The cusp of summer is a good time to start talking about how to control oily skin. I mean, I talk about oily skin constantly, because I have it, so I am almost always complaining about it because such is my nature. But everyone gets a little bit greasy come summer, running around in the heat and wearing sunscreen and all (you are wearing sunscreen, right?), and while I can’t help you keep your face completely dry and sweat-proof constantly (impossible, bro, let me tell you), I may just be able to help you keep your face looking presentable! What more can you ask for when it’s 8 million degrees and it’s all you can do just to keep your goddamn clothes on? That’s what I thought.
I have taken many approaches to keeping my skin “balanced.” My first approach, when I was much younger, was to attempt to rid my skin of any and all moisture, which I believed was the cause of my oily skin. THIS IS THE WORST IDEA EVER. Ever! I used harsh drugstore cleansers and scrubs and antiseptic toners and skipped moisturizer, and I would wake up not only dripping grease but also with, like, a million blackheads and whiteheads and what have you. Even (especially!) the most oily, problematic, acne-prone skin benefits from moisture. I know it sounds counter-productive, but that is how it works. All skin types (except for the very dry, but if you have very dry skin, this isn’t about you) should use a gentle foaming cleanser and a light moisturizer. I like to use a toner in between, but some people find that unnecessary. Lately I’ve been using Orico London Streetwise Gentle Antioxidant Face Wash, then Clairvoyant Beauty Refreshing Cucumber Toner spritzed over wet skin and followed by Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer, then Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30. Layering! It’s key. Or I think so, at least.
It’s also worth noting — and this is a questionable and wasteful procedure that I do not necessarily recommend — that I have taken to drying my face by just blotting with paper towels. My skin looks much better doing this than it did in the past, when I used potentially bacteria-carrying bath towels that always left knit nubs on my face that I would then pick off with my fingernails. Is having a roll of paper towels For Face Only a normal thing to do? Noooooo. But if, like me, you do laundry as infrequently as possible (also, are insane), it may be something to consider.
There are tons of anti-acne and mattifying moisturizers out there, but I … don’t use any of them. If my skin is my-life-is-over terrible, I’ll apply a thin layer of OC8 Adult Acne Treatment Gel underneath my moisturizer, but otherwise I just stick to the simple stuff, and I have tried everything. Your results may vary, but keeping it simple has proven to work best for me.
When it comes to makeup for oily skin, primer is very, very important. I find that a lot of primers appear to mattify when freshly applied, but by the end of the day they only contribute to the grease factor. Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is great for oily skin that doesn’t have as much of an acne problem; I’m obsessed with Miracle Skin Transformer Acne Control Tinted Skin Enhancer, which isn’t technically a primer but I use it under concealer and foundation, because it has a little bit of acne medication in it to keep blemishes at bay. If your skin is pretty good, you may just be able to use these two on their own, which is definitely a bonus.
Powder is probably the most important step of actual makeup to apply to keep oiliness at a minimum. Use a large, fluffy brush to dust on a thin layer of a translucent or tinted finishing powder — my favorites are Tarte Smooth Operator Micronized Clay Finishing Powder with PM20 and Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Mineral Finishing Powder — and set with a finishing spray or toning mist. My skin does tend to get a dry, crepey appearance after I apply powder, even though it’s oily, so I generally use Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater to set. If it’s super-hot out or I have a special occasion, however, it comes time for the BIG GUNS and those guns are Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray. I don’t even know if any other setting sprays exist, because that one kills the game.
Lastly, BLOTTING PAPERS! I would not be caught dead without at least one pack of blotting papers on my person at all times. Boscia makes my favorite, but any blotting papers will do. They’re all fundamentally the same, right? Like most things in life that attempt to differentiate themselves with different colors and packaging and gimmicks? Like MEN? Ugh, sorry, what, bye.
Is there a celebrity beauty look you want to steal? A new product you want to learn how to use? Don’t know which foundation, moisturizer, volumizing spray, or novelty eye glitter to invest in? Want to see how many Momofuku birthday cake truffles I can fit in my mouth at once? (So many.) If you’ve got a beauty question, concern, or demand, any at all, hit me up on my videophone. I mean, uh, my email. Or Twitter! [email protected] or @frigidbardot — make it ring, or rain, or something like that, babes!
[Photo of woman applying powder via Shutterstock]