If you have oily skin, you’re probably familiar with the struggle of applying foundation only to have it start to melt off by midday. Or maybe your makeup stays put, but eventually you end up with the telltale shine of oil showing up to ruin your look. Have no fear though, there is a way to prevent these foundation mishaps – foundations specifically designed for oily skin are available to save the day.
Foundations for oily skin are specially formulated to cling to oily skin, no matter what. These products are available in a variety of formulas and have additional skin benefits, like balancing out combination oily skin and fighting acne. Many of these foundations will also provide a mattifying effect, perfect for hiding signs of oily skin.
Looking for a foundation for your oily skin can be difficult, but we’re here to help you out. We’ve gathered up the best foundations tailored for use on oily skin available and compiled them into one easy to access list. Read on to find out our top picks!
- What You Should Know About Foundation for Oily Skin
- Top 10 Best Foundations for Oily Skin 2023
- 1. Best Overall Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
- 2. Best Premium Foundation: Dermablend Intense Powder Camo Mattifying Foundation
- 3. Best Budget Foundation: Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation
- 4. Best Foundation With SPF: Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation Makeup
- 5. Best Powder Foundation: Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder
- 6. Best Long-Lasting Foundation: L'Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Foundation
- 7. Best Stick Foundation: Maybelline New York Fit Me Shine-Free + Balance Stick Foundation
- 8. Best Vegan Foundation: Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation
- 9. Best Foundation Kit: PHOERA Foundation and Face Primer
- 10. Best Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin: Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup
- Your Full Guide to Using Foundation for Oily Skin
What You Should Know About Foundation for Oily Skin
Before we get to our list of the best foundations for oily skin, we first need to discuss some important, must-know information.
There are several formulas of foundation available that each have their own pros and cons when used on oily skin.
Powder foundation is available in either a loose or pressed powder. They are usually packaged in compacts and are easy to take with you on the go. Powders tend to create more of a matte look, and are great for combining with a liquid foundation. However, they may be too heavy for some users and can make skin feel itchy at times.
The most versatile of foundations, liquid foundations typically have buildable coverage and are more lightweight than other forms of foundation. They give a natural finish, and different shades are able to be mixed together in order to achieve a customized look. They can even have added benefits for oily skin, like acne fighting.
On the downside, some liquid foundations may be too greasy for users with extremely oily or textured skin.
Much like powder foundations, stick foundations are easy to use and easy to carry with you. They provide coverage similar to cream foundations, and can occasionally double as a concealer. However, they are prone to clogging pores and may not be the best for users with very acne or blemish-prone skin.
From our list, Maybelline’s Fit Me Shine-Free + Balance Stick Foundation is a good choice for this category.
Cream foundations are slightly heavier than liquid foundations, but not as heavy as a powder foundation. They are great for using on skin that needs heavier coverage. Cream foundations do tend to give skin a dewier look though, which is not the best for oily skin that needs a more mattifying foundation.
Whipped or mousse foundations are liquid foundations that have added air in them to make them feel even lighter on skin. They are great for most skin types, but may not be the best at providing full coverage on oily skin. Our best budget pick, Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation, is a mousse foundation.
Mineral foundations are very similar to powder foundations. They are created with mostly natural and organic minerals, and are typically packed in a loose powder. They are great for very sensitive skin, but may be difficult to apply and build coverage with.
One of the most important factors in selecting a foundation is to make sure there is a shade available that will match your skin tone. Shades should match not just the overall color of your skin, but be a good match for your skin undertones in order to look as natural as possible. For help with this, check out the information on selecting a foundation for your skin tone in our full guide.
Coverage refers to the final look of your foundation when it is applied. There are 3 types of coverage – light, medium, and full – and foundations are designed with a coverage level in mind. Foundations can also be buildable, meaning that you can use it to go from lighter levels of coverage all the way up to full coverage by adding on layers. For more information about foundation coverage, check out this article.
Ingredients to Consider
Oily skin needs ingredients that are at least pore-clogging and skin-suffocating as possible. Look for products that are labeled non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores) and have as few harsh preservatives and chemicals in them as possible. Coconut oil and products with lots of alcohols or petroleum jellies in them can also make oily skin worse, so keep an eye out for these too.
