If you look in the mirror and more often than not find yourself battling excess shine, enlarged pores, and the occasional breakout, don’t worry, you are definitely not alone! Oily skin is a very common skin type that many of us experience. The good news is that with the right approach and a carefully crafted skincare routine, you can achieve a balanced and radiant complexion that embraces the flawsomeness of your skin.

It’s time to build an effective skincare routine for your oily skin and delve into all the best practices, products, and steps you can take to balance out your oil levels. Whether you're new to skincare or looking to refine your existing routine, we've got you covered!

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First things first, though  before we get too ahead of ourselves here, let’s flip the script and give oily skin the credit it deserves. Get ready for a major perspective shift, because oily skin can actually be your secret weapon! Sure, it might come with its fair share of large-ish pores and the occasional breakout, but let's focus on the bright side, shall we?

Here's the deal: oily skin has a superpower that can slow down the ageing process. Wrinkles and fine lines often stem from a lack of collagen in the skin, and guess who's here to save the day? Oil! It plays a crucial role in collagen production, giving you a natural boost in the fight against ageing. So next time you reach for that powder to battle the shine, remember that your oily skin is actually working its magic to keep you looking glowy and youthful. Embrace that sheen and rock your oily skin like the age-defying superstar you are! Future you will be grateful you needed all that nose-powdering one day, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

What is oily skin?

Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of sebum, which is the natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands in our skin. Sebum is essential for keeping the skin moisturised and protected. When you have oily skin, it means the sebaceous glands are producing an excessive amount of sebum, resulting in a shiny or greasy appearance on the skin's surface. To top it off, more oil can mean those breakouts crash the party uninvited, leaving their greasy footprints all over your cheeks and T-zone. But fear not, with the right knowledge and a stash of oil-absorbing superheroes, you'll conquer the excess shine and be free to embrace your skin's unique radiance. 

What does oily skin look like? 

Let's talk about the telltale signs of oily skin. If you're curious to know whether you have oily skin or not, here are some common signs and features to keep an eye out for:

Shiny or greasy appearance: 

Oily skin has a way of making your skin look like it's been quite literally dipped in oil. If you have oily skin, you may notice an excessive shine or greasy look throughout the day. The skin may also appear to have a reflective sheen, most commonly in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). 

Regular breakouts: 

Oily skin is more susceptible to breakouts due to the increased production of sebum. The excess oil can mix with bacteria and dead skin cells, clogging the pores and resulting in the development of blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of acne.

Enlarged pores: 

Oily skin loves to show off its pores. Particularly in the T-zone, you might notice that your pores appear larger and more noticeable due to the excess oil production. Those enlarged pores are then more likely to get clogged and throw a breakout party. 

Skin feels slick to touch: 

The excess sebum in oily skin often results in the skin having a slick or greasy feeling when touched. 

Makeup does not last: 

If you have oily skin, you may notice that makeup tends to slip and slide off or fade pretty quickly during the day. The excess oil can make your makeup less long-lasting (tongue twister)  if you are not using the correct products for your skin type. 

What causes oily skin?

While oily skin is primarily caused by an overproduction of sebum, there are a few other things on the list that can contribute to overproduction of oil in the skin. Some factors include:


Yep, you can blame your parents for this one! Oily skin can be passed on through your genes, so if your parents experienced oily skin, you will most likely inherit this trait of theirs! 

Hormonal changes: 

Hormones just love to mess with us, don’t they? During certain times, like puberty or hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, our hormones can go a little haywire. This can trigger those sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to a shiny T-zone. 


When you’re stressed, your body produces higher levels of cortisol, which can result in excess oil production in the sebaceous glands of your skin. So, if you're dealing with stress, your skin might be feeling the effects too.

To read more about stress causing oily skin, click here.


The environment can play a sneaky role in oily skin as well. Hot and humid climates can stimulate the production of oil in your skin to help regulate its temperature. Excessive heat or humidity also makes our skin sweat, which when mixed with your skin's natural oils can up the grease factor even more.

Overusing certain ingredients or harsh skincare products:

Excessive cleansing, exfoliating, or using harsh skincare products can strip the skin's natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier. This can trigger an increase in oil production, ultimately causing more oily skin.

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What are the best ingredients for oily skin?

When it comes to choosing skincare ingredients for oily skin, it's crucial to find products that can tackle that excess oil production and keep your skin balanced. So, let's talk about some ingredients to look out for  it’s a jungle out there!

Salicylic Acid:

Salicylic Acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that acts as a gentle exfoliator, helping to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. It's like a deep clean for your skin, making sure those pores stay clear and free from any gunk. It also has the added benefit of regulating excess oil production, keeping the shine at bay, and preventing your skin from feeling too greasy. It is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that is effective in removing acne-causing bacteria, thus preventing breakouts. Salicylic acid is actually one of the key ingredients in our everyday pimple patches!


Niacinamide, a Vitamin B3 superstar, has some serious skills when it comes to managing oily skin. It helps regulate your skin’s oil production, boosts the moisture in your skin and minimises the appearance of those pesky enlarged pores of yours. This extremely versatile ingredient also has anti-inflammatory properties, calming redness and irritation in skin conditions like rosacea, acne, and eczema. And just when you thought our rebound serum couldn't get any better, we actually included Niacinamide as one of the main ingredients! So go ahead and try the power of Niacinamide  your skin will thank you!

