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Oily skin can be the worst. Between that mid-morning shine and the constant battle to get a good look with makeup, it can seem like you’re always fighting with your face. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are a few tips and tricks sure to help you stop oily skin in its tracks. Let’s dive in.
Not everyone has truly oily skin, and it’s something that’s often misdiagnosed and overtreated by people who’ve brought it upon themselves (whoops!).
How does this happen? Well, beauty standards today have taught women that, to look beautiful, they have to be dewy and ultra-matte - especially when they have makeup on during the day. This has led to an overcorrection of a problem that wasn’t really there as women slather on over-stripping products, alcohols, and unnecessary chemicals to achieve porcelain-like results.
As this goes on, the skin tries to protect itself, recover from the onslaught, and balance itself out. It overproduces oils to self-soothe and undo all the harm that’s been caused (just like our hair starts to produce more oil if we use lots of harsh shampoos). Then, we believe that we have oily skin and buy products for combination and oily skin types. But we really don’t and we’re just making this irritation-driven condition worse.
That said, if you really have an oily skin type, you’ll notice significant shine all over your face along with possible breakouts. Other characteristics of truly oily skin include:
Not you? You can figure out your true skin type here.
Contrary to popular belief, having oily skin does not mean that you should skimp out on the moisturizer or other hydrating ingredients. In fact, by not applying enough moisturizer, you’ll actually make your skin overcompensate and produce even more oil to keep itself properly hydrated.
That’s why it’s important for those with an oily skin type to maintain a comprehensive skincare regimen that includes - at the very least - a cleanser, exfoliant, moisturizer, and sunscreen.
The fine print:
And always avoid harsh scrubsand overly-rich productslike shea butter or coconut oil.
Makeup is something that can really make oily skin worse, as it can clog pores, introduce harmful chemicals, and just add to any existing problems that you experience with oily skin.
To avoid any headache, start by looking for an oil-free foundation or tinted moisturizer.
It will also be worthwhile to invest in a mattifying primer formulated with oil-absorbing ingredients like rice powder. It’ll keep you shine-free without giving your skin a white or overly-dried appearance.
Underneath it all? Be sure that you use an appropriate base like a light serum or non-comedogenic sunscreen. This will provide the moisture that your oily skin needs, along with protection from free radicals and day-to-day pollutants.
Yes, there are definitely cleansing ingredients - like glycolic acid, astringents, and clarifying cleansers - that can help manage oily skin types. That said, there’s a difference between effective cleansing ingredients and overly harsh ingredients that will over-exfoliate and strip your skin.
To this end, avoid any soaps or cleansers with artificial fragrance or harsh chemicals like parabens and phthalates (you can see our full list of no-no ingredients here), as these can dry out the skin and encourage it to create more sebum. Instead, use gently clarifying ingredients like glycolic acid, clay, and charcoal powder.
Similarly, avoid loofahs and rough washcloths, as added friction may stimulate the skin to make more oil.
Finally, when it comes to astringents, don’t use any products that contain alcohol. Instead, go for natural astringents like witch hazel, which can have skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
You can find a full suite of clarifying yet gentle products here.
Even when you use all the right products, mid-afternoon shine can still happen. When it does, we recommend that you avoid heavy powders or pore-clogging ingredients.
Instead, blot away heavy oil with oil-absorbing sheets. This won’t treat your excess oil problems, but it will remove excess oil throughout the day, which can unclog pores and help cleanse the skin.
Again, you can - and should - use botanical oils on your face and body even if you have oily skin. That said, take care of the type of oil that you apply.
You’ll want a product that will balance and calm your natural oil production. It basically tells your body I got this so you don’t wind up overproducing oil yourself.
This will be a lightly hydrating oil that doesn’t clog pores or feel heavy on the skin, like:
Squalane, in particular, can calmly moisturize without causing any issues for oily skin types.It’s the stabilized version of squalene, an oil that’s actually found in our own sebum (as well as in plants like olive, rice bran, and sugarcane, and in shark liver - ours is sustainably sourced from olive oil)! As such, it plays a huge role in our natural ability to moisturize our skin, and the fact that it’s naturally occurring in our bodies makes it:
Don’t know where to get started when trying to create the perfect routine for oily skin? You can find all of the effective products you need here. Happy cleansing!