Is The ELF Matte Putty Primer Any Good For Oily Skin?

For years I bought into the hype that if you wanted a good face primer, especially one for oily skin you had to spend a bit of money. I’ve spent anywhere from $20-$45 for a tube of face primer and I have to say I didn't see a huge difference in how each one performed. Some of the matte primers did a better job than others at controlling oil and shine but I can’t say most of them blew me away.

When the original ELF Poreless Putty Primer first launched it blew up on Tik Tok, with me not being on Tik Tok, I’m not a huge fan of social media and I just don’t have the time, I missed the craze. Once the reviews started coming off of Tik Tok and were shared on other social channels and on blogs I became aware of it but that didn’t entice me to give it a try.

ELF is one of the cheaper makeup brands out there and personally I had felt the quality of the makeup they put out reflected it. So I was skeptical it was really as good as people were saying. Plus, it didn’t address one of my key issues which are shine from oiliness. 
Holding a jar of the ELF Matte Putty Primer.
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My skepticism changed when the ELF Matte Putty Primer came out and I started seeing blog and video reviews of it from influencers I follow. As I kept looking at reviews of the primer and other ELF makeup I realized that ELF had really stepped up their game and was putting out good quality makeup for bank account friendly prices.

When I bought the ELF Matte Putty Primer I was a few weeks out from using up the higher-end face primer I had been using and wanted to see how this one from ELF did before that happened to see if it would be worth it for me to make a switch.

There are a few different versions of the ELF Putty primer (luminous, matte, and poreless). The matte version is infused with kaolin and white charcoal to help absorb excess oil providing a shine-free finish. It also claims to smooth over imperfections for a poreless effect and provide the ultimate grip on makeup.

One of the things that confused me when I first started using the Matte Putty Primer is that it comes in a jar. I’m used to face primers coming in a tube. I was a little confused at first about how to apply the primer but eventually scooped a little bit up with my fingers and swiped it onto my cheeks.

Over time I’ve tried a few different types of application - with a brush (saw a few videos of it being applied that way) and warming it up between my fingers before applying. ELF recommends scooping a small grape-sized amount and warming it with the fingertips so it becomes creamier and then letting it absorb into the skin for 30 seconds. Now I follow the ELF recommended application method unless I’m in a hurry.

The ELF Matte Putty Primer does a good job of keeping my makeup in place for a long time. It doesn’t irritate my skin, and I can see that it does minimize my pores.

On the flip side, I can’t say that it does any better at controlling oil and shine than other matte primers I’ve used but that’s also a plus as I feel like I get similar results with this drugstore primer that I do with higher-end ones. So I’m not gonna sneeze at a chance to save money without sacrificing quality.

Some tips for using the primer
  • A little goes a long way and you don’t want to over-apply. I have and it made my skin feel tight. Start with a little and you can add more if needed
  • Let it absorb some into your skin before applying the rest of your makeup. It does work better that way
  • You can wear the primer by itself on days you’re not wearing a lot of makeup

The ELF Matte Putty Primer can be purchased at Target, Walmart, Amazon, Ulta, and the ELF website. Prices will vary depending on the retailer.

Have you tried any of the ELF putty primers yet?



  1. Hi thanks for your review! However can you also mention why you don't endorse the Elf brand please? It takes away the credibility from your review when that is the first line I see, and without explanation. Thanks!

    1. You're welcome. This past year the brand made some statements that I personally don't agree with so I decided that I won't be buying or reviewing their products anymore. I opted to keep the review up because they are an affordable brand that people like to buy and there aren't a ton of good options out there for dark oily skin.


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