The Best Drugstore Primer For Oily Skin – 2017 Reviews & Top Picks

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In line with our commitment to help you find the top skincare products, we’ve come up with this list of the best drugstore primer for oily skin. After hours of testing, we’ve found that those products worked great for our oily skin and helped make our makeup look flawless while keeping our face matte throughout the day. We believe these are the best products to support your beauty, especially when you have oily skin.

For most women, using a primer seems to be an unnecessary step in a makeup routine.

But whether you opt for the no-makeup look or go full-on with contouring, baking and four shades of eyeshadow each day, using a primer will ensure that your skin looks fresh.

Moreover, a good primer can help makeup stay in place the whole day.

If you have oily skin, you’ll find that using a primer on its own or under makeup will be beneficial, especially if you want to stay shine-free all day.

This is because a primer can do more than just keep your foundation from smearing—it can also absorb excess oil, give you the look of fresh, matte skin, and even blur imperfections such as acne scars and redness.

For the best primers for oily skin, look no further than your favorite drugstore. You’ll find that there’s a wide variety of products on the shelves that will help you achieve a clean and matte look for a fraction of the price of department store primers.

Here is our list of the top 5 best drugstore primers for oily skin.


Quick Overview: Our Top 5 Best Drugstore Primers for Oily Skin

The number one spot on our list of the best drugstore primers for oily skin goes to e.l.f. Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer. This clear, satiny primer goes on smooth like silk, keeps your face from oiling up, and helps makeup to stay on longer.

If you want a primer that makes your skin look great even when you don’t wear makeup, then check out Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer. It gives you the look of smooth, poreless skin with a velvety texture.

The next pick on our list is L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base. The name may be a mouthful, but this mousse-like primer delivers its promise to give you smoother and more even-toned skin.

Coming in at number four on our roundup is Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer. This pink-tinted formula has a lightweight feel, and it makes your face selfie-ready by diffusing light to minimize imperfections.

Last but not the least on our list is Rimmel Stay Matte Primer. This creates a soft, matte complexion that stays shine-free for up to eight hours.

What is a Primer?

Beauty bloggers would never dream of putting on makeup without applying a thin coat of primer first. They actually consider the product a godsend, as it makes their makeup look better.

But for women who barely have time to slick on some lipstick, putting a product that’s not foundation or a powder on their faces seems to be superfluous, maybe even annoying.

In fact, those who often stick to the bare minimum when it comes to makeup might even ask, what exactly is a primer?

A makeup primer is a base for foundation or face makeup that allows it to go smoothly and last longer.

Primers usually contain silicon-based polymers like dimethicone, which is popular for its smoothing effects. A good primer should smooth out fine lines and make large pores less noticeable.

More importantly, it should keep oil at bay and help your makeup to look as fresh as it did when you first put it on.

Why Should You Use a Primer?

If you have oily skin and have more important things to do than blot up excess facial oil throughout the day, then a primer might be the solution to your skin woes.

Apart from helping your face to stay matte and shine-free, some primers are even targeted to fight acne and brighten your complexion.

Moreover, if you’re a fan of the no-makeup look, a primer can be your best friend as you don’t even need to put on that much makeup to look polished.

In fact, it can be a good alternative to BB cream or foundation.

A primer can also be the key to looking good even in extreme weather.

If you’re traveling to a place that’s very hot or extremely cold, this product can help your skin look better, and it locks in your makeup to keep it from melting or sweating off your face.

How To Use A Primer

Using a primer is as easy as putting on moisturizer. But the key to a smooth, matte finish is how you layer your beauty products.

Follow this step by step instructions and say hello to a fresher, more polished you.

  1. Wash your face with a cleanser and blot your face dry. Apply toner to freshen up pores, then follow with a light layer of moisturizer.
  2. Wait about five minutes for the moisturizer to sink in, then apply your primer. Start at the center of your face and blend it out. You can use your fingers, a sponge, or a beauty blender to do that.
  3. Once you’re finished applying the primer, wait for a few minutes before smoothing on your foundation or BB cream. Applying a liquid base immediately after using a primer can cause it to pile into little balls, and that’s not the look that you’re going for.
  4. Follow with concealer and a light dusting of translucent powder to set your makeup.

Product Reviews: Our Top 5 Best Drugstore Primers for Oily Skin

#1 - e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 1

Taking the top spot on our roundup of the best drugstore primer for oily skin is e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer.

We chose it for its versatility, velvety-soft feel, and its ability to make our makeup look flawless while keeping our faces matte throughout the day.

This product contains cyclopentasiloxane, a silicone mainly used as a delivery agent, conditioner, and lubricant.

It also has cyclohexasiloxane, another silicon-based polymer that gives skin a smooth and silky feeling.

Meanwhile, dimethicone crosspolymer keeps skin matte and makes it look pristine.

This primer comes in four variants—a lavender one for brightening, a green one to correct redness and blotchiness, a pink one for a radiant glow, and a clear one for creating a smooth base for foundation.

We opted to test the clear e.l.f. Primer.

The first thing that we noticed about this product is that it has a very smooth and silky feel, as though someone has taken baby powder and turned it into a gel version that isn’t the slightest bit wet.

We applied the clear primer to our faces and loved how it instantly made our skin look better than it was before.

Our pores looked smaller, our fine lines were blurred, and we could have gone without foundation if we wanted to.

Our makeup did stay on the whole day, and we only started oiling up six hours after we applied our makeup. Not bad for a drugstore primer!

The only thing that we didn’t love about this product is that there’s very little of it inside the bottle.

It may also cause breakouts, so make sure to wash your face thoroughly each day if you intend to use this primer as part of your daily makeup routine.

