The 11 Best Foundations for Oily Skin, According to Experts and Reviews
If you have oily skin, you know that finding makeup that stays in place all day can be a real struggle. Not to mention, you need formulas that work to combat your oiliness, instead of adding to it. That's why finding the best foundation for oily skin is key to perfecting your makeup routine.
Before diving into foundations that work well with oily skin types, you need to know if you have oily skin in the first place. Oily skin is the result of your body producing a surplus of sebum, explains Deanne Robinson, M.D., a Connecticut-based dermatologist. And since sebaceous glands are most prominent on the face and scalp, oily skin can often be easily seen on your complexion. (Check out the best gel moisturizers for oily-prone skin.)
Oily skin appears greasy and shiny, even shortly after cleansing and patting it dry, says New York-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D. She also notes that oily skin is usually prone to acne breakouts. So, when shopping for foundation, look for a formula that helps to prevent, camouflage, and treat blemishes. (You can also enlist the help of drugstore acne treatments.)
Now that you know how to determine if you have oily skin, it's time to learn how to choose the best foundation. "Although it may seem counterintuitive, hydrating formulas are actually great for those with oily skin," notes Dr. Engelman. "If you dry out the skin and remove its natural oils, it causes sebaceous glands to produce even more oil to compensate," she adds. That's a big no-no when you're dealing with oily skin. The key is choosing an oil-free formula that is still hydrating — with ingredients like hyaluronic acid — and not too heavy.
Celebrity makeup artist Erin Parsons points out that heavier foundations tend to look cakey throughout the day because of the excess of oil produced in the skin. She says both liquid and powder formulas are great options for oily skin, but advises against layering them (they can become too thick and pill), unless you're looking for full-coverage. (Related: How to Find the Right Foundation for Your Skin Type and Tone)
Ready to find the best formula for your complexion? Keep scrolling for the best foundations for oily skin that won't make you look or feel greasy or melt off by lunchtime.
Best Overall: Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Foundation
This full-coverage, waterproof foundation is perfect for concealing imperfections and blemishes while keeping greasiness at bay. The matte finish has a touch of dewiness so your complexion still looks natural and skin-like. Also nice: The formula stays put for up to 24 hours, thanks to the flex-fit complex technology that uses powder to absorb excess oils so your makeup doesn't smudge or fade throughout the day.
One reviewer wrote: "I have extremely oily skin, so I thought I'd give this a try. I'm really impressed with how well it stays put and how it really does stay matte all day long. Even through sweating and the Houston humidity, at the end of the day, it still looked as good as when I first put it on."
Best Budget-Friendly: Covergirl TruBlend Matte Made Foundation
Quality makeup doesn't always mean a higher price tag. This drugstore favorite is available in 40 hues, so you're practically guaranteed to find your perfect shade. Not to mention, it keeps pore visibility to a minimum and lasts for up to 12 hours. (Related: The Best Sunscreen for Dark Skin Tones)
"I love this foundation. I've been using it for a few years now," wrote a customer. "It has a great matte/natural finish and the coverage is impeccable. You can also build it up if you need more coverage."
Best Splurge-Worthy: Tom Ford Traceless Soft Matte Foundation
It will be love at first sight after one use of this luxurious foundation. It offers medium-to-full coverage that goes on velvety smooth and looks like second skin. Thanks to hydrating hyaluronic acid, you won't have to worry about this mattifying formula making skin tight or dry. Plus, it has a built-in blurring effect to camouflage imperfections and blemishes.
"I haven't found a foundation for my not-so-perfect skin — until now," said a shopper. "This has the consistency of a beauty balm, and just enough diffusion to look like my real skin only better."
Best Mineral Formula: BareMinerals Loose Powder Matte Foundation SPF 15
Whether you want to top off your favorite liquid formula or just want a sweep of all-over color, this powder will surely come in handy. It's made with only seven mineral ingredients and a built-in SPF 15 to protect the skin from sun exposure. The coverage is buildable so you can add as little or as much as you please. Not to mention, the powder formula helps to absorb oils without clogging pores or promoting breakouts. (Related: Why You're Breaking Out, According to a Derm)
One fan shared: "Best foundation I have found for combination skin with a T-zone that tends to be oily. This covers extremely well and the matte finish removes the shine."
