Benefit POREfessional Primer, Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer, Smashbox Photo Finish Original Primer, Make Up For Ever Step 1 Mattifying primer - Foundation Primers for Oily Skin

I am always looking for the best foundation primers for oily skin! If you’re anything like me than you know the feeling here…makeup and oily skin do not work well together! I have for the most part, lessened the amount of oil my skin produces (which will probably soon change) but has been a huge blessing. I do still produce a small amount of oil that tends to break up my makeup if I don’t use a good primer under my makeup. All the primers below are high end primers as I haven’t found a drug store primer that works quite as well as these ones do.

Smashbox Photo Finishing Primer Original

The Smashbox Photo Finishing Primer (the whole line) has been my ride or die foundation primer since the first time I used it. I have used the original, the pore minimizing, the light and the colour correcting. I started using the Original primer which is a silicone based primer, it has a very smooth silicone texture. It glides on like a dream and definitely helps to fill the very large pores near my nose (they’re like craters – I swear!). This can be purchased at Sephora for $44 CAD for 1 oz of product. It is quite pricey, but a little goes a very long way and you don’t need a ton of product.

Smashbox Photo Finish Original Primer - Foundation Primers for Oily Skin

Smashbox Photo Finishing Primer Colour Correcting

Seriously, ride or die. I started using this primer about 2 years ago because I have very bad Keratosis Pilaris on my face and it’s always red and angry. Granted, this primer by no means CLEARS the redness, it does help to conceal it slightly. It’s not a miracle product, but it combines the Smashbox Photo Finishing Original formula and colour correcting goodness in one primer. It has the same texture and same feel as the original with just that added benefit for my specific needs. This is the same cost and the consistency is similar – more of a mix between the Light formula and the Original formula.

If you use to much of this product it will not work the way you want it to. It can get really greasy, really fast if you use too much. A little goes SUCH a long way and a little is all you need – which is great, because this product the most expensive of these primers. It retails at Sephora for $44 CAD for 1 oz of product. Keep in mind, you only need a little and 1 bottle has lasted me a year before. So for me, it’s totally worth it!

Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer - Foundation Primers for Oily Skin

Make Up For Ever Step 1

The Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer is a mattifying primer meant for those with an oily skin type. It contains Lactic Acid which is a chemical exfoliant and that is what attracted me to the product when I had purchased it – I did not look for reviews.

The package is not really anything special, it’s dark grey and in a squeeze tube – 1 point for hygienic packaging.

The product, however, is like glue. I do not know if that’s the consistency of this entire line – but this product is like spreading glue. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though! This didn’t fill my pores nearly as well as the Smashbox Photo Finishing Primer, but definitely got the job. It left me matte for most of the day but definitely isn’t a replacement for my HG Face Primer.

You can get this at Sephora for $43 CAD for 1 oz of product. I would say a little goes a long way with this product, but the consistency makes it rather difficult to blend I find.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Mattifying primer - Foundation Primers for Oily Skin

Benefit’s The POREfessional

The Benefit POREfessional is very similar to the texture of the Smashbox Photo Finishing Primer – also a silicone base (most or all of my primers are). For me, this was an okay primer – it wasn’t anything crazy for me. It has a nude colour to it but there’s no coverage, and it blends right into your skin. It goes on smooth and blends wonderfully. However, it just didn’t have the staying power that I’m used to with the Smashbox Photo Finish primers.

In Canada, this is available at Shoppers (WOO! – I love Shoppers!) and at Sephora and it’s $39 CAD for 0.75 oz of product – which is fairly pricey.

Benefit POREfessional Primer - Foundation Primers for Oily Skin

These are my 4 favourite foundation primers that I have ever tried for my oily skin (and I’ve tried a lot!). Also keep in mind, that I use other products in conjunction with these to get the effect and the look that I want, one that works for my skin type. If these don’t work for you right away, I highly recommend experimenting with other products (sunscreen, serums, moisturizers, even other foundations) that will work with this product to control your oil and increase the staying power of your foundation.

What generally works best for me when choosing a foundation primer, is to really consider the base of the foundation that I’m using. Water-based foundations don’t generally do well on my skin, so I lean more towards silicone based foundations, and search for a primer with the same silicone base. Prep your face, allow all your layers to absorb properly, and set your makeup and you should be perfect!

Let me know if any of these foundation primers work for you!


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NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Primer

The NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base is without a doubt, a cult classic in the makeup world – it is well loved by beauty bloggers all over. I can only guess it’s by people who do not have oily eye lids, like myself – #firstworldproblems?

I wish I could say that group included me – but sadly, it doesn’t. I have a bear of a time keeping makeup on my face so when I find something that truly does work, I tend to stick with it for as long as I can. Of course though, like any normal human being I sometimes get antsy to try something new and sometimes it doesn’t always work out.

