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Anyone who can relate to #oilyskinproblems will understand the issue. Your makeup drawers are full of oil-free gel moisturisers,mattifying primers, matte foundations with oil control, setting powders, and of course makeup setting sprays (Urban Decay’s De-slick setting spray is a personal fave). You’ve probably already nailed your picture-perfect makeup routine that keeps you wonderfully matte for a good few hours – before the need to blot your face arises again.


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If you’ve seen enough pictures of fashion runways and red carpet looks over the last few years, you’d have noticed most models and celebrities sporting effortlessly glowy and radiant skin, looking as fresh-faced as can be.

I’ll admit that the dewy skin trend had me feeling a tad bit jealous. It always seemed like something reserved for someone with normal or dry skin, and not someone like me who would just end up looking like a greaseball. I even attended an event once where a makeup artist said that to him, the difference between looking dewy and looking oily was the appearance of visible pores. Which was pretty disheartening as someone with larger and more obvious pores.

That said, I was determined to find a way to achieve some sort of a glow that would telegraph to people that I had healthy and hydrated skin. So began my mission to achieve said perfectly hydrated skin.


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Side story: I was also in the midst of clearing up my acne which meant I’d given up wearing foundation, so it was even more important that I got my skin to look as good as it could without makeup. I actually discovered that my skin was severely dehydrated, which was causing my T-zone to produce even more oil than it should.

When my skin cleared up, I started looking into non-matte foundations and tinted moisturisers. I tried wearing them on their own, and true enough was terribly shiny by mid-day. I tried my usual setting powders, but they ended up making me look entirely matte and flat, defeating the purpose.

I also found it tough to use blush, bronzer, or contour without first setting my face with powder, which meant I was matte either way.

So I tried treating certain areas of my face differently, experimenting with what worked and what backfired. In the end, I narrowed it down to a couple of options.

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#1 Use cream products

Use a smoothing primer where you need it, followed by foundation, concealer, and then a cream or liquid blush, highlight and bronzer. Once the wet products are done, powder just your T-zone and your under eyes to set the concealer. It’s also important to apply the setting powder with a damp makeup sponge so it doesn’t look powdery, as well as to set your makeup to keep the oil at bay longer.

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#2 Set and spray

With this method, you can set your foundation completely, but with a much lighter dusting of setting powder. Make up the rest of your face, and then mist the perimeters of your face with a hydrating face mist to take away the powdery matte look without making your T-zone look dewy.

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Bottomline: Don’t be afraid of a little shine, and remember that if you want to mask your pores, a smoothing primer is a huge help. Also embrace highlighters, but keep them to the highest plane of your cheekbones and be sure to blend towards your temples instead of letting the hue sit near the middle of your cheeks.

When you do start to get shiny halfway through the day, consider blotting instead of using powder to touch up. Oil blotting sheets are easy to use, and you can always control the areas of your face you want to mattify. Another recent fave of mine is the Serozinc face mist from La Roche-Posay, because it hydrates your skin but also does an amazing job at oil control without making your face look too matte.

Text: Alyssa Dhaliwal, Her World Plus / Additional reporting: Arissa Ha

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