Best Liquid Formula: NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation
Liquid foundations with matte finishes tend to leave the skin looking flakey and dry, but this foundation for oily skin is infused with hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated without causing additional slick. It's also worth noting that there's built-in blue light protection, too. And since the formula is oxidation- and transfer-resistant, you won't have to worry about reapplying mid-day.
"I'm in love with this, it's matte but it's not dead or flat — it's beautiful," said a reviewer. "You can touch your face without worrying if it's going to come right off," says one reviewer. "If you're an oily person, you're going to adore this."
Best Pressed Powder: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Powder Foundation
You can always count on Fenty Beauty for a slew of shade ranges to match practically any and every complexion, and that's key when choosing a powder foundation. Powder formulas are great for oily skin, since they tend to naturally absorb greasy t-zones and camouflage blemishes. This pick has buildable coverage so you can sweep atop your favorite foundation and concealer or apply throughout the day to get rid of excess oil. (If you have dry, melanated skin, check out these hydrating skin-care products to layer beneath a matte foundation.)
"Wonderful powder!" raved a shopper. "It has just the right coverage and feel not cakey. I have combination skin that tends to be oily in warm weather. It looks perfect over my oil-free moisturizer!"
Best for Aging Skin: Glo Skin Beauty Pressed Base
This option is one of Dr. Engelman's favorite foundations for oily skin because it gives the skin an all-over glow and luminosity without highlighting any oiliness. "It's a lightweight pressed powder foundation that contains antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E, and green tea to heal skin, prevent inflammation, and combat environmental aggressors that contribute to aging," says Dr. Engelman.
"I use this every day and love it," wrote a customer. "I have oily skin, this doesn't help mattify it but sets my bb cream and makes my skin look poreless and still like skin. It somehow isn't powdery-looking on the skin. Love the ingredients in it too!"
Best Lightweight Foundation: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint
If you prefer light coverage that doesn't actually feel like you're wearing makeup at all, you'll hit the jackpot with this foundation for oily skin. It's like a serum meets tinted moisturizer and gives skin a natural flush of color without feeling heavy. And thanks to squalane, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, it hydrates and corrects texture and tone in the skin while you wear. (Check out the best tinted sunscreens to protect your skin all day.)
One reviewer commented: "It has the perfect amount of coverage plus excellent hydration. I have acne-problem skin and this did not clog my pores at all. Plus, I think my skin looks even better now."
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40
Dr. Robinson recommends this foundation for oily skin for those with acne-prone skin. "It's non-comedogenic, so it won't clog your pores and it also contains charcoal, which minimizes the appearance of pores and absorbs excess oils at the skin's surface," she points out. Plus, its color-correcting technology helps to cover up dark spots, redness, and blemishes.
"I’m on my second tube of this stuff and really like it," reported a shopper. "It’s thick and creamy, buildable, and doesn’t turn orange and oxidize during the day. The sunscreen is great — I love the high SPF. The formula doesn’t break out my very sensitive, oily skin unless I sleep in it by accident. It can be used with a setting powder or spray and will last a full eight hours unless you sweat."
Best Long-Lasting Formula: Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation
If you have oily skin, you may be looking for a foundation that stays put long after application. There's nothing desirable about makeup that melts away after a few hours away. That's where this clay-based formula comes into play. The clay foundation stays put for 12 hours and won't fade, cake, or pill. It's infused with vitamins A and E to protect against free radicals and help keep the skin supple and soft well after you apply. (While you're at it, try this clay-packed body mask for fighting rough skin and body acne.)
"[This is a] creamy, full coverage foundation," shared a customer. "It doesn't make my skin oily and stays on all day. I get lots of compliments when I wear this product."
Best Online Shade Match: Il Makiage Woke Up Like This Flawless Base Foundation
This foundation has a flawless, uniform natural matte finish that helps to minimize the appearance of pores and enhances radiance. It offers blendable medium-to-high coverage that melts into the skin for a natural look — although, the formula allows you to build it to suit your needs. Available in 50 shades, find your perfect match by selecting from four skin tone categories and four undertones, including neutral, yellow, pink, olive. But if you hate guessing or just want a little more guidance with your selection, take the brand's shade match test to find the best foundation color for your skin. Tons of reviewers admit how stunned they were that the test paired them with a shade that was like "second-skin."
One fan said: "I didn't expect the quiz to be as spot on with my shade but it melts into my skin nicely. It's really lightweight and I barely feel like I'm wearing anything. I have combo skin but don't feel like it's melting off my face by the end of a long day."