How to Apply Makeup to Oily Skin

When a damsel in distress complains in a beauty advice column that her makeup does not last and she needs to find ways to get it to stay put, chances are she has oily skin. If you relate to her dilemma, your worries can end right here. Outside of healthy and hygienic practices that help tame overactive oil glands, there are methods to at least assist with makeup application specifically geared towards this skin type. Who knows--it very well may be that you're only missing a crucial step or two that will make all the difference in flawless long-wearing makeup.

Things You'll Need

  • Facial wash for oily skin
  • Mattifying oil-free moisturizer
  • Mattifying makeup primer
  • Foundation with a firm non-slippery texture
  • Makeup sponge
  • Eye makeup primer
  • Highly pigmented powder eyeshadow
  • Eyeshadow brush with a flat head
  • Waterproof brow color, eyeliner and mascara
  • Powder blush or cheek stain
  • Translucent powder
  • Powderless oil-blotting papers


    • 1

      Prep your skin prior to makeup application. Use the facial wash appropriate for your skin type in order to clean your face without stripping it harshly; some overzealous manufacturers attempt to dry oily skin out as a solution, but keep in mind that just because you have oily skin does not mean you should be any less gentle with it. After cleansing, smooth on a mattifying oil-free moisturizer to keep skin supple while chasing away shine.

    • 2

      Blend a mattifying makeup primer onto skin. This is an essential step if you want your makeup to stay put instead of sliding off shortly after you apply it. For base, you want a texture with a firm grip. You can try a stick foundation, or perhaps some of the fuller coverage varieties like the water-activated "pan cakes" and the cremes used by professional artists to give celebrity makeup staying power even under hot lights. Whichever you choose, make sure you fade demarcation lines away with a sponge to maintain as natural a finish as possible.

    • 3

      Make sure to include your eyelids and undereye area when applying foundation. Work an eye makeup primer onto lids prior to color. Your best bet for eyeshadow that stays are highly pigmented colors, perhaps in powder form. Use a stippling motion and an eyeshadow brush with a flat head to pack the product on compactly. Just remember to blend the edges on your application when you are through. Creamy eye makeup will more than likely crease on you due to your skin type, so steer clear of it. If you are particularly worried about eye makeup that does not last, use all waterproof products on the area. From your brow color to your eyeliner and mascara, make use of products that need to be exposed to makeup remover or soap and water before they begin to break down. There are waterproof eye pencils that can be effortlessly blended onto your lids without pulling on the delicate skin in the area. Substitute these for conventional eyeshadows if you want.

    • 4

      Pick a blush that, like all the rest of your cosmetics, you know you can rely on to stay put for the greater part of the day. Powder, with its dense molecular structure, is an option. However, in case you've tried powder but got cakey, crepey color as the day wore on, there is an alternative: A gel cheek stain that comes packaged in a stick. Blend product onto the apples of your cheeks. You may have to reapply it, but it will be much later in the day and will fade gradually, without unattractive streaking.

    • 5

      Enhance your lips as you wish. Since lips have no oil glands of their own, your only concern is the skin around your mouth. If you tend to get oily here as well, keep your lip color from seeping past your lip line by patting makeup primer onto the area. This acts as a protective barrier against feathering and bleeding. Finish off by lightly dusting your face with translucent powder to set your makeup. If you find it necessary to retouch your makeup later on, use oil-blotting papers to lift shine away. Avoid layering on more powder as this blended with your facial oils can creep into fine lines.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not overdo your use of facial washes. Scrubbing your face too much will prompt your oil glands to produce even more of what you are attempting to play down. One cleansing in the morning, another at night and sometimes once in the middle of the day if your face is feeling extra greasy is sufficient.
  • To help skin breathe if you like a creme foundation but think it too heavy, simply moisten your foundation brush or sponge prior to dipping it into the makeup. This will thin your application down a bit.
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  • Photo Credit Leprechaun Art & Photography

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