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 best primers for oily skin can be tricky. 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 flare-ups 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 BeautyStat 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.

To help you find the best primers for oily skin, Allure sought out expert recommendations from makeup artists. Ahead, you’ll find 15 of our favorites across a wide range of price points.

Our Top Picks:

  1. Best Overall: Shiseido Synchro Skin Soft Blurring Primer, $36
  2. Allure Best of Beauty Winner: Smashbox Photo Finish Control Mattifying Primer, $42
  3. Primes and Protects: Beauty Pie Traceless SPF 30 Sunscreen + Primer, $70
  4. Best Waterproof Primer: One/Size Secure The Sweat Primer, $34
  5. Best Silky Finish Primer: MAC Studio Fix Mattifine 12hr Shine Control Primer, $35
  6. Skin Soother: Tatcha The Silk Canvas Primer, $54
  7. Oil-Free Formula: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, $58

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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