Having oily skin is no joke. Between the myriad of anti-shine makeup and skincare products you may use, to the constant vigilance in avoiding oil-inducing foods and ingredients, life can get downright exhausting. And while some believe that oil is synonymous with sweat (and keeping your face cool and hydrated is key), those of us with oil-centric mugs can attest to the fact that this is certainly not the case. Come rain or shy, humid or dry, oil sometimes cannot be stopped — no matter our efforts.

And believe us, we’ve tried. We’ve taken special care to apply our makeup carefully in the morning, but only an hour or so later our face is shining like a beacon. Oh, the beauty betrayal! We like to think we’ve tried it all — skipping moisturizer, oil-blotters, setting powder, mattifying mists — and they’ve all failed us. Which may mean that the problem lies in our face makeup.  So it’s time to surrender that beloved foundation and find a coverage option that’s specifically formulated to prevent oily skin. We’ve rounded up the best foundations for oily skin that are sure to keep us shine-free all day.

RELATED: The Ultimate Foundation Application Guide

Oil-Free Foundation Options

Your skin is already producing an abundance of oil on its own, so do yourself a favor and opt for a foundation that’s not only oil-free, but also has anti-shine properties that dissolve excess oil, leaving you with a naturally matte (but not flat) complexion


Oil-Free Foundations


Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Oil-Free BB Cream: This all-in-one formula acts as both a skincare and makeup product for combination and oily skin types, combating shine, uneven tone, texture and visible marks. It’s light enough to easily blend in with your skin tone, while mattifying and oil-absorbing mineral pigments provide all-day shine control.

Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation: With an anti-shine core, this gel stick foundation dissolves oil for a fresh and natural matte finish. Plus, it’s travel-friendly. Bye-bye T-zone issues!

Pro tip: Loving this foundation stick? Get a second one that’s a couple shades darker than your natural skin tone and use it to contour. Just swipe it under the cheekbones, along the hairline, jawline and sides of the nose, blend and go about your day!

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Makeup Stick: Who knew one little stick could hold so much goodness? Containing a mattifying, oil-free and highly pigmented formula, this little stick delivers buildable coverage right at your fingertips. The powder-cream hybrid contains polymers that absorb oil and keep your skin shine-free, so those dreaded beads of oil won’t be showing anytime soon. Oh, and it’s also transfer- and smudge-resistant, so your makeup will stay put for longer — that should save a few trips to the ladies’ room to powder your skin, right?

Powder Foundation

The right powders have the ability to instantly absorb oil, giving your complexion a flawless and airbrushed appearance, sans the cake-y, mask-like finish. Because powders can oxidize when mixed with excess oil, it’s important to test colors in natural light and allow them to settle for a few minutes before finding your perfect match. So, next time you’re in the makeup aisle or at the counter, make sure to step outside and see how the shade shows up on your skin in the natural light before you check out!


Powder Foundations for Oily Skin


NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation: Matte makeup is a common option for those with oily mugs. Designed to create a clean, flawless finish, this foundation mattifies in such a way that your skin’s natural radiance can still shine through. It’s fighting oil and boosting your skin’s luminosity at the same time. Genius! 

Dermablend Intense Powder Camo: If you’re looking for full-coverage foundation that can withstand the day and keep shine away, this is the one. It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin, yet its buildable coverage can conceal anything from a pimple and uneven skin tone to redness and even birthmarks.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation
: With micro-milled powders and light-diffusing properties, this velvety formula offers the perfect amount of coverage while keeping oil production under control. And did we forget to mention that this truly weightless, demi-matte foundation lasts ALL day?!

Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Powder: Sure a product can easily promise to keep oil at bay for a couple hours, but all-day? The beauty of this foundation is that it works from the inside out. Containing oil- and sebum-fighting salicylic acid, this formula works to cover your skin, while also improving its overall condition. It helps to eliminate shine and uneven tone, and leaves your skin with a clean, matte finish.

Liquid-to-Powder Foundation

What do you get when you combine the hydrating power of a liquid (yes, even oily skin needs hydration) and the mattifying power of powder? Liquid-to-powder foundation! This groundbreaking formula blends seamlessly to absorb oil for that no-makeup makeup look that’s so lightweight, you’ll forget you’re even wearing it! Pro tip: If you want to add some natural glow to your foundation, mix a little liquid highlighter into it. Then apply and blend as usual. Your face will look radiant, sans the oil.


Liquid Foundations for Oily Skin


Lancôme Nude Miracle Liquid-to-Powder Makeup: There’s a reason why these formulas are named “Miracle” or “Magic” and once you try it, you’ll see why. The Nude foundation is 25 times lighter than traditional powder for a comfortable feel that can control oil and visibly blur imperfections — without the need for touch-ups.

L'Oréal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder Bare Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 18
: This liquid foundation transforms into a barely-there powder on contact for a youthful glow, minus the shine or the heavy feel.

 La Roche-Posay Toleriane Teint Mattifying Mousse Foundation: This miracle-worker of a foundation goes on light as a feather and contains absorbing properties that suck up oil and water. Your skin will feel fresh and light all day — no matter how hot or stressful things might get!

Three Ways to Fight (Oil) Crimes

Now that we’ve got your skin sufficiently covered makeup-wise, we thought it would be a good idea to leave you with a few additional tips on how to keep oil at bay prior to (and after) makeup application. Consider these babies the soldiers in your oil-fighting arsenal.

  1. Equip yourself with a clarifying cleanser. Make sure you’re washing your face, morning and night, with an oil-free, clarifying cleanser that will thoroughly remove oil, sebum and other general yuckiness that can perpetuate oily skin issues. Try Garnier SkinActive The Gentle Sulfate-Free Cleanser.
  2. Use an astringent or toner. Sometimes you have to double your efforts, especially when you’re dealing with oily skin. After cleansing and removing your makeup, pour a gentle astringent or mattifying toner onto a round cotton pad and rub over your skin to remove any impurities or oil that didn’t get washed away while cleansing. Try Lancôme Tonique Pure Focus Matifying Purifying Toner.
  3. Use a setting powder. Setting powders are ideal for giving your makeup some extra backup and creating a stronger barrier for your skin. We recommend a formula like Dermablend Setting Powder. This handy powder formula serves as insurance for your foundation, no matter what type you go for. It locks in your makeup, and keeps things from slipping and sliding around your face due to oil or creamy makeup formulations. It also promotes increased wearability for up to 16 hours and has smudge- and transfer-resisting properties, so you don’t have to worry about your makeup falling prey to beads of oil and fading into oblivion. Keep one in your purse, or desk, for quick touch-ups throughout the day. You’ll be as matte-free as can be.

Looking for some fun makeup looks now that you’ve got the perfect foundation? Check out our latest makeup tutorials here!


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