Mind Over Matte: Oil Control For Every Step of Your Regimen

It’s an annual ritual. As soon as we’re on the other side of Easter, and as plans for Memorial Day weekend loom, I break out the big guns. No, not the ice cooler and sun umbrella and picnic basket. No, I have a different type of summertime arsenal at the ready: my oil-control skin care.

You see, I have a complexion sweet spot — when the winter tightness on my cheeks melts away like a late season frost and before the torrential downpour of oiliness down my T-zone kicks into full gear. It’s a moment when I can relish in having almost normal-type skin, when I get a glimpse — the faintest of glimpses — of what it’s like to have a complexion that’s nonreactive and perfectly content.

Of course, like most spring seasons around the world, this sweet spot lasts all of two seconds.

So with the unofficial start of summer just around the corner, I’m once again stocking up on products that will tackle excess sebum, clogged pores, and mid-morning oiliness that melts away the hardiest of foundations like it’s my job. (And technically, it is.) That means ingredients like tea tree oil, witch hazel, salicylic acid and clay will once again enter my skin care lexicon. And since I’ve learned that it takes a village of skin care — from cleansing to sleep mask — to tackle overly oily skin all summer long, I look for products that are lightweight, soothing and eminently layerable.

The color green is your best friend when finding calming ingredients

The color green is your best friend when finding calming ingredients


Yes, the battle against a greasy T-zone starts with a good old fashioned cleanse. But not just any cleanse. Use too harsh or stripping of a cleanser and my skin will punish me by overproducing oil. As a teen, I used to think drying out my skin was combatting oiliness, but that’s a skin myth. Skin hydration deals with the amount of water in your skin, which is different from the amount of oil produced by your skin.

So I’ll start with something gentle and SLS-free, like LJH Tea Tree Cleansing Foam, which has 30% tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic that dissolves sebum and kills acne-causing bacteria. This super cleanser also has salicylic acid from willow bark extract, which is key in penetrating clogged pores, as well as witch hazel, an anti-microbial and natural astringent. But it also has hydrating ingredients, like baobab and other plant extracts, to leave skin soothed and pH balanced.

I like to follow up my cleanse with a hydrating toner with witch hazel to calm inflammation. Primary Raw DoYou Soy Milk Ferment Cleanse Toner does just that, and also hydrates with a base of aloe vera, instead of water. The Cleanse Toner also adds another layer of oil control with tea tree oil and salicylic acid, while hydrating with hyaluronic acid and snail secretion filtrate.


The serum or essence step is the most important in my skin care regimen, so I multi-treat, loading up and layering on different treatments, depending on my skin care needs. I’ll start with LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule, which contains 50% propolis extract. Propolis is one of my go-to ways to fight acne — the powerhouse ingredient is an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. I’ll then layer on a serum with salicylic acid or tea tree extract. LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence contains 90% tea tree extract, as well as moisture-binding trehalose, because, again, you want to ensure that your skin is properly hydrated while you combat oiliness.


Which brings me to hydration. I’ve always had difficulty finding the right moisturizer for my oily T-zone. I want to make sure I’m not dehydrating my skin, but I don’t want to add to the greasy mess I’ll inevitably have by mid-morning, either. Enter Yuri Pibu Parsley Balancing Herbal Lotion. This lightweight moisturizer contains 22% witch hazel and 60% parsley extract, which is high in vitamin C and skin-healing beta-carotene. Parsley also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and helps to balance sebum production. The best part of this lotion is its semi-mattifying finish, which is a huge plus when your mul-gwang starts to look more like mul-grease.


In addition to daily maintenance, I’ll up my mask game in the summertime to at least once a week. A clay mask is a must, which does an excellent job of clearing out my pores and balancing sebum production — I’m noticeably less oily for at least a couple days after I mask. I’m From Volcanic Mask features 8.6% volcanic clay and ash from the eco-pristine South Korean island of Jeju, to draw out dirt and oil trapped in pores, while Goodal Wash Up Deep Clean Pore Glacial Pack utilizes Canadian glacial clay to purify and anti-inflammatory green tea extract.

And because I’m a multi-masker as well as a multi-treater, I’ll bolster my weekly clay mask with the exfoliating Blithe Patting Splash Mask in the shower. The Soothing Green Tea version has — you guessed it — salicylic acid and tea tree oil to penetrate pores and exfoliate my T-zone.


Of course, just because I’m off in dreamland doesn’t mean the battle for my T-zone stops. Right before my head hits the pillow, I’ll apply a generous layer of the super lightweight LJH Probiotics Sleeping Cream. The sleeping cream contains Seamat extract to sop up excess sebum as my oil glands run amok for eight hours. So by the time my alarm goes off, instead of blinding like a disco ball, I like to think I’m more dewy, perhaps even glowing. As an added bonus, the cream has 50% probiotic extract, which works to restore my skin and fight free radical damage incurred during the day.

Because while the battle against my overactive oil glands will continue for another five months before I hit that complexion sweet spot again, the war against aging free radicals never ends.

Get your glow on,

Anna M. Park is the editor of beauty and travel blog Styleunderpressure.com.

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