essentials for oily skin

Everything You Need for Perfect Foundation With Oily Skin

Everything You Need for Perfect Foundation With Oily Skin | Writing Between Pauses

My biggest foundation woe has always been not being able to keep it on my skin. I've always (and I mean, always) had my foundation break down in the corners of my nose, the tip of my nose, my chin, and my forehead. It's pretty awkward to have everything else stay in play... and those points rub off! 

A few years ago, I set out to really solve the problem. I tried every primer under the sun. I tried every method of application. I tried expensive foundations, cheap foundations, concealer only.

Finally, I feel like I've settled on a routine that at least lasts my work day (anything beyond that is a guessing game!) and I thought I'd share my method with you. You definitely don't have to use these exact products, but I'll break down why they work. 

1. Start with a clean & moisturized face. 

Even if you washed your face the night before, you should wash your face before applying foundation. It washes off the oil and bacteria that emerged overnight. I usually wash with my charcoal bar, then apply Pacifica's Dreamy Youth moisturizer, a squeeze of Aveeno's Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, and two drops of jojoba oil. Let your moisturizer sink into your skin for at least 5-10 minutes. 

2. Wash your beauty sponge every day. 

If you're one of those people who lets their beauty sponge get super dark brown... you're not doing your skin any favors. You need to wash it to its ORIGINAL COLOR every single day. I'm serious. And it needs to be stored in a proper drying rack (you can buy them for really cheap at TJ Maxx or Marshalls), not in a closed container or drawer. 

3. Apply setting powder first. 

I use elf's Skin Refining HD Powder in sheer. When it comes to setting powder, you should look for: a finely milled powder that applies cleanly and makes your skin feel immediately matte. I apply this before foundation because it helps foundation both stick to my skin and absorbs any oil that pops up throughout the day. 

I know this is a "controversial" step: many makeup artists contend that you just can't apply cream or liquid products (like foundation) over powder. But I've never had an issue with foundation applying over my powder. In fact, it makes my skin look better!

Another good base powder to try, if you struggle with large pores, is the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Airbrush powder. They also have a Pressed version of this powder that I quite like as a topping powder. 

4. Use a matte foundation. 

If a foundation is advertised as "dewy" or "glowy," it goes without saying that it probably won't work with very oily skin. (And the reverse is also true: if you have very dry skin, don't use matte foundations; they'll just dry down.) Right now, I'm using the Maybelline SuperStay Foundation, which I love, but because it's not cruelty-free, I'm looking for an affordable replacement. Some alternatives I'll be trying once my bottle of SuperStay is used up will be the FENTY foundation (notorious for drying down and being super matte) and the Tarte Face Tape Matte foundation

You also shouldn't use a ton of foundation. If it's matte and full-coverage, I usually apply a tiny dollop of highlighting cream, as that thins it out and keeps it from being too heavy on the skin (and going cakey). If you watch MUA videos on YouTube or Instagram, it's easy to think that piling on foundation is better--but I assure you, it's not. 

5. Use a matte concealer

It also goes without saying that if you use a matte foundation, you should use a matte concealer too (if you use concealer). Tarte's Shape Tape is one of the most matte concealers out there (and a little goes a long way); I use Shape Tape on my undereyes, as well as on the tip of my nose and the corners of my nose, then let it dry down for a minute or two before blending. I find this extra little step goes a long way towards preventing break down. 

6. Use more setting powder

You use setting powder as a primer. Now, it's time for more setting powder. I usually use a large, fluffy brush to brush some more of elf's HD Powder over my t-zone; then I set the rest of my face with a smaller face brush with Maybelline's Fit Me loose powder. I know this seems like a lot of powder, but it will help absorb oil and keep your foundation set throughout the day. 

7. Invest in a good setting spray

Setting spray is really everyone's best friend. I love the Wet'n'Wild Photofocus Matte Finish setting spray (because it's only $5!); you only need a spray or two to set your face. I've also heard great things about Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray for oily skin. Mostly, you want to look for matte finish, again, just like with your foundation and concealer. 

8. Clean all your brushes every single day. 

Sorry, but remember that bit about washing your beauty sponge every day? Well, you'll be washing everything else too. If you have oily skin, the oils from your skin naturally get on your brushes, sponges, everything. To keep your makeup sanitary, and your brushes working well, give your brushes a rinse every single day, especially ones that you use for your whole face (like blush and contour brushes, face brushes, fan brushes, and more). It doesn't have to be a full scrub; just a rinse. I then lay mine flat on a towel while I'm at work. I fully wash everything with Dr. Bronner's soap on Sundays. If you aren't washing your brushes at least once a week, you need to change up your routine and start doing it. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes in your skin! 

