QC’s executive makeup artist, Nathan Johnson, hosted a LIVE skincare class on Tuesday, September 15th. In this exciting second installment of QC’s ongoing “Power of Skincare” webinar series, Nathan’s topic of discussion was oily skin. Particularly, he discussed:

  • The causes of oily skin;
  • The right ingredients and products to manage oily skin;
  • And the best, long-lasting makeup products to use on oily skin.

Why is proper skincare education so important for a makeup artist’s career? Because your client’s skin is quite literally the canvas on which you are working. As Nathan says: your knowledge of skin will maximize and transform your ability to work with makeup. This is a guarantee!

One of the most critical skills you can possess is knowing how to accurately determine your client’s skin type and then work with it accordingly. A common skin type you’ll encounter throughout your career is oily skin. So, let’s learn more about it!

If you missed the live stream, you can re-watch it here!

What is Oily Skin?

Oil is natural and actually healthy for the skin. When the oil levels are just right, the skin is healthy and well-balanced. However, if there is excess oil production, it can result in clogged pores, acne, and a shiny appearance on the face.

So What Causes Oily Skin?

Male hormones! Androgynes exist in all of our bodies, and these are the hormones that can result in an overabundance of oil in (and on) the skin.

How to Recognize Oily Skin

Oily skin is one of the easiest skin types to identify. Want to know if your client has oily skin? Here are some questions to consider and/or ask them:

  • Do they have an oily-looking sheen on their skin within hours of cleansing their face?
  • Does that oily sheen turn into a greasy appearance by the middle of the day?
  • Does the makeup they wear seem to melt or break away (particularly around the cheeks or nose)?
  • Are their pores visibly enlarged (i.e. in the T-zone, on the nose, etc.)?
  • Do they have blackheads, whiteheads, or any other indications of acne?

These are all signs that your client is dealing with oily skin!

Learn how to recognize ALL skin types by enrolling in QC’s Skincare Course today!

Debunking Common Skincare Misconceptions

Myth-Buster #1

Ethnicity is NOT
a skin type

Regardless of the color of our skin, all of our skin has basic needs. No ethnicity requires any specific routines based on their heritage or skin color. Rather, a person needs specific skincare routines due to their skin type and the specific requirements to maximize that skin type.

Myth-Buster #2

Products should NOT burn or tingle on the skin

Experiencing a burning or tingling sensation when using a product is a BAD sign! While an extremely common misconception, it is not an indication that a product is working. It’s actually the opposite. If you use a product and feel a tingling sensation, your skin is trying to tell you that it’s getting irritated.

Myth-Buster #3

Your client may not have ‘combination’ skin

Many people mistakenly believe that they have combination if some of their face is oily, while other areas are dry. However, this might not be the case! Oily skin can be patchy and dry in certain areas if dehydrated, not properly taken care of, or the wrong products are being used on it. Knowing how to properly determine your client’s skin type will help them to ensure that they’re only using products and ingredients that are GOOD for their skin!

Caring for Oily Skin

Ingredients to Avoid

If you or your client has oily skin, the wrong product can result in the skin producing even more oil as a defense mechanism. Here are a few products and ingredients to actively avoid using on this skin type:

  1. Denatured alcohol
  2. SD alcohol
  3. Menthol
  4. Mint
  5. Eucalyptus
  6. Citruses (i.e. lemons)
  7. Thick and/or oily products
  8. Over-emollient products
  9. Fragrant products

In light of the above list, common products to avoid using on oily skin include bar soaps and oily, rich moisturizers or balms. Products like these will create a film over the face, trap in the oil, and clog the pores. This can result in catastrophic acne breakouts!

Keep your products on the sheerer, lighter side! Liquids, gels, and serums all work well with oily skin. The foundational formulations of the products we use are just as important as the rest of the ingredients in them! When dealing with this skin type, the best ingredient in the world won’t work if it comes in a thick formulation.

Want to learn more about skincare ingredients? Connect with Nathan in our Virtual Classroom on Facebook!

Caring for Oily Skin

Products to Use

Click on the products below to learn more


Cleansers remove excess debris and oil from our faces. If your client has oily skin, recommend a gentle cleanser that’s water-soluble! The skin should feel clean but not stripped.


Toner should soften, calm, and add back vital ingredients to the skin. Certain skin types require certain things from toner. So, make sure to be mindful of a toner’s ingredients! For oily skin, toners should contain antioxidants, ceramides, niacinamides, and/or peptides. Note: Astringents (i.e. witch hazel, alcohols, etc.) are NOT toners and will NOT help oily skin.


This is crucial for oily skin! People with this skin type experience a build up on their face that regularly mixes with oil, creating a cement-like layer of dead skin cells and debris. Exfoliants can help go inside the pores and remove this layer. A perfect ingredient to look for in exfoliants is BHA (beta hydroxy acid).


Serums contain antioxidant, antiaging, and other ‘booster’ ingredients to help elevate the skin. Importantly, serums can vary based on the individual’s skin type and personal needs. This is why knowing how to maximize different ingredients is key knowledge!


This keeps skin healthy and young. Contrary to popular belief, people with oily skin should moisturize on a regular basis. Proper moisture can help even out and better balance oil production. For oily skin, hydrating moisturizers containing powerhouse ingredients are the way to go. They should be lightweight, oil-free, and contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, niacinamide (B3), Vitamin C, and peptides.

Spot Treatments

Oily skin can cause breakouts. Sometimes, spot treatments will be used to combat specific areas, rather than the entire face. Benzoyl peroxide is a very effective product to use for this purpose.


Masks can be used for the entire face or simply as spot treatments. Masks work like a sponge, sucking out excess oil. Applying a mask once a week can be a wonderful way to maintain oily skin and keep it looking (and feeling) its best!


Sunscreen is always a MUST! Sunscreen is essential for oily skin because all skin types need proper protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Brands like Paula’s Choice, Dermalogica, and Supergoop offer sunscreen products that deliver results without the heavy, greasy coverage.

Discover Nathan’s top 5 key skincare ingredients in Part One of QC’s Power of Skincare series!

Applying Makeup to Oily Skin

The more you understand which ingredients work best for oily skin, the easier it will be to combine and layer them one-by-one. The final result will be a makeup look that lasts and doesn’t harm your client’s skin! Here are some key things to remember:

  • Avoid heavy foundations that contain oils! Oil-free, water-based foundations work best with this skin type.
  • Liquid and gel products are your best friends!
  • Gravitate towards oil-control and mattifying ingredients!
  • Willow bark, salicylic acid, rice proteins, clays, zincs, sulfurs, and micronized bamboo are all amazing ingredients to use!
  • Powders are great for soaking up oils!

Recognizing Oily Skin Through Virtual Consultations

QC Makeup Academy recently launched its brand-new Virtual Makeup Training Course. This mini course prepares makeup artists and skincare consultants to successfully offer their business services online, through virtual platforms.

If dealing with a client who has oily skin, how can you accurately determine their skin type when the meeting is NOT being held in-person? Here are Nathan’s tips:

  1. Know the right questions to ask
  2. Know what to examine

When examining your client’s skin, ask them to lean in towards the camera. Look at their pore size and distribution. Do they have large, visible pores? Do they have blackheads, whiteheads, and/or acne? Is this one of the issues or concerns they voice to you?

It’s just as easy to determine if your client has oily skin through a virtual consultation as it is from an in-person meeting, so long as you know what to ask and what to look for! From there, you can then build them a proper skincare and makeup routine that works best for oily skin.

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