‘Zoned Priming’ Combats Springtime Oil Without Leaving You Fully Matte

Photo: Stocksy / Ivan Gener
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Even if you're going for a dewy look, your natural oils can sometimes fight with your makeup. Oil can make it difficult to get your products to stick and make them fade away fast. So if you want to keep those oils at bay without going for a super-matte finish, Neil Scibelli, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City says you should give "zoned priming" a try.

"Zoned priming lets you address specific areas on your skin for their own concerns," says Scibelli. "For example, say you're typically dry on the outer cheeks and chin but you get shiny in like the T-zone, you would zone prime your T-zone with a mattifying primer. Then, you could apply a hydrating primer or just moisturizer to your dry spots.

Experts In This Article

That way, you get a multi-dimensional, seamless look, looking dewy and hydrated only where you want. "A lot of supermodels will want to be matte in the T-zone, but then they say, 'Don't mattify my cheeks, because I want that to look glowy.'"

Neutrogena Matte Primer + Serum
Neutrogena Matte Primer + Serum — $17.00

Scibelli swears by this primer. He says it lives in his kit so it’s with him on all of his jobs. “I love this one from Neutrogena because it contains rice protein which absorbs excess oil and shine—while also being super easy to apply, so you can really zone in on where you need it,” says Scibelli. It also contains glycerin, a humectant that creates a silky smooth finish on your skin—perfect for makeup application.

Indeed Labs Nanoblur Cream
Indeed Labs Nanoblur Cream — $25.00

If you’re looking for something thicker that blurs pores while controlling oil, Emily Amick, a celebrity MUA in New York City recommends this one from Indeed Labs. It uses silicones to instantly blur away the look of enlarged pores, shine, wrinkles, and crow’s feet.

Mehron Makeup Skin Prep Pro — $12.00

If you want something super hard-core, Amic recommends this MUA staple. “It’s sort of like a toner—it’s a little liquid and you can put it on a cotton pad and put it in all the areas where you normally sweat or get really shiny,” says Amick. “I’ll apply it around the hairline, under the ears, under the neck, and maybe even around someone’s boobs if they tend to sweat a lot. That stuff is heavy-duty.”

Once your oily zones are primed, you can move on to the rest of your face. If you have some really dry spots, apply a bit of a hydrating primer. Alternatively, you skip primer on those areas and let your regular moisturizer do its thing.

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Primer
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Primer — $44.00

“I’ve been using Kevyn Aucoin’s sensual skin primer in my kit for a while now,” says Scibelli. “It uses hyaluronic acid and vitamin E for a soothing, and hydrating finish. It’s great for all skin types and leaves no residue behind.”


EltaMD UV Glow Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 36
EltaMD UV Glow Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 36 — $44.00

If you wanna stick with a moisturizer that doubles as a primer to use all over as a base, Scibelli loves this Elta MD sunscreen that will leave your skin with a subtle glow. “It is water-based, as well as skin-care-infused—with ingredients like niacinamide to calm redness and inflammation as well as aloe leaf and coconut fruit extract,” he says. “EltaMD uses transparent zinc oxide which is a bonus for makeup lovers because the formula dries clear, without that white or grey cast.”

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer Hydrating, best water-based primers
Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer Hydrating — $25.00 to $47.00

This Laura Mercier is another lovely hydrating option. “I love this primer because it’s super hydrating on the skin, yet super-lightweight without any oil,” says celebrity makeup artist Melissa Hurkman.

Use zoned priming to curate the perfect makeup look for you, looking matte only where you want to and glowy everywhere else. "It's the trick to like achieving a flawless look with makeup," says Scibelli.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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