over it. This is why you should choose a primer with little or no oil in the ingredients. Try to look for oil-free primers. This means it does not contain petrolatum, lanolin, palm, or coconut oil in its formulation, as these oils tend to clog pores.
Instead, oil-free primers tend to use water or silicone as their base and won't exacerbate your skin's oiliness. Keep in mind that your foundation and primer need to have the same type of formula to blend well together. This means you should also avoid using oil-based foundations.
While the natural oils of our skin are key to our skin's health, people with oily skin types do tend to overproduce them.
The choice of a correct primer can help keep those oils at a healthy level. It would be good to avoid heavy and greasy ingredients such as occlusives (petroleum jelly, plant-based oils). Instead, choose lightweight moisturizing ingredients such as dimethicone or ceramides that can keep your skin hydrated without that greasy feeling.
Like with all other skincare and makeup products, the ingredients that your primer contains can do more harm than good for your skin if they're not beneficial for your skin type. Here's what you should be looking for.
One of the reasons for excess oil production is because our skin lacks moisture. The skin produces more oil to make up for the loss of moisture. Hence, the solution is to hydrate it. Don’t worry! Hydrating your skin won’t make it oilier but make it produce less oil.
Examples of hydrating ingredients include niacinamide, a form of vitamin B-3 that regulates oil. Another is hyaluronic acid. It is a moisturizing molecule that doesn't add to your skin's oil but hydrates it on a deeper level, so it controls the production of sebum.
Propylene glycol is also a great ingredient for moisturizing your skin. It draws water to the surface of your skin and keeps it hydrated. And it doesn't feel sticky too, so you can avoid feeling malagkit.
Niacinamide is a crowd favorite, and with good reason! Dubbed the "jack-of-all-trades," did you know it's not only a great brightening ingredient, but it also strengthens the skin barrier and regulates sebum production?
That’s why we recommend getting a primer with salicylic acid, which helps remove dead skin cells. It soothes the skin, too, with its anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce breakouts. Another well-known ingredient in treating acne is tea tree oil, which has antimicrobial properties and can even prevent and reduce acne scars.
One of the holy grails for acne-prone and oily skin are BHAs which include salicylic acid. The great thing about salicylic acid is that it can penetrate into the pores, slough off dead skin cells, and dissolve sebum. Additional benefits include its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects too.
A damaged skin barrier can bring about moisture loss, which can lead to oily skin. To ensure your skin's barrier stays intact, check your primer for ingredients like vitamin E and soybean extract. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and it can protect your face from environmental stressors like pollution and sun damage.
Soybean extract on the other hand improves your skin's moisture retention as well as reinforces its moisture barrier. They are also great for improving the appearance of your skin and reducing the signs of aging!
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in the skin. It acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. But did you know that it also hydrates the skin by improving its water-binding capacity?
Tip: If you don't know how to find vitamin E in your products, they're usually labeled as alpha-tocopherol or tocopherol acetate in over-the-counter products!
Dimethicone is an excellent example of this. It is great for filling in fine lines and textures while controlling oil production. This gives your skin a velvety-smooth finish that doesn't look chalky.
Silicone gets a bad reputation for clogging pores, but that is not always the case. By itself, silicone is hypoallergenic and non-irritatingーthat is why they are used in medicine sometimes! And they also wash off if you remove your makeup.
Silicones are great moisturizers and smoothing agents hence their inclusion in many skincare products. It's gotten a bad rep as potentially pore-clogging, though. The truth is silicones act as an occlusive, meaning it helps skin retain water by blocking water from escaping - perhaps that's where the notion of it not allowing the skin to breathe or being pore-clogging came about.
Silicones are actually considered large and heavy compounds, so they won't be able to penetrate into the pores. If you look at its structure, silicones are open and have a lot of gaps in their structure, enabling air and water to pass through without suffocating the skin. In terms of comedogenicity, it's unfair to label it as such because, in truth, the term "non-comedogenic" is more marketing than anything else.
When choosing primers, look for ones that are non-comedogenic to avoid clogging your pores. Non-comedogenic means it contains less oil so it will not block pores and aggravate acne. It is also lighter on the skin, thereby allowing it to breathe.
However, there is no universal standard for non-comedogenic and it can vary across brands. This can make it quite difficult to determine if a primer is actually non-comedogenic. In this regard, take a look at the ingredients list and try to avoid ones that contain isopropyl myristate, isopropyl palmitate, butyl stearate, as well as beeswax and cocoa butter.
Choosing the right primer with the right texture is especially important for oily skin. You'd want to choose something generally lightweight and won't add that greasy feeling. In general, primers in gel form work great for oily skin types.
So, select a primer with at least SPF30 as it can filter 96.7% of UV rays while it is 98% for SPF50. Also, take a look if it has a broad spectrum rating. This means it doesn't just protect against UVB radiation, which is associated with skin burning but also UVA, which is responsible for skin aging.
Don’t forget to check for ingredients such as titanium dioxide. It is responsible for blocking UV rays as well as brightening skin and hiding blemishes. Another helpful ingredient is zinc oxide. It helps control excess oil production, combat acne, and protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Primers with SPF are great at hitting two birds with one stone. However, one problem is that people who use moisturizers with SPF or primers with SPF usually only apply a small amount of product, which ultimately means that you might not be getting the necessary protection. Remember that sunscreen is key! And it is also important to apply the correct amount to get enough sun protection.
