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Ask Setareh: Oily Eyelids & Face Got You Down? Prime Them Up!

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Ask Setareh: Oily Eyelids and Face Got You Down? Prime Them Up!

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Dear Setareh,

I was wondering do you know of a good primer for the eyelids or the entire face that’s good for oily skin? The primer I use now works well for about four hours after that it’s time to redo everything. I really need a good all day primer that specifically works for oily eyelids and skin. What do you suggest?

— Shadows23


First for your eyelid dilemma…

Wet N Wild Photo Focus™ Eyeshadow PrimerEyelids have a tendency to be oilier than other parts of our face. Without knowing what primers you’ve been using, it’s hard to tailor my recommendations. However, two eye primers come to mind and are favorites of MUAs for oily eyelids. Fortunately, they have two very different price points. They are the Wet N Wild Photo Focus™ Eyeshadow Primer ($5 for .034 oz) and the NARS Pro-Prime™ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($26 for .026).

Both the NARS and WNW share the first three ingredients, and in the same order! They share an additional nine other ingredients as well. Formula-wise, they could be considered dupes of one another. NARS’ ingredients are less in number and contain more “natural ingredients” vs. their synthetic/less expensive alternatives. See ingredient comparisons at the bottom of the post.

Verdict: Try the WNW first to see how that works. If it works well, great! If you think you want to splurge and see if the NARS works better, you always have a great fall back option!

Now for the face…

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer Make Up Forever Mattyfying Primer

Not knowing what you have used or tried in the past, I have a few recommendations for you to start with. Folks with oily skin tend to want to exfoliate more and use cleansers and moisturizers that are “drying” with the hopes of drying the skin. However, this only causes your skin to produce more oil! So make sure you are using skin-care products designed specifically for oily skin.

Invest in a good toner and if you don’t want to splurge, opt for some witch hazel! I have combination skin and when it is more oily, witch hazel seems to always do the trick. Use it before you apply moisturizer, either before bed or before you apply makeup.

Verdict: Again, without knowing your current skincare regime, the primer that I have in my kit that I bust out for my clients with oily skin is my Make Up Forever Mattyfying Primer ($37 for 30ml). This MUFE primer is designed specifically for people with more oily skin. Although I haven’t personally experimented with the common drugstore “dupe” for the MUFE, I’ve heard that the Rimmel Stay Matte Primer works great for oily skin. However, if you compare the ingredient lists between the two primers– you will NOT see much in common.

Veil by Hourglass

Veil by Hourglass is also an amazing primer for oily skin! I would try the .33oz for $18 before getting their larger sizes (1 oz for $52 or 2 oz for $72).

For days when oily skin is even more prevalent, like when you’re outside where it’s hot, muggy, or sticky, I suggest putting some oil blotting or rice paper wipes in your purse. You can always use a tissue as well but a little blotting throughout the day, especially in areas most prone to oil (t-zone, chin, upper lip), goes a long way!

Closing Thoughts: One thing that I always like to mention is that working closely with a makeup artist (and/or an esthetician) is extremely valuable. The more your makeup artist gets to know you, the more they can tailor recommendations for your specific needs and style.

What I love about my “practice” (can I call it that?) is that I try to get to know as much about my clients before they even sit in my chair. For my brides, I’ve developed an extensive and exclusive questionnaire so that I can be 100% prepared for their unique event/occasion. This is not just a quick “in and out” onto the next person please kind of service. I invest deeply into my client’s satisfaction and strive to match the essence of who they are through makeup. After all, confidence is extremely visible.

I also love working one-on-one with my clients, going through their makeup bags and capitalizing on what works best for them. We’ll “toss” or “repurpose” items that don’t work for them. In many cases, I have clients who don’t even have a makeup bag or they have a few products that are more than 10 years old! So Shadows23, while I am not there in person to physically see and test out these products, I’d love to know how they work out (or don’t work out). Also, I’d recommending searching for some local MUAs to see if they offer one-on-one makeup tutorials or makeup bag ransacks. I think you’d really enjoy that and it’d be well worth the investment.

Do you have a beauty question? Feel free to ask me here at Ask Setareh! I would love to try my best to answer.

Best of luck!

Stay Beautiful,


Here’s the ingredient comparison lists!

Rimmel Stay Matter Primer Ingredients

  • Aqua/Water/Eau
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Talc
  • Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone
  • Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate
  • Propylene Glycol Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer
  • Isononyl Isononanoate
  • Polypropylene
  • Silica
  • Silica Dimethyl Silylate
  • Disteardimonium Hectorite
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Bis-PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone
  • Glycerin
  • Laureth-7
  • Tribehenin
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Propylene Carbonate
  • Sorbitan Sesquioleate
  • Chlorphenesin
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Disodium EDTA
  • Triethoxycaprylylsilane
  • Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate
  • May Contain/Peut Contenir/+/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)

Make Up Forever Mattfying Primer Ingredients

  • Water
  • Magnesium
  • Aluminium Silicate
  • Pentylene Glycol
  • Ethylhexylglycerin
  • Lactic Acid
  • Butylene Glycol
  • Fragrance
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
  • Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract
  • Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract
  • Zingiber Officinade (Ginger) Root Extract
  • Benzyl Benzoate
  • Benzyl Salicylate

Veil Primer by Hourglass Ingredients (from Paula’s Choice)

  • Zinc Oxide (4.2%)
  • Titanium Dioxide (2.45%)
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Isododecane
  • Polysilicone-11
  • Polymethylsilsesquioxane
  • Hexyl Laurate
  • PEG-10 Dimethicone
  • Polyglyceryl-4 Isosterate
  • Stearic Acid
  • Alumina

Wet N Wild Photo Focus™ Eyeshadow Primer Ingredients

  • Isododecane
  • Talc
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Trimethylsiloxysilicate
  • Disteardimonium Hectorite
  • Polyethylene
  • VP/Eicosene Copolymer
  • Boron Nitride
  • Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate
  • Propylene Carbonate
  • Sorbitan Sesquioleate
  • Synthetic Beeswax
  • Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate
  • Methicone
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Acrylates Copolymer
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Dimethicone Crosspolymer
  • Bisabolol,
  • Sorbic Acid
  • Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone
  • Crosspolymer
  • Crithmum Maritimum Extract
  • Dimethiconol
  • Nelumbo Nucifera Stamen Extract
  • Bismuth Oxychloride/CI 77163
  • Iron Oxides/CI 77491
  • CI 77492
  • CI 77499
  • Titanium Dioxide/CI 77891​

NARS Pro-Prime™ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base Ingredients

  • Isododecane
  • Talc
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Disteardimonium Hectorite
  • Vp/Eicosene Copolymer
  • Dimethicone
  • Cetyl Ethylhexanoate
  • Cyclohexasiloxane
  • Sorbitan Sesquioleate
  • Trimethylsiloxysilicate
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Propylene Carbonate
  • Peg-40 Stearate
  • Sorbitan Olivate
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Cera Alba (Beeswax)
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate
  • Oryza Sativa [Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil Extract]
  • Triethoxycaprylylsilane
  • Castor Oil Phosphate
  • Sea Whip Extract
  • Mica
  • Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)
  • Ci 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride

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  1. Pete says:

    Thank you for this great information. I really was into reading it thank you for sharing.

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