Why Does Your Makeup Look Oily After A Few Hours?

Have you ever applied your makeup in the morning and then noticed it started to look oily a few hours later?

Keeping your makeup matte all day can be difficult, especially if you have oily skin.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why this happens and give you some tips on how to prevent your makeup from looking shiny.

why does your makeup look oily after a few hours

Why Does Your Makeup Always Look Oily?

If you have oily skin, your sebaceous glands produce more sebum than usual, which can cause your foundation to look shiny.

You can also have combination skin like an oily T-zone and some other dry spots and makeup can start to look patchy and on oily skin, which is never a good look.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your makeup matte all day.

How To Prevent Oily Face After Applying Makeup?

Prepping your skin before applying makeup, using the right products, and setting your makeup can help to control shine and keep your makeup looking fresh all day long.

Follow these makeup tips for oily skin to prevent your makeup from looking shiny:

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Cleanse Your Face Before Applying Makeup

Salicylic Acid cleanser

Cleaning your skin before makeup will help to remove any excess oils and dirt from your skin’s surface. This will help your makeup go on smoothly and last longer.

Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face and avoid harsh cleansers that can strip your skin of its natural oils.

We love this salicylic acid cleanser for oily skin. It has a lightweight gel formula that cleanses the skin, leaving it feeling so fresh and clean.

It has 2% salicylic acid to help unclog the pores and doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy.

Apply A Mask 

face mask skincare

Adding a face mask to your skincare routine once or twice a week can help to control excess oil. Look for a face mask that contains ingredients like clay or charcoal to help minimize excess oil production.

I like to use these masks on special occasions before applying makeup. They help to control shine and give the skin a nice, smooth finish.

This Pore Clearing Clay Mask is one of my favorites. It helps to draw out impurities and unclog the pores. Plus, it has lactic acid, which helps to eliminate dead skin cells.

Exfoliate Regularly

kate somerville exfoliator

Exfoliating your skin on a regular basis can help to control shine by removing dead skin cells and excess oil.

Look for an exfoliator containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These ingredients will help to eliminate dead skin cells and unclog the pores.

Salicylic acid is a great choice for oily skin, as it helps to control sebum production.

We love this 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant because it has a gentle enough fomula that doesn’t irritate the skin. Plus, it contains salicylic acid to help unclog the pores and control excess oil.

I like to use at night after cleansing the skin. I apply it to a cotton pad and sweep it over my face.

Use Rubbing Alchohol (Sparingly)

I use this method sparingly because rubbing alcohol can dry the skin if used too often.

But, if you have an oily T-zone, applying a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and dabbing it on your forehead, nose, and chin can help to control shine.

It can also minimize the look of pores and help your makeup go on more smoothly. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, as rubbing alcohol can dry out the skin.

I use this trick for summer days or when the weather is humid. It helps to control shine and keeps my makeup looking fresh all day long.

Use A Toner

clinique toner

Adding a toner to your skincare routine can help to control excess oil production. Look for a toner containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or tea tree oil to help prevent oil and keep your skin looking matte.

This toner contains salicylic acid to help unclog the pores, control oil, and exfoliate the skin. It also contains witch hazel to soothe the skin.

We love this toner because it’s gentle enough for everyday use and helps control shine.

 Use An Oil-Free Moisturizer

the ordinary moisturizer

If you have oily skin, choosing a lightweight and oil-free moisturizer is essential.

Avoid using heavy, creamy moisturizers, as they can make your skin feel greasy and cause your makeup to separate.

A good moisturizer can help to hydrate the skin so that it doesn’t produce as much oil, and it gives your makeup a smooth base to adhere to.

This Oil-Free Moisturizer is perfect for oily skin. It has a creamy formula that instantly hydrates the skin without making it feel greasy.

A little bit goes a long way with this one, so you only need to use a small amount.

Apply a mattifying primer

nyx shine killer primer

A mattifying primer is necessary to create a smooth base for your makeup and control shine.

Look for a lightweight primer that contains mattifying ingredients and helps to minimize the look of pores.

I avoid using primers every day, but they are perfect for special occasions.

TIP: Avoid applying too much primer, as it can make your foundation look cakey. Use a minimal amount and dab it on your t-zone instead of rubbing it all over your face.

Makeup can also separate on the nose, so apply a small amount of primer to this area.

This Mattifying Primer is one of my favorites. It blurs the look of pores and fine lines, and it helps to control shine.

It’s also super affordable, which is always a bonus.

