A good face primer is critical when it comes to preventing your makeup from melting off throughout the day — which folks with oily skin are (unfortunately) all too familiar with. According to makeup artist Brittany Lo, the purpose of a primer is to — you guessed it — prime and smooth out pores prior to applying foundation. The result? A smooth complexion and an even base for your foundation.
However, finding the right primer for your oily skin comes with its own nuances. With so many options and formulas out there, it can be tricky to narrow down which ones are best suited to help your makeup stay in place when you have oily skin — without setting off any acne flareups or enhancing the existing shine you have going on. To start, Lo recommends that oily skin types opt for a mattifying primer, one that will help conceal shine, grease, and excess buildup before your makeup application.
As you shop, you’ll also want to look for oil-fighting ingredients. According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, these include oil-absorbing cellulose and niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3 that can balance your skin tone). “Not only can [niacinamide] help balance the skin, but it can also help with pore reduction,” King tells Allure.
Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of Beauty Stat echoes King’s sentiments on niacinamide. He also recommends charcoal and clay due to their oil-absorbing properties. Additionally, he notes that exfoliating acids (think: alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, and poly hydroxy acids) are great when it comes to keeping pores clear, which can help prevent breakouts if you also have acne-prone skin.
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