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My Makeup Has Never Looked Better, Thanks To This Oily Skin Hack

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A facialist once told me that my skin is so oily, I could probably fry an egg on it. In that moment, I had two options: simply melt away from embarrassment or embrace the grease. Since then, I've learned to see my oily skin as a blessing rather than something to fix. Though it's partly responsible for my persistent blackheads, a conversation with consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Craythorne proved that sebum (the oil our skin produces naturally) is actually pretty great for our skin.
"Firstly, it has its own natural antioxidants in it," Dr Craythorne told me, referring to vitamin E. This acts like armour against environmental aggressors such as pollution, and when you throw a high factor sunscreen into the mix, vitamin E lends additional protection from UV rays. "Our natural sebum is also a fantastic moisturiser," added Dr Craythorne.
In other words, oil is your friend, not your foe. But despite its multiple benefits, the one thing that irks me about my oily skin is that it causes my makeup to slip and slide, particularly foundation and concealer. It seems I'm not the only one. 'Oily skin treatment' and 'oily skincare routine' are among the most googled oily skin queries, while the hashtag #oilyskinhacks has 1.9 billion views on TikTok. There you'll find experts and influencers prepping their skin with rice water and investing in oil-absorbing roller ball tools to keep their makeup in place.
So when makeup artist Vincent Ford took to the social media platform earlier this month to let people in on their ultimate beauty hack for oily skin — one that's actually pro-approved — people sat up and listened. The hack in question is super simple but I'd never thought of doing it before: mixing translucent powder in with foundation, concealer or a skin tint and pressing it in with your fingers.
AdvertisementADVERTISEMENT This powder hack works well to control oil if you have oily skin I used Laura Mercier Translucent Powder in Honey and Fenty Pro Filt'r Hydrating Foundation #oilyskin #makeuphack #matteskin #fyp ♬ original sound - Vincent Ford
TikTok makeup hacks are ever more complicated and compared to the likes of concealer geometry or underpainting, this is child's play. But according to Vincent, mixing loose powder in with your foundation "helps control oil all day". It's a bold statement. Showing the technique on a model, Vincent created an entire base with the powder mixed in and the result was soft, matte skin that looked natural, not heavy or dull. It's no wonder the video has amassed tens of thousands of views and counting.
You might be thinking, But why not just powder your face afterwards? If you're a makeup wearer, you'll know that this has a tendency to make skin appear flat and lend makeup a cakey finish. I can't be the only one who experiences separation throughout the day, either. Often, the powder slowly but surely moves from the area where I've strategically applied it (typically my T-zone) and appears patchy on my skin. Could this uncomplicated hack be the key to keeping my makeup on for longer? And would it stop my excessively shiny forehead from always trying to have its moment?
To a pump of Kosas Revealer Skin Improving Foundation SPF25, $69, I dusted in a little Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, $72, and used the end of my makeup brush to combine the two. The mixture did look a little bit like cake batter but it warmed up on my hand and applied seamlessly. Vincent's trick is to use your fingertips but I quickly discovered that I achieved much better coverage from a brush.
Instantly, the result was so much more flawless than if I had applied foundation and powdered over it. Vincent's hack lent my shiny skin a soft-focus finish, occupying a cosy space between matte and dewy. Come lunchtime, when my makeup usually starts to move, it remained perfectly in place, nor had it collected in the fine lines underneath my eyes. At the very end of the day, I noticed the slightest shine on my cheeks and on the tip of my nose, but this looked like a natural highlighter rather than oil. In fact, it felt like a shame to take my makeup off come 10pm — it was still beautifully intact.
I can confirm that this oily skin hack is legit and the only issue I have with it is that I could feel the makeup on my face. Blending the powder with the foundation made the product thicker and subsequently heavier. For this reason, it's not something I'd do every day, but it's useful for occasions where you can't touch up your makeup. I now realise why Vincent prefers to use fingers to apply the makeup: coverage tends to be a lot lighter this way.
If you want to skip the powder step entirely, there are a handful of foundations I'd recommend trying, including NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation, $66, and Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Liquid Foundation, $21.95.
Granted, this makeup trick might not be as fun as making your own bronzing drops or creating diamond lips. But there's a reason why Vincent hints that it's a firm fixture on exhausting shoots with face-melting lighting: it really does work on skin that resembles an oil slick.
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