8 Ways to Mattify Shiny Skin, According to the Pros


We all deal with oiliness from time to time. Its completely normal, and our skins natural oil (aka sebum) has benefits. "Sebum helps maintain a healthy skin barrier and hydrate the skin," Dr. Joshua Zeichner explains.

However, Dr. Zeicher notes that as the oil becomes trapped on the skin and mixes with sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells, it can give your complexion an ultra-shiny appearance. But thankfully, combatting excess oil and shine is simple with the right products and techniques. Ahead, Zeichner and makeup artist Kevin Kodra share eight foolproof ways to mattify shiny skin.

Apply an Oil-Absorbing Mask

To absorb excess oil on the skin, apply a face mask that contains mattifying ingredients like charcoal, clay, or mud to the skin a few times per week. Clay, especially, helps to detoxify the skin while hydrating it, helping to reduce excess shine on the skin's surface. "Masks with ingredients like these are a great option for people with oily or acne-prone skin, but keep in mind that the effects are short-lived," Dr. Zeichner notes.

Use a Lightweight Moisturizer

While you may be inclined to skip applying hydrating creams, Dr. Zeichner says oily skin still needs a moisturizer. "I recommend light lotions or gel-based moisturizers with humectant ingredients for people with oily skin, like Garnier Hyalu-Aloe Serum Gel, which gives ultralight hydration without contributing to shine," he says. "Heavy creams rich in emollient oils can weigh down the skin and leave it feeling greasy."

Don’t Over-Cleanse Your Skin

It's an old wives' tale that overwashing, over-exfoliating, and over-scrubbing the skin will limit your skin's shine factor. But truth be told, excessively washing the skin throughout the day can strip away its natural oils, rendering the skin dry and lacking proper barrier function. "While it's important to properly cleanse your skin to respect the skin barrier and prevent irritation, over-cleansing it will not cause a decrease in oil production," Dr. Zeichner says.Instead, cleanse the skin morning and night. Dr. Zeichner recommends lathering cleansers or ones with salicylic acid. "Lathering cleansers tend to give a deeper wash, which is often necessary to remove oil from the skin fully," he says.

Use Products with Salicylic Acid

Even though salicylic acid is recommended as part of an anti-acne skincare protocol, this accessible beta-hydroxy acid can also work wonders on oily skin types. Dr. Zeichner says salicylic acid helps remove excess oil and dead cells from the skin's surface to reduce shine and clear pores. "Jori Skincare Acne & Oil Control Primer works double duty to reduce shine, blur the pores and treat and prevent breakouts with 2% salicylic acid," he notes.

Apply a Mattifying Primer

Using a mattifying primer can help keep greasiness at bay, but be cautious; as Kodra says, a little bit goes a long way. "If you use too much, you run the risk of your makeup pilling since most mattifying primers dry down like a film to help control oil," he explains. Instead, apply a mattifying primer only to the areas where you need it.

To reap the benefits of mattifying makeup, Kodra says it is vital to apply them only on prepped, hydrated skin. "Don't apply anything mattifying directly onto bare skin because it will cause the skin to get even oilier."

Use Translucent Powder

Powder absorbs oil, which is why it is shiny skin's arch nemesis. "Setting your makeup with a good translucent powder and a powder puff guarantees it lasts until you take it off," Kodra says. Apply powder to areas of the face that tend to get the shiniest, like the nose, middle of the chin, and the center of the forehead.

Use Blotting Products

Blotting papers are helpful for quickly mattifying your skin on the go as they effortlessly soak up oil. However, if you find that blotting papers remove too much of your makeup, Kodra says to try a blotting stick like Nudestix's Blot and Blur. "With just a few swipes, it instantly blurs the skin and soaks up oil and shine without removing your makeup or making the skin look cakey," he says.

If you don't have blotting papers or sticks handy, Kodra recommends preloading a powder puff with translucent powder and keeping it in your bag. "You can use it to dab away any shine, oil, or even sweat without messing up your base or lifting off the makeup."

Use a Mattifying Sunscreen

Those with shiny skin may gloss over the idea of using sunscreen because it can leave the skin feeling greasy and oily. But truth be told, using a mattifying sunscreen can serve as extra protection against shininess. "Many oil-free products contain mattifying ingredients to help absorb excess oil and reduce the shine," Dr. Zeichner says. His pick? Eucerin Oil Control SPF 50, a broad-spectrum, oil-free sunscreen that contains a blend of mattifying ingredients to reduce shine.

When to See a Professional

While using anti-shine skincare and mattifying makeup can help, it won't decrease the amount of oil your skin produces. "These types of products do not impact the natural oil production from the glands," Dr. Zeichner explains. If excessively oily skin is a constant issue, Dr. Zeichner recommends talking with your dermatologist. They can help you determine the root cause and a treatment plan to reduce oiliness, which may include medications like Spironolactone or Accutane.


  • What causes shiny skin?

    Dr. Zeichner says your skin's shininess depends on how much oil it naturally produces, and this is based on genetics and the time of the year. "The more oil the skin makes, the greasier it is and the greater the shine. Some people naturally have larger and more active sebaceous glands that produce more oil," he notes.
  • Will my skin break out if it is always extremely shiny?

    Not necessarily. According to Dr. Zeichner, just because you have oily skin does not mean you will develop pimples. "Acne is determined by more than just high amounts of oil. The quality of sebum is different in acne-prone skin than those who are not," he explains.Skin that frequently breaks out may also have lower-than-normal levels of linoleic acid and higher levels of squalene. "The low levels of linoleic acid are thought to be responsible for skin barrier dysfunction in acne patients, while high squalene levels are believed to promote the inflammation that drives breakouts," he explains.
  • How can you prevent shiny skin?

    Kodra says that in many cases, oily skin is thirsty skin. You might think that using skincare that dries up oil is the right way to mattify the skin, but truth be told, you might be doing more harm than good. "Drying out the skin will throw it into recovery mode, causing it to produce even more oil to compensate for what it lacks," he notes.Kodra says the key to preventing shine comes down to proper hydration, which will help balance out oil production.
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