Which Mattifying Beauty Products Work The Best At Controlling Oil? Here Are The Ones You Need To De-Slick

Whether you have oily skin year-round or just during the summer, a good mattifier is a necessity if you're not a fan of a shiny complexion. But with so many different brands and types out there, how do you know which mattifying beauty product will give the best shine-free complexion? As a long-time member of the oily-skin club, I'm constantly on the hunt for the best products to relieve me of my shine. And because searching for the best mattifier is nowhere near as fun as searching for the best red lipstick, I put a number of them to the test so you don't have to. 

The Experiment

To see how well a variety of skin mattifiers performed, I put 11 to the test. These 11 were a variety of a powder, balms, primers, and treatments. I applied one, even layer of each mattifier after first washing and drying my face. Unless otherwise noted, I waited five minutes before using a blotting sheet to test for oiliness. I did not apply any makeup over these products, and tried to not touch my face with anything for the duration of testing. I stopped testing and took an "after" picture either when I felt too shiny for my own comfort or after eight hours of wear, whichever came first. (WARNING) If you're squeamish about other people's used blotting papers, you might just want to quickly scroll to the end to read the conclusions. 

All of the pictures below depict the "before" on the left and the "after" on the right. 

Control

Just so you have an idea of how oily I normally am, I first captured my oil production without wearing any products on my face. Here, the "before" is five minutes after I washed my face. The "after" is eight hours later.

Alima Pure

Alima Pure Balancing Primer Powder, $20, Alima Pure

The only oil-controlling powder I tested, this Balancing Primer Powder can be used both under foundation to mattify the skin, and over foundation to touch-up. The product was soft and smooth, and felt very comfortable on the skin. The initial application definitely helped reduce my oiliness, and I did not feel too shiny until eight hours later. Although this is a loose powder, the sifter has a swivel lid to keep product from spilling out, making it more travel-friendly. In addition to controlling oil, this product is also supposed to protect the skin and prolong the wear of makeup.

Overall: Very good initial oil control, needed a touch-up after eight hours. 

Caudalie

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Matifying Fluid, $19, Amazon

This Matifying Fluid comes in a tube and felt light and smooth on the face. It did not seem to offer much more initial oil control than a freshly washed face did. However, it did provide very good oil control throughout the day. I took the "after" picture after eight hours of wear, although I felt like I could still go longer than that without a touch-up. This product is also supposed to hydrate in addition to controlling oil.

Overall: Good initial oil control, did not need a touch-up in eight hours.

e.l.f. Cosmetics

E.l.f. Studio HD Mattifying Balm, $11, Amazon

I found that, for my skin, the balm-type mattifiers offered the least initial oil control. This one, which comes in a compact with a mirror and application sponge, started off worse than my control. However, it was very comfortable and felt like nothing on the skin. I felt too shiny after six-and-a-half hours of wear. At this time, my face seemed to be just as oily as my control after eight hours of wear. This product is also supposed to minimize the appearance of pores and nourish the skin in addition to controlling oil.

Overall: Sub-par initial oil control, needed a touch-up after six-and-a-half hours. 

Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer, $44, Amazon

This primer, which also comes in a tube, had the best initial oil control of the bunch. It did have a somewhat unpleasant sticky feeling on the skin, but I did not feel too shiny even after eight hours of wear, which is when I took the "after" picture. This product is supposed to triple the power of foundation in addition to controlling oil. 

Overall: Excellent initial oil control, did not need a touch-up in eight hours.

Mally Beauty

Mally Beauty Evercolor Poreless Face Defender, $39, Amazon

Another balm, this product was extremely soft and smooth on the skin, and I loved how it felt. However, this mirrored compact does not have a compartment to house the sponge that comes with it. The initial oil control was not as good as I would have liked, and I felt too shiny after six-and-a-half hours. This product is supposed to minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines in addition to controlling oil.

Overall: Sub-par initial oil control, needed a touch-up after six-and-a-half hours.

Pevonia Botanica

Pevonia Botanica Mattifying Oily Skin Cream, $24, Amazon

This cream had a very wet consistency, so I waited 10 minutes before testing for initial oil control. Even at this time, there was still a noticeable amount of shine on my face. However, it is possible that this product takes longer than 10 minutes to fully absorb. I was extremely shiny after only four hours, and needed an entire blotting sheet to de-slick my face. This cream comes in a glass jar, and while it is the most nicely packaged, it is the least travel-friendly of the bunch. In addition to oil control, this product is also supposed to hydrate the skin, refine pores, and prevent breakouts. 

Overall: Sub-par initial oil control, needed a touch-up after four hours. 

Peter Thomas Roth

Peter Thomas Roth Pore Putty, $25, Amazon

This pore filler, which comes in a tube felt soft and smooth on the skin, and I was able to wear it for seven hours before I felt too shiny. In addition to controlling oil, this product is also supposed to minimize the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles in the short term and reduce the size and shape of pores in the long term.

Overall: Good initial oil control, needed a touch-up after seven hours.

Pür Minerals

Pür Minerals Color Correcting Foundation Primer Hydrate & Balance, $28, Amazon

Another tubed product, this primer felt very light and smooth going on, but left the skin with a slight tacky feeling. The initial oil control was definitely better than the control, and I was able to go five-and-a-half hours before I felt too shiny. This product is also supposed to hydrate, calm, and clarify breakout-prone skin in addition to controlling oil. 

Overall: Very good initial oil control, needed a touch-up after five-and-a-half hours.

SkinCeuticals

SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50, $29, Amazon

This tubed primer actually had a somewhat greasy feel during application, however I really appreciate that it has SPF. It is tinted, and even after waiting five minutes, some of the color came off on my blotting sheet. The initial oil control was slightly better than the control. This was the only product that tricked me, in that I felt too shiny after four-and-a-half hours, but was actually not that oily. As far as actual oil production goes, I probably could have gone another two hours before actually needing a touchup. In addition to controlling oil, this product is also supposed to minimize the appearance of pores and optimize makeup application.

Overall: Good initial oil control, wanted a touch-up after four-and-a-half hours.

Smashbox

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing, $39, Amazon

Yet another primer in a tube, this one was silky and smooth on the skin, and I enjoyed how it felt. The initial oil control was better than a freshly-washed face. I was able to go the full eight hours, but did feel like I needed a touch-up at this point. This product is supposed to minimize the appearance of pores in addition to controlling oil. 

Overall: Very good initial oil control, needed a touch-up after eight hours. 

Youngblood

Youngblood Anti-Shine Mattifier, $31, Amazon

The last of the balms, this one was packaged in a compact that housed both a mirror and an application sponge. It felt like nothing on the skin. However, the initial oil control was lacking. I was also only able to go four-and-a-half hours before I felt too shiny. In addition to controlling oil, this product is also supposed to purify and balance the skin. 

Overall: Sub-par initial oil control, needed a touch-up after four-and-a-half hours. 

Conclusions

While it is important to keep in mind that a product's efficacy will change from person to person, here is how these products fared with regards to initial oil control, oil control longevity, travel-friendliness, and comfort:

Best initial oil-control: MakeUp Forever, Alima Pure, Pür Minerals, Smashbox

Best oil-control longevity: Caudalie, MakeUp Forever

Most travel-friendly: Youngblood, e.l.f. Cosmetics

Most comfortable on the skin: Mally Beauty, Smashbox

All I know is my summer will be decidedly less shiny than usual, and I'm pretty stoked for that. 

Images: Ondrej Supitar/Unsplash; Miki Hayes

Must Reads