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Now Reading: How Do Mattifying Lotions Work


How Mattifying Lotions Work

The Science Behind Mattifying Lotions

An in-depth look into how mattifying lotions keep you looking smooth, clean, and confident throughout the day. 

“Group photo!” You and your friends gather in front of the camera to capture the moment. 


You know that the photo is going up on social media.

Sure enough, you receive a ‘you’ve been tagged’ notification. You unlock your phone to view the photo. There you see yourself…

“Why is my face so shiny,” you think. It’s not the clean, smooth look everyone else has. Your face looks like you can fry an egg on it!

Even though you use oil-controlling washes or powders, you can’t seem to get rid of your skin’s oily appearance. And it’s making you feel insecure and unconfident. 

Having an oily looking face is not out of the ordinary. There are several reasons why your skin looks oily. One of them is because you naturally have what’s called oily or combination skin

Other causes include sweat, the surrounding climate, humidity, touching your face after eating a spinach feta egg wrap, the generic over-the-counter lotion that you’re using, etc.

Controlling your skin’s oily appearance so that it isn’t the prominent feature on your face can be very challenging. 

Using a mattifier is an effective solution that can help control sebum (the oil your face produces) without needing a dermatologist prescription. One such mattifier is a mattifying lotion[Learn more about sebum here].

A mattifying lotion has distinct ingredients formulated to soak up sebum. When applied on your face, it works to absorb the oils and give your skin that matte, clean, healthy, and confident appearance.

How does it control skin oils so effectively? What other beneficial properties do these lotions have? Here, we’ll go into the science behind mattifying lotions.


The Chemistry Behind Mattifying Lotions

Before we get into how mattifying lotions fight oil, we’ll look at generic lotions first.

Basic lotions are semi-solid emulsions, meaning it’s a combination of two or more liquids that usually don’t mix, such as water and oil. To be combined, they slowly need to be incorporated into each other to form an emulsion. It’s the same way some salad dressings are made. Adding other emulsifying ingredients and stabilizing agents also help to keep the formula together and achieve the desired consistency. 

To create a mattifying lotion – a lotion that controls sebum and gives your skin a clean, healthy, mattified appearance – the product must also have an absorbent ingredient that can soak up oil and other liquids. 

One such absorbent is talc. Talc is a powdered hydrous magnesium silicate. It’s a clay-like substance that contains silicon, at least one metal, and the oxygen molecule. It serves as an absorbent that soaks up oil or water on the skin. Talc also controls shine, yet it’s a soft substance that’s safe for skin. Many cosmetic products contain talc for these reasons and why it’s used in some mattifying lotions to control sebum.

Other mattifying lotion ingredients that help aid oil absorption are polymers or plastics. Polymers are chemical compounds (made up of repeating structural units and come in various structures). 

For decades, silicone polymers have been used in skincare products to make them more soothing to the skin. Silicone also helps reduce stickiness and foaming within the product. 

Dimethicone is a common silicone polymer (the shape of its repeating chemical unit structure is linear). It is an important ingredient for a lotion’s consistency. It also provides a protective layer or film on the skin to keep out unwanted substances when it dries.

Although many mattifying lotions use silicone polymers, silicone elastomers have evolved the chemical capabilities of oil-controlling products. We’ll look at this advanced ingredient next.

The Advancement of Silicone Elastomers in Mattifying Lotions

In the 1980s, researchers discovered elastomers for the skincare industry. For sebum (oil) control, silicone elastomers provided very desirable mattifying features because it absorbs multiple types of oils, and it gives the skin a smooth, powdery look and feel.

The Chemistry

Elastomers form when a catalyst activates a reactive chemical (a cross-linker), creating connections between linear polymers. Linear polymers can have reactive sites along the chain. Cross-linkers connect linear polymers, which creates a new substance, the elastomer. It has both a different physical and chemical makeup. When solvents are added to the product, linear polymers become soluble; elastomers swell or expand. 

Depending on the number of cross-links will determine how much a silicone elastomer can expand. The fewer cross-links will result in a softer product with great expanding capabilities. More cross-links will make the product harder and won’t expand as much with a solvent. 

So, the more the elastomer expands, the more of a smooth and powdery look and feel it should give your skin. This is why silicone elastomers are superior to silicone polymers as mattifying agents for mattifying lotions. 

To further dissolve sebum and make the mattifying effect last longer, a substance called Cyclopentasiloxane can be added in the silicone elastomer. 

Types Of Liquid Mattifying Products

There are various products and options to control your skin’s oil. You can use rice papers to blot your skin to get rid of excess oil production. Although, that may not be ideal or efficient for most people, especially for men. Mattifying liquid products typically are applied before you head out, and you can reapply it when needed making for a simple, efficient solution.

Here we’ll lay out the different types of liquid mattifying products.

Cream-based Mattifying Foundations

Cream-based mattifying foundations help control oil while creating a consistent and smooth skin tone. Certain mattifying foundation products are designed specifically for stage use as they prevent the shiny appearance even under hot stage lights. 

Mattifying Cream & Lotions

The difference between a cream and a lotion is its consistency. Lotions are light and smooth. They absorb the excess oil as you rub it into your skin. Some lotions have a large amount of silicone and feel clumpy or gel-like. But, once massaged into your skin, the globules will dissolve. Some lotions have added color to it and is used as a foundation [makeup] replacement.

Mattifying Moisturizers

Mattifying moisturizers have the same benefits of mattifying creams and lotions, with skin hydrating features. Yes, it is possible to have oily, dehydrated skin. That’s why a mattifying moisturizer is an ideal mattifying product to control your skin’s shine while keeping it hydrated and strong. 

Balm & Gel Mattifiers

Balm and gel mattifiers are lighter than creams, lotions, and some powders. You can reapply them throughout the day as needed. Some recommend using special sponges or brushes for even application, but your fingertips are good enough for most. 

Sprays & Mist Mattifiers

Spray and mist mattifiers allow for easy application without the need to rub it into your skin. It can be a refreshing mattifying solution, especially after exercising. 

Are Mattifying Products & Ingredients Safe

Many of the ingredients used in mattifiers, such as those mentioned above, are deemed safe for skin use. 

For the ingredient dimethicone in a mattifier, there should be no more than 24 percent of the product. If you have acne or prone to breakouts, make sure any product that contains dimethicone is non-comedogenic to avoid clogged pores; otherwise, avoid using that product.

d*shine’s Mattifying Moisturizer 

Men’s skin tends to be oilier than women’s, and we don’t want to be messing with foundations, primers, powders, concealers, etc. to eliminate that oily look.

Here, at d*shine, we have formulated one mattifying product for all. Although women can very well use it too, our signature Mattifying Moisturizer with Oil Control is developed specifically for men. It mattifies, hydrates, and strengthens your skin while controlling the sheen for that smooth, clean, confident look. 

Order yours online today: d*shine Mattifying Moisturizer with Oil Control.

If you enjoyed this article, below are others that you may like to educate or entertain yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to DM us on Instagram, send us an email at, or contact us here. We look forward to hearing from you.

Stay clean. Stay safe. Stay confident! Stay matte!

5 Benefits Of Mattifying Products

What Is A Mattifying Moisturizer?

The Difference Between Dewy And Oily Skin

The Importance Of Eye Contact

Should Skincare Products Be Gendered?

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Our mission is to help men become even more confident in their own skin through amazing content and quality, class leading products. Looking and feeling confident doesn't need to be hard, evidently, with d*shine.