9 best foundations to help oily skin look beautiful

Kelsey Chapman
Thursday 01 April 2021 15:25
Wishlist
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Oily skin is even harder to manage in the current summer heat. Great skincare goes a long way like the wonderful moisturizers and serums we've rounded up for you), but a perfecting foundation formulated to keep shine at bay without being overly drying or dehydrating is a godsend in for those who want to glow rather than shine. Ideal products for this often difficult skin type include ones that provide sufficient coverage without looking cakey, something that won’t clog already acne-prone pores, and one with a finish that mimics the look of real skin but perfected.

To find these holy grail miracle formulas, we looked at reviews across the internet and asked an experienced makeup artist for recommendations on the best products currently on the market formulated to tackle even the slickest faces. Read on to see which products hit all the marks and raise the bar for cosmetic companies to continue perfecting the oily skin potions that help us greasers look a little more perfect for those Zoom meetings and Instagram photos while we await our return to normal social activity.

Related: Make sure you check out this face-transforming Amazonian clay mask to whip your mug into its best shape.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation

While the word “luminous” may not be the go-to for anyone trying to combat excess oil, there’s something uniquely gorgeous about the way this foundation wears and adds just the right amount of glow to any skin type and, yes, that includes yours.

The medium but buildable coverage lets your skin look like skin while downplaying redness and imperfections without fully masking them. One pump can be swiped over the entire face with ease then blended in with a beauty sponge before another half pump can go over the spots that need more assistance. You’ll definitely want to powder this one lightly, but watch throughout the day as your face continues to be radiant, never greasy.

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Rihanna blew the roof off the cosmetic world when she launched her iconic Fenty Beauty line in September 2017 featuring the most inclusive shade range on the market, so it's no surprise when her products end up on any and all "best of" lists concerning makeup–especially foundation.

With over 8,800 five-star reviews on Sephora's website alone, the revamped version of Fenty's original Pro Filt'r liquid promises long-lasting coverage, a light feel on the skin, and a shine-free finish that diffuses the look of pores and texture. "It’s perfect buildable coverage without ever feeling heavy," one satisfied customer raves, while another calls it their "new go to foundation. Non drying, even coverage, very blendable and lasts all day."

MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15

Mac's ubiquitous counters and standalone stores combined with an affordable price point and great quality have made the company a go-to for serious beauty connoisseurs for decades, so naturally they've pinpointed an excellent formula that caters to the oilier clientele to provide a polished, beautiful look that sets the stage for colorful artistry elsewhere on the face to take center stage. A top choice for buyers and MAC's own artists when working with this specific skin type is Studio Fluid Fix, a medium to full coverage product with a matte finish that reviewers find long-wearing, buildable, and color-true.

"I really like MAC Studio fix fluid for oily skin," says longtime MAC artist Ashlee Ryan, "It actually controls oil. It’s a medium to full coverage foundation with a natural matte finish." She also advises, "I do like to set most liquid foundations in certain areas thoughtfully placed to help control oil as well."

Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation

Just because you're oily doesn't mean you can't also be dehydrated, as oil and water act differently within the skin. As oilier skin types start to age, hanging on to that precious liquid becomes even more of an issue.

One perfect solution is Smashbox's beautiful Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation, formulated with water-attracting hyaluronic acid but with a gently matte finish that helps tamp down the oil in trouble spots (primarily the t-zone and chin) and doesn't settle into fine lines or cause breakouts. "Not to be dramatic, but this foundation has changed my life," one buyer comments in a five-star review, "It looks like my skin, just the best version of it."

KVD Vegan Beauty Lock-It Foundation

KVD Vegan Beauty has recently undergone some marketing changes while distancing from the line's former (and namesake) owner, but the famously intense formulations that made the line the goth go-to for those who want long-wearing full coverage are here to stay.


Lock-It foundation does exactly what it promises by locking into place for an even, flawless coverage that stands up to even the oiliest skin types and will take you from Instagram selfies at lunch time to a sweaty sidewalk happy hour with ease. A wide shade range and 14,000 mostly positive reviews can't be disputed, so give this base a shot if you're not afraid of a little lasting drama in your makeup.  
 

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15

Tarte's oil-free, vegan, matte liquid foundation with special ingredient Amazonian clay makes some big claims about balancing the complexion and providing flawless 12-hour wear, and if Ulta's users are to be believed, the hype is real. Any overwhelming amount of four- and five-star reviews abound, many mentioning the foundation's blendability, smooth application, durability, and excellent pigmentation, with the only prominent downsides being a "heavy" feel and higher price point, both of which are highly subjective in relation to personal preference.

Like Fenty, the shade range here runs 40 deep and, according to one reviewer, accounts for the variants found beyond that: "I love the selection of shades to match my tricky undertones. I can even go darker for the summer months without changing the look of my skin and foundation."

Juvia's Place I Am Magic Velvety Matte Foundation

Juvia’s Place is known for their holy grail full coverage foundations, and this velvety matte will not only cover everything from your latent sun damage to last Saturday’s hangover, it will maintain a matte finish throughout the day that effortlessly complements the oiliest faces. Since the company is also Black-owned, the 42-deep shade range is on amazing and accounts for undertones in a way many brands are don’t. At just $20, this is not only a gorgeous option but a very affordable one as well.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation

Younger consumers may not flock to long-running cosmetic brand Estée Lauder for their beauty needs, but one of their undisputed champion products is the company's Double Wear Stay-in-Place formula made specifically for oily skin that promises 15 hours of sweat and humidity-proof staying power that looks natural despite a full-coverage finish.

Ranking 4.4 out of 5 stars on Sephora's website, the product draws in regular glowing recommendations from buyers like, "My skin is flawless, all my acne scar and pores are covered and it does not make my skin oily at all." Be prepared for a bit of scent if you're sensitive to that type of thing though, as with many of the brand's fragranced products.

Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation

Urban Decay's cult favorite All Nighter setting spray may have won over influencers and artists years ago, but a lesser-sung hero of enduring coverage and demi-matte finish is the liquid foundation from the same line. With claims of being "perfect for all-night affairs and other scandalous activities" while also appropriate for daytime, reviewers agreed and also found benefits elsewhere with the foundation's easy-to-apply formula and suitability for oily, acne-prone skin.

The top-rated positive reviewer on Ulta suggests, "Since this foundation is very full-coverage, it is important to be mindful of this during application! I find that I can get away with using about 1.5 pumps for my entire face and neck without any issues."

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