Read More: Best Smoothing Primers

Use Milk Of Magnesia

milk of magnesia

Many makeup artists use milk of magnesia to control shine and give the skin a matte finish.

Milk of magnesia has oil-absorbing properties and can do wonders for oily skin.

To use milk of magnesia as a primer, apply a very thin layer and blend it very well onto the skin.

TIP: Don’t use milk of magnesia every day as a primer because it can dry out your skin. I like to keep it on hand for special occasions when I need my makeup to last all day.

Wait For The Products To Skin In

After applying your skincare products, give them a few minutes to sink into your skin before applying makeup.

If you apply your makeup too soon, your foundation will not adhere as well and can start to look oily.

For example, I like to give my moisturizer five to ten minutes to sink in, depending on the formula, before applying primer.

Then I dab a minimal amount of primer over my oily areas and let that sit for a minute or two before applying foundation.

 Choose A Matte Foundation

matte foundation

Choosing the proper foundation is key to preventing your makeup from looking oily.

Avoid using foundation with a dewy or luminous finish, as it will only make your skin look shinier.

A matte foundation is the best choice for oily skin as it doesn’t add any extra shine and helps to control oil throughout the day.

It’s essential to find a foundation that is oil-free and long-wearing which gives you a natural-looking finish.

Water-based Foundations, for example, have many benefits and are lightweight too.

This Matte Foundation is one of my favorites. It has a light to medium coverage formula that lasts all day long.

It doesn’t leave my skin looking cakey or oily and gives me a nice, natural finish.

Related: Best Silicone-Based Foundations For Oily Skin

Best Foundations For Big Pores

Skip Greasy And Spicy Food

spicy food

Food that is spicy triggers sweat, resulting in the release of oil from your skin.

Greasy food can also cause your skin to look oily, so I try limiting my intake of these meals to once a week.

Also, I try to avoid eating spicy food three or four days before any special event.

I know it’s not always possible to pass up your favorite food, but it’s worth it if you want your makeup to look its best.

Drink Plenty Of Water

drink water

Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and can also help reduce the appearance of oily skin.

You will have a better balance of oil and water on the surface of your skin if you drink more water.

I aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and I always have a water bottle with me when I’m out and about.

Taking care of your skin from the inside out is the best way to achieve and maintain clear, healthy skin. It also results in wearing less makeup because you won’t need to cover up as much.

Use Clean Makeup Tools

makeup brushes

One of the main reasons why your makeup can start to look greasy is because of dirty makeup brushes.

If you don’t clean your brushes regularly, they can start to build up oil and bacteria.

This can cause your makeup to look patchy, and it can also cause breakouts.

I like to clean my brushes every week, or at least every other week, which helps to prevent them from getting too dirty.

I use this Brush Cleaner to clean my brushes. It’s quick and easy to use, and it doesn’t take long for the brushes to dry.

Also, if you are using a makeup sponge, make sure to clean it after each use.

You can wash it with soap and water or use a makeup brush cleaner.

Apply Less Foundation

apply less makeup

If you have skin imperfections, you might be tempted to apply a lot of foundation to cover up your blemishes.

However, applying a thick foundation layer can make your skin look greasy and accentuate your blemishes.

Instead of using a lot of foundation, use a small amount, and then use a medium to full coverage concealer to hide your blemishes.

You can also layer the foundation depending on the level of coverage you need.

This trick will give you a much more natural look and helps to make your makeup last longer.

To know more, check the best way to apply primer, foundation, and concealer.

Lock In Your Foundation With A Setting Spray

makeup sponge

Here is a trick i learned from many makeup artists:

After applying foundation, spritz a small amount of a matte setting spray onto a makeup sponge, then lightly press the product into your skin.

This will help to set your foundation and make it last longer.

I like to use this setting spray as it’s affordable and does a great job at keeping my makeup in place.

While I don’t do this trick every day, I do use it when I know I’m going to be out for a long time or if the weather is hot and humid.

Set Foundation With A Mattifying Powder

set foundation with powder

If you have oily skin, it’s essential to set your makeup with a setting powder.

A setting powder will help to control shine and will also help your makeup to last longer.

I like to use a translucent loose setting powder instead of a pressed one as it has a finely milled formula that doesn’t leave my skin looking cakey.

It also doesn’t add any extra color to the skin, which is perfect for a natural look.

I like to use this translucent setting powder as it has a light formula that sets the makeup without looking cakey.

It also comes with a puff, but i like to apply it with a fluffy powder brush for better results.

