Beauty Battles: We compare the five best mattifying primers for oily skin

Waking up early to get ready and perfect your makeup can be quite a chore, so it feels like a complete disaster when your makeup starts sliding off after just 3 hours! Having oily skin can be quite a challenge but you don’t necessarily have to just let your hard work go to waste. A mattifying primer can completely change your makeup game! 

Just as a primer is needed to make paint stick and apply evenly on a surface, a makeup primer provides a smooth surface for cosmetics to adhere to. While this the basic function of a primer, there are more specialized ones that offer other features, such as controlling oil and keeping your face on longer! Sounds like just the thing an oily-skinned gal needs, right? But, which ones are the best in the market? I try out five oil-control primers to find out!

Benefit POREfessional.JPG

Benefit The POREfessional (P1,900 at Benefit and Sephora PH)

A classic fave, this primer claims to have the ability to minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines. It has a creamy beige shade but once blended, it quickly fills in pores and leaves a slightly powdery finish and zero coverage. I don't notice much of a difference on my pore size when I apply this but it does an excellent job of creating a smooth canvas so my foundation spreads on easily. Sadly, I started to oil up by the 5th hour and it shows on my cheek and forehead areas. My foundation slid off a bit but my blush is still intact. If you have combination normal-oily skin and just want to smoothen your skin texture, this is the one for you.


Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer Mattifying Primer (P1,200 to P2,350 at Make Up For Ever)

MUFE’s Step 1 Skin Equalizer comes in 10 different variants targeted for different skin concerns. This primer in particular is created particularly to “combat unwanted shine and fight against excess oil to ensure a matte makeup result.” It features a clear silicone formula and due to its thicker consistency, it is advisable to not spread this primer all over but to lightly pat it on areas where you oil up the most. It feels a bit tacky - almost like glue - but once blended into the skin, it gives an instantly matte feel.

It did not help in filling in my pores but did a good job of controlling oil for a good 6 to 7 hours on me! I do see a bit of dew showing up but my makeup is still intact. I highly recommend this if you have combination normal-oily skin and just want to mattify some areas where you get extremely oily as this will help in keeping you matte for hours.


BECCA Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (P2,450 at Sephora PH)

Marketed as a liquid blotting paper, this primer specifically “target oily-prone areas to leave your skin fresh and matte all day”. It comes in a white paste-y consistency but when blended, it goes on tacky and waxy. It has the similar feel as the MUFE primer and is also best applied in a patting motion. Note that it dries down very quickly so you need to work quickly when applying this primer! I noticed that this instantly blurred out my pores and gave my skin a matte finish. I started to oil up by the 7th hour but it doesn’t look like a greasy mess - my makeup stayed in place without caking. The dew is very tolerable and actually looks good on the skin. If you have extremely oily skin, this will work out for you; just remember to apply it correctly by patting it on!


Murad Oil Control Mattifier SPF 15 PA++ (P2,050 at Rustan's)

Advertised as part of their hydration collection, this is a “shine-reducing moisturizer that creates an immediate matte surface and controls oil for up to 8 hours.” It has a consistency that honestly reminds me of Elmer’s Glue, and has a strong paste-y scent as well. The smell fades soon after blending on the face though. It feels surprisingly lightweight and quickly absorbs into the skin, giving an instant matte feel. This did not help in creating a smooth skin texture though, so you will need to use a separate smoothing primer to help makeup blend seamlessly, especially if you have dry skin. It's worth the effort though because it makes my foundation look airbrushed and flawless! After 7 hours, my makeup is still intact with minimal fading. Shine is also tolerable in the cheek and forehead area.

This is the most longwearing oil-control primer I have ever used. I find that it can even be used alone if you want a little hydration and just want to mattify your face sans makeup. Whether you use a dewy or matte foundation, it keeps the makeup intact with minimal fading even after 8 hours! So if you have extremely oily skin, this might just be your answer.


Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer (P495 at BeautyMNL)

This product is “a skin-perfecting primer that can be worn alone or under makeup to create a perfect matte complexion that controls shine for up to 8 hours.” The texture is a white cream type like Murad, but this one feels more silicone-y and has that faint glue smell. This also feels very lightweight on the skin. It did not help in minimizing pores but gives that velvety texture. Even when freshly applied, there's a bit of shine on the cheek and nose area.

I feel it performs like Benefit’s POREfessional during the first 2 hours: it does give a fresh and flawless finish but can look too matte up close, so that it looks like you piled on too much makeup. After 7 hours, oil is very obvious on my cheek and nose area, and makeup also starting to look cakey. It definitely failed its 8-hour claim as this only held up for a good 5 to 6 hours. This is a decent primer if you have combination dry-normal skin and want a cheaper alternative to Benefit POREfessional but don't expect it to help your makeup last longer.

The Verdict: Murad wins this round!

I personally wear these primers regularly depending on what I'll be doing and how long I expect to be out. The best performers are from the more high-end brands, and I think they're definitely worth splurging on if you want-slash-need heavy duty performance. Like any other primer, knowing the best way to apply them is key to making them work and to keep them from pilling. Using quick patting motions only on areas where you oil up the most is all you need - no need to go overboard. And never swipe, as the whole point of the primer is to fill in and stop pores from producing too much oil.

Have you tried any of these primers? What mattifying primers do you swear by?