Now that you know what to look for in a foundation for your oily skin, let’s get to our list of the best products out there!
1. Best Overall Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
At a Glance:
- Formula: Liquid
- Shades Available: 40
This liquid foundation has a smooth, creamy formula that is easy to apply onto skin. It blends well and you can build up coverage from light to medium. Additionally, it is able to be removed quickly and without much scrubbing, making this product a great choice for anyone who values simplicity in their foundation.
This product is perfect for creating natural foundation looks on oily skin. It gives skin a matte, smooth look and each shade blends right into skin. It can also work well on sensitive skin, making it a good choice for those with oily skin who need a gentler product.
Maybelline’s Fit Me Liquid Foundation is available in a glass bottle or a pouch. While larger, the pouch package is slightly hard to use, and it can be difficult to control how much product you are distributing. For an easier applied foundation, we recommend Rimmel’s Stay Matte Foundation.
- Easy to apply to skin
- Great for natural looks
- Works well with sensitive skin
- Easy to remove
- Pouch package is hard to use
At a Glance:
- Formula: Powder
- Shades Available: 13
Dermablend is a professional brand widely trusted by makeup artists and professionals. This Intense Powder Camo Mattifying Foundation is perfect for creating an extreme matted look, leaving skin looking flawless no matter what. It is a great choice for someone who prefers a more premium powder.
This product offers medium coverage, but is buildable and can give you full coverage. It is great at controlling shine and oil breakthroughs, so if that is a problem for you when wearing foundations, then this product is a good choice.
The shades of this product are a little lighter than advertised and not the truest to color. Additionally, because this powder does provide intense coverage, it can feel a little heavy on skin. This may be a drawback to some who prefer a more lightweight powder, such as Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder Foundation.
- Intensely mattifying
- Buildable for full coverage
- Professional brand
- Great for controlling shine
- Can be heavy on skin
- Shades are not true to color
3. Best Budget Foundation: Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation
At a Glance:
- Formula: Mousse
- Shades Available: 19
At under 5 dollars, this foundation is very affordable. The price point is great for most budgets and is good for anyone who is a heavier user of foundation and buys it often. As an added bonus, a little goes a long way with this product, making it a great choice for someone who prefers more economical items.
The formula of this product is a liquid mousse, meaning it is lighter and airier than a regular liquid foundation. It goes on smooth and leaves a light powder feel on skin that is exceptionally soft. This makes it a great choice for anyone who prefers not to be reminded that they are wearing makeup throughout the day.
If you try to build up coverage with this product, it could leave the foundation looking a little cakey. It is not the best product to use if you are trying to get anything more than medium coverage. For a better full coverage liquid-based foundation, we recommend Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight mousse formula
- Leaves a soft, powder feel
- A little goes a long way
- Can look cakey
4. Best Foundation With SPF: Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation Makeup
At a Glance:
- Formula: Liquid
- Shades Available: 43
Revlon’s ColorStay Liquid Foundation has one of the widest ranges of shades available. Each shade is designed with a specific skin undertone in mind, and you can shop by undertones in order to find the perfect shade for you. It is a great choice if you are looking for a liquid foundation that matches your skin exactly.
With SPF 15 blended into this formula, this product makes a great choice for wearing daily or as part of a natural look when going outside. The product offers light coverage, and lets freckles shine through while still covering up skin redness and blemishes.
Even though this formula states that it has buildable coverage, it is not the best product for that. The foundation tends to get clumpy and cakey once you try adding more layers on to it. It can also be slightly hard to blend due to this. For best results, only use light layers of this product.
- Wide range of shades available
- SPF 15 blended into formula
- Shades take skin undertones into account
- Good for light coverage
- Can be hard to blend
- Not the best for building coverage
5. Best Powder Foundation: Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder
At a Glance:
- Formula: Powder
- Shades Available: 24
A more lightweight powder than Dermablend’s Intense Mattifying Foundation, Maybelline’s Poreless Powder sits on skin without making it feel weighed down or heavy. It provides light to medium coverage and is a great choice for keeping skin oil under control, thanks to the mattifying formula.
