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Make-up tips for oily skin: Best beauty and skincare products for a light, matte finish

Rose Gallagher
·5-min read

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Rose Gallagher, 30, is from Birmingham and has been a make-up artist for 10 years. She has more than 39,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts make-up tutorials, tips and tricks.

Scroll down for a full list of the products Rose uses in this tutorial.

For those with more oily skin, creating a matte-finish make-up that doesn’t look dry and heavy can be a challenge.

If you do manage to create your perfect base, your next challenge is keeping it in place all day.

Here are a few tips and techniques I’ve learned along the way to ensure that you can trust your make-up to last well, even when you’re prone to oiliness.

Stay hydrated

It may sound counter-intuitive, but keeping oily skin hydrated is essential.

Your skin is producing what it feels it lacks – in this case, extra moisture. So, if you get in there first and add moisture, you are helping your make-up to stay put.

Prepping your skin with an oil-free skincare step will ensure that your skin doesn’t draw the moisture that it craves from your make-up, causing it to disappear or look patchy through the day.

Vichy 89 Mineral Serum | £18.75 from Lookfantastic

Vichy 89 Mineral Serum
Vichy 89 Mineral Serum

This serum from Vichy is packed with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient designed to retain moisture, and is thin in texture.

Read more: How to achieve a glamorous ‘90s supermodel make-up look


Now for the ever-popular priming step.

Contrary to many a make-up lover, I’m not a huge advocate of primers. I think lots of them add an extra, expensive and unnecessary step to your routine.

So instead, I’d recommend something that primes and treats your skin.

This Murad Oil Control Mattifyer instantly reduces the appearance of pores and provides lasting support against oil build up.

Murad Oil and Pore Control | £35 from Lookfantastic

Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier
Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier

Take this just where you need it, paying particular attention to the T-zone and the centre of the face.

Powder foundation

If you’re especially oily, you may prefer to use a powder foundation.

Cast aside the stigma of old-fashioned powders, known for feeling thick, heavy and cakey.

Lots of modern alternatives are so finely milled that they have a soft, velvety texture and feel lightweight on the skin.

This one from IT Cosmetics is especially high coverage despite feeling soft to the touch, and MAC Cosmetics and BareMinerals also make wonderful powders.

IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation in shade Medium | £31 from Selfridges

IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation
IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation

A powder will create more of a skin-like finish and avoid layering excess hydration to an already oily skin.

Bear in mind that these may drop a little as you apply them, so if you’re wearing a clean top, you may wish to prep with a tissue to ensure your clothes remain clean!

Read more: 10 great beauty buys that cost just £10 or less


When bronzing, you may wish to use a completely matte bronzer.

These days, lots of bronzing powders are infused with a sheer shimmer, adding radiance. I personally prefer to use a matte bronzer, and add my own radiance if and when I want to.

This powder from Doll Beauty is completely matte and very pigmented, so you can use it for a soft wash of colour or a more sculpted contour.

Doll Beauty Gimme Sun Bronzing Powder | £15 from Beauty Bay

Doll Beauty Gimme Sun Matte Bronzer
Doll Beauty Gimme Sun Matte Bronzer

Adding some bronzer wherever the sun would naturally hit will not only add warmth, but also help to give a more realistic skin-finish.


In the same line of thinking, your choice of blusher will help to establish the overall feel of your make-up. A completely matte blush will give a natural skin-finish and sit politely atop everything else.

Or, if you wish to have a radiant make-up finish and at the same time manage your oil, using a shimmering blush could add radiance in a controlled manner.

With all of this in mind, I always gravitate towards NARS for blusher because they have so many colours in different finishes and textures.

NARS Powder blusher | £25 from Lookfantastic

NARS Blusher
NARS Blusher

Everything is densely pigmented, so their colours sit beautifully on all skin tones.

Read more: The secret to a perfect smoky eye

Setting your make-up

One of the most crucial parts of any make-up look is how you set it into place.

You could take a translucent setting powder all over the skin, this helps to lock everything for the day. Alternatively, you could spray a setting mist all over your skin.

These are special sprays designed to hold make-up in place, merging a soft touch of skincare with a lasting hold. Charlotte Tilbury’s is a great make-up fixer, designed to hold everything in place for up to 16 hours.

Charlotte Tilbury Setting Spray | £26 from Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray

And finally… don’t forget to acknowledge the many positives of having an oily skin type! Your skin is never lacking in moisture, meaning it will always look radiant and glowing.

You can keep up with Rose’s make-up tips on her Instagram account @rosegallagher or listen to her podcast ‘Beauty from the Heart’ on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all your usual podcast platforms.