Beauty Review: Ole Henriksen Balance Skincare Line

As I recently posted on Instagram, I meant to post my review of these products way earlier. I received my VoxBox over two weeks ago. In that time, I came down with the flu, went to the doctor twice, and have almost recovered from the flu (12 hours without a fever flare up is about as recovered as I can expect 10 days on). At least I'm not flat on my back anymore, right? 

So here it is, my review. My review of these products is definitely colored by the fact that I haven't worn make up since I got sick. The number of times I've stumbled out of my house, hair a mess, wearing sweatpants, visible acne all over my face, is pretty astonishing, but very freeing. (I originally planned to post different content this week, actually. But reviews are easier to write on a fatigued brain like mine.) 

Let's start with the cleanser. 

Find Your Balance Control Cleanser

I have a really hard time finding cleansers that I like. I've been using the Beautycounter Charcoal bar since October (when I received it as a gift from my sister, who is a consultant) and I liked it: it removed my make up, it didn't leave my skin feeling covered in residue, it didn't dry out my very sensitive skin. That being said, it didn't seem to give me any benefit, but considering how sensitive my skin is to cleansers, I'm willing to take the bare minimum. 

The Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Control Cleanser smells amazing, first off: it has eucalyptus and peppermint oils, which sounds really harsh, but is surprisingly gentle. It is a more gel-like cleanser that foams easily in water to later across your face. It gives my skin this super tingly, fresh feeling. And the smell. Did I mention the smell? It's amazing. For whatever, it reminds me of the scene in Mean Girls where Regina's face smells like peppermint. 

So how is in on the actual cleansing part? It removes my make up extremely well and I've noticed a significant reduction in the amount of oil my skin produces since I started using it. My skin is less red and I've noticed that a lot of my cystic acne scars are lightening. Those are two benefits that really work for me. 

Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

I have never really been able to keep up the whole "cleanser-toner-moisturizer" routine. It's just too many steps for me. But I was willing to take a chance with this toner. It is not as strongly scented as toners I've used in the past and definitely not as harsh. It has the same clean, eucalyptus scent as the cleanser, but very toned down. It's super gentle and doesn't burn my skin like a lot of toners. 

Ok, here's my important question: does not using the toner throw off the oil control aspect of this line? Here's the spoiler: yes. If I just use the cleanser and moisturizer, I definitely produce less oil than I would normally; however, without the toner, my skin definitely doesn't stay as matte. I tested out this theory a few times. So the toner is an important step and one I'm willing to take because I've literally never found anything that keeps my skin so matte during the day. 

Counter Balance Oil Control Moisturizer

Technically, this is called a "hydrator" (but it's a moisturizer). Like the toner, it has a really clean scent, but definitely toned down from the cleanser. I appreciate this because it means you get that nice burst of scent when you wash your face, but it doesn't stick with you all day long. 

This moisturizer promises to be mattifying--and friends, it's not lying. I've used lots of mattifying moisturizers in the past (my favorite has been dermatologica, but it definitely didn't do wonders for my skin). Since I've used this line from Ole Henriksen, I've seen a significant reduction in my acne which is honestly incredible. This moisturizer also definitely doubles as a primer for me (except on my nose, which I need a separate primer for usually). It keeps my skin super matte, it's a great base for doing make up, and keeps me from getting too dry or too oily throughout the day. I'm obsessed with it. 

Also, unlike other moisturizers which I feel make my skin feel super, super grimy, this moisturizer feels so clean. It's perfect. 

Ok, so that's it. I love these Ole Henriksen products. I'm so glad that Influenster selected me for the Find Your Balance Voxbox. I did receive these products for free for review (you can read my disclosure policy here), but all thoughts on them are my own. If you'd like to follow me on Influenster, you can do so here. Also, if you love this review (and all the other content on my blog), I'd love if you'd sign up for my newsletter by clicking here

Beauty Review: Columbia Skincare Probiotic Complex & Concentrate*

(Per my Disclosure Policy, an asterisk* denotes that this post is sponsored. I receive the Columbia Skincare Probiotic Concentrate and Probiotic Complex as samples in return for an honest review. While I received these products, the following review is honest and my own! To learn more about my advertising and PR policies, click here and here.)

