My Top 15 Go-To Makeup Products for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

Within the last ten years, the makeup industry has blown up and expanded immensely (and intimidatingly). Countless new brands are emerging with products I never thought would exist (what in the world is eyelash primer??) I can’t imagine being young again and learning how to do my makeup in today’s age. When I was in my late teens/early twenties, walking into an Ulta or a Sephora would cause me so much anxiety because I knew nothing about makeup and had no clue where to even begin. 

When I was growing up, the world of the internet was still crazy foreign to me and very limited in my household. So, looking up makeup tutorials and reviews wasn’t an option for me. My mother was not very big into makeup apart from a little powder, some blush, and a dash of mascara (Oh, and Chapstick. You couldn’t forget the Chapstick). The extent of her educating me in makeup artistry merely involved giving me her old, crusty mascaras and broken blush palettes. Not much to go off of. So, instead I learned through school friends who, in reality, were probably just as clueless as I was, but they were a little more confident about it. 

At the time, the options that were available to me in a Target or Walmart were nowhere close to what they are today. The drugstore makeup sections have gone from being only an aisle long to roughly four or five aisles! Nineteen-year-old me would be breaking down in the aisles in today’s time trying to figure out if I have a cool skin tone, warm skin tone, or neutral skin tone (agh!).  

Thankfully, with the world of YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms that allow makeup artists and aficionados to share their tips and tricks and recommendations, I was slowly able to learn how to properly apply my makeup without looking like a clown the day after an all-night bachelorette party.  As I’ve gotten a little older (and hopefully a little wiser), I would say that these are my current top makeup products that I find myself always turning back to. My old reliables.


Starting off with foundation, the Estee Lauder Double Wear is a classic. It’s been around for who even knows how long, and it’s still a goody. I love trying out new foundations, but this is the one I always come back to. It’s full coverage, which I love for hiding any problematic areas on my face, and lasts all day long.  There’s a reason it’s been around and stayed around for so long. 


This concealer I actually just chose out of the blue at Target when I was wanting to find a new under eye concealer. After applying my foundation, I’ll take just a dab of this concealer and mix it between my fingers to warm it up before patting it under my eye. It’s very lightweight and full coverage and most importantly, it DOESN’T crease.

This was another product that I chose on a whim because I wanted to try something new. I bought the Soft Luminance one and was at first a little startled by the SPARKLES. The Soft Luminance powder makes your face sparkle in the sun like Edward Cullen. I found that I was digging the sparkles, so I kept using it. On top of that, it is super lightweight and it doesn’t crease or look cakey. It’s awesome for oily skin. And if you don’t want to look like a wanna-be Twilight character, have no fear; it also comes in a sheer, non-sparkly version.

Milani Make-It-Last Setting Spray

I’m not sure what’s in this (maybe holy water blessed by the makeup gods), but they’re not kidding with the Make-It-Last part. I wore it all day, slept in it for about an hour, then went out most of the night and woke up still looking pretty damn good. I love using this as a primer to prep my face before my makeup then as a setting spray to lock it all together. 


This was a product that I fell into the hype for and never quite pulled myself out. I still LOVE this blush. It’s super pigmented so a very little will go a long way. I actually dab a little on my finger and mix it with a tiny dab of foundation to make it a little less pigmented on my pale-ass face. My go-to color is called Grace which is a super pretty bright rose mauve color. I’ve also tried the colors Hope and Love, but Grace was the one that won my heart.


I love a good bronzer to make it seem like my pale face can actually tan and not just flat out burn, but I don’t like a bronzer that makes it seem like I just wiped dirt on my face. A little goes a long way to create a beautiful, soft contour, and on top of that, it smells amazing.


This concealer has been a life saver for me whenever I get a random pimple or spot that I need extra coverage for. I’ll usually apply it with a concealer brush (or just my finger if I’m a little lazy) and let it sit for a minute or two before going in with foundation. Despite how much I use it, one container usually lasts me 9 – 10 months at a time. A little goes a long way!


I first discovered Mellow Cosmetics when I was in college and decided to first try their eyeshadow palette which I fell in love with. Eventually, I decided to try some of their other products and bought the brow powder duo, and I’ve been using it ever since!


I love this brand for eyeshadow because of the colors and how long it stays on. When I first discovered it, I was a full time college student with an almost full time job. Some days, I would be up at 4am to go to work, then go to classes, then come home and nap. I would be so tired sometimes that I would just fall asleep with my makeup still on (I know, I know). I’d wake up an hour or so later with my eye makeup still perfectly in place. Now it’s become one of my number one go-to palettes.


Now I know this can be an eyeshadow, but this product is FANTASTIC as an eyelid primer. I can always tell if I forget to put it on because my eyeshadow doesn’t last nearly as long without it. It’s amazing because a little goes a long way. I started using this product about 3 years ago and I’m still on my second one. My go-to shade is called Painterly, but Bare Study is also another good one if you’re looking for a natural color.

I don’t know what it is about Maybelline, but they’re doing something right with their mascaras. Looking back at my favorite mascaras, I realized that most of them are Maybelline. This one, though, takes the cake. I love the lift and the volume that it gives to my sad, sparse eyelashes. And if you’re running errands in the rain or decide to watch The Green Mile or Dead Poet’s Society, it also comes in waterproof.


I love a good lip oil. The softer and gooier, the better. This is the one I reach for every time to get that soft, glossy texture on my lips. The coverage is very sheer and, depending on the color you buy, it can add a little tint of color to your lips while keeping them hydrated.

Makeup by Mario Ultra Suede Sculpting Lip Pencil

For me one of the most important aspects is the lip liner and choosing a good one. I prefer long lasting liners that I can color in my lips with and be able to just reapply some gloss or oil throughout the day if need be. The Makeup by Mario liner has been a game changer for me because it does last so long and it doesn’t make my lips look peely.


Sometimes I love a bold lip, but it sucks when you find a color you like, you put it on, and it lasts maybe 10 minutes. Then you’re just left with a bright ring around your lips like a clown. This stuff locks in on your lips and stays. I like to reapply a little lip oil or gloss throughout the day to keep it looking fresh, but the color lasts so long.

Like with anything, this list is still subject to change, and I am always open to trying new products to see if they’ll eventually become a new go-to for me. Finding good staple items really comes down to what works for you and your skin, and the best way to find out is doing a little research and trying different things. 

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