Beauty Hacks For Oily Skin Types

Want to up your makeup game or get tried and test skincare tips? Beauty blogger Candice Chen shares her expertise in this column about makeup and skincare hacks!

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Beauty Hacks For Oily Skin Types

Oily skin got you down? Beauty guru Candice Chen (@makeup_box) shares some helpful hacks for oily skin types!

What kind of ingredients in skincare/makeup products should I avoid if I have oily skin?

The obvious thing is to avoid heavy fats and oils in your daily skincare, although the exception is when your skin is extremely parched for a special reason (i.e. chemical treatments, prolonged sun exposure). Skip alcohol-based toners and abrasive scrubs, as these might make things worse for sensitive acne-prone skin. Instead of makeup wipes (which often require more rubbing), try a bifacil (oil-on-water) makeup remover instead. Remove any residue with a gentle micellar water.

In terms of makeup, try to avoid wax-based makeup. It may be tempting to sponge a ton of coverage, but it can actually make things worse if your skin is prone to breakouts. Even if a makeup product claims to be non-comedogenic, heavy wax formulations can still sit on top of the skin and clog your pores.

Instead, try a lightweight concealer that provides high coverage, such as Estee Lauder Double Wear and MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover. Finish off with an oil-absorbing liquid or powder foundation.

Key Ingredients To Look Out For Instead

  • Salicylic acid: the only acid which can work inside pores.
  • Hyaluronic acid: locks in moisture without adding oil.
  • Niacinamide: helps to calm inflammation-prone skin or soothe a breakout.
  • Lactic acid or glycolic acid: helps to remove excess dead cells and residue, preventing clogged pores.

I have regular breakouts because of my oily skin. What kind of acne treatment should I use to prevent my skin from drying out?

Tea tree oil is probably the least drying of the available acne treatments and preventive ingredients. Not everyone responds well to it though, so another good alternative is salicylic acid. I personally like to use on-the-spot treatments (such as the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion).

La Roche Posay Effaclar and Vichy Normaderm are relatively gentle skin-clearing lines for congested skin types, but it’s important to note that these gentler treatments are not fast workers.


Blotting sheets – Are they a life saver for oily skin types, or do they actually make your face oilier?

There isn’t much scientific evidence to support either belief, but I personally always have a pack of powdered paper blotters in my bag. I don’t suggest over-blotting, but if you need to look presentable then you can always use blotting sheets to lift excess oil. Powdered paper blotters (such as the Gatsby Powdered Oil Clear Paper) are better than the rubbery synthetic ones, as they give a more matte look.

Moisturiser – yay or nay for oily skin types?

YAY for sure! Every dermatologist and doctor I’ve spoken to is unanimous in saying that hydration is essential, even for the oiliest of skin types. Skin needs a balance of oil and water.

Many people tend to use harsh drying products to remove excess oil, but it only works on the surface. This creates an imbalance, where your skin is parched on the surface, but oily deep inside. The result? Inflammation and irritation, which only stimulates oil glands further. Yikes, I know right?

To prevent this, skip harsh cleansers that give your skin a “squeaky clean” feel. Instead, look out for oil-free hydrating products that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin – these add water and keep skin plump without adding more oil to the surface.

It’s also a good idea to carry a hydrating mist – Laneige, Clinique and MAC have great basic moisture sprays – with you to moisturise throughout the day (without melting your makeup), as our skin tends to lose water quickly.


What are some things that those with oily skin types should look out for when picking a foundation?

Good ol’ compact powder foundations (like MAC Studio Fix) will give the quickest and most matte finish, because they don’t contain liquid binders which leave a sheen on the skin. However, you may need to touch up drier areas more, as powders tend to fade quite quickly.

For liquid foundation, look for long-wearing ones that contain oil-absorbent clays (such as the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation) or film-forming polymers that are oil resistant (such as the Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation).

What are some tips for getting makeup to last longer on oily skin, especially in a hot and humid climate?

Spray and blot generously. Many makeup brands also sell fixing sprays that contain polymers, which are almost like hairspray for the skin. While they don’t necessarily create an ultra-matte look, these fixing sprays help to prevent melting, oxidising and fading for a few hours.

Also, don’t wait until you are extremely sweaty or oily to start blotting. Once you feel like you are starting to sweat, use a clean tissue to blot lightly and prevent makeup meltdown later on.


Help! I have oily eyelids, so my eye makeup tends to smudge – even when I use waterproof eyeliner. How can I prevent this?

Most makeup – no matter how waterproof they claim to be – breaks down once in contact with oil, so I recommend sticking with film-forming liquid liners and mascaras. These are more long-wearing, as they set and form an elastic film on the skin. Lancome’s Artliner, Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner and the MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua range are good for those with oily eyelids.

To help eyeshadow stay on longer, use a glitter primer instead of a regular eyeshadow primer. Glitter primers tend to give longer lasting power, as they have stronger binding ingredients.

My pores are HUGE. Is there any way I can minimise their appearance?

Try a primer powder, such as Makeup Store’s Smoothing Primer. These loose silica-based powders are usually applied before foundation, around the inner cheeks and areas with large open pores, as the silica content helps makeup “float” over the surface.

When applying foundation around the nose and inner cheek areas, using a buffing brush in a circular motion instead of sweeping in one direction. Flat brushes and puffs tend to make foundation congeal around pore openings, which can in turn make your pores look more visible.

Any other helpful beauty tips for oily skin types?

Clean your brushes and tools regularly! Oily skin means that your tools and makeup will be oilier, so it’s important to clean them. If you have regular breakouts, you might also want to disinfect your face makeup (i.e. blushes, pressed powders, solid foundations) once every other week by misting the surface with rubbing alcohol.


For more of Candice’s beauty escapades, check out her blog or follow her on Instagram. Stay tuned to this column for more makeup and skincare hacks!

Still want more? Check out these other articles:

Best Drugstore Skincare Products

Emergency Beauty Hacks

How To Contour & Highlight (Like A Goddess)

How To Pick The Perfect Foundation (For Your Skin)