Naturally, without primer of any kind – my makeup will last on my eyelids for maybe 2 or 3 hours. It will then start creasing like a beast and all I’ll be left with is a minuscule amount of shadow on the outer portion of my eye – so anything outside of where my eyelids touch when my eyes are open.  Beauty.

I have been very loyal to Urban Decay Primer Potion ever since I first tried it. It keeps my eye makeup flawless all day, and only after I’ve gotten home after maybe 12 -15 hours does my makeup start to crease. That’s a little more realistic. It’s always held up for me, and it truly is a fantastic product. Does what it claims and extends the staying power of any look. I was to see what else was out there and I’ve heard SO many positive reviews about the NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base and I was lusting after it hardcore. I picked it up at Sephora – it was fairly expensive – $30.00 CND for .26oz of product. In comparison, I pay $6 less for Urban Decay Primer Potion which is 0.33 oz – it’s a trade off.

However, this product didn’t work for me – quite possibly, my eyelids produce far more oil than everyone else’s.

I knew when buying it that I wouldn’t like the fact that there was a wand – it’s not very hygienic. I bought it anyways. (lol!) This was never a game changer for me though.

I loved the consistency of the product. It went on smooth and silky, and my makeup went on flawlessly. This is probably the reason it is loved so much by normal skin people.

However, my love for the product came to an abrupt halt when I looked at my creased/barely there eye shadow a few hours later. Sadly, it just didn’t have the power to stand up to my oily lids. I really wanted to love this product, but I will continue to be loyal to my UD Primer Potion for now.


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This image does not belong to me.

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

I discovered the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops one day browsing the Sephora site like I do so often when I’m bored and I was intrigued by the idea of it – almost like creating your own foundation that is perfectly customizable. THAT’S SO COOL….in theory.

What it is:

Cover FX Custom Cover drops are supposed to be a revolutionary product in this here Beauty World. It’s a dropper bottle that contains concentrated, pure foundation pigment. This product is not intended to be used alone in place of foundation, but it is designed to be mixed with any liquid product you’d normally use on your face: serum, moisturizer, oil, primers, foundation, tinted moisturizer. You can mix it with any base as well – sillicone, water or oil. You can use this to increase coverage, change the finish to what’s preferred, or colour correct an existing foundation.

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

First of all, in Canada this product is NOT available in any store – it’s only available on Sephora’s web site and Cover FX’s web site. If you’ve ever tried to purchase foundation from a web site and you don’t know your shade – it can be quite difficult.

I ended up ordering 2 different shades – G20 and N20 – a yellow toned and neutral toned, respectively. In Canada, these are $44 CAD. I tested both shades out and decided to stick with G20.

I found the texture of this product to be almost identical to that of a foundation – if a little thinner.

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops Swatch

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops Swatch

What I love:

The idea.

What I don’t love:

The dropper bottle that the product comes in is actually quite messy and I found that the product ended up all over the sides and my hands and foundation really doesn’t come off clothing if you should happen to get it on your clothes. Really, it wasn’t as much fun as it seems.

For me, it didn’t matter what I mixed this product with (and maybe it’s just a matter of experimenting some more) it never seemed to cling to my skin the way that I wanted it to. If I used my beauty blender, my FAVOURITE Sigma F80 – it always just seemed to wipe away with every pass.

I experimented with the coverage aspect of the product and sadly, it didn’t seem to work out for me either. If I mixed one drop with foundation to colour correct – it came out cakey. If I mixed 3 drops with moisturizer for medium coverage – it came out cakey.  If I mixed one drop with moisturizer – it actually did nothing.

I don’t feel like it ever increased my coverage to what I EXPECTED it to. I feel like there was so much hype for this product, and so excitement behind the idea for me. Sadly, this product just hasn’t worked for me yet. I will keep experimenting with other things to mix it with – if you guys have any suggestions. I’m definitely up for that!

This product has so many fantastic reviews, and I’ve seen so many beautiful before/after pictures using this product – so it does work, I won’t debate that. Just for my skin, at the moment, I prefer my MAC Nourishing Water Proof Foundation.

I definitely recommend you give it a try though, because if it works for you – the idea is still incredible. Definitely give it a try.

I’m very sad that I haven’t found a way to wear this product yet, but I will.


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Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm - Oil Cleanser

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – Oil Cleanser

To say that I love oils (except the naturally produced one’s that are the bane of my existence) would be a vast understatement. There’s such a wide variety of oils on the market nowadays since every one is bandwagon jumping and no longer clinging to the idea that oil is bad for your skin – they are becoming extremely popular with most brands and tons of products are formulated to include many essential/carrier oils. And now, people are no longer making that horrible WTF face when you mention using oil on your skin – like you’ve just told them you committed a crime.

This product got tons of good reviews over at MakeupAlley and most of the people over there love it. I generally prefer using a straight carrier oil – Grapeseed Oil – most often. However, this method isn’t always all that convenient, so I like having an oil cleanser with an emulsifier  (so it washes off clean) on hand for those times.

