Belfast Telegraph

Make-up masterclass: 5 ways to tackle oily skin

Paddy McGurgan is one of NI's best-known beauty experts and each week he tells you everything you need to know about the latest make-up techniques

By Paddy McGurgan

So, you already use an exfoliator, day and night creams, serums, under-eye treatment and foundation with an SPF? Believe it or not, you still need to invest in one other product - primer.

Now, if you have already found the right one, then you will know what a difference this can make not only to the appearance of your skin but also to the staying power of your make-up. The right primer will become the secret weapon of your beauty box and help transform your look.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down a few of the misconceptions about primers, as well as help you choose the one that will work best for you.

First up, mattifying primers, which reduce and control excess oil on the skin. The trick is to find one that does this, but also hydrates the areas of your face that need more moisture. Here are my recommendations:

Peter Thomas Roth Max Anti-shine Mattifying Gel (30ml), £28, Cult Beauty

I discovered this product while working at a fashion show in Paris, and was instantly impressed. The gel formula glided over the skin and immediately helped to absorb any excess oil, reducing shine and minimising pores. It also worked well with make-up — I was struck by how long the foundation I was using stayed in place. 

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector, £32, Cult Beauty 

As a brand, I think Becca is very much a skin-first cosmetics house, which I totally adore. It’s very easy in the current cosmetics climate to focus on producing dramatic eyeshadow combinations, an approach that tends to mean companies spend less time thinking about the living, breathing surface their products are going to sit on. I love watching how a good primer can make a real difference to skin, and this one from Becca doesn’t disappoint. Formulated to act like a liquid blotting paper, this perfector works well on areas like the T-zone.

Face2Face Supermatte Anti-shine £13.25, Make up Pro Store

If you are using a mattifying primer but still have a problem with shine, then you need to use a stronger one. This one leaves skin feeling fresh and taut without producing the caked-on feeling you can get from using powder. Another bonus is that it’s available in three sheer shades: light, medium and dark. Also, this isn’t just one for the ladies — this can work very well on men’s palms, foreheads and those areas where the hairline is receding.

Sleek Make-up Mattifying Primer, £7.99, Boots

A budget buy but one that performs well, this primer will help reduce oil and enhance the skin’s appearance. Soft-focus powders provide a velvety finish and blur the appearance of fine lines. If you just want a quick pick-me-up wear this alone, though it also works well under foundation. Don’t feel you have to apply it all over — you can just apply to trouble spots.

Five ways to tackle oily skin

  1. Deeply exfoliate the skin at least twice a week to get rid of excess sebum (oil) as well as the dead skin cells that can fester, creating breakouts and acne. Regular exfoliation should result in a marked improvement in your skin, leaving it brighter.
  2. Never make the mistake that oily skin does not need to be moisturised. Of course it does, but the trick is in finding the right one. Look for water-based or oil-free moisturisers, and stay away from creams and heavy lotions — as well as being too emollient for your skin, they will clog it up.
  3. You are what you eat, so obviously diet is important when it comes to improving the quality of your skin. The first step is to cut down on your sugar intake, which can affect the pH. Added sugars can also upset the balance of hormones and blood sugar levels, which, in turn, leads to excess oil production and an all-over greasy appearance.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough shut-eye increases your androgen production, which is a main hormone component involved in sebum production. Factor in too much stress as well, and the problem will only get worse. Try to make a point of getting early nights and, if you do feel under pressure, see whether mindfulness would work for you.
  5. Powder is your best friend. If your primer is still not completely sorting the shine, then loose powder is a great solution. Choose a matte-based powder, preferably as finely milled as possible so as not to block pores or leave a chalky appearance. 

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