When I was offered the opportunity to try out some new skincare, I'll admit it: I was really excited. I've been really struggling with my skin lately: a lot of break outs, a lot of oiliness, a lot of redness. I was hoping that trying something new would help me out. 

The products I received from Columbia Skincare are their Probiotic Concentrate and their Probiotic Complex. The concentrate is like a toner that you apply with a dropper and rub in; the complex is more like a thick cream moisturizer. 

Here's what Columbia Skincare has to say about their products: 

"Our probiotics promote the natural cleansing of impurities in the cellular system, including residual impurities from other medications and treatments including retinoids." 

Sounds cool, right? 

I don't use products with retinol in them (but if you do and decide to give Columbia Skincare a try, you need to stop using retinol products at the same time as it can cause some issues). However, I'm very into ridding my skin of impurities. I've used acne treatments for so long that my face is numb to them, which I'm sure isn't great

So what did I think of Columbia Skincare? 

Let's start with the Probiotic Concentrate: I really liked it! It made my skin feel really clean and smooth after applying. Plus, I loved the dropper; it made me feel extra fancy. I haven't noticed a huge improvement with my skin, except that I have had less break outs since I started using it (possibly unrelated correlation, but I like to think it has helped) and my skin generally seems healthier with less bad oily and dry patches. 

As for the Probiotic Complex, I did have some issues with it. When you first apply it, it feels really mattifying, which is actually awesome; I typically use a mattifying moisturizer from Dermatologica, so that was nice. However, after about 40+ minutes on, it got incredibly oily. It was like an oil slick. Underneath make up, it was even worse; my make up basically slid off two hours into wearing it. Not a great look. Even though the instructions say to apply both morning and night, I've decided to keep the Complex for night time. It's nice because it is very moisturizing and makes my skin very soft, but the excess oil for the day isn't great. If you have dry skin, however, it would be AMAZING. 

Other notes: the products are high quality, including the packaging. It is glass and very heavy, as well as feeling very luxurious. The smell of the products isn't bad; there is no artificial scent. It smells really clean and... doctor's office-y, for lack of a better term. Not bad, but not like something I want to smell like--although my husband assures me my face doesn't end up smelling like that! 

Want to try Columbia Skincare? Find them on Facebook here and you can check out their website here

3 Essentials for Oily Skin

I've always had oily skin. Always have, probably always will. I still struggle with break outs. When I was a teenager, I remember reading teen magazines that said, eventually, I would just stop breaking out whenever any minor environmental or health change occurred. The fact is, that just didn't happen. 

I have found ways, as I've gotten older, to deal with my skin. Ultimately, as much as I would like to fundamentally change my skin (or, realistically, the balance of hormones that causes this travesty), it probably isn't going to happen any time soon. So, I learned to take care of the skin I have, prevent break outs as best I can, and soldier on no matter what. 

Here are the 3 products that I absolutely depend on for my skin's survival. 

1. Charcoal Cleansing Bar, Beautycounter

My sister sells Beautycounter and for my birthday, she gave me the Charcoal Cleansing Bar. It's $24 for a bar, which seems pretty steep, except it lasts forever. I use it to wash my make up off every night and honestly, it leaves my skin feeling super soft and clean, without that weird, waxy, squeaky feeling that other cleansers cause. I have also noticed a significant improvement in my skin since I started using it, both in terms of break outs and how greasy I get throughout the day and night. With almost 2 months of solid use, I'd say it is reduced in size by about 1/3--so a bar should last 5-6 months, depending on how often you use it. 

2. Clear Start Matte Moisturizer, Dermalogica

Moisturizer is key to preventing oily skin. When I was around 13, my pediatrician (seriously) explained that people with oily skin actually have quite dry skin; the body produces more oil to help with the dryness, thus creating too much oil and causing acne. I know, right? So keeping your skin moisturized is super important when you have oil skin; it will help prevent excess oil. I love this matte moisturizer from Dermalogica; it's the perfect base for primer and foundation in the morning, and it doesn't have that gross, greasy feeling I associate with a lot of moisturizers!

3. Studio Finishing Powder, NYX Cosmetics

I posted about NYX two days ago, but another reminder: if you have oily skin, a finishing and blotting powder are musts! I carry a compact of blotting powder in my purse, but I always top my foundation with a light dusting of Studio Finishing Powder. If I forget to do it, my make up is sliding off by 9am. However, with finishing powder, I'm pretty much set until noon--and even then, it's only the oiliest parts of my face that get bad (my nose and forehead, mainly). Give it a try, I promise you'll love it!