This product is easily combined with a liquid foundation of your choice. You can use the powder between layers of liquid or cream foundation to help build coverage, or you can use this product as a tinted setting powder to hold your look together and give you an extra matte boost. It is a good choice if you want a versatile powder foundation.
On the downside, this product does not last very long on skin. It is very prone to transfer, and can rub off of your face easily if it is not combined with a liquid foundation or a primer. For a more transfer-resistant product, we recommend the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Foundation instead.
- Lightweight powder
- Great for combining with liquid foundation
- Keeps skin oil under control
- Does not last long on skin
6. Best Long-Lasting Foundation: L'Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Foundation
At a Glance:
- Formula: Liquid
- Shades Available: 28
The long-lasting formula in the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Liquid Foundation is designed to stay on skin for at least 24 hours without sliding or melting. This makes it a great choice for anyone who wants to wear their foundation throughout the day and into the night. It gives skin a flawless, matte look that stops oil from showing through and is great for most settings.
The formula of this product is also oil-free, which is a great bonus for anyone with oily skin. Oil-free formulas don’t irritate oily skin or make skin shinier like a regular foundation would. Additionally, this product is transfer-resistant, meaning once you apply it, it is staying in place no matter what. It is a great choice for someone who is more active throughout their day.
This product is not the best for combination skin, as it can be a little bit drying. This is perfect for someone with very oily skin, but users with combination skin may find that the foundation is a little too suffocating on their face, and may cause further imbalance. We recommend Maybelline’s Shine-Free + Balance Stick Foundation instead for combination skin.
- Stays on skin up to 24 hours
- Oil-free formula
- Transfer resistant
- Not the best for combination skin
7. Best Stick Foundation: Maybelline New York Fit Me Shine-Free + Balance Stick Foundation
At a Glance:
- Formula: Stick
- Shades Available: 8
The compact package of this stick foundation makes it a great choice for using during travel or for bringing with you on a long work day. It is easy to use and fits in most pockets or purses. In addition to using this product as a foundation, you can use it as a concealer or a contouring stick, combining it with a liquid or powder foundation for best results.
The formula of this product is designed to balance out skin, making it a great choice for anyone with combination skin. Users with this skin type can apply the product all over their face knowing that any one area will not be too dry or too oily. The formula also works to stop breakthroughs of shine on the face.
Unfortunately, there is a limited shade range for this product, meaning it might not be the best skin match for everybody. Additionally, you should set this stick foundation with powder for best results and to keep everything looking completely matte throughout the entire day.
- Can be used as a concealer
- Great for using on the go
- Works well for contouring
- Good for combination skin
- Limited shade range
- Needs to be set with powder for best results
8. Best Vegan Foundation: Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation
At a Glance:
- Formula: Liquid
- Shades Available: 19
The formula of this product is completely vegan and has been certified by PETA as entirely cruelty-free. It makes a great choice for someone who prefers to purchase more natural, ethically, and sustainably produced products. As an added bonus, the formula is also totally free of oils, alcohols, and parabens.
This liquid foundation is buildable, and can be used to create full coverage looks. The layers go on smooth and the formula is easy to blend and build up. It works well to cover any areas of large pores, acne blemishes, or redness while still looking matte and natural on skin. It is a great choice for anyone who wants to fully cover up any skin issues they may have.
The dropper on this product can be a little hard to use and may end up releasing more product than anticipated. This makes it hard to control the amount of foundation you are trying to release. There is also a strange perfumed smell to this product that some people may find too overpowering. If you are sensitive to strong fragrances, this is probably not the best product for you.
- Vegan and cruelty-free formula
- Great full coverage
- Works well to cover pores and redness
- Dropper is hard to use
- Unpleasant fragrance
9. Best Foundation Kit: PHOERA Foundation and Face Primer
At a Glance:
- Formula: Liquid
- Shades Available: 7
Great for any beginners to the foundation application world, this foundation kit includes beauty blenders, 2 foundation brushes, 2 bottles of liquid foundation, and a face primer. It is a great value for anyone who has not used foundation before and needs a full set of accessories and products to get started.
The formula of this foundation is very smooth. It provides medium to full coverage and works well to cover up acne, wrinkles, and any other skin marks. The liquid itself spreads and blends easily, and having 2 bottles of foundation included in the kit makes it a great choice for someone who goes through a lot of foundation or wants to stock up.
