My T-Zone has been the bane of my existence since high school. In every photo I took, there it was – shining bright and stealing all the attention. Dealing with the oiliest area of my face has taken years of trial and error, y’all. But finally I’ve found some products that work well enough on their own – and even better when used in combination! Here are the three things I can’t do without, if I want to keep my t-zone tamed and make sure my smile is the brightest, most attention getting thing in every photo I take.

Here’s what you need to stop the shining.

#1 – You need a primer.

In hot and humid climates (like Trinidad, and Miami) it seemed like my makeup would just slide off my face. Now I’ve discovered the benefits of makeup primers and while I may continue to sweat like a pony, my makeup will remain where I applied it. Primers can range from affordable to expensive, so it’s always smart to see if you can try before you buy. Head to Sephora and request a sample of the brands you’re interested in, to see if you’ve found one you like in terms of consistency and effectiveness.

Right now on the high end tip, I’m loving NARS Pro Prime. The Skin Smoothing Face Prep instantly improves the appearance of your skin’s texture, leaves you matte and helps makeup to last. The Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is essential for me – it makes my eyelids feel like satin and helps my shadows and liners to last ALL day.

At the drugstore there’s a brilliant new hybrid – Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Primer, which is awesomeness in a can. It leaves my skin feeling youthful and smooth, and makes my makeup glide on easily, and makes me look great. Point blank, period. Get yourself some at your drugstore or department store of choice – Walmart or Target’s awesome beauty departments are bound to have what you need!

#2 – You need powder.

Powder is an absolute essential makeup staple for any woman of color who has oily skin in her genes. Loose, pressed – colored or translucent. You need powder, and I’m a fan of variety!

For day to day keeping-the-oil-at-bay, I still swear by Oasis Oil Control by Valana Minerals. I most often use that right after I apply my foundation. For translucent goodness at the drugstore, please don’t sleep on Black Opal Deluxe Finishing Powder. It really helps to set my makeup to perfection, and minimizes the shine factor. Trust. And you should always roll out with a compact of pressed powder, to maintain your situation on the go!

#3 – You should try a finishing spray.

I just did a review of Skindinavia, but there are others on the market. There’s Model In a Bottle, and Urban Decay’s De-Slick Oil Control Makeup Spray, which is vegan, cruelty free, and paraben free. I don’t leave the house without spritzing my face with my makeup spray of choice – if you live in heat and humidity, try it and let me know if you notice a difference.

#4 – Last but not least, you need blotting sheets.

The aforementioned products will get you just so far, but in order to stay shine free when you’re out in the elements, you gotta go out with blotting sheets in your purse. I’ve tried several brands through the years – I still dig the classic Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets, but I’ve graduated to some other, niche brands. Lately I’m loving Tatcha Aburatorigami Blotting Papers – these gold-flecked blotting papers from Japan are hand made from the “finest grade of abaca leaf, prized for strength, absorbency and softness.” They’re elegantly packaged and highly effective – if I even hear someone say “let’s pose for a photo,” I can reach for one and absorb the excess oil and shine without disturbing my makeup. One drawback – at $12 for a pack of 30 sheets they aren’t the cheapest sheets on the block.

But hey, if you were looking for the cheapest sheets on the block you could simply blot your face with the toilet seat covers in the nearest public restroom. No seriously – that works too!

Look out for even MORE Tatcha goodness to come! Nudge nudge, wink wink!

What are your top ways and favorite products to stay shine free? Share with me!

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jac says:
August 3, 2010, 4:05 pm
Great tips! Another really good thing I do is use bentonite clay masks. It pulls out all of the excess oil and stops your face from becoming an oil slick throughout the day. 2 applications tone down my oil for 2 or 3 weeks. Jojoba oil is also really great for oily skin.
Professor Diva Mac says:
August 3, 2010, 4:05 pm
Thanks for the primer suggestions. I've been meaning to try one. I never leave home without powder or blotting sheets but finishing spray? I thought that was only for hair but now will be trying it as well.
GG says:
August 3, 2010, 4:40 pm
Thanks for this post!i just bought Iman's oil control primer today, so we'll see how that works. Also, now that you've schooled me on finishing spray, I think I will try Skindinavia. I never knew that these options existed. I used to just pile on more and more powder throughout the day which would just make the condition of my skin much worse.
Phyrra says:
August 3, 2010, 5:47 pm
I love the Skindivavia finishing spray. Here in the humid heat of Florida, that spray will make a difference if I've gotta be outside all day.
Pearl OW says:
August 3, 2010, 8:17 pm
Instead of buying the blotting sheets you could use the seat protector things in the bathroom to remove some of the oil from your face. Whenever I go into the bathroom I use the center of the protector to blot my face first.
Felicia says:
August 3, 2010, 8:26 pm
I use end papers that u use to roll ur hair as a blotting sheet=)
Mel says:
August 4, 2010, 5:26 am
you are so darn funny! The same materials used to make the toilet seat covers are what is used for the blotting tissues, so you're completely right. Can I just say how much I love your blog. You make me so happy. Thanks! mel
Alovelydai says:
August 4, 2010, 7:15 am
This oily faced sista thanks you for your tips! I've tried philosohy's the's a primer/spf 15. It works pretty well too. **off to the Target**
teachermrw says:
August 4, 2010, 11:32 am
Afrobella, you are NOT good for my PJism!!! LOL! On a more serious note, I've read different things re: primer and mineral makeup. But, since my face becomes an oil slick, and I look as if I hadn't applied makeup, I think I need to return to using a primer. Thank you for the tips!
Ava says:
August 5, 2010, 5:56 pm
Fabulous tips! I have primer I that I haven't touched for months. I'm going to use it tomorrow.
Ava says:
August 7, 2010, 7:33 pm
just wanted to let you know that you can get the Tatcha sheets at, with free shipping.
MD says:
August 7, 2010, 8:50 pm
I have oily skin as well, and I use Black Opal and Iman Creme to Powder foundation. All in hopes of having a matte look all day. Then I stumbled on several videos recommending Phillips Milk of Magnesia (ORIGINAL formula. NO cherry or Mint) and that is the BEST primer ever. I tested it today, and my face was (still is) matte all day. No need for touch ups, and my nose is not shining (didn't think that was humanly possible). Ladies Please go try this. IT WORKS!!!!!!!
Shelby says:
August 18, 2010, 9:56 am
How do you use the Milk of Magnesia MD?
MD says:
September 11, 2010, 1:32 pm
You just apply a layer or two (trial and error)of it to your face after your moisturizer. Rub it in (don't worry if there are a few streaks, cos foundation should cover it)apply your make up as usual, and it's matte all day :) There are youtube tutorials as well.
Donna Jordan says:
November 27, 2010, 5:04 am
I just read the review on oil skin. I am certain that nobody has more oily skin than me. I agree with the clay, powder, primer. Here is what I've tried, pure clay that I mix with lemon juice, the best primer was blu Ray by CARGO, and I use bareminerals. I thought I had the secret. This regimen worked for a while, but I discover that using Milk of Magnesia with/without primer was a sure fire sucess. Hands down no shine at all for over 16hours! I'm telling you I experiment because I am a budget friendly DIY person, and Milk of Magnesia was the greatest tip I received in years! Go get a bottle of the original MOM, Trust! says:
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