If you thought finding a decent foundation match to suit your shade and budget was tricky enough, choosing the best foundation for oily skin takes things to a whole other level.
Our skin needs, and relies on, a certain level of natural oil to create a thin, protective barrier on the surface of the skin. It keeps it soft, supple and moisturised, but some of us produce excess oil, which leaves us looking shiny and greasy. If left untreated, this excess oil clogs pores and makes them larger, leading to spots, blemishes and an uneven complexion.
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If you’re unsure which shade you’ll need from the range of foundations listed below, we explain how to discover your undertone and whether your skin is warm, cool or neutral in our foundation match article. Our resident makeup artist Victoria Howe has also revealed her top tips for how to master makeup for oily skin.
Our skin contains what are known as sebaceous glands that secrete an oil called sebum through our pores. It lubricates the skin, stops it from becoming irritated and removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. There is a number of causes of oily skin – some are genetic, others are based on lifestyle.
READ NEXT: How to master makeup for oily skin
If your parents have oily skin, for instance, you’re more likely to have it. Changes in hormones during puberty, or around the time of your period, can result in more (or less) oil being produced. The same goes for during pregnancy. However, it can also be caused – or at least made worse – by your diet and lifestyle. If you eat a lot of greasy, sugary foods, for example, this can come out as oil in your skin. Not drinking enough water, not getting enough sleep and stress can all similarly play a role, with the latter two causing changes in your hormones.
We explain in our science of moisturiser guide what ingredients to look out for when choosing a moisturiser for oily skin. We similarly detail the ingredients to avoid when shopping for foundation, whatever your skin type and below we’ve taken things a step further in our best foundation for oily skin list.
£8.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: This absolute steal of a foundation is one of the best foundations for oily skin, beating more expensive rivals inconsistency, staying power and mattifying powers. It’s both waterproof and sweatproof and provides full coverage without making you look cakey. It works so well due to the clever little mineral micro sponges, there to absorb any moisture on the face including that nuisance excess oil.
Why we love it: NYX Professional is one of the best cheap makeup brands around and its products regularly feature in our Best Of lists. This foundation is no exception. Its lightweight formula (that’s both water and oil-free) means this is the best foundation for oily skin if you’re on a budget – not that our Editor’s Pick from L’Oreal Paris is expensive.
NYX’s Stay Matte But Not Flat foundation won’t cling to any moisture, or look too heavy, but will leave you with a perfectly smooth finish. The brand has managed to create something that has all the attributes of an expensive foundation while being pleasantly affordable.
£42 | Buy now from John Lewis
Why we love it: If you’re willing to spend a little more on buying the best foundation for oily skin, we highly recommend Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric Foundation. We’re big fans of Giorgio Armani’s foundations – having featured them in our best foundation and best foundation for dark skin tones articles – and this product prides itself on being like having a second skin.
Not only does it last for as long as you need it to, but it also offers decent SPF25 protection, does all the concealing you’d need it to, and offers a luminous, while still matte, lightweight finish. According to Giorgio Armani, this foundation has been designed for a “successful, confident, modern and elegant woman” – let that be you, and say goodbye to those oily pores.
Why we love it: This is Dermablend’s first correctional foundation that specifically smooths and improves the look of oily and/or acne-prone skin. At a reasonable price, this product works to reduce any ‘3D’ concerns you may have about your face, whether that be blemishes you’re hoping to hide or more general oily features. This foundation will very easily mattify with its hypoallergenic and paraben-free formula.
What’s more, Dermablend’s entire range is approved by PETA and is completely vegan and cruelty-free.
£35 | Buy now from Feelunique
Why we love it: NARS is another foundation that has appeared in both our best foundation and best foundation for dark skin tones lists and, while it’s not cheap, it regularly impresses us with its formulation and how smooth it makes our skin look.
Its All Day Luminous Weightless foundation is great for oily skin and comes in 20 shades, each one offering full, natural-looking coverage with ‘unexpectedly weightless, 16 hour-wear’. Its formula includes advanced flexible polymers, which is a fancy way of saying it’ll help your skin to move and breathe. It also uses ‘even-tone technology’, designed to reduce redness, dullness and to ultimately create a more uniform skin tone.
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