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If you have oily skin, this is probably an all too common scenario: You leave the house with your foundation flawlessly applied. Just a few hours later, it’s melting and moving around— and not just during the summer. Yes, oily skin is hereditary, but some foundations can actually exacerbate the situation by clogging pores and triggering even more oil production. That’s why using one of the best foundations for oily skin can keep your base in place and T-zone in check.
We spoke to two beauty experts and celebrity makeup artists, Jillian Dempsey and Neil Scibelli, to get their recommendations on the best foundations for oily skin along with application tips and tricks.
What to look for in the best foundations for oily skin
“Dimethicone, a silicone derivative, is a key ingredient in a lot of mattifying makeup and skin-care products,” Scibelli says. “It creates a sealant quality over the pores, which helps to slow down the production of oil. It also fills them in to create the appearance of a smoother canvas.”
There are also ingredients you should steer clear of if you have extremely oily skin or even an oily T-zone. Dempsey recommends avoiding ingredients like mineral oil, heavy waxes, lanolin and alcohol.
Checking the language on the label can also be helpful. When it says “dewy” on the label, that likely means it will add even more shine to your complexion, which can make you look oilier and enlarge pores. So, it’s best to leave those types on the shelf. Instead, opt for a powder or matte finish. Another key phrase to look for is “long wear,” since these are less likely to smudge or disappear by midday.
How best to apply foundation for oily skin
Application, including properly prepping your skin, matters, too. Even if you buy one of the best foundations for oily skin, it won’t live up to its full potential if you don’t lay the groundwork.
“A gentle alcohol-free toner works miracles for skin prep before a makeup application,” Dempsey said. “It won’t strip skin to over produce oils and helps to provide an overall neutral-looking finish. The key is to make sure skin feels supple, not oily.”
There’s a long-held myth that oily skin doesn’t need moisturizer, but you can actually have dry and oily skin, so it’s still necessary to hydrate. Plus, when oily skin is parched, it’ll send oil production into overdrive, so this actually helps temper shine. If you’re prone to makeup moving around your face, Scibelli says an oil-controlling primer will help keep it in place. Both Dempsey and Scibelli recommend pressing powder into the skin to set the foundation and control excess oil.
Read on for more of their expert tips, along with our picks for the best foundations for oily skin that will give you a matte look with staying power at every price point.
1. Tom Ford Traceless Soft Matte Foundation
When a foundation is humidity-resistant, that’s music to your ears if you have an oily complexion, since it’s a sign it’s truly long-wearing. The latest foundation from Tom Ford delivers medium coverage with a flawless matte finish and comes in 40 shades. It’s also a favorite of our expert Jillian Dempsey. It’ll instantly elevate your complexion with light-diffusing microspheres that are essentially a filter for your face, as well as improve skin over time with skin-care ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to strengthen the moisture barrier, antioxidants, vitamins C and E and caffeine.
2. Urban Decay’s Stay Naked Liquid Skin Foundation
Best Lightweight Foundation for Oily Skin
If you’re looking for oil control and a lightweight finish, you’re in luck. This one comes highly recommended by Scibelli. “I’ve been using Urban Decay’s Stay Naked liquid skin foundation for long event days and even TV, and it truly stays in place all day while keeping a matte finish,” he says. “What I also really love about this one is that a light application still gives the skin a natural finish, but it’s very long-wear and comes in 50 shades.”
3. Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation Balm
Recommended by both of our experts, the Giorgio Armani foundation features a balm formula that’s great for oily skin. It provides medium-to-full coverage and offers a waterproof, matte finish that will ensure your skin continues to look flawless throughout the day.
4. Estee Lauder Doublewear Stay-in-Place Foundation
Longest-Lasting Foundation for Oily Skin
Many of the foundations on our list claim to stay in place, but the Estee Lauder Doublewear really means it. Available in over 55 shades, this long-wear formula delivers up to 24 hours of continuous wear, even for those with oily skin. It’s also sweat and humidity-resistant, so this is a great foundation to grab when you really need to make your look last for a long time.
5. Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation
A favorite of Scibelli, the Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 foundation is a deal and a great product. “I have honestly been obsessed with Milani’s Conceal + Perfect foundation with built-in concealer,” he says. “Definitely a budget steal because it’s comparable to luxury formulas. For oily skin, it’s a total win because it leaves a flawless, demi-matte finish, while helping to combat oil production throughout the day. This one contains key ingredient dimethicone, which will help to fill in pores and control oil production.”
6. Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint
The Ilia Super Serum skin tint comes highly recommended by our expert Dempsey. This is a great option for those with oily skin who want lightweight coverage and a foundation that feels more like a skin-care product than heavy makeup. It also features SPF 40, so you can rest assured that your skin is being protected and looking flawless.
7. Revlon Colorstay Makeup
Best for Combination Skin
This classic foundation is available in multiple formulas, including one that’s specifically created for combination and oily skin. Beyond its epic blend that creates long-wearing coverage and a beautiful finish, it’s available in 43 different shades. Another bonus is that it’s incredibly affordable.
8. KVD Lock-It Tattoo Foundation
Best for Heavy Coverage
The KVD Lock-It Tattoo foundation provides a matte finish that’s perfect for combating oil and keeping shine at a minimum. It lasts all day and a little goes a long way, especially if you want a full face of full coverage foundation. The formula features a variety of mattifying agents in addition to glycerin to hydrate while controlling oil levels.
