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Best Face Primer for Oily Skin: Mattify Ultra Powder ~ Silicone Free Primer

Updated on February 16, 2018
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Punkmarkgirl is a freelance writer with a passion for DIY projects, natural health & makeup - featuring the best products for oily skin.

In many of my posts, I recommend a product called Ultra Powder for oily skin from the company Mattify Cosmetics. That’s because it is the absolute best primer for oily skin that I have ever found. It controls my oily skin and helps makeup stay put.

I was horribly allergic to all the silicone gel primers that I tried - which are touted as the best primers on the market to make skin look smooth and 'poreless'. While they did make my foundation look nice, they always caused breakouts & itchiness, and didn't do a thing to control oil. My poor skin would spend the next week in recovery after I used a primer that contained silicone gel.

Enter my savior - Mattify Ultra Powder for Oily Skin. Forever battling greasy skin and acne, I was searching online for oil control face powder, and stumbled upon the Mattify Cosmetics website. The instructions for the Ultra Powder say it can be used both as a primer and a setting powder. Color me excited!

Dual Setting Powder & Primer for Oily Skin

Benefits of Powder Primer for Oily Skin

I've used this product for the past 4 years, and hardly ever get breakouts now. I apply the powder as a primer before my foundation & again after foundation to set the makeup in place. It stops me from getting oily for about 3 hours (and if you knew my skin's oil levels, that is a TRUE miracle!) I also before applying any type of eye shadow or eyebrow pencil, because it helps them adhere and last longer. Since it doesn't smother my skin with heavy silicone gel, I no longer have to deal with blackheads and acne. It actually protects my skin from the liquid foundation I use, and stops it from seeping into my pores.

I've spoken of this product several times in my other blog posts & many people have asked how to apply the Mattify Ultra as a primer. Most people are completely unfamiliar with using powder face primer. It’s actually just as easy, or easier to apply than cream primers. Also, it doesn’t drag or flake during eye shadow application, as some cream primers tend to do.

Silicone-Free Primer for Oily Skin
Silicone-Free Primer for Oily Skin

How to Apply Mattify Ultra Powder as Face Primer:

After your usual cleansing and/or moisturizing routine, dip a fluffy powder brush into the Mattify Ultra Powder and tap away excess. Apply to your entire face using swirling motions. The powder is transparent, so it will disappear onto your skin quickly. For heavier application of the Ultra Powder, you can use a powder puff. Press the puff onto skin in sections, then lightly blend with a powder brush. Follow with the application of your regular liquid, mineral or cream foundation.

The Ultra Powder will prevent oily buildup for hours, and stops makeup from streaking or fading. If skin becomes oily throughout the day, simply use an oil blotting sheet and then apply Ultra Powder over your foundation, for an extra dose of oil control.

Best of all, the Ultra powder is easy to reapply over your makeup, to keep soaking up oil. If you have very oily skin, you probably know how hard it is to control. I’ve sometimes had to work 10 hour shifts, then meet for dinner afterwards, and have found that no matter how often I apply the Ultra Powder (sometimes up to 6 times in one day) it always remains invisible and never looks cakey on my insanely oily skin.

Powder Primer for Oily Eye Lids
Powder Primer for Oily Eye Lids

How to Apply Mattify Ultra Powder as Eye Shadow Primer:

After applying moisturizer and/or concealer to your eye area, take a soft eye shadow brush (rounded or dome tip) and dab it in the container of Ultra Powder. Tap off excess, and close eyes Dust the powder over your lids and onto lash line. Take the brush and wiggle it onto eyebrows, prior to applying brow pencil.

After you’ve finished applying the powder to your eye area, apply your usual eye liner, shadow and brow color. This will put an end to oily eyelids, which cause eye shadow to dissolve. The Ultra Powder will prevent eye products from smudging and creasing all day long.

Why is Silicone Primer Bad for My Complexion?

Most creamy or gel makeup primers contain silicone gel (dimethicone), which is notorious for clogging pores and causing breakouts. Since I’m no scientist, I had to do quite a bit of research on both silicone gel and silica powder spheres, to find out the differences. What I discovered about silicone gel was disturbing – as I’ve discussed in some of my other posts about the negative effects of silicone.

Silicone essentially forms a thick barrier to trap moisture out - which means it also traps bacteria inside. My favorite comparison is this: Ever heard of silicone caulk, which is used to line the perimeter of a bathtub or sink? Well, its function is to fill in gaps, providing such a thick barrier that no moisture can get in or out. The same type of silicone used in this caulking is also used in silicone gel face primers! Of course the kind of caulking at the hardware store also contains several other chemicals and rubberizing agents…BUT silicone is the main ingredient fill in porous areas and form a trap against water.

Example: Why Silicone Primer is Bad for Oily Skin
Example: Why Silicone Primer is Bad for Oily Skin
Silicone Primer Clogs Pores
Silicone Primer Clogs Pores

Why is Silicone REALLY Bad for Oily Skin?

I guess maybe the first person to invent silicone gel primer was remodeling their bathroom & thought…hey, this stuff would do a GREAT job filling in the pores on my face too! And it does – but that’s the problem. It fills in pores so well that it does not allow any oxygen to circulate, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. As you can see in the diagram above, a layer of silicone will trap type of bacteria beneath skin's surface, lodging dirt and oil deep inside each pore. This is a recipe for disaster where blackheads and breakouts are concerned. Skin oils should be allowed to escape pores throughout the day, but silicone gel prevents this from happening. As a result, pores become impacted, skin produces more oil, and breakouts occur.

What’s the difference between Ultra Powder and Silicone Gel Primer?

Mattify Ultra Powder contains a host of oil absorbent ingredients, and also a variation of silica. However, the silica is in a dry powdered form which does not block or clog pores. Instead, silica spheres stay on the outer layer of skin and absorb oil as it begins to surface. The spheres also prevent liquid foundation or eye shadow pigments from burrowing into pores. Since the powdered silica absorbs facial oil into each powder sphere, it effectively prevents skin oils from pooling on your skin and streaking makeup. These little miracle silica spheres do all of this, without blocking pores from circulating oxygen!

Why Silicone Primer Works for Dry Skin
Why Silicone Primer Works for Dry Skin

Why is Silicone Gel Primer OK for Dry Skin?

The all-important reason is this: People with dry skin typically have significantly smaller pores than those with oily skin. This means that the sticky silicone gel will stay where it belongs - on the surface of skin (rather than sinking down inside large pores). It also traps moisture inside, and dry skin is always fighting to retain moisture. In addition, people with dry skin are more prone to wrinkles, and silicone gel harmlessly fills in the wrinkled areas, without causing the skin problems and acne it triggers on oily skin types. If you have dry skin, but also suffer from breakouts, apply the Silicone Gel primer everywhere except the acne spots.

Often times, even people with dry skin encounter oily eye lids. In this case, the Mattify Ultra Powder can be used on lids before eye shadow application, and silicone gel primer can be used on the rest of the face before foundation.

Brands of Face Primer

Some popular types of silicone based primers to avoid if you have oily skin are Smashbox Photo Finish, Benefit Porefessional, Too Faced Primed & Poreless, and even the commonly recommended Monistat Chafing Gel. These are all loaded with silicone (also called dimethicone), and will irritate the heck out of acne prone and oily skin.

You don't need a silicone based primer to achieve a flawless, air-brushed look. Your skin will thank you for bypassing the sticky silicone & opting for a light weight powder primer. To create a truly flawless illusion, dust the Ultra Powder over your finished makeup, for a soft-focus look.

Two of the best primers for Oily skin are the above recommended Mattify Cosmetics Ultra Powder Primer and Skindinavia Silicone Free Spray Primer.

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