Answer: “Yes, you can fix oily skin with the right skin care products,” says esthetician Shani Darden, whose clients include Jessica Alba and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. “The biggest mistake I see is that the majority of people are using the wrong products—people with oily skin are usually using face washes that are too drying and then following that up with moisturizers that are way too heavy and cause oil production and congestion.” Here are five things to consider in your routine.
1) Cleansers: “For patients with oily skin or those who wear heavier make-up, one cleanse is sometimes not quite enough and it’s important to properly purify your skin to avoid breakouts,” says Dr. Ellen Marmur, a proponent of double-cleansing. Use a cleansing oil on dry skin to rinse excess sebum oil off the face (it sounds counterintuitive, but oils actually draw out impurities), then use a foam cleanser with .05 to 1 percent salicylic acid, which will tackle oil without overdrying.
2) Masks: Red clay is a hero ingredient when it comes to purifying pores and soaking up oil. Try First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay ($30, sephora.com) once a week.
3) Moisturizer: “Most are always too heavy,” says Darden, “but a good rule to follow is if something says ‘for all skin types,’ it wouldn’t go on my face if I knew I had a tendency to break out or oily T-zone. I would start there and think, ‘this isn’t going to work.'” She recommends a light one with vitamin C. We like Dermatologica Active Moist Lotion ($58,dermatologica.com).
4) Sunscreen: Look for a mineral-based, physical sunblock over a chemical one. They contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, both of which are oil-free and sit on top of the skin rather than absorbing so they don’t clog pores or adverse reactions. Our pick: Drunk ElephantUmbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 ($38, drunkelephant.com).
5) Makeup: A silicone primer will create a barrier that shields makeup from sinking into the pores and a mineral powder foundation, like BareMinerals Matte Foundation ($28,sephora.com), will give even the oiliest complexions a shine-free finish.