9. Mehron Celebre Pro HD Cream Foundation
Best for Spot Coverage
Mehron’s cream foundation can be worn all over your face or kept handy to cover some serious spots or blotches of discoloration. It’s extremely pigmented, and while cream foundations can be tricky for super oily skin, this one stays put as long as you blend it and set it with a little translucent powder.
10. Nars Natural Radiant Long-Wear Foundation
Best for a Luminous Finish
Typically, if you have oily skin, you want to look for more of a “matte” foundation to combat your natural complexion. Luckily, the Nars Radiant foundation provides the elusive radiant finish that stays put even with oily skin. It’s formulated with a blend of fruit extracts (raspberry, apple and watermelon) that helps support skin’s elastic fibers to smooth the look of skin texture. You’ll look fresh without getting that overly slick feeling that can come from using the wrong foundation.
11. Danessa Myricks Vision Cream Cover
This innovative hybrid formula works wonders on oily skin and can be adjusted depending on the level of coverage you prefer. Build it on for heavier coverage or blend it out for lighter coverage that will keep shine in check. It’s formulated with plant-derived squalane, known to balance oil production, and vitamin E to protect skin from damage. Created by makeup artist Danessa Myricks, it also features a large shade range and allows for easy application on oily skin.
12. Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation SPF 30
Best Foundation with SPF
Wearing SPF every day is a must, but if you struggle to remember, this foundation does the work for you. But that’s not even the best thing about it. That would be Shiseido’s groundbreaking ActiveForce Technology, which keeps this self-refreshing foundation exactly where it should be for 24 hours, even through sweat, oil and facial movement. In other words, it’s one of the best foundations for oily skin. Have no fear if your skin is extra oily — the formula also contains the brand’s Responsive Sensory Technology that adjusts to each person’s individual skin condition, tone and texture. The light-as-air formula has medium buildable coverage and is infused with wild thyme extract to deliver a dose of antioxidants.
13. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation
Best Full Coverage
This full-coverage foundation with a matte finish will camouflage whatever you need it to hide without looking or feeling heavy on skin. The hydrating formula keeps it fresh, so you don’t need to fret about caking. To ensure it won’t budge, it’s sweatproof, humidity-proof, waterproof and transfer-resistant.
14. L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Longwear Foundation
Best Buildable Foundation for Oily Skin
Talk about staying power — this pick from L’Oréal Paris is made to stick around for 24 hours, making it one of the best foundations for oily skin. The coverage is buildable, so you can customize it anywhere from sheer to full coverage, but it’ll always look smooth and matte. The formula is deeply moisturizing to make it comfortable to wear all day and night.
15. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15
Superstar ingredient Amazonian clay takes center stage to keep oil under control without drying out skin, helping this foundation last for 12 hours without caking or creasing. Though it has a full coverage finish to hide redness, dark spots and other imperfections as well as blur fine lines and pores, its triple-whipped mousse texture makes it feel light as air.
16. Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation
Best Powder Foundation for Oily Skin
This classic wins the title of best powder foundation for oily skin since it stands up to the slickest complexions. Made with just five clean mineral ingredients, it’s also a winner for sensitive skin because it’s free of binders, fillers, talc and other additives. Despite the powder formula, it won’t crease, cake or get into fine lines or pores. As an added bonus, it delivers a gorgeous glow and has SPF 15 to protect skin from UV rays with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
17. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick
Best Foundation Stick for Oily Skin
Oily complexions tend to need touch-ups throughout the day, so the stick formula scores extra points for on-the-go convenience. The triangular tip is so versatile that it eliminates the need for tools, as it can reach the nooks of the face. The long-wearing foundation instantly adjusts to your body temperature for effortless blending and offers the coverage of a concealer. Designed to last for 12 hours, it’ll keep redness, pores, breakouts and dark spots incognito the entire time.
18. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Best Color Range
The launch of Fenty Beauty’s first foundation had every other makeup brand rushing to expand its shade range. (There was even a name for it — the Fenty effect.) This fan favorite is now offered in up to 50 shades, giving it bragging rights as one of the most inclusive foundations on the market. It also happens to be ideal for oily skin, since it’s oil-free, long-wearing, has a matte finish and stands up to any weather courtesy of its climate-adaptive technology that won’t slide due to sweat or humidity. All those feats make it one of the best foundations for oily skin out there.
19. Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation
A favorite of makeup artists for photo shoots, Diorskin really is like a second skin and will last through the muggiest days — or the bright, hot lights of a photo shoot. The full coverage foundation has a deliciously creamy texture but feels light on skin and blends like a dream, thanks to the water-based formula. It’s also great for evening out tone and texture. As Dior’s longest-wearing foundation, it lasts for up to 24 hours with a matte finish that won’t waver.
20. Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
Best Affordable Foundation for Oily Skin
A top seller on Amazon, Maybelline’s Fit Me foundation has more than 27,000 reviews, proving its popularity. Ideal for oily skin, it contains clay to keep shine under control and refine pores, with an all-day matte finish. The medium buildable coverage always looks natural and won’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles. With 40 shades, everyone can find their hue.