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The best foundations for oily skin

Foundation for oily skin

There’s no two ways about it, having oily skin is incredibly annoying but, you can take comfort in the fact that there are plenty of things that you can do to control it. Making sure that you invest in a decent skin care routine is the first step; many of the specialist makeup brands have ranges that specifically target the causes of oily skin and help to reduce the tell-tale sheen and troublesome blemishes. The second step is to invest in a decent foundation. Many foundations out there aren’t the best for oily skin; creams, satin and luminous finishes won’t do anything to help your predicament, but good news is, there’s plenty that will. Let us guide you through the best foundation for oily skin, what to look out for and what to avoid...

The best foundations for oily skin are typically oil-free; this means they won’t be doing you an injustice by giving your skin a top up of oil that it doesn’t need. You should be looking out for foundations that have a matt finish - this will help to reduce the appearance of shine. While matt foundations are typically thought to be heavy and cakey, there are some really nice lightweight to medium ones out there that promise to provide an even coverage without looking like you’ve taken a paint brush to your face. 

Many foundations for oily skin also help to reduce the appearance of large pores, and some, like our top pick, Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup, even contain ingredients that help to treat spots and blemishes for clearer skin all round.

As always, when you’re looking for the best foundation for you, make sure that you choose the right shade and tone. While it’s a good idea to go to a store and test a foundation before you buy, the cost of foundation is often less online than over the counter. Coverage, too, is important. Medium to full coverage is recommended for oily skin, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be cakey - medium and full coverage foundations are the best for concealing blemishes. If you are looking for much lighter coverage, you might want to try a BB cream.

We’ve compiled a list of the best foundations for oily skin out there right now. Featuring products from well known beauty brands, including L’Oreal and Maybelline, and specialist brands including Clinique and Estee Lauder, we have you covered when it comes to reducing shine and covering up blemishes.

Remember to take care of your skin with products designed specifically for your skin type. We have also rounded-up the best cleansers for oily skin to give you a helping hand in keeping the grease under control!

Foundation for oily skin

1. Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup

A solution and a cure

Best for: Coverage and treatment | Coverage: Medium | Shades available: 16+

Treats acne
Coverage not effective on excessive acne 

While some users claim that the coverage isn’t as effective on acute acne, bear in mind that this is a lightweight foundation designed to balance coverage with breathability. This Clinique foundation contains medicated ingredients to help tackle the cause of acne. It also soothes skin and helps to further control the production of oil, making it a great accompaniment to your cleansing routine. With plenty of shades available, we’re pretty sure you’ll find a match and with an RRP of £28, it’s good value for money.  

Foundation for oily skin

2. L'Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation

Fight the sheen with this high street foundation

Best for: Long-lasting coverage | Coverage: Full | Shades available: 6+

Significantly reduces shine
Heavy but not cakey
Only 6 shades 

If coverage is at the top of your agenda, take a look at this foundation from high street brand, L’Oreal. While it provides full coverage to mask spots and blemishes, L’Oreal say that it isn’t cakey, giving you an even base to build on. One of its main selling points it its longevity, so reapplication throughout the day shouldn't be needed. Being waterproof and steam-proof, it’s the ideal buy for active people or for coverage on holiday while your basking in hotter, more humid climes. The only downside is the lack of lighter and darker shades.  

3. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup

A non-transferable foundation for longer wear

Best for: Hot, humid environment | Coverage: Medium | Shades available: 30+

Non transferable
 No pump or wand 

If you like the idea of the L’Oreal foundation but fancy yourself an upgrade, this Estee Lauder number is hard to beat. Lightweight yet non transferable, this foundation offers you the best of both worlds, with the brand boasting that its coverage will stay on for up to 15 hours. Thanks to its heat and humidity resistance, this is the ideal foundation for active people, holidays and for wearing through the warmer summer months. With plenty of shades to choose from, you should be able to find your perfect colour, and with the hefty price to consider, you’ll need to make sure you’re 100% happy. 

Foundation for oily skin


Clinically tested to combat the effects of oily skin, this one is a good all-rounder

Best for: All-rounder | Coverage: Medium | Shades available: 20+

Minimising appearance of pores
Reduces oily shine
Colour range is a bit off 

Providing a matt finish and even coverage, the (excuse us) foundations of this product are are pretty good. It has been clinically proven to minimise the appearance of pores, improve skin clarity and reduce oily shine, which are all major bugs associated with oily skin. The only slight negative is that the colours of the matte range don’t match the colours of the original range. It means, annoyingly, that you may have to head to your local department store for a tester before you splash out - just to be on the safe side.  

Foundation for oily skin


A medium to full coverage foundation for concealing imperfections

Best for: Coverage | Coverage: Full | Shades available: 17+

Water resistant
Conceals skin imperfections
 Coverage may become oilier throughout the day

If you prefer the idea of a foundation over a mineral powder, this offering from Make Up For Ever could be a good alternative - it’s marketed at the same price, too! Providing full coverage, it should hide all of your imperfections, whether it’s acne scars, blemishes or redness. Oil free and with a non-oily finish, it shouldn’t add any unnecessary moisture to the skin, while its water resistant properties means it’ll stay on whether you’re facing the weather or getting active.  


A high SPF foundation for oily skin - good for protection when out and about in the sun

Best for: High SPF | Coverage: Full | Shades available: 15+

SPF 25
Good shade variation for darker skin types
Buyers say not as long lasting as other foundations 

Promising weightless, full coverage, this Armani foundation is the perfect buy for those looking to conceal their imperfections without it feeling like they’ve covered their face in paint. Most importantly, this foundation boasts the highest SPF on our list, making it ideal for those who like to spend plenty of time out in the sun. While it contains olds, Armani promise no ‘greasy effect’ and thanks to their pigment formula, enhances facial features while erasing signs of fatigue.  

Foundation for oily skin


A budget buy that promises to hide pores

Best for: Hiding pores | Coverage: Medium | Shades available: 19+

Friendly on the pocket
Blurs pores

If the problem lies with shiny skin and enlarged pores rather than acne, this budget foundation could be a solid choice. Featuring a micro powder formula which many users say does a great job of blurring their pores, this Maybelline foundation promises even coverage and a matte finish. With plenty of shades to choose from, you should be able to find the right colour for your skin tone, but because it’s a high street brand, you may have to chance a couple of pots first, rather than have someone test your skin at a beauty counter.  

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