6 tips to manage oily skin through the day

27 October, 2022 / words by Kelle Salle

Image by @misstpw

As someone who has oily/combination skin, I know all too well what it feels like to end up with a shiny T-Zone by midday. When it comes to oily skin, the struggle is very real. There was a time when no matter what I did, I couldn’t keep the excess oil in check and it did undermine my self-confidence. All I saw when I looked in the mirror was a shiny complexion, even on the days when I wasn’t wearing makeup. When I first discovered I had oily skin, nobody was really talking about skin types, so I gravitated towards any products that had the word ‘mattifying’ on the packaging in pursuit of a shine-free complexion.

While it’s a lot easier to curate a good skincare routine for oily/combination skin than it was all those years ago, the most important thing anyone with oily skin should know is that all skin types produce oil. We all have sebaceous glands that produce natural oils called sebum. Our skin needs to produce sebum in order to stay hydrated and healthy. Some people’s sebaceous glands produce too much oil and this is what causes oily skin. 

If you’ve been struggling with oily skin for a while, here are a few tips to help you look after your skin throughout the day. 

Always set your makeup

When I wear makeup, I love to use a setting spray to keep it in place and make it last all day. Any setting spray I use has to be suitable for oily skin. If you haven’t used a setting spray before, read the instructions on the bottle and shake it a few times before application as some of them can leave marks on your face. I only set my makeup when everything is done, never before. On the days when I feel like elevating my makeup setting game, I apply a bit of setting spray on my makeup brushes and sponges.

Urban Decay

All Nighter Setting Spray

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Use oil-blotting papers

If you are looking for a quick fix that eliminates shine in the space of a few seconds, then blotting papers are for you. I love them because they’re lightweight, discreet and they do an amazing job at soaking up excess shine. Most blotting papers are made from extra-absorbent materials so you don’t have to worry about your makeup coming off – all you need to do is gently pat (do not wipe) the paper on the areas where you have the most shine and you’ll be left with a fresh, matte complexion. A must have for your handbag.


Oil blotting paper

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Prep your skin for makeup

I can’t wear makeup without applying a mattifying primer first. Primers that have been created with oily skin in mind are my go-to because they mattify the skin while creating a flawless base under my makeup. Oily/combination skin can be difficult to manage and I know how tempting it can be to want to apply lots of makeup to conceal the issue but a less is more approach is always best. Apply more foundation in the areas you want to conceal and keep it minimal everywhere else. Longwear, oil-free foundations are a must for oily skin. I always finish off my makeup with a loose powder.

Laura Mercier

Pure Canvas Primer

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Estee Lauder

Stay-in-Place Foundation

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Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

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Skincare routine

The key to looking after oily skin is to always do what works for you. Take a trial and error approach until you find the products and practices that minimise shine. I remember when beauty experts were suggesting that the only way to control oily skin was to ditch heavier products like moisturiser and sunscreen. Ditching products from your skincare routine can actually compromise your skin’s overall health. Instead, look for skincare that is labelled as ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic’. Always remember that all skin types produce oil so it’s impossible to get rid of oily skin overnight, your oil should be to manage/reduce it instead. An active ingredient that has been a skincare saviour for me over the past few years is hyaluronic acid. It keeps my skin plump and hydrated and reduces shine in the process.

The Inkey List

Salicylic Acid Cleanser

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Mattifying Emulsion

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Oil Control Face Protection Sun Cream

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Hyaluronic Facial Serum

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Don’t touch your face during the day

Whether you wear makeup or not, it can be tempting to touch your face throughout the day, but this habit can actually be making your skin oilier due to the dirt, oil and bacteria that spreads from your hands to your face. If you have to touch your face, clean your hands first. If you don’t have access to hand wash, use sanitiser instead. The only time you should touch your face is when you’re cleansing, moisturising or applying sunscreen or makeup. 

The Body Shop

Tea Tree Hand Wash

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Drink lots of water

Let go of the idea that oily skin doesn’t need moisture or hydration. While it’s no secret that drinking water is great for our health, it also helps maintain skin elasticity. Water moistens and hydrates the entire body and when the skin is hydrated, the oil glands receive signals from the brain that excess oil is no longer needed, this slows down the oil production in the skin, which results in less acne and minimised pores.



Kelle Salle


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