Samalama vs. Makeup Meltdown: Round 1 – Prep and Prime

****I am going to preface this with the fact that I had to break this post up in “rounds” because I did so much research on this topic. (I say research but you may call it shopping, YouTube-ing and Pinetrest-ing.) So be on the lookout for Round 2.****

Makeup meltdown is when the oils from your face, generally in your T-zone, breaks down makeup making it look shiny, separated and streaky. Many people see it in the summer months when the heat and humidity are extreme but really, it’s something that can happen at any time of the year especially if you have oily skin like I do. In the winter, I can go to work in a freezing cold office and come home looking like I never applied any foundation to the sides of my nose.

My wedding is in August, one of the hottest months of the year in New York. I do not want my makeup shiny and melting off on one of the most photographed days of my life. I want to look radiant but not THAT kind of radiant. As such, I have been playing with a bunch of new products and techniques to combat my “Mediterranean olive oil skin,” as my finance calls it.


Prepare your skin. How you prepare your skin before applying makeup will greatly affect how your makeup lasts. This goes for all skin types, but it is super important for oily skin types who are struggling with makeup meltdown.

Wash and Tone – The first step in creating an oil free look is in your skin care regimen. It is important to find products that are oil free and target oil production without drying out the skin. Weekly masks and daily toners with natural ingredients like witch hazel and tea tree oil have made a difference for me. (Ex. LUSH, Tea Tree Water.) At night, I use super hydrating products like Tarte’s, Maracuja Oil because it is important to hydrate even if you have oily skin.

I will address my skin regimen more in a separate blog because as soon as I got engaged I set myself up with a proper dermatologist. Under her care, I use a multitude of medications and products to address my acne and skin care. What works for me might not work for you.s1778992-main-Lhero

Moisturizers – I started reading Makeup by Rae Morris and he thinks if you have oily skin, skip the moisturizer because foundation itself has enough hydration to cover you. Does this work? Yes. Is he a professional and famous makeup artist? Yes. I am only a IT professional, makeup enthusiast? Yes…. but, I still don’t necessarily agree that this works for everyone. Other literature says if you don’t moisturize your skin, even if it is oily, face will produce even more oil to balance the skin, and therefore defeats the purpose of not moisturizing. My opinion: you need to find what works for you; that includes finding the right type of moisturizer. Oil free and water based moisturizers work best for oily skin. My favorite: Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea, Drink of H2O Hydrating Boot Moisturizer, $39. This is a water gel based moisturizer that feels lightweight and almost has a cooling effect.  I love it but because it’s not cheap and I am using to address my matte issues, I only use this prior to makeup application. I wear a heavier cream with witch hazel when just hanging out.


Prep Spray – The jury is still out on whether I think this step is completely necessary or not. I tried 3 different prep sprays:

  1. Urban Decay, B6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep Spray, $31- Out of all 3 this is my favorite! It’s light, smooth, scentless and the mist just feels overall refreshing. B6 is said to absorb oil and I would agree that my skin is far less oily when I use this product. I spray this in the morning before moisturizer, but they say you can use it in the middle of the day as a refresher as well.
  2. M.A.C., Mineralize Charged Water: Revitalizing Energy, $25 I bought this on accident 5 months ago when went to MAC for fix + and somehow left the store with this instead. Sadly, this is not the first time the associate gave me the wrong product at this specific location. Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. I started using this product as a prep spray and my conclusion: it’s probably good for normal to dry skin types and keeps makeup on longer. Wouldn’t repurchase this, but then again, I never wanted it in the first place.
  3. Tarte, Rainforest of the Sea, Marine Boost Mist; $12 Mini– Since I love the moisturizer I decided to try this spray but I bought the travel sized version to play it safe. What I like about this spray is it is an all in one primer, refresher, hydrating and setting spray; one stop shopping. Plus, it’s from Tarte (pretty much my favorite brand) so I feel it makes my skin look and feel good with healthy ingredients. My one con, it’s not really targeted for oily skin. I double it up with the B6 Complex in the am, and although it a tad watery I do think it helps keep my skin balanced. I think it would be a great product for those with dry skin.

PrimersYou need the right type of primer. For oily skin that means a mattifying primer. I was recommended to try out the following 3 brands of primers that are specialized in oily skin:

  1. BECCA, Evermatte Poreless Primer; $36 – Advertised as an oil-control primer that last up to 12 hours, it didn’t live up to the hype. Per the Sephora associate, this isn’t your average primer; to use you first must warm up the product with your hands, apply in a downward direction to T-zone and then immediately apply foundation. No letting the primer soak in. Did it work? Sort of, it worked on most of my T-zone but by the time I got home the oiliest places on my face were shiny. I think if you have mildly oily skin this would work for you.
  2. Make Up For Ever, Step 1 Skin Equalizing Primer in Mattifying; $37 – This products comes in multiple finishes to address makeup concerns. Mattifying addresses shine control. I tried it with different foundations and it worked better with some than others. I would recommend this, however it is expensive for 1oz of product.
  3. Benefit, The POREfessional: Matte Rescue Invisible-Finish Mattifying Gel; $28 for 1.6oz and $10 for Mini – Again, I bought the travel size to try out and dammit I wish I bought the full size. This is my new holy grail primer. I love the texture, the lightweight feeling and the bang for the buck. I used this with 3 different foundations and I looked matte from 7am to 7pm. I also have the original POREfessional Face Primer and this is great too, but I just fine the gel formula to be easier to apply and just less primer-like.
  4. Dr. BRANDT, pores no more, pore refining primer; $45 – This is an oldy but goodie. I totally forgot about this primer that I bought back in my 20’s and re-discovered during my “research.” I wasn’t even sure if they still made this product and I’m happy to report they do! This product is super velvety and great for all skin types. It reduces the visibility of pores and shine but price is steep.


Next up, in Round 2 & 3: Foundations, Setting Powders and Setting Sprays… To Be Continued…


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