9 Mistakes To Avoid If You Have Oily Skin


Having had oily skin for most – if not all – of my life and being told to do this, that, and the other I wanted to write a post on the things that I found that worked, that helped be manage my skin and take care of it. However instead of writing a ‘You should do this…’ post I thought it might be a bit better to write a post on what mistakes to avoid if you have oily skin.


Now, just to be honest with you, I don’t have any academic knowledge in skincare, nor am I a makeup artist, but I do have my own experience and I’ve been given a lot of advice over the years – good and bad, so I thought I’d share it in case any of this helps you.

Mistakes to avoid if you have oily skin - Benefit high beam, St Ives, Estee Lauder, Urban Decay primer, Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate, Dermalogica


1. Don’t use harsh cleansers. You don’t want to strip your skin of every ounce of moisture, although once I was told this by someone working at a skincare counter to use a cleanser that literally sucked the moisture out of my skin… nope nope nope. Try using a gentle cleanser that cleans your skin, but doesn’t strip it of moisture.


2. Stop over exfoliating. Again, many years ago I was told I should be exfoliating most days of the week due to my oily skin, but this isn’t the case. Yes exfoliating is good, it gets rid of dirt, excess oil, etc, but it also helps remove dead skin cells. Over exfoliating can damage the newer skin cells before they are ready to be removed. So I now exfoliate twice, sometimes three times a week – depending if I feel like my skin needs it. Also remember that some masks have exfoliating properties, so I count that as an exfoliation day.

You may also want to use a variety of exfoliators. I have 3, and they all perform differently. One is more grittier than the others and is designed to help blemish prone skin, another is gentler but still helps to combat blackheads, and the final one is a very gentle exfoliator that doesn’t feel abrasive on the skin whatsoever.

Mistakes to avoid if you have oily skin - Nars tinted moisturiser, Becca opal highlighter, Summer Fridays jet lag mask, Glossier mositure moon, Benefit high beam, Lush Catastrophe cosmetic

3. Only using harsh / detoxing masks. Yes these type of mask do help with detoxing your skin of impurities, but you should only be using these. Try hydrating ones too as these help to balance the skin – more on this in the next point.


4. Avoid using oils / serums. This is simply not true. Using the right oils and serums can actually help oily skin. Yes this sounds a little counter active, but having tested this theory out for well 9 months now I can say with 100% certainty that using an oil, as well as more hydrating products, has changed my skin for the better and it’s no where near as oily as it was. If you want to know what I use for my morning skincare routine you can check it out here.

I first hear about this from one of my favourite YouTubers Nikkia Joy who is an amazing makeup artist and fellow oily skin gal. The theory behind using an oil in your skincare routine is this: your skin produces more oil because its dehydrated, so it produces more of it to try and balance itself out. However if you hydrate your skin and use an oil either in the morning or evening (it might be best to try it out in your evening skincare routine first) your skin will realise it’s getting what it needs and so slows down the production of oils – meaning your skin shouldn’t be as oily.

I hope that made sense. If not go over to Nikkia Joy’s channel here and watch her videos, because she explains it much better than I can. The most recent one where she specially talks about oils for oily skin can be found here.

Note: always research a product before you buy it. Some oils are great for most people, but if you do have blemish / once prone skin then you need to check that an oil will be ok for you and won’t cause breakouts. Trying out products is something you might have to do to find the best oil for you, what works for my skin might not work for you etc.


5. Never skip moisturiser. Likewise with point number 4, moisturiser can help balance oily skin. If you like your mattifying moisturiser stick with that, if you want to try a hydrating moisturiser for oily skin then I’d highly recommend my favourite one from the drug store, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost water-gel.

Mistakes to avoid if you have oily skin - Nars tinted moisturiser, Becca opal highlighter, Summer Fridays jet lag mask, Glossier mositure moon, Benefit high beam

Make up

6. Not using primer. Primers can make all the difference when you have oily skin – actually they can  help all skin types. Primers that are oil free help to keep your oils at bay and makes sure your makeup is long lasting. Also, some hydrating primers might be worth while trying too, especially if you love using a very matte foundation. In addition to primers, setting sprays can be great to keep your makeup in place.


7. Avoid using dewy or radiant foundations. Of course not all dewy and radiant foundations make oily skin look like a grease ball within the first hour of application, but if you’re not someone who checks on their makeup / touches up / blots throughout the day, a matte foundation would probably be a better idea and much easier! However, having got oily/combo skin myself I’ve been trying out more radiant and dewy foundation after introducing oils into my skincare routine, and they don’t make me look like I’ve covered myself in baby oil – it’s amazing! I do still lightly powder, partly out of habit, but also so that my base stays in place. I’m really enjoying using a slightly dewy foundation as it makes my skin look more natural. So why not give them a try.


8. Highlighting like an Instagrammer – unless you want to do this for an instagram post don’t go over board with the highlighter. You don’t need it down the bridge of your nose, your chin, cupid bow etc etc. Basically avoid using too much highlighter is key with oily skin. Or, if you have a more natural highlight and not one that people on the space station can see, you can get away with adding it to the areas on your face as it wouldn’t add too much radiance if your skin gets oily throughout the day.



9. Not drinking enough water. Yep, the good ol’ drink more water point that everyone has said and heard a million and one times – you’re probably tired of it, but here I go… it’s 100% true. Not only is it great for hydrating your body, but it will also help to hydrate your skin. Win – win! If you need ideas on how to make your water much more interesting to drink then check out my how to spruce up your water post here.


Have I missed anything?

Comment below so we help each other out πŸ™‚


*This post contains affiliate links.




  1. June 21, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    This is a great post, really useful! I am so clueless with skin care and mine is definitely quite oily so will be taking some tips from here!

    • Tegan
      June 23, 2018 / 8:12 am

      I’m so happy you find it useful πŸ™‚

  2. Melissa Lebus
    June 23, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    Loved this! I love skincare and so I really enjoy hearing other peoples tips and tricks to great skin! Thank you for some great ideas! πŸ™‚

  3. foreverseptember1
    June 25, 2018 / 11:41 pm

    Such great tips! I used to have super oily skin, but it seems to have calmed down slightly now but still!

    Lucy | Forever September

  4. November 16, 2018 / 7:35 pm

    I found out several years ago that the number one reason my skin was super oily was because of hormones! Stress hormones like cortisol can make your skin more oily and prone to breakouts, so having some calming tips and tricks on deck to keep stress low can definitely help your skin.

    There are also some other genetic factors that could contribute to excessively oily skin – like too much DHT in your system! That sounds like something an endocrinologist would have to sort out. >_<

    • Tegan
      November 19, 2018 / 6:48 am

      I completely agree that stress can also be a factor, as well as genetics. For the most part though oily skin can be balanced through skincare, but from experience it can be a fair amount of trial and error πŸ™‚

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