Best foundation for oily skin

Face Makeup

The proper foundation for oily skin will give you the coverage and mattifying you’re looking for without causing breakouts or shine.

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Which foundations for oily skin are best?

Nothing beats the flawless finish of putting on a coat of foundation. But when you have oily skin, foundation can inadvertently worsen the flaws you’re trying to cover by triggering break-outs and making existing blemishes last longer or worsen. That’s why it’s essential when your skin tends to be naturally oily to choose a light foundation that doesn’t clog your pores. If you’re looking for great coverage while keeping your skin clean and clear, you can’t beat Revlon ColorStay Foundation

What to know before you buy foundation for oily skin

Foundation gives your face a flawless base to layer on your other products, from eye makeup to blushes and contours. But when your skin is oily, choosing the wrong foundation can give your face an unwanted sheen, cause other products to run and not look their best and can also clog your pores and exacerbate any skin conditions. That’s why it’s crucial to find the right foundation for oily or combination skin. Combination skin is when part of your face is oily, often the nose and forehead, but other parts tend to dry out. 


When skin is oily, it’s often your best bet to choose a water-based foundation. The issue with doing this is that water-based foundations can sometimes offer lighter coverage than oil-based foundations. When evaluating foundations for oily skin, be sure to find one that has enough coverage for you. One trick to use with a water-based foundation is to apply several layers until you achieve the coverage desired.

Matching skin tone

One challenge to choosing a foundation is finding a shade that blends seamlessly with your skin tone and doesn’t clash, look too yellow or light, or fail to blend. That’s why it’s key to choose a foundation that offers many skin tone options, from light to dark and from cool to warm. Spot test along your jawline and neck to find a good blend, as different areas of the face may reflect foundation differently. These are the two spots where the foundation reflects most accurately.

Matte vs. dewy

Trends in foundation come and go. Sometimes the favored look is more of a powdery finish. Other times, dewy wins the day. Whichever you prefer, when your skin tends toward oily, you’ll want to take that into account when choosing your foundation. Starting your day with a foundation that looks dewy will mean a shiny face within a few hours, and a matte look may be harder to maintain throughout the day. Plan your look accordingly.

What to look for in a quality foundation for oily skin

When choosing a foundation, it’s important to understand your style and what you’re looking to achieve. If you’re not someone who wears a full face of makeup every day, a full coverage foundation may feel heavy for you. If you’re looking for a flawless finish for a night out on the town, you may want something with more coverage. Regardless of how light or heavy you go, a good foundation blends easily, doesn’t leave harsh lines and feels good on your skin.


A good foundation blends easily with either fingers or your makeup sponge. For oily skin, you want to look for the right mix of creamy blendability and breathability so that it doesn’t look harsh but doesn’t clog your pores.

Ability to reflect light

A foundation’s job is to blend seamlessly with your skin, enhancing your face’s tones and skin’s natural glow. When trying out a new foundation, look at yourself in different kinds of light, from natural lighting by a window to more faint lighting that emulates a dimly-lit club or restaurant. Choosing a foundation with light-diffusing pigments helps add to the natural look.


With oily skin, it is particularly important to choose a foundation that feels light on the skin and doesn’t give you that goopy “I’ve got makeup on” feel. Again, water-based foundations are always the safest bet when shopping for a foundation for oily skin.

How much you can expect to spend on a foundation for oily skin

Expect to pay $10-$20 for a drugstore brand of foundation for oily skin. If you opt for a splurge brand, you can pay $50-$100.

Foundation for Oily Skin FAQ

Is foundation bad for my skin?

A. Used correctly, foundation should be fine even for break-out prone skin. Many foundations offer an SPF against sun damage, so in that way, they can help protect your skin. If you have oily, break-out-prone skin, you’ll want to be diligent about washing it off properly at the end of each day and giving your skin a break on weekends if possible. 

Is skin color all I need to focus on when choosing a foundation for oily skin?

A. There are two main components to picking the right hue of foundation: skin color and tone. You’ve probably seen foundations labeled “warm” and “cool,” but how do you know which one is the right type for you? Besides being thorough about spot-testing foundation and looking at yourself in different types of light, look at the inside of your wrist. If your veins look blue-ish, you’re likely better off with cooler tones. If they look more on the green side, opt for warmer tones.

What are the best foundations for oily skin to buy?

Top foundation for oily skin 

Revlon ColorStay Foundation

Revlon ColorStay Foundation

What you need to know: This drugstore go-to gives you a great foundation at an affordable price. It has a good range of skin tone options and gives a light yet full coverage for oily skin.

What you’ll love: This foundation offers light but long-lasting coverage, plus an SPF of 15 to protect your skin against sun damage. With 43 colors to choose from, most users will find a color that works on their skin.

What you should consider: Users looking to cover blemishes may find this foundation doesn’t fully do the trick and needs to be blended with concealer to get the job done.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top foundation for oily skin for the money

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

What you need to know: This beloved drugstore brand gets the job done for a minimum cost.

What you’ll love: This foundation goes on light but offers medium coverage that is good for most occasions. It helps keep the look of skin dewy without being oily.

What you should consider: Some users report issues of this foundation melting off, and some skin shades may have difficulty finding a precise match.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

FACE atelier Ultra Foundation Pro

FACE atelier Ultra Foundation Pro

What you need to know: This award-winning and foundation is highly pigmented and provides medium to full buildable coverage, meaning you can apply in layers until you get to the coverage you want. 

What you’ll love: It’s dewy and natural-looking. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free so that you can feel good about this choice. It touts an “optical blurring” formula that cancels out redness, giving you a refined, poreless look.

What you should consider: At $37 for less than one fluid ounce, this is definitely on the splurge side of foundation options. With only six shades to choose from, precise color-matching to the skin may prove a challenge.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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