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12 Products You Need for Oily Skin, From Masks to Foundation

When we were in middle school, everyone had oily skin. Like pimples and periods, a greasy face was a rite of passage; we had to endure it in order to truly understand womanhood. But what about those of us that are still plagued by oil slicks on our foreheads well after we finished high school? Well first of all, thank the beauty gods that “dewy” skin is in, but sometimes we just want to feel matte for once. Therefore, we rounded up the best beauty products from the bottom up for those days that our skin feels greasier than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.


Not only do face masks make us feel incredible, but if you’re using the right one, it can really nourish your skin.

LUSH Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask- $9.95

This fresh mask from Lush includes tea tree oil and garlic as two of its main ingredients, which are both great cleansers. It also contains egg whites, to moisturizes and tighten, and honey, which acts as a soother. Yeah, we know. It doesn’t smell the best (we’ve tried it), but your skin will thank you for all of those fresh and natural active ingredients.

Freeman Beauty Cleansing Clay Mask- $6.99

Charcoal is a fan-favorite when it comes to clearing up skin and drawing out oil without leaving us dry and flaky. “I got a Freeman charcoal mask in the Her Campus Survival Kit and it made my skin feel so detoxified and glowy,” says Leah, a senior at Temple University. Plus, you just can’t beat the price of it.

Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask Shine Away- $16.99

This mask has a negative electrical charge that acts like a magnet to get the oil and impurities out of your pores. In addition to the cool science behind it, this mask also spreads on evenly and doesn’t take forever to dry, making it perfect for busy college students.

Face Washes

The next step is face wash. The key is to be gentle on your skin – excess exfoliation can cause irritation and more oil. Stripping your face of its natural oils isn’t healthy. You should love your oily skin (we know, it’s hard) because it does have benefits, like a stronger defense system. But, if you want to keep it at bay, washing with the right cleanser is a must.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser- $10.98

CeraVe uses ceramides, which are lipids (aka oils) found naturally in our skin. Without ceramides, you’re left with dry and irritated skin. “I love CeraVe,” says Sarah, a sophomore at Montgomery County Community College. “There aren’t super complicated ingredients in it, and it prevents breakouts like crazy!” This gentle cleanser removes any makeup or dirt leftover on your skin and leaves it feeling super clean.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleanser- $7.19

This classic cleanser includes salicylic acid – a favorite among acne-sufferers because it helps to unclog pores – to treat any breakouts your excess oil is causing you. The fresh grapefruit scent makes us feel even more clean and refreshed long after we’re finished washing our face.

Avène Cleansing Foam- $20 

This foaming cleanser is so gentle, it’s like a cloud. Avène uses thermal spring water to infuse your skin with trace minerals that most cleansers don’t provide, plus zinc, which helps to mattify.

Related: 8 Ways to Get Rid of Acne, from Gentle & Natural to Aggressive


One of the biggest skincare myths is that you shouldn’t moisturize oily skin. If you don’t moisturize, your skin will produce excess oil to make up for what it’s not getting from a lotion. If you choose the right moisturizer, you’ll produce less oil and won’t have to sacrifice soft skin.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer- $28

Clinique has been around forever, and for good reason. This moisturizer absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave an oily residue behind. “I grew up with my mom using Clinique, and now I use it,” says Megan, a junior at Temple University. “Their Dramatically Different skincare line is the best because I have super sensitive and acne-prone skin and it’s not too heavy.” Since this is a gel, it’s not going to feel as thick as a typical moisturizer, which is perfect for the ladies with oily skin.

Avène Clean-Ac Hydrating Cream- $21

Like the foaming cleanser, this Avène product also uses thermal spring water. This cream is ultra-hydrating without leaving us looking shiny. And you only need a tiny dollop to moisturize your whole face.

Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer- $29.50

Two of the active ingredients in this face cream are ginseng and coffee, which energize the skin and make it glow (not shine –– GLOW). Plus, the lightweight formula is perfect for oily skin and won’t feel heavy.


And last but not least, we have some great foundations to really complete your shine-free look. Contrary to popular belief, gals with oilier skin can still use liquid foundation – you just need one that mattifies. Powder is also an option, but no matter what you choose, make sure ‘matte’ is somewhere on the label. If you need extra coverage, we recommend using both a liquid and a powder and finishing it with a setting spray or powder.

BareMinerals Loose Powder Matte Foundation- $29

BareMinerals is a great makeup brand for any type of skin because all of the ingredients are completely natural. We especially love the matte formula for shinier skin because you don’t need to use a lot for great coverage. With this powder, you can decide how much coverage you want. Plus, it minimizes the appearance of pores and pimples – major bonus.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation- $12.99

L’OReal’s matte liquid foundation is one of the best drugstore makeup finds because its lightweight texture feels like a luxury brand on your skin. “L’OReal’s Infallible foundation is my go-to, especially since I’m a broke college student,” says Ericka, a freshman at Temple University. “It stays on throughout my long days and doesn’t leave me looking shiny or ghastly by the time I get home.” This foundation is largely water-based, so it won’t clog your pores with thick ingredients. 

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Mattifying Foundation- $43

Though it’s a bit more expensive than some of the other mattifying beauty products on the market, this one will last all day. From class, to your internship, to the bar, this product will stay matte without getting cakey or letting shine come through.

Oily skin isn’t always fun, but don’t forget that it has some benefits too. With the help of the right products, you’ll stay hydrated and fresh, while keeping the greasiness at bay. Get glowing, girl!

Temple University, 2019. Magazine journalist and editor, fitness instructor, health and wellness enthusiast. Proponent of lists, Jesus, and the Oxford comma. Will do anything for an iced oatmilk latte. Follow my journey: Twitter + Instagram: @sarah_madaus