Color correction is a technique that involves cancelling out discoloration in your skin tone. It makes use of opposite colors in the color wheel to neutralize certain colors. For instance, green is the opposite of red, so a green primer is great for dealing with redness from acne or rosacea.
If you are dealing with yellow undertones like under-eye circles or dull skin a purple primer can help with that. Conversely, if you have prominent purplish or bluish veins or bruises, a yellow primer would be best. And pink and red primers can correct dark circles and give you a bit of luminosity. Remember, it’s all about balancing your complexion.
A lot of primers are tinted. Hence, they provide some form of coverage. It's good to choose one based on your skin's undertones to make sure that it complements your skin.
Click to purchase
Versatile Primer That Reduces the Appearance of Pores
Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer
Blurs Out Pores and Reduces High Shine for a Picture-Perfect Look
Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer
Lets You Achieve an Instant Filtered Effect
Veil Mineral Primer
A Weightless and Oil-Free Primer With SPF 15
Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
Be Shine Free for Up to 12 Hours
Stay Matte Makeup Primer
Ensures Your Makeup Will Last the Whole Day
Flawless & Poreless Primer
A Hypoallergenic Primer That Nourishes and Hydrates the Skin
Mineral Makeup Base
A Primer That Corrects Your Skin Tone and Offers Sun Protection
Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
An Affordable Primer for Long-Lasting Makeup
Skin Paradise Pore Perfecting Primer
Target Acne With a Vegan Paraben-Free Primer
User reviews have great things to say about this product as they say it is velvety and rich. And applying this on oily skin and large pores instantly blur them out and mattify the skin, which is perfect for Philippine weather. It is also easy to blend and has no scent, which is a plus for those who have sensitive skin!
This primer is cruelty-free as well, which is great for animal lovers out there. For those looking into incorporating skincare with their makeup products, this product is highly recommended for you.
When it comes to long-wearing products for oily skin, we can trust Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty on this. The Pro Filt’r is a universal makeup primer with a color-correcting invisipink formula that instantly melts on all skin tones without leaving a trace. So, aside from extending your foundation, it also evens skin tone.
It contains dimethicone, which smoothens the look of pores and creates a soft-blurring effect. Think of it as having a real-life filter in a bottle! It leaves your skin looking soft and cushiony for a more natural look, instead of a flat one. Depending on your face’s oiliness, you can opt to apply this all over or concentrate on your T-zone.
Additionally, it's also waterproof, ensuring that your makeup stays fresh all day long. You'll be pleased to know that the formula is oil-free and contains no sulfates, parabens, and synthetic dyes, so it won't only keep oil at bay, but also makes sure that it won't aggravate any sensitivities your skin might have.
It contains titanium dioxide as well, which is a common ingredient for sun protection. It's lightweight though some user reviews note that it has a glue-like smell before it dries. But rest assured, it lasts long and does a great job at oil control, which is great for those who plan to wear this alone or under foundation or concealer.
Pixi’s primer is also free from a lot of harsh ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, and formaldehyde. It is hypoallergenic as well, so if you have sensitive skin, this primer is recommended for you too.
Innisfree’s makeup primer consists of a 3-in-1formula that primes, corrects skin tone, and balances oil. It comes in a peach shade that is ideal if you achieve a more natural skin tone. But it is also available in green and purple if you want to correct dull or red skin.
It also protects you against the harmful rays of the sun as it contains SPF 30, which is handy given our very sunny weather. This primer is great if you want a product that can also double as a bit of skincare for that added nourishment.
As one of the go-to drugstore makeup brands, it is no wonder Maybelline made it to this list. This primer consists of a lightweight gel formula that leaves the skin with a smooth, matte finish to help your makeup last longer. Reviewers have also noted that it is very easy to apply and feels light on the skin.
Upon application, this primer is noted to instantly improves appearance of pores and control shine. Moreover, it also feels rather velvety. This is ideal if you want an affordable makeup primer that doesn’t skimp on the quality. At its price point, this is definitely a steal!
Moreover, this primer is paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan, making it safe to use for those with sensitive skin. It's also great for those who are looking for a vegan option. Reviews mention that this primer has helped them reduce breakouts even after a full day of wearing makeup.
Here are some helpful tips as Dr. Katrina Luz answers some of the most-asked questions on the internet!
It depends. It's definitely important to review your current skincare ingredients and see if certain ingredients double. Having an ingredient that targets a particular concern and using it more than once definitely can increase your chances of developing an irritation. #AskYourDerma to help you filter through your products and create a cohesive skincare routine.
Primers are great but they are definitely not a must. Depending on your skin type and skin needs, your skincare routine can serve as the necessary prep before you apply your makeup.
A primer can help oily skin by regulating oil production. The key would be finding the right ingredient that targets just that.
For many people, makeup gives them the confidence and boost that they need to start the day. In saying that, check out our articles for the best makeup products available in the market to complete any look you want.
Re-editor: J. Cuizon
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1: Benefit | The POREfessional
No. 2: Smashbox | Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer
No. 3: Fenty Beauty | Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer
No. 4: Hourglass | Veil Mineral Primer
No. 5: Becca Cosmetics | Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
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When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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