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When you’re shopping for the best drugstore primers for oily skin, you’re going to want to choose an oil-free formula that contains a silicone like dimethicone, known for its skin-smoothing and mattifying benefits, or an active ingredient such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which will be especially helpful if you’re prone to breakouts or clogged pores. Surprisingly, one thing that isn’t that important is whether or not you see ‘noncomedogenic’ on the label. The term doesn’t have one standard definition, so although there’s no issue with a primer that claims to be noncomedogenic, it’s also not a guarantee that it won’t cause breakouts.
Other factors to consider when shopping for a primer is its texture — some primers feel like lotions or creams, while others resemble serums — and any other additional benefits you’re looking for, whether that’s the ability to reduce redness or generally brighten up your skin. All of the best drugstore primers, including every option on this list, cost less than $15, though you’d never guess it by their high-performing, often-elegant formulas.
To shop five of the best primers for oily skin, scroll on. And if you’re looking for more shine-stopping beauty products, be sure to check out the best foundations for oily skin, and the best sunscreens.
1. The Best Drugstore Primer For Oily Skin
For just $5, you can’t do much better than Rimmel’s Stay Matte primer. This perennial best-seller has over 15,000 five-star Amazon ratings from shoppers who swear by its ability to reduce oil and prevent their makeup from slipping off. It’s a clear, lightweight primer that’s made with dimethicone to mattify skin, control excess oil production, and create a smooth, grippable canvas for your makeup to cling onto. The brand says it’ll keep shine at bay for a full eight hours, whether you wear it underneath foundation or alone.
L'Oreal’s Infallible Matte-Lock Primer is another great, albeit slightly more expensive, primer for oily skin. Like Rimmel Stay Matte, it’s an oil-free, silicone-based primer that creates a matte base, but this one offers a nice pore-blurring effect, as well. At first, it appears white, but it blends into any skin tone invisibly, as it becomes clear once it’s massaged onto your face. To really extend the lifespan of your makeup, pair it with the brand’s translucent setting powder, also from L’Oreal’s ‘Infallible’ line of long-lasting makeup (which includes a foundation and concealer, too).
3. Best Drugstore Primer For Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
A primer and acne treatment in one, e.l.f.’s Blemish Control Face Primer contains the BHA salicylic acid to deep clean pores, as well tea tree oil, a botanical that’s been proven to help heal acne. Beyond that, it does everything else you’d want from a primer for oily skin: creates a smooth texture, mattifies skin, and helps your makeup stay on all day (or night) long. Though the bottle is green, the primer is not, so it’s imperceptible on any skin tone — though if you are in the market for a green-tinted primer to neutralize redness, keep scrolling.
4. Best Redness-Reducing Primer For Oily Skin
If you have oily skin that’s also prone to redness or rosacea, Covergirl’s green color-correcting primer works to neutralize redness using color theory, since green is opposite red on the color wheel. The formula is oil-free and contains smoothing dimethicone — two bonuses for oily skin — and it has a lightweight, barely-there feel, despite how effective it is at creating a bright, even, less ruddy complexion. At just $7, it comes at a great price, too.
5. Best 2-In-1 Primer & Serum
A serum and primer in one, Neutrogena’s Shine Control Matte Primer & Serum is made with glycerin, silica, and rice seed protein to soak up shine, blur pores, and nourish your skin at the same time. Like a serum, it feels incredibly lightweight and doesn’t leave behind any sort of stickiness or greasiness, but like a primer, it creates a smooth base for your makeup to adhere to. Pro tip from the brand: You can also use this as an eyebrow pomade — just dab a bit of the product on your brows and shape with a spoolie.