You really can outsmart breakouts and makeup meltdowns. The key? Don't wait til your oily skin goes into overdrive. Keep it in check from morning to night with these grease-defying skin and makeup strategies.

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Dial Down the Cleansing

Squeaky clean skin: It's the goal of every oily-skinned woman, but it's destined to backfire every. Single. Time. "Drying out your skin triggers it to produce more oil," explains bi-coastal dermatologist Karyn Grossman, M.D. "If you wash your face, and it feels tight, it's actually too much." Your true aim? Soft, supple skin. Achieve it by sticking to gentle cleansers like Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel. "It has a little acid, which will help keep pores clear, but it's not drying," Dr. Grossman says. Or for an even milder option, try Cetaphil DermaControl Oil-Control Foam Wash.

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Skip Alcohol

It's no secret that toners are prized for ousting oils. The problem is they're too good at their job, potentially leaving skin parched and flaky. The worst offenders are alcohol-based varieties. Instead, try witch hazel, which can also help rein in oil production. To degrease without dehydrating your complexion, take these additional precautions: Mix your own 50-50 witch hazel and water solution in a spray bottle, use it only once a day, and spritz only on oily areas like your T-zone, advises Dr. Grossman.

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Cocktail Your Moisturizers

Chances are you're not oily all over your face. "Wherever you're more porous—typically the center of the face—tends to show more shine," explains makeup artist Rommy Najor. And different zones have different moisture needs. On hot spots such as your forehead and nose, apply an oil-control lotion like Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Matifying Fluid. On the rest of your face, use a heftier moisturizer, like one of Najor's go-tos, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. Tempted to skip this step? If you apply makeup to skin that hasn't been smoothed, your foundation will "sit on it and highlight any imperfections," warns Najor.

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Prep for Makeup

The hero of your cosmetic kit? Primer. Once you put this buffer in place, your makeup will stay put, even if your skin starts to get a tad greasy. "I'll use primer when a client is going to wear makeup for more than 4 or 5 hours," Najor says. For up to 8 hours of shine control, try Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer. Pat it on spots that usually glisten midday. Bonus: It minimizes the appearance of pores, so it's worth wearing on no-makeup days, too.

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Go for a Shine-Free Base

A matte foundation is oily skin's BFF: It keeps sheen under wraps all day. For a foolproof application, pick a lightweight, silky formula, like Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation. Simply smooth the base on with your fingers, pressing it into your complexion. "When you work foundation in with your hands, it melts right in and becomes kind of like a second skin," says Najor.

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Conceal Smartly

It's tough to get concealer to adhere to red acne bumps and stay there (why, thank you, oily skin). But a zit is no match for waterproof Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream, which miraculously does not budge. To neatly cover all sides of a blemish, use a fine-tipped liquid eyeliner brush. And remember, since cover-up is designed to deliver heftier coverage than foundation, apply your base first, and then evaluate if you need back-up. "Sometimes, you don't even need to use concealer," Najor notes.

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Lock It In

A dusting of Rimmel London Stay Matte Long Lasting Powder sets your primer and foundation and controls oil for up to five hours. Here, again, a little goes a long way: Target your oily areas. "I like to apply powder to the hot spots—the center of the forehead, down the sides of the nose, and the chin," says Najor. If you don't need more coverage, use the transparent shade to oil-proof your makeup.

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Punch Up Skin

The flip side of successful oil control: You've also tamped down your skin's natural dimension. Add it back and give skin a pick-me-up with some cheek-brightening powder blush. (Porous, oily skin will suck a cream blush right up.) The key is to pick one with a matte finish, like Dior Blush Vibrant Colour Powder. "A blush that has shimmer or frost is going to highlight pores on the apples of your cheeks and make them even more visible," Najor explains. Feel like you've overdosed on matte makeup? Dab a highlighter on the high planes of your cheekbones and temples.

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Prep for Midday Glow

Chalk it up to hormones or sweat: Oil is likely to make an appearance in the afternoon. Simply dab it away with a MAC Blot Film. "It lifts the oil—not the makeup—off," says Najor. (He isn't a fan of rice blotting paper: "It can leave a residue.") Or try this trick: Pat your Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer (the same one you used in the a.m.) on any grease to eliminate it. One remedy to skip? Powder. Too much of it can mix with the oil and cake up.

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Treat at Night

A treatment lotion can spell long-term relief for oily skin and acne. "Probably the most popular thing that I have patients on is prescription Ziana gel, a combination of retin-A [an anti-acne and anti-aging vitamin A derivative] and the antibiotic clindamycin" says Dr. Grossman. "It's nice because it isn't very drying." Even if you're not acne-prone, oily skin can still lead to clogged pores, and retinoids can help with that, too. Start with the over-the-counter version, retinol, which is the mildest option and found in many night creams, like Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Cream. Take note: Retinoids and acne treatment ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can seriously dry skin. Whatever you choose, keep skin supple by layering an oil-free moisturizer on top of it, such as Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel, which hydrates with hyaluronic acid. And then rest easy knowing a glowy-skinned future awaits.

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