The Best Foundations For Oily Skin That’ll Keep You Shine-Free All Day

Feeling like an oily mess come lunchtime is never ideal. These are the best foundations for oily skin that’ll ensure you stay matte, will cover and tackle any acne breakouts, and minimise large pores.

Is that midday shine your beauty nemesis? Do you battle with breakouts? If you haven’t got one of the best foundations for oily skin in your arsenal already, then look no further. Using the best foundation for your oily skin will work miracles for your complexion, and choosing the right one for your skin type can make the world of difference – not only to the way you look but also the way you feel. 

Dr Ross Perry, cosmetic doctor and managing director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics, has words of caution when it comes to pairing oily, acne-prone skin with makeup. “The temptation is to cover up oily skin with makeup, especially if there are blemishes as well. However, getting makeup to stay in place can be quite tricky and choosing the wrong regime or products can make your skin worse too.”

“Before thinking about makeup, review your skin regime,” advises Dr Ross. “Getting the right facial wash/cleanser and moisturiser is key, so experiment to see what suits your skin. Don’t be tempted to ditch the moisturiser as your skin still needs hydration, but choose a formulation which suits oily skin.  Exfoliate regularly to remove excess sebum as well as dead skin cells; try a scrub or facial brush, or intensive professional exfoliation options like chemical peels or microdermabrasion to stimulate skin cell renewal and skin healing, plus reduce oiliness.  Think about your diet and lifestyle too – diet, hydration, stress and sleep can all affect the skin. The key is to do everything you can to improve your skin from within, making you less reliant on foundation.”

First up: prep responsibly. “Try a mattifying water-based gel primer underneath your foundation to tackle oiliness and absorb shine, hiding pores and leaving skin looking and feeling smoother,” says Dr Ross. 

Next, evaluate what exactly you want from your foundation. “Choose a foundation specifically designed for oily skin, as this will help to manage the oiliness throughout the day,” says Dr Ross. A full-coverage formula will mask hyper pigmentation from previous breakouts, while something designed to mattify will keep your skin shine-free all day. Oilier skin types can often get along well with powder-based foundations like BareMinerals, while a liquid will glide on seamlessly whilst strategically locking in oil. 

No foundation will keep you matte until the end of time, so choose a powder that’ll help fight shine throughout the day. “It’s tempting load on lots of powder to absorb the oil, but this approach can tend to leave the skin looking thickly made-up, suede-like or chalky, especially if the foundation isn’t keeping oiliness at bay,” warns Dr Ross. “Choose a matte, translucent, loose powder and apply with a brush to avoid it looking too heavy.  For day-time touch-ups, oil blotting sheets can be a useful handbag hero.”

Finally, make sure you give your skin a rest every so often. “If you can manage to go a day or two a week without makeup to give your skin a rest and let the pores ‘breathe’ – do,” advises Dr Ross.

Now that we’ve got all the facts covered, allow us to help you find the best foundation for oily skin for you, and finally keep that shine under control.

Best foundation for oily skin with full coverage 

Giorgio Armani Power Fabric, £40, John Lewis

It lasts for hours and hours, offers great SPF protection, conceals pretty much every blemish and dark circle, and it locks down any excess sebum production. It’s a total all-rounder, and an absolute must for oily skin.

Best foundation for oily skin with large pores 

Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Foundation Wand, £62, Net-A-Porter

This handy all-in-one foundation brushes on seamlessly, minimising pores and fine lines – and it’s perfect for just chucking in your bag.

Best foundation for oily skin with acne 

Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup, £27, Boots

This lightweight, oil-free formula conceals blemishes whilst actively tackling them and preventing them from returning. Plus, its cooling sensation and skin-soothing ingredients help calm flare-ups and inflammation.

Best long last foundation for oily skin

Chanel Perfection Lumière Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup, £36, Boots

Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere Long Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup has an oil-free, light texture that glides onto skin seamlessly for lightweight coverage and a