You only need a small amount of powder, so dip your brush into the cap, tap off the excess, and then tap it over your t-zone.

Related: What Color Of Setting Powder To Choose?

Use A Matte Blush And Bronzer

Use A Matte Blush And Bronzer

When choosing makeup products, make sure to look for ones that are oil-free and provide a matte finish.

Oil-free formulas help to control shine and can also help your makeup last longer.

For example, use a matte blush and bronzer instead of a shimmery one.

This will help to prevent your skin from looking shiny, and it will also give you a more natural look.

Avoid glittery highlighters as they can accentuate your oily areas.

Instead, use a sheer highlighter to give you a subtle glow.

I like to use this nude highlighter as it has a light formula that doesn’t accentuate my oily areas.

It also gives me a nice, natural-looking glow without looking too glittery.

Related: Blush Vs Bronzer

Apply A Setting Spray

Apply A Setting Spray

A setting spray is a great way to keep your makeup looking fresh all day long.

There are some specific setting spray formulas that help to control shine and prevent your makeup from smudging.

This setting spray, for example,has a light and refreshing formula that doesn’t leave the skin feeling oily or greasy.

It has a kaolin clay-infused formula that helps to control shine, making it an excellent choice for oily skin.

Setting sprays can dry the skin if you use them daily, so I like to keep them for special occasions.

They are great for weddings, parties, or any other event where you want your makeup to look its best.

Related: Setting Spray Vs Finishing Spray

Whenever Possible, Avoid Touching Your Face

avoid touching your face

To keep your makeup looking fresh, it’s essential to avoid touching your face as much as possible.

Touching your face can cause your makeup to smudge and can also transfer oil and dirt from your hands onto your face.

This can then lead to breakouts or make your skin look greasy.

Many people, including myself, have a habit of touching their faces when thinking or talking.

If you are someone who does this, try to be aware of it and make a conscious effort to keep your hands away from your face.

You transfer oil and bacteria from your hands to your skin whenever you touch your face.

So, try to avoid touching your face during the day, and ensure you wash your hands first if you want to do so.

Touch Up Your Makeup And Use Blotting Paper

blotting paper

If you start to notice your makeup looking oily during the day, don’t be afraid to use blotting paper to remove the excess oil.

Blotting papers are quick and easy to use, and they don’t require any water or makeup remover.

To use blotting paper, press it onto your skin for a few seconds and then lift it away.

They are also great for touch-ups as they don’t remove your entire makeup, just the excess oil.

I like to keep blotting papers in my purse so that I can use them whenever I need to.

If you don’t have blotting papers, you can also use a tissue or a paper towel.

Gently press it onto your skin to absorb the excess oil.

After blotting your face, you can use powder to touch up your makeup and help control shine.

Just apply some setting powder to your t-zone to help mattify the skin.

Is Primer Or Setting Powder Better?

primer or setting powder

The main difference between primer and setting powder is that primer is applied before makeup, and setting powder is applied after.

Primer helps to create a smooth canvas for your makeup, and it also helps to prevent your makeup from smudging.

Setting powder helps to keep your makeup in place and can also help to control shine.

If you have oily skin, you may want to use both primer and setting powder to help keep your makeup in place all day long.

However, if you find that your foundation applies easily to your skin and doesn’t separate, you may not need to use a primer.

You might only need to set it with a powder for a long-lasting finish.


Having oily skin can be frustrating, especially when it comes to makeup.

However, there are a few things you can do to help prevent your makeup from looking oily after a few hours.

First, make sure you cleanse your face properly and use a mattifying toner before applying your makeup.

Then, use a mattifying primer and set your foundation with a setting powder to help keep your makeup in place all day long.

Make sure to choose makeup products that are suited for oily skin, and avoid touching your face during the day.

If you notice your makeup looking oily, blot your skin with blotting paper or a tissue to remove the excess oil.

And finally, touch up your makeup as needed during the day.

Following these tips will help your makeup stay matte and in place all day.

Do you have any tips for keeping makeup from looking oily? Please share them in the comments below!

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Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

2 thoughts on “Why Does Your Makeup Look Oily After A Few Hours?”

  1. I love your post and all the details are so interesting. I personally followed most of the tips in this post and it worked. Especially, drinking water is so effective and my skin looked plumpy, natural, and less oily. Exfoliating my face also worked for me.

    • Glad you like it! Preventing the makeup from getting oily is an easy task if you follow the right tips 🙂


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