In Search of a Primer That Clings Onto Foundation for Dear Life on This Oily Skin of Mine

I tried 8 new and recommended products to find something that stops my makeup from slipping right off.

I’ve finally embraced my skin’s natural tendency to be oily, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want my makeup to stay where it belongs.

A while back I tested out quite a few primers for oily skin and I thought it was about time to check out some that have been on my to-try list, as well as ones that xoVain commenters have recommended.

Here's how they performed.

Embryolisse Hydra-Mat Emulsion

This is a moisturizer/primer combo, but I found it to be more of the former than the latter. I really liked the way this felt on my skin, and it sunk in well, but I don't think it made a significant difference in the longevity of my foundation. Still, I enjoyed using it.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Mattifying Primer

If you want a primer that somehow sucks all the oil up off of your face, than this is it. As far as texture goes it was on the thicker side, yet easy to spread around. If you are combo-oily I would suggest only putting this on your oiliest spots because it is intensely mattifying.

It definitely kept my makeup on all day, but I didn't love that anywhere I put it that was super-oily seemed to not blend as well.

e.l.f. HD Mattifying Balm

I was surprised by how well this worked for me! The balm has that silicone feel to it, but when I smoothed it on my skin, it wasn't too slippery. It also did a great job of filling in my pores and creating a really smooth base for applying my makeup.

I thought it did an adequate job of keeping my makeup on, but it wasn't the best I've tried. My only complaint is that I'm not too keen on the format, but that's a personal preference thing.

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer

I really liked the texture of this one because it was slightly tacky, and I felt like that gave my makeup something to really adhere to. I found that most of the tackiness disappeared once I applied my makeup and that this kept it looking pretty fresh except for through the T-zone area.

NYX Shine Killer

I look at this primer every time I peruse the NYX section, but I never make the jump to actually purchasing it. I think what held me back is that the texture has quite a bit of silicone slip. Despite that, it dries down to a nice, velvety finish, and my foundation applies very well over the top.

This one also keeps my makeup in place with just a little fading through the T-zone.

Eve Lom Perfect Matte Primer SPF 15

Eve Lom is a brand I'm just starting to explore despite having heard good things about it for a while, and I'm glad I started with this primer. because it's great! It has a tackiness bordering on an almost glue-like feel, but it goes on really well, and my foundation looks great on top of it. I also love that it has SPF in it even though I wear a facial sunscreen daily anyways — it's just an added layer of protection.

This was the second-best at holding my foundation for the day, but again, I did have some fading through the T-zone.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer — Original and Oil-Free for Sensitive Skin

I avoided the original formula of this primer for a long time, but it was surprisingly good! It smooths over my whole face easily, it's not too slippery or tacky, and it kept my makeup looking fresh all day.

The oil-free formula has less slip to it, but I honestly couldn't tell the difference as far as foundation wear between the two.

  • Have you had a different experience with any of these primers?
  • What have you found to be the best primer for oily skin?