Keep skin looking fresh and healthy—not shiny—with these best foundations for oily skin.

By Melanie Rud Chadwick
May 28, 2019
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courtesy of Milk Makeup

Dealing with oily skin is already annoying without having to find a foundation that works for your slick complexion. Hydrating, dewy products are not for you, but formulas that are too matte can actually come across as dry and chalky. It turns foundation shopping into a real Goldilocks situation: attempting to find a formula that strikes just the right balance between tamping down unwanted shine while still leaving your skin looking fresh and healthy.

There are a few general tips to keep in mind during your search. Avoid words like ‘luminous,’ ‘radiant,’ ‘glowy.’ Not that these are bad words, but the last thing you want to do is add any more sheen to your skin. Instead, search the label for words like ‘mattifying,’ ‘velvet,’ ‘blurring,’ or ‘pore-perfecting.’ And this should go without saying, but be sure your final pick is oil-free. The good news? We’ve done the hard work for you. Here are the nine best foundations for oily skin.

Shiseido Syncro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20

Infused with a sebum-absorbing powder, this foundation melts into skin, evening out and mattifying your complexion simultaneously. While the texture is super thin, the coverage is easily buildable. It also contains St. John’s wort, an ingredient to help smooth skin’s texture, and that oh-so-important sun protection, which is always an added plus in our book.

To buy: $45;

BareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15

New mineral foundations come and go, but there’s a good reason why this O.G. mainstay remains so popular. Powders are great for mattifying oily skin, but this one transforms into an almost creamy finish, so there’s never any risk of it settling into pores or fine lines. It also contains only five ingredients—all minerals—making it a great pick for anyone whose complexion is sensitive or easily irritated.

To buy: $31;

Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation Stick

It’s hard to decide what we like more about this formula. Is it the anti-shine core made with powders that dissolve excess oil on the spot? Or is it the gel-based stick that glides on seamlessly and works just as well swiped all over as it does strategically dabbed on spots that need a little extra coverage? Or is it the insanely wallet-friendly price? Happily, there’s no need to choose.

To buy: $8;

Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation

‘Full-coverage’ and ‘lightweight’ don’t often go together when you’re talking about foundations. If you want more intense color, you typically have to deal with a heavier consistency, but this oil- and silicone-free formula packs complete coverage in a featherweight liquid. Blurring microspheres—tiny, powder-filled spheres—make pores and shine disappear, and leave skin with a perfectly matte, soft-focus finish.

To buy: $40;

Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Combination Oily/Skin SPF 15

The most popular long-wearing foundation in America (it lasts for up to 24 hours!), this works equally well if you have full-on oily skin, or just tend to get shiny in spots like your T-zone. The coverage is medium but can easily be built up if you want more, and it also comes in 43 shades, the most of any foundation in this roundup. (It’s also the most affordable option too.)

To buy: $7;

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

This goes on like a liquid but dries down to a powdery finish, combining the best of both worlds. A special type of kaolinite clay controls oil and pulls out impurities, while oxygenating ingredients deliver oxygen to pores to help keep them clear. The bottom line: This is a great foundation for oily skin or skin that is prone to acne or clogged pores.

To buy: $56;

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

This oil-free drugstore foundation resists sweat, heat, and humidity for up to 24 hours, keeping your complexion shine-free. And while the finish is definitely matte, it’s more of a demi-matte that doesn’t come across as totally flat.

To buy: $9.29;

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

When you want a foundation foundation, reach for this option. It packs a lot of pigment—so a little goes a long way—but is still blendable and won’t feel or look like you’re wearing a mask. Also nice: The matte formula lasts for an impressive 24 hours, ideal for those super long days when there’s no time for touch-ups. Bonus points for the extensive array of 40 shades.

To buy: $38;

Laneige BB Cushion Pore Blur

Maybe this isn’t technically a foundation, but for anyone seeking more sheer coverage, this earns top marks in our book. The pore-perfecting version of the brand’s original cushion compact, it delivers light color with a semi-matte finish, impressive SPF 50 sun protection, plus a unique blend of pine needle and mint water that helps to minimize the look of pores. A quick swipe is all you need for flawless, shine-free skin.

To buy: $38;


Related: We Tested 30 Different Foundations—These Are the Best