10 Best Primers for Oily Skin and Large Pores of 2020

primers for oily skin

Katie Buckleitner

Listen, I’m all about minimalist/uncomplicated makeup (most days, my entire makeup routine consists of just tinted moisturizer and a swipe of mascara), but if you have oily skin, there’s one extra step you should definitely consider adding to your routine ASAP…and that’s a primer designed for your oily skin type. A good primer for oily skin will contain a combo of blurring, oil-absorbing, and clarifying ingredients to create a smooth base for your face makeup or foundation (and prevent it from sliding around all over your face). But even if you’re not wearing makeup, it’ll still keep your skin matte and shine-free for hours, and help keep your pores clear of excess sebum and build-up. Pretty great, right? Ahead, I’ve rounded up the 10 best primers for oily skin to get you started.

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Best Primer for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

Bareminerals Blemish Rescue Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer

Anyone with oily skin that’s also acne-prone will love this mattifying primer from Bareminerals. It’s non-comedogenic (meaning it’s tested to not clog pores or cause acne) and uses chamomile extract so soothe inflammation, antibacterial minerals to prevent breakouts, and has a green tint to neutralize any breakout-induced redness. 


Best Clean Primer for Oily Skin

Honest Beauty Everything Primer Matte

Not only does this primer keep your oily skin looking shine-free and your makeup intact all day long, but the formula is made without questionable ingredients like parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, or dyes. It’s pretty much as a clean as primers come.


Best Silicone-Free Primer for Oily Skin

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer Blurring

Not a huge fan of using skincare and makeup products that contain silicone? Go with this primer for oily skin from Laura Mercier. The water-based formula is made without silicones, but still mattifies skin and minimizes marks and uneven texture thanks to blurring powders and conditioning microalgae.


Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin

Neutrogena Shine Control Matte Primer + Serum

There are a ton of great drugstore primers for oily skin out there, but this one from Neutrogena is hands down my favorite. It has a lightweight, serum-like texture and is made with oil-absorbing rice protein to sop up excess sebum throughout the day.


Best SPF Primer for Oily Skin

Supergoop Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40

This four-in-one primer for oily skin is truly the ultimate multitasker. Rub a nickel-size amount over your entire face to blur the look of large pores, keep excess grease at bay, protect your skin with zinc-based SPF 40, and even out redness and discoloration with a sheer, universally wearable tint. 


Best Gel Primer for Oily Skin

Black Opal Invisible Oil Blocking Gel Primer



If the thought of layering another lotion or cream on top of your oily, congestion-prone skin makes you shudder, give this gel primer for oily skin a try. The lightweight texture soaks into skin in seconds (seriously—there’s zero residue) while keeping shine in check for hours.


Best Protective Primer for Oily Skin

Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas: Featherweight Protective Primer

Yes, this primer for oily skin does the obvious (aka create a smooth canvas for makeup and keep your skin from turning into a grease-slick), but it also shields your face from the harmful effects of pollution and blue light. It’s all thanks to a combo of silk extract (it creates a lightweight, protective veil on skin) and antioxidant-rich green tea extract.


Best Pore-Minimizing Primer for Oily Skin

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

Smoothing on a pea size amount of this primer is basically like taking the airbrush tool to your face. It uses salicylic acid to soothe inflammation and eliminate build-up that gets stuck in pores, plus little oil-absorbing spheres that mattify skin and diffuse light to minimize the look of pores and rough texture on contact.


Best Primer for Oily Skin for Under Makeup

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer

The easiest way to prevent a makeup meltdown is with this primer for oily skin. It provides all-day shine-control (bless you, mattifying blue agave extract) and extends the wear-time of your foundation and concealer so you makeup looks just as good at 9 p.m. as it did at 9 a.m.


Best Primer Balm for Oily Skin

Glamglow Supermattify Clarifying Oil-Control Face Primer

Using the tiny spatula, scoop a pearl-size amount of this primer balm from the compact, massage it between your hands to activate the ingredients, and then smooth it over your skin. It contains a blend of clarifying acids (like lactic, salicylic, and glycolic acids), oil-absorbing charcoal, and mattifying clay to keep pores clearxs.

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