What I love:

I love the idea of this product, mostly because it isn’t a liquid – it’s a balm that turns to an oil when you warm it in your hands. The beauty of this is that it’s great to travel with. I never have to worry about it leaking and getting over everything in my bag – oil sucks when it’s all over your clothes. Side note: It’s never melted either.

I have really sensitive skin at the moment, and it gets really red, dry and irritated so I have to pay extra close attention to what I’m putting on my skin, as not to exasperate it further. I do not like putting product on my face with fragrance, IF I can avoid it.  Clinique formulated this product completely fragrance free – there is no scent whatsoever. This is great for those who have skin like mine.

For the most part, this product worked for me. It did exactly what it claimed to do and removed all my makeup, eyeliner, mascara with very little tugging. It went on smooth and washed off clean. I didn’t find it to leave any kind of residue.

What I don’t love:

I love the balm, but it is also something that I don’t like. I like the idea, but the idea also means that it would need to be kept in a jar of some sort – this is almost a game changer. I tend to stay away from products in jars because it’s not very hygienic and like I said, very sensitive skin.  It’s a love/hate kind of relationship.

I found that this product made my dry patches just a little bit worse, as opposed to using straight oil with no emulsifier. I don’t by any means have “dry” skin. Even in those dry patches, my skin is quite oily. Keratosis Pilaris makes your skin feel rough and scaly, and I try not to use products that make it feel more rough. However, this one did just that.


I still absolutely love the idea of Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – it’s a mess free alternative to using straight carrier oil.  I still wish it didn’t need to be in a jar – but thems the breaks. It does what it claims, removes everything right down to my glued to your face, hard to remove sunscreen and a little goes a long way (like with most oils) so it will last.  It’s $35 CAD, which I find to be reasonable in comparison to others I’ve seen. It claims to be for dry/sensitive skin – I honestly can’t substantiate that claim for you. I have sensitive skin and it didn’t make it horribly worse, but seemed to cause some dryness. If you’re oily, with no weird skin conditions – this should work normally for you or even dry with no drying skin conditions.

I still use this product when it’s convenient (that’s bad, probably) until I find something better – or go back to my MAC Cleanse Off Oil.


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Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation Swatch & Review

Urban Decay’s Naked Powder Foundation Swatch & Review

If you read my previous posts then you know that I have an addiction to foundation – this is mostly due to my seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea – and so far, my inability to control them along with my constant need to hide it.

Problem is, I have really oily skin and most foundations don’t have the staying power I need. Also, a lot of foundations tend to oxidize on me (they get darker) when my face gets oily.

I ‘ve always wanted to try Urban Decay’s Naked line because I need the coverage without the cake face, unfortunately, their foundations just didn’t have the coverage I needed on their own.

I saw Urban Decay’s Naked Powder Foundation online and I’m generally not big on powder foundations because like I said, I do have seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff on my face) and powders tend to cling to those spots (mostly in between my eyebrows)…it’s SO attractive. The point of this line is to appear natural and it’s the consistency and the texture of the powder that actually sold me.

There are 13 different shades of this product, I picked it up in Light Warm. In Canada, at Sephora it’s $43 and it’s 9 grams of product.

It comes in this totally cute, purple floral bag and the packaging is very similar to the Naked line – dark, mirrored chrome-ish (I’m really bad at this). When you open it, it has a sponge that is 2 sided – one softer side for dry application and then the other side is for wet application.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation Swatch & Review

Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation Swatch & Review

It’s a very fine , smooth, silky powder and it has a very creamy feeling when you swatch it. What’s great about this product is that you can use it both wet and dry. Using it wet, will significantly reduce the powder/dry look. I personally wouldn’t use water – but i’ll swirl my brush in the product and then spray it with a setting spray or mist.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation -Swatch

Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation -Swatch


First, I use MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC 20 under it just to hide a lot of my redness (it stands up FLAWLESSLY to my oil). I apply this with my Sigma F80 Foundation brush and be sure to blend, bend, blend…blend until it hurts, my friends! You don’t want to be the one with a very harsh, tell-tale “I stopped blending here”, line of foundation – cause it ain’t pretty.

This foundation DOES appear a tad on the powdery side at first but I always spray my face right after with Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix and that completely fixes the powder look for me.

This is a demi-matte foundation, which works great for my oily skin. It holds up for at least 5 hours in my t-zone and doesn’t even BUDGE anywhere else on my face – even with water.

I have completely fallen in love with this foundation and I can’t see myself using anything else this summer – it will absolutely be my saving grace, my holy grail in this humid Canadian weather.

I absolutely recommend this product if you struggle with oily skin and you’re having a hard time finding a foundation that doesn’t further accentuate that.

So far, this has a 10 in my books!

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