You do need to use a lot of this product at one time if you want to achieve very full coverage. This can mean that you do go through the bottles fairly quickly. It may also look slightly dry on skin if you are building up coverage. For a product that is more economical and softer on skin, we suggest Rimmel’s Stay Matte Foundation instead.
- Includes primer and foundation brushes
- Good for beginners
- Very smooth liquid formula
- Covers acne and skin marks well
- Need to use a lot of product for coverage
- Can look dry on skin
10. Best Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin: Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup
At a Glance:
- Formula: Liquid
- Shades Available: 14
The main active ingredient of this product is salicylic acid. This ingredient works to dissolve acne, bacteria, and dirt on the skin every time you apply the foundation. It works together with Neutrogena’s patented MicroClear Technology to unclog pores and treat blemishes. It is a great choice for anyone who has stubborn acne and wants to incorporate treatment in every part of their skincare routine.
The formula of this product is non-greasy and oil-free. It provides medium coverage and looks natural when applied to skin. It is a great choice for both treating and preventing feature breakouts, and can leave skin brighter and clearer with consistent use.
This product is not the best choice for very sensitive skin. The acne medication included in the formula has a tendency to irritate or dry out sensitive skin. Additionally, the formula of this foundation may feel a little thick on skin and might make some users itchy. For a more lightweight foundation that is great for sensitive skin, we recommend trying Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation.
- Added salicylic acid treats acne
- Non-greasy formula
- MicroClear Technology unclogs pores
- Great for treating and preventing breakouts
- Not the best for sensitive skin
- Can feel thick on skin
Your Full Guide to Using Foundation for Oily Skin
Want to know more about foundation designed for oily skin? Read our full guide for all of the important information.
Why Doesn’t Foundation Stay on Oily Skin?
Everyone has sebaceous glands located underneath their pores. These glands produce oils (sebum) that help keep your skin healthy and hydrated. When these glands begin to overproduce sebum, you can end up with oily skin.
Oily skin characteristics include shining skin and the unfortunate occurrence of acne, as sebum mixes with dead skin cells and dirt on the skin’s surface. A number of factors, including hormones, genetics, and age, contribute to the presence of oily skin.
This overproduction of oil is also what makes it hard for skin to hold on to foundation and other types of makeup; the excess sebum creates a slick surface which causes makeup to slide off skin or begin to appear shiny throughout the day.
Foundations and other cosmetic products specially designed for oily skin are one of the best ways to counteract this issue.
Benefits of Foundation for Oily Skin
Foundations designed for oily skin have a number of benefits that you may not have even heard of before.
Most foundations that are created with oily skin in mind are designed to be non-comedogenic. This means that they will not blog or clog pores, which could lead to even more oil being produced on your skin.
Oily skin greatly benefits from a mattifying effect to keep it from looking too shiny. Most foundations designed for oily skin will be created with this in mind, and are formulated to keep skin looking matte and flawless all day long.
Bonus Acne Treatments
Some foundations, like Neutrogena’s SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup are formulated with acne-fighting ingredients. This helps clear oily skin of breakouts and stop new ones from taking place every time the foundation is used.
One of the best ways to care for oily skin is to use cosmetic products with oil-free formulas. Foundations designed for oily skin are often created without the use of any oils that could potentially make oily skin worse.
Unlike regular foundations, foundations that are designed for oily skin will last on skin for as long as possible without sliding off or looking shiny. From our list, the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Foundation is perfect for long-term wear.
How to Use Foundation on Oily Skin
Applying foundation to oily skin includes a few extra steps to ensure that your makeup stays in place for as long as possible. You can follow our general guidelines below for applying foundation on oily skin to help get you started.
Like all other skin types, you should wash, cleanse, dry, and moisturize your face before starting any makeup application. Oily skin can also benefit from a primer applied to skin that will work to control excess oil production and help foundation cling to skin smoothly.
From our list, the PHOERA Foundation and Face Primer kit offers everything you need to prep your face and apply your foundation.
How you apply your foundation depends on the formula you have. Powder foundation can be applied directly to the skin using a powder brush.
Liquid foundation can be applied using either a beauty blender or a liquid foundation brush. A small amount should be applied at a time and you should take your time fully blending it on your face to prevent any streakiness or rough coverage.
Cream and stick foundations can be applied much like a liquid foundation. Use a little bit at once and then take a brush or a beauty blender and blend the foundation out from the center of your face, taking care to ensure there are no streaks or spotty coverage areas.
If you have chosen a foundation and want to build coverage with it, it may be helpful to use a translucent setting powder between layers. This type of powder can help each layer cling to each other, giving you full coverage, and can leave you with a fully mattified face of foundation.
Translucent setting powder is also a good idea to apply after a liquid foundation to help hold everything in place.
Once you have completely applied your foundation, you can use a setting powder or a setting spray to keep it looking matte and hold it in place. You can also apply any concealer or highlighter at this time.
Foundation Application Tools
There are many different tools available to help you apply your foundation. Understanding the differences between each can help speed up your application process.
Liquid Foundation Brushes
Liquid foundation brushes have tightly packed bristles and a tapered end. They are typically straighter in appearance, and the bristles do not fan out like a powder foundation brush would. They are best used for applying and blending liquid foundation to achieve a full color look.
Powder Foundation Brushes
Powder foundation brushes are poofier in appearance. This brush has a full head of fluffy bristles and is best used when swirled in a loose or pressed powder foundation. It is a great brush for blending out powdered makeup.
Beauty blenders are great for use with liquid or cream and stick foundations. They are small, oval-shaped sponges and are best used for blending makeup. They can also be very helpful if you are trying to build foundation coverage.
Pick a Foundation for Your Skin Tone
Your skin undertones can be cool, warm, or neutral. When selecting a foundation, you want to keep what undertone your skin has in mind; it can help you find a shade that perfectly matches your skin and complements the rest of your features.
To find your skin tone, examine your veins.
- If they appear purple or blue, you have cool undertones.
- For green or blue veins, you have a neutral undertone
- For green or olive veins, you have warmer undertones.
You can then use this information to find a foundation that fits you – we recommend Revlon’s ColorStay Liquid Foundation Makeup if you are looking for a product with a wide range of shade choices.
Keep in mind that if your foundation has a greyish tinge when applied, you are probably not wearing the right shade for your skin. The perfect shade should blend into your skin, complement your hair and eyes, and be virtually unnoticeable.
Pro Tips for Oily Skin Care
In addition to using a foundation designed for oily skin, there are several other steps you can take to combat oily skin on a routine basis.
Everyone should be moisturizing, and those of us with oily skin are no different. A quality moisturizer can help even out the skin’s oil production and hydrate areas of your skin that may not be getting enough oil. This leaves you with overall smoother, softer skin.
Invest in Oil-Free Products
Once you have established you have oily skin, you should try and tailor your entire routine around it. This means investing in oil-free products and products designed to help mattify and balance out oil production in your skin.
Creating an overall oil control routine can help improve the appearance of your skin and give you an easier time when it comes to applying makeup.
Try Blotting Papers
If you notice a little bit of excess oil making an appearance on your skin throughout the day, try carrying some blotting papers with you. These handy papers can help you remove any oil from your skin without disturbing any makeup that is in place or requiring you to wash your face.
And if oil breakthrough is a problem for you, a premium foundation powder like Dermablend’s Intense Powder Camo Mattifying Foundation can keep your skin looking matte all day.
Wash Your Face Often
One of the best ways to combat oily skin is to wash your face as much as possible. This helps get rid of excessive grease and oil and leaves your skin free to absorb any cosmetic products you apply to it.
You should be washing your face at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, and you should try to wash it every time you work out or break a sweat for best results.
Use an Astringent
An astringent is similar to a toner – it helps to remove oil from the skin and temporarily tightens pores. It can be a great product to use after cleansing your face and before applying a primer and foundation. Natural products like witch hazel work well as astringents.
Foundation for Flawless Skin
Foundations created for oily skin can be a holy grail to anyone who suffers their makeup sliding off before the day’s end. While it is true that finding a foundation perfect for your oily skin is not the easiest task, it definitely can be done.
When selecting a foundation, keep in mind your preferred formula and coverage, along with what shades you need, and you will be able to find the best product suited to you in no time.