If you're reading this, chances are you have oily skin. You do your makeup and walk out the house looking all cute and matte and then BAM! ten minutes later your face is so oily Tony Blair wants to invade your t-zone. It's a struggle that involves lots of tissues and too much powder and makes you (well me) wanna scream in frustration. But, worry not, I have a guide to working with your skin's oil to keep your makeup flawless for up to 5 hours (well, it keeps mine flawless for that long. But I have extremely oily skin so it might be even longer for you!).

I'm going to include some product recommendations here but use what works for you. Also, I'll include the cruelty free status if I know it and keep things well under £15 a piece.

Look after your body:

You'll hear this in pretty much every article about beauty but it's always worth repeating: no product no matter how expensive will have as much effect as a healthy balanced diet. But if, for whatever reason, you can't/won't eat lots of fresh fruit and veg and beans and fish and stuff, there's one thing you can do that's super cheap and pretty easy. Drink lots of water. Like, a lot. Staying hydrated will keep your skin hydrated which is the basis of good skin. I try and drink around 2 litres a day, but just find an amount that works for you and your body.

Look after your skin

What goes on your skin before you put on your makeup is really important, so build a skincare regimen around your skin's needs as well as your budget, ability and lifestyle. What I found useful was go to a skincare counter in a department store like Debenhams or something, get their recommendations, then go online to find cheaper alternatives.

My current regimen looks something like this:


  1. Cleanse: gets rid of any trapped dirt and oil + Use a toner: balance your skins pH and closes pores
  2. Use a moisturiser: something lightweight to hydrate the skin without adding more oil
  3. Use an eye cream: I have dry eyelids and dark circles so my eyes need a little extra TLC


  1. Cleanse and tone again
  2. Use slightly heavier moisturisers since my skin tends to dry out overnight


  • Exfoliate skin once or twice a week: gets rid dead skin so I can glow. (Do not DIY a face exfoliator. The majority of recipes out there damage the delicate skin on your face)
  • Exfoliate lips as needed: this you can DIY. Mix coconut oil with some sugar or sea salt and scrub away
  • Face mask once or twice a week: I use clay masks to deep cleanse and balance my skins oils

This regimen isn't perfect and I'm still swapping things in and out every couple months. But it's helping control my oil, deal with dark circles and keeps my pores from getting too prominent.

The fun bit

Ok, so you've got your diet and skincare sorted, now for the bit that's actually fun!

If you want your face to stay as grease free as possible for as long as possible, you need to incorporate oil control into pretty much every step.

  • Make sure your skin is moisturised: It sounds counterintuitive, but if you start with dry skin, your skin will produce more oil to compensate
  • Use an oil controlling primer: I haven't found a cheaper one I can swear by. I've heard good things about NYX primers (cruelty free + £11) but they do not work with my skin at all.

(NB: if you're using eyeshadow, also prime your eyelids to stop shadow from budging all day. I've heard good things about the ELF one which is cruelty free and costs under £5)

  • Use the right kind of foundation: Generally speaking, powder foundations are more suited to oily skin, but I haven't found one I like. My favourite low cost foundation right now is by Black Opal. Their stick foundation (£8-£10) has a semi-matte skin like finish and a fantastic shade range.
  • Set every liquid and cream product with a powder: Using a setting powder - Collection (cruelty free) do a good one for just £4 - stops your makeup from sliding off your face and helps keep oil at bay. This is especially important for under eye concealer since it can crease and shift very easily. But be careful not to use too much and brush off any excess, otherwise your makeup can very easily look powdery, ashy and cakey
  • Setting sprays! A good setting spray helps keep your makeup in place. The only one I own is high end but I have heard very good things about the Makeup Revolution Pro Fix Oil Control Fixing Spray (cruelty free + £5).

Doing all this means my makeup looks flawless for around 4-5 hours and pretty good for a further 3-4.

Do as much or as little of this as you want. Tweak it to suit you and the look you want to achieve. Experiment and have fun! There are no rules


Second generation British-Nigerian fat agender person. Style enthusiast, decent baker and lazy poet.

Find me on instagram @mazisahedgehog