Your Guide To Getting A Glowy Makeup Look As An Oily-Skinned Gal

Vicki Notaro on how to shine in all the right places.


I am an oily wagon. Greasy, shiny, even downright damp, my pores just love to emit sebum (and sweat) whenever they get the chance. us, I’ve spent my adult life desperately trying to mattify myself and stop the sheen. However, lately, due to both the fact that I’m getting older (and my decrepit skin is less forgiving of the matte look) and that dewy skin continues to be relentlessly on trend, I’ve been attempting to locate my glow – sometimes with disastrous results.

But I know I’m not alone in this so I have used my position as a beauty insider to do my research, used my own face as a guinea pig, and tried and tested products that’ll promise that lit-from-within look. Here are the things oily gals need to know to make sure you’re gleaming in all the right ways this spring.

Spritz o’clock

I used to be terrified of spritzes and setting sprays, afraid that they’d counteract the look that I was going for and leave me, well, wet. Nope. A liberal spritz before you apply your make-up hydrates the skin and helps foundation and concealer adhere to it, while a spray after helps set make-up and take off any chalky residue.

Vicki recommends… Avene Eau Thermale, €7.99, MAC Fix+, €22

Start with skincare

If your skin is oily and slick every single day, no amount of makeup can help you and you’re basically just asking for spots. So get it right from the get go. First things first, a good salicylic cleanser that’s not too astringent and won’t strip your face. Next, a nice hyaluronic acid serum, and every morning, a lovely oil-free mattifying SPF.

Oil-free is the magic word, or at least “suitable for all skin types”. When you have oily skin, you do not want to layer it with more oily products before or during make-up. So choose product specifically for your skin type that will stay put. I have a physical reaction to seeing Insta Huns using a dropper of dewy product on their face, get anything with oil in it AWAY from me. You can always add sheen later.

Vicki recommends… Image Clear Cell Cleanser, €45, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid, €6.75, Avene Cleanance Mattifying SPF30, €19

You don’t *need* primer

Lots of make-up artists recommend using a silicon primer to stop skin secretions, while many dermatologists say you’re simply blocking your pores by doing that. Your SPF moisturiser is primer enough if it’s mattifying and you shouldn’t be using anything with ‘radiance’ in the title – I learned the hard way with Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter, I am sadly not one of those gals that can wear it alone or even under foundation. However you don’t have to go full on either – if you want a barely there look, try a CC cream or skin tint.

Vicki recommends… Chanel Les Beiges Skin Tint, €60, It Cosmetics Oil-Free Matte CC Cream, €39

Your foundation formula really matters

Choose a foundation specifically for oily or at least combination skin. It doesn’t have to be super matte, but it does have to be long wearing. Add radiance with an illuminating concealer under the eyes and on the nose and Cupid’s bow – this is where Charlotte’s Magic Away Wand saves my bacon. Also don’t forget powder, it’s an oily gals best friend. If you don’t want to go too matte but still set your makeup, Laura Mercier’s Glow translucent powder is perfect.

Vicki recommends… Laura Mercier Flawless Radiance Foundation, €40, Flormar Perfect Coverage, €10.95, MAC Studio Fix Fluid, €32


Choose powder formulas where possible

You might find that creamy bronzers and highlighters are too slippy for your skin, or that they wear off too fast, and that’s because they’re introducing oiliness. Instead, choose powder formulas – I find them easier to work with as well. Get a bronzer that has a bit of sheen, a blush with sparkly bits, and a powder highlighter you can layer. Those cream sticks/ beauty blender combos are not for you, girlfriend.

Vicki recommends… Rimmel Kate Moss Contour Set, €7, NARS Laguna Bronzer, €37, Sculpted by Aimee Custom Edition, from €9

Always carry a compact

You’re going to need to top up, especially after eating. Always have a compact in your bag for shiny moments, whether it’s powder to combat shine or something with a bit more coverage.
I personally bring a little pot of NARS Soft Matte Concealer in Ginger, €30, and a small brush, and I’m good as new after a quick top up because it melts into the skin.

Vicki recommends… Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish, €42, Georgio Armani Power Fabric Balm, €70

And don’t fight it!

Embrace your oiliness and work with it rather than against it. Lots of people would kill for oilier skin because it’s age defying and gives you a healthy glow dry gals crave. But if you try and strip your skin, overload it with the wrong products or even just choose the wrong ones, you’re asking for trouble!