Hyaluronic Acid:

Now let's talk about the fascinating relationship between oily skin and hydration. Did you know that sometimes, when your skin is oily, it's actually a sign of dehydration? It's like your skin is trying to overcompensate for the lack of moisture by producing more oil. Sneaky, right? But don’t you worry, hyaluronic acid, the hero ingredient for dehydration, is here to save the day! This lightweight, non-greasy superstar is like a tall glass of water for your skin. It has this amazing ability to attract and retain moisture (without clogging your pores!), leaving your skin feeling plump, refreshed, and oh-so-hydrated. Another ingredient that’s included in our rebound serum!


This ingredient is not just for fighting signs of ageing it can also work wonders for oily skin! Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that regulates cell turnover to reduce clogged pores, minimise inflammation, and improve the skin’s texture. It regulates sebum production to help control the amount of oil your skin produces! Of course, when you’re starting with retinol, it’s best to ease into it. Begin with a lower concentration to allow your skin to adjust, and don’t get discouraged if you experience a little “purging” period, where your skin might seem to be acting up. This is just a temporary phase as your skin prepares for its long-term glow-up. Trust the process, bestie! We also highly suggest that when using retinol, you apply it alongside our rebound serum to protect your skin's barrier. 

Understanding your skin type and the ingredients best suited for it is the first step towards building a skincare routine that addresses its particular needs. With the right knowledge and approach, you can embrace your oily skin and unlock its true potential.

The best skincare routine for oily skin

Let's talk about a simple and effective skincare routine that works wonders for oily skin. Here are the steps you should follow:

Step 1: Cleanse (AM/PM)

Washing your face regularly is an absolute must when you have oily skin! Cleansing your face morning and night with a cleanser specifically designed for oily skin, like our anti-bacterial cleanser, will prevent excess oils and bacteria from building up. Oh, and stay away from those oil-based cleansers and makeup removers  while experiencing oily skin, they're not your friends. Instead, try using a gentle micellar water, like this Bioderma one, to remove your makeup. Paired with our trusty anti-bacterial cleanser, you've got a winning combo for your morning and night routine.

For more info on how to properly cleanse your skin, read here

Step 2: Exfoliate 1-2x a week (PM)

Using an exfoliator is a total game-changer for oily skin. Exfoliating helps kick out all those pesky dead skin cells and excess oil that tend to clog up your precious pores. 

Pro tip: Use a gentle, chemical exfoliator 1-2 times a week (at night!) to avoid any irritation. One cult favourite we recommend is the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. It's got salicylic acid, which is a superhero at unclogging those pores, smoothing out wrinkles, and evening out your skin tone. 

Step 3: Apply a Spot Treatment (PM)

Now here's a crucial PM only step you don't want to skip, especially if you struggle with both breakouts and oily skin. It's all about using a fantastic topical acne treatment in your evening routine. The acne hack spot treatment is the key to regulating oil production and waving goodbye to unwanted congestion. It's like a superhero that fights off acne-causing bacteria, giving you a fighting chance against breakouts.

After cleansing your face at night, apply the acne hack spot treatment directly on active breakouts. Let it work its magic for about 5 minutes, giving it time to soak into your skin before layering on other products. To avoid any irritation, we recommend you start by applying it once every second day and then gradually increase your usage from there.

tbh tip to keep in mind: Make sure not to use your spot treatment and exfoliator on the same night. We don't want to overwhelm your skin.

Step 4: Apply Serums (AM/PM)

Serums are magical, lightweight products that do not feel heavy or greasy as they’re generally super thin in texture, which is perfect for those with oily skin who want to avoid any extra shine or clogged pores. They are jam-packed with powerful ingredients for oil control, pore minimisation, and hydration to keep your skin balanced. You can opt to use serums like Hyaluronic Acid or Niacinamide individually, however, we of course recommend our rebound serum, as it’s two in one! It’s a barrier support serum that includes all the key ingredients to hydrate and smooth skin texture, so it means you don’t need to head out and purchase multiple different products to achieve the same results, it’s a one stop shop.

Step 5: Moisturise (AM/PM)

No matter what skin type you have, moisturising is an absolute must! And yes, even if you have oily skin, it's essential. Believe it or not, skipping moisturiser can actually make your skin produce even more oil. We know, it sounds crazy, but it's true! When your skin lacks hydration, it tries to overcompensate by going into oil-production overdrive.

Using a lightweight moisturiser like the thirst trap moisturiser morning and night will help your skin find that perfect balance and prevent it from spinning out. It hydrates with glycerin, pentavitin, sodium PCA and genencare and provides barrier support with ingredients like amino acids, squalane and vitamin E. 

Step 6: Apply SPF (AM)

You might think that sunscreen is a big no-no for oily skin because it can make it feel even greasier. But trust us, it’s the key to a healthy and protected complexion. Oily skin is not immune to the harmful damage caused by those sneaky UV rays. So, it's crucial to apply SPF every morning, rain, hail, or shine! When choosing a sunscreen for your oily skin, look for oil-free options that are specifically formulated for oily skin types. These sunscreens are lightweight, absorb quickly, and won't clog your pores. Our skin shady SPF 50+ is an oil-free, non-greasy sunscreen that is super lightweight and breakout friendly! Plus, it sits like a dream under makeup. SO, you can slay that makeup look and keep your skin protected all at the same time talk about a win-win.

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Easy, basic skincare routine for oily skin

We’ve got the perfect routine for you, and trust us, it's so straightforward that you won't forget a single step: 

  1. Cleanse (AM/PM): anti-bacterial cleanser
  2. Exfoliate (1-2x per week): Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
  3. Treat (PM): acne hack spot treatment
  4. Support (AM/PM): rebound serum
  5. Moisturise (AM/PM): thirst trap moisturiser
  6. Protect (AM): skin shady SPF 50+