Beauty PSA: The Best Primer for Oily Skin

Harling Ross | July 7, 2016

When puberty set up camp shortly after my 11th birthday, it arrived with a fanny pack full of fun, duty-free souvenirs. Highlights included: curly hair, pimples, a crush on my science teacher, child-bearing hips and oily skin.

While I learned to live with and even embrace most of these new additions over the years, my oily skin has been a constant source of frustration. I’ve tried different mattifying lotions and oil-blotting sheets, but my shine has a distasteful degree of reflective stamina. Like John Travolta’s hair in Grease. Or a Pandora charm bracelet.

I want to grab my sebaceous glands by their slippery collars and give them a stern shake, because apparently they’ve missed the memo that I am no longer a pimply teenager. I’m an adult woman. I pay taxes and wear real bras. I eat salad.

Luckily, I’ve finally stumbled upon a more effective form of rebuke. It’s called BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfecter, and I don’t even remember how I found it. I think it popped up in one of those creepily intuitive ads on the side of my internet browser, probably because I frequently type things like, “how can I stop my face from looking like a McGriddle spatula” into Google search.

But I digress — the primer! It’s pretty much the only product that has ever successfully controlled my oily skin all day during the summer. I pat it on every morning after washing my face, and I can literally feel it sealing and tightening and mattifying as it dries — like a tactile manifestation of that schooooooop sound a vacuum cleaner makes if you place it against your skin.

My face looks completely matte post-application, which means I can customize my glow — a revelation for anyone with a history of oily skin. Perhaps a touch of highlighter on my brow bones? Or a swoop of shimmery bronzer across my cheeks! The world is my oyster, and I am its not-so-pearly pearl.

If you, like me, produce enough shine to guide ships through fog, go buy this shit. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Let’s keep our grease where we want it this summer. (On top of pizza. And maybe the occasional corn dog.)

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.


  • Haley Nahman

    I’m dying Harling. I was going to pick a favorite part and then I couldn’t.

    • probs the science teacher or mcgriddle

    • Harling Ross

      HALEY. You’re making my toes blush.

  • Pia Hocevar Mucic

    Thanks for sharing, I’m always searching for a quality primer!
    Fash ‘n’ fudge
    Fash ‘n’ fudge

  • I always see people talk great things about they becca primer! I have oily skin too. Will definitely have to give this one a go.

    • Harling Ross

      it really, really works.

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    Child-bearing hips and oily skin. You’re singing my life with your words…

    • Harling Ross

      hahaha puberty was such a treat

  • Abril Reyes

    I literally pictured myself with the curls, the pimples (without the child bearing hips) but as a thirty-five-year-old-Filipo Berio-oil-producing-face-woman. I live in the Caribbean (Cancun, especifically) and only a miracle could help me on the battle against my (damned) genes.

    • Harling Ross

      this product is a miracle!!

  • Ali

    I have tried every oil mattifying primer under the sun. The search stopped when I discovered this Becca primer. PERFECTION is an understatement.
    My skin is EXTREMELY oily. The only good thing about my skin type it is that I can pass for 25, when in fact I am 45. LOL.
    This product is literally a God send.
    May it never be discontinued!!!

  • Sajani Mindula Fernando

    My oily skin defeats even this primer. Even coupling it with the urban decay all nighter does no help. One day though, one day I will find the perfect primer. Also are we the same person – the child bearing hips, the curly hair, the acne, & THE CRUSH ON THE SCIENCE TEACHER?

    • mo

      Have you tried Too Faced Primed and Poreless or Make Up For Ever’s matte primer? They’re both pretty amazing


  • Dilara Bosak

    Have you ever tried the Smashbox Primer? Do you still recommend this one above the Smashbox one?

    I just started blogging and would love to hear your opinion! I hope you have the time to check it out.

    • Jackie @ Kleiden drew

      I tried the Smashbox primer and it left a weird residue on my skin. 🙁 Perhaps they’ve changed the formula? Hope so.

  • Lola

    I have the oiliest skin ever- like people can see their reflection in my forehead. BUT bizarrely what has helped me the most is putting oil ONTO my face overnight. I don’t know why it is but basically my pre-empting the oil means my face can relax because someone else has got its back oil-wise. Ren’s omega 3 oil in particular.

  • I have a tough time with primers – sometimes I find my skin actually looks better without them, as long as I take the time to properly set my foundation. But I’ll keep this one in mind…