What We Liked:

  • Blurs skin imperfections
  • Makes oily faces stay matte for hours

What We Didn't Like:

  • There’s very little product in the bottle
  • May cause breakouts

#2 - Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

The next product to make it on our list of the best drugstore primer for oily skin is Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer.

We loved how it left us with a baby smooth skin and a matte complexion, and it’s also non-comedogenic, which is highly important if you have oily skin.

This primer contains dimethicone, a type of silicon that helps skincare and beauty products glide effortlessly across the skin, and it also helps to fill in pores and fine lines.

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 2

Another key ingredient of this product is stearyl heptanoate, which is the ester of stearyl alcohol and heptanoic acid and is used as an emollient in cosmetics.

This primer also has bitter cherry extract, which may help improve oily skin and reduce inflammation.

We like its bright blue tube, which makes it easy to find in our nearly overflowing makeup bags.

We also loved how a little of this clear primer goes a long way, and it made our pores look smaller.

Our foundation normally has a tendency to get cakey in the afternoon, but this primer made it stay in place.

Unfortunately, it didn’t do much to keep our faces shine-free, and our faces were oily merely two hours after application.

What We Liked:

  • Made pores look smaller
  • Helps makeup to stay in place

What We Didn't Like:

  • May not keep your face from getting oily

#3 - L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 3

Our third pick is the L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base, and it made the list for its soft, mousse-like texture and its ability to make faces look camera-ready.

What sets this apart from our first two picks is that it has an airy, whipped texture to it that feels light the moment you apply it to your face.

This primer also contains cyclohexasiloxane and dimethicone just like the first two products on this list, as well as aluminum hydroxide, which acts as a skin protectant and makes cosmetics and beauty products more opaque.

We've tested this primer and found that it made the fine lines under our eyes disappear, and an acne mark on our chin appeared less red with primer.

While it did give our faces an airbrushed quality, it did little to keep our oily skin matte and fresh. This may be better for those with normal to dry skin.

What We Liked:

  • Gives skin an airbrushed appearance
  • Blurs fine lines and acne marks

What We Didn't Like:

  • May not keep oily skin matte

#4 - Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer

If you’re addicted to taking selfies and can’t wait to make your next one even better, you may want to check out this primer from Revlon.

The Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer gets points for being fragrance- and paraben-free. It’s also oil- and talc-free, so naturally, we had a lot of expectations from this product.

Apart from the ever-present dimethicone in primers, it also has glycerine, which keeps skin moist, and isododecane, which improves the spreadability of cosmetics.

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 4

This primer has a pinkish tinge to it, and we thought that it would make us look chalky or give our skin a strange cast.

However, the fluid became transparent as we blended it and it gave our skin a satin finish.

We loved how smooth our skin looked, and it gave us a slightly dewy look that wasn’t oily at all. Our faces stayed oil-free for almost five hours.

The best part? The primer did make our skin look Instagram-ready, as it photographed well and didn’t leave an odd sheen on our faces.

What We Liked:

  • Photographs well, good to use before taking pictures
  • Gives skin a satin finish

What We Didn't Like:

  • May not keep oily skin matte for long

#5 - Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 5

Last but not the least on our list is a product from a British brand that has become a favorite of beauty bloggers and makeup enthusiasts worldwide.

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer is water-based and has cyclopentasiloxane, a silicon product that gives it a slippery feel.

It also contains talc, which is often found in baby powder and powder cosmetics.

We used this primer on a hot day to see if it would help our makeup stay in muggy weather, and we liked how lightweight it felt on our skin.

The one caveat is that it made our foundation pile up a bit, so we had to brush away the mess from our faces before we could continue putting on the rest of our makeup.

It also has an odd, glue-like smell and a somewhat grainy texture that may be off-putting, but if you can get past that, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

This primer did deliver on its promise to keep our faces looking matte throughout the day, and even our T-zone didn’t look greasy at all.

One of our male colleagues even tried this product on its own to see if it would control his oily skin, and long story short, this primer is now one of the mainstays in his grooming kit.

What We Liked:

  • Keeps skin shine-free
  • Oily skin stays matte throughout the day

What We Didn't Like:

  • Has a glue-like scent and a grainy texture
  • May make foundation pile or clump up

Latest Comparisons and Reviews of The Best Drugstore Primers for Oily Skin




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  Best Choice  

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 1

e.l.f. Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer

  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Cyclohexasiloxane
  • Dimethicone Crosspolymer
  • Blurs enlarged pores and fine lines
  • May keep skin matte for as long as six hours

2nd Choice

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 2

Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

  • Dimethicone
  • Stearyl Heptanoate
  • Bitter Cherry Extract
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Makes enlarged pores look smaller

3rd Choice

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 3

L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base

  • Cyclohexasiloxane
  • Dimethicone
  • Aluminum Hydroxide
  • Soft, mousse-like texture
  • Gives faces an airbrushed look

4th Choice

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 4

Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer

  • Dimethicone
  • Glycerine
  • Isododecane
  • Photographs well, good to use before taking pictures
  • Gives skin a satin finish

5th Choice

The Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin - 5

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

  • Water
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Talc
  • May help to keep your skin looking matte and fresh
  • Controls oily complexions

The Bottom Line

For its ability to keep makeup in place even in the hottest weather while keeping oil at bay, we declare e.l.f. Mineral Infused Primer as the winner of this roundup of the best drugstore primers for oily skin.

We simply love the fact that this primer kept our makeup looking as fresh as it was when we put it on in the morning, and it kept it that way throughout the day.

It also controlled shine and oil, helping us to look polished and put together even on a hot day.

When worn on its own, the primer made our faces look clean and fresh. When used together with makeup, it made our foundation and powder look better on our skin, and our faces looked smoother and healthier.

This primer, along with the other drugstore primers on this list, may help you achieve a flawless look while keeping your face matte and shine-free all day.

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