Foundation for Oily Skin: For A Shine-Free Finish
Foundation for Oily Skin: For A Shine-Free Finish

Foundation for Oily Skin: For A Shine-Free Finish

7 minutes read

Searching for the best foundation for oily skin? We know it can feel like an endless endeavour — especially if you want one that keeps shine at bay all day. And for those with oily skin, it may seem particularly difficult to achieve a youthful glow without adding extra unwanted shine. 

But whether it’s opting for a different texture, switching to a lighter coverage, or using a different application technique, there are ways that you can better your base.  

Here, we explain all you need to know about choosing the right foundation for oily skin. 

girl applying foundation 

What to look for in a foundation for oily skin? 

There are a few factors to consider when it comes to choosing a good foundation for oily skin. And although you may have to be a little more selective, the great news is that you can find the perfect formula — whether you prefer a full coverage foundation or a lightweight base. 

The first thing to look out for is a formula that has mattifying properties. Most powder-based foundations will instantly blot oil and blur enlarged pores, making them the most obvious choice for anyone with an oily skin type. However, it can take a while to build a foundation powder up to a fuller coverage — making it less suitable for those that prefer a heavier base.  

If it’s a full coverage foundation you are looking for, opt for a liquid-to-powder foundation. Generally, they will absorb excess oil and cover breakout scarring, uneven skin tone and dullness at the same time. This type of foundation for oily skin usually only requires one layer of application and tends to be thicker and more long-lasting.   

However, it’s not always necessary to go for a totally matte finish. If your preference is something a little more glow-inducing, always reach for a water-based formula. This type of foundation is super lightweight and gentle on pores, and the lack of oil in the formula means that there is no additional grease added to the skin. Instead, it will create a light veil of moisture and pigment for a subtle glow.  

According to celebrity make-up artist Lan Nguyen-Grealis, prepping your skin before make-up is also especially important for those with oily skin. “Ideally the technical part for oily skin is to control the shine by prepping with skincare products such as a foaming or gel cleanser, an oil-dissolving toner and a light moisturiser,” she says. “It’s also really important to prime the skin with an oil-free and silicone-free primer which will instantly mattify and keep shine at bay.” Our pick is the PORE-LESS Blur and Matte Stick, £16 which absorbs excess sebum, blurs pores and mattifies skin without clogging. 

My Clarins PORE-LESS Blur and Matte Stick


Read more: How to apply foundation 


4 of the best foundations for oily skin 

1. Clarins Everlasting Foundation, £32 

Looking for the best foundation for oily skin? Do you love the seamless, silky finish of a totally matte foundation? Clarins Everlasting Foundation is a great option. Thanks to its bamboo ingredient, this formula manages to create an even, smooth base, without the risk of feeling heavy or cakey. It provides a buildable coverage, along with anti-pollution protection which helps to shield your skin against environmental aggressors. It’s also completely transfer-proof, meaning there’s little risk of it showing up on your favourite white shirt.    

Clarins Everlasting Foundation

2. NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation, £28 

For a matte yet hydrating full coverage foundation, NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation may be what you’ve been looking for. Many makeup artists hail it as the best full-coverage foundation for oily skin, as it provides long-lasting full coverage and contains oil absorbing powders that work to eliminate excess sebum. 

NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation


3. Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick, £62 

Struggling with sensitive skin that constantly seems to flare up? Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients that help to instantly calm skin redness and irritation. It’s also brimming with ingredients like vegetable derived squalene to add plumpness, and an oil-banishing, blurring finish. 

WESTMAN ATELIER Vital Skin foundation stick

4. Cover FX Natural Finish Foundation, £36 

An oil-free liquid base that is completely water-based, one of the best lightweight foundations for oily skin is Cover FX Natural Finish Foundation. It harmoniously combines hydrating and glow-inducing ingredients to add a subtle — not shiny — luminosity to the skin. It also contains vitamins C and E that work to brighten the skin and shield it from external aggressors.  

Cover FX Natural Finish Foundation 

Foundations to avoid if you have oily skin 

As tempting as it may be to invest in a foundation that promises that lit-from-within glow, it’s important to avoid excessively dewy formulas that run the risk of looking greasy. Not only could this type of foundation add extra unwanted shine, but they also typically don’t work well with oily skin. Instead, they tend to break down quickly on oily skin, which can leave a patchy, uneven and unnatural-looking finish. 

Another factor to consider when choosing a foundation for oily skin is to avoid buying a foundation with a high oil content. Typically, this means eluding moisturising formulas in favour of hydrating products. Equally, do not make the mistake of using a foundation that is overly drying. Doing so can result in skin’s sebum production going into overdrive, resulting in an unbalanced, extra shiny complexion. 

Silicones should also be avoided when it comes to choosing a foundation for oily skin. Many primer/foundation combination products contain silicones, which are often used to create a blurred, airbrushed effect. However, silicones can make oily skin more prone to breakouts and inflammation, as they sit on the skin’s surface and trap oil into pores. Always ensure that your foundation is non-comedogenic, and side-step ingredients such as cyclomethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone and cetearyl methicone. 


Which foundation is best for oily skin? 

Any foundation that makes you feel good and confident in the skin you’re in! There is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to choosing the best foundation for oily skin. Experimenting with different textures and formulas is an important step to finding the right foundation for you — and following our general guidance above will certainly help to point you in the right direction.  

Should you wear foundation if you have oily skin? 

There is no reason why someone with oily skin shouldn’t wear foundation. However, it’s important to choose the correct one that won’t upset your skin’s equilibrium. Whether it’s avoiding oil-based formulas or choosing something that is more mattifying or lightweight, there are many ways to make foundation work for oily skin. 

Which foundation is best for oily and acne prone skin? 

If you are having a breakout, sometimes it may be best to avoid foundation and let the skin breathe. However, it’s a myth that all foundation will worsen your skin’s condition. In fact, there are foundations that contain calming and blemish-fighting ingredients to help eradicate any inflammation or blemishes. Always choose a foundation that has a non-comedogenic, breathable formula, and opt for products that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, witch-hazel and tea tree.   

What’s the best way to apply foundation to oily skin? 

There are some techniques you can use to create a more seamless finish when it comes to applying foundation to oily skin. “Using foundation brushes and sponges are a great way to ensure even coverage,” says make-up artist Lan. Gently buffing the product into the skin with a foundation brush or damp make-up sponge will ensure an even application. For applying powder-based products, always favour a sponge.  

Can you use a setting spray on oily skin? 

It’s a common myth that using a setting spray on oily skin is counterproductive. If you feel like your make-up needs a helping hand when it comes to staying in place all day, opt for an oil-controlling setting mist. This type of spray can also be used as a prepping product (before primer) too, as it will contain shine-banishing ingredients and provide a better base for make-up to cling on to. 

Read more: Blush colours for all skin tones 

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