My Oily T-Zone Thanks Rihanna and Pat McGrath For These Foundations

My Oily T-Zone Thanks Rihanna and Pat McGrath For These Foundations
Photo: Jessica Wilkins. Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

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I’m convinced I have the oiliest t-zone in human existence.  My nose and forehead are a shining beacon of hope to the extent that given proper lighting, I could stand-in for a lighthouse.  So my quest to mattify my skin throughout the day is endless and daunting. I am a chronic blotter and will use almost anything to quell my shine throughout the day; toilet seat covers (unused obviously), tissue, napkins, paper towels, blotting papers, and makeup brushes, to name a few. So when my personal dating coach and queen, Rihanna, released the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating formula, I just assumed it wasn’t for people like me who are always looking for the best oily skin foundation

I’m a soft matte girl, or so I have been misled to believe. Those of us with oily skin assume we don’t need moisture or hydration and that is a big ass lie.  We tend to neglect rich formulas because we’re terrified of exacerbating the oil production in our faces. The truth is there’s a difference between hydrating your skin and moisturizing your skin, and we still need to do both.  Though oily skin looks, well, oily, that’s only because it’s over-producing sebum since there’s a compromised barrier that makes it hard to retain moisture in the first place. The only way to rectify the exhausting cycle is by giving your face what it needs, including a hydrating foundation. 

According to Fenty Beauty’s Global Makeup Artist, Priscilla Ono, “It really depends on what look you’re going for. The Pro Filt’r Hydrating Foundation can work for oily skin types if you want to have a natural dewy-like finish. I would recommend pairing it with our Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer ($32) or the Mattifying Primer ($32) to help control shine and create a good base for the foundation. Rihanna has oily skin and I use both on her!” 

hydrating foundation test 1 My Oily T Zone Thanks Rihanna and Pat McGrath For These Foundations

Jessica Wilkins.

Makeup artist to the stars Sheika Daley , who swears by the Pat McGrath Sublime Perfection Primer and Foundation ($68), also recommends prepping with moisture-rich primer for a non-greasy, but hydrated finish. “I’d recommend Pat McGrath Sublime Perfection Primer ($60) before applying any foundation on top.  The hyaluronic acid in it helps with plumping and hydrating the skin while the built-in cosmetic filter helps with keeping the skin from getting too oily. It’s great for all skin types,” she told me. 

With their advice in mind, I took these products for a test drive.  Skin prep is a key factor in all areas of life, but especially when it comes to applying makeup. I have been working on my skin’s natural texture and tone so I won’t feel the need for makeup every day and to regulate oil production. Here’s my current routine:

hydrating foudnation test 2 My Oily T Zone Thanks Rihanna and Pat McGrath For These Foundations

Jessica Wilkins.


  1.       The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser ($7.90)
  2.       Thayers Rose Petal Facial Toner ($9.29)
  3.       Allies of Skin Triple Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum ($75)
  4.       Allies of Skin Vitamin C 35% Collagen Rebuilding Serum ($118)
  5.       Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream ($38)
  6.       Farmacy Green Defense Daily Sunscreen ($36)

NOTE: I am also on a daily hormonal birth control pill which among other things helps to keep my adult acne at bay by controlling the hormones that produce oil. This has been instrumental in clearing up my skin. 

hydrating foundation test 4 My Oily T Zone Thanks Rihanna and Pat McGrath For These Foundations

Jessica Wilkins.

Foundation 1: Fenty Beauty Hydrating Foundation

This foundation really looks like skin.  I know that sounds weird because that’s what it’s supposed to look like, but aside from the awesome color match, this gives an incredibly natural sheer finish; almost like a tinted moisturizer with a touch more coverage. I think because I didn’t set the expectation to have a matte face all day, I was really pleased with its wear. I definitely got oily a few times throughout the day but the contrast between my normal skin and my oily t-zone wasn’t as stark.

For touch-ups, throughout the day Ono also recommends the Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder. “It’s great for on-the-go touch-ups throughout the day, too, because it never cakes up. We also offer Invisimatte Blotting Papers that are super portable for those touch-ups on the fly.” I’ll be using this again on days when I want to be more natural and embrace my God-given glow.

hydrating foundation test 3 My Oily T Zone Thanks Rihanna and Pat McGrath For These Foundations

Jessica Wilkins.

Foundation 2: Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation

This foundation offers sheer to medium coverage. While the formula is intended to boost the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid and ceramides, it still offers more coverage than I was expecting and the finish is pretty matte as opposed to natural or dewy.  The color match is amazing! I would recommend this one for oily folks who want to hydrate but also want a good bit of buildable coverage.

“When mattifying oily skin, I use a translucent powder to set the center of the face, top of the forehead, center of the nose, sides of the nose, chin, and top of the lip,” recommends Sheika.

In a nutshell, nothing will make you not produce oil if you are a living person with oily skin. You can, however, take steps to balance the oil production in your face and minimize your retouches throughout the day.  For me personally, opting for a natural finish took some of the pressure off to stay matte all day. So there you have it: if you’re oily and want to lean into your natural glow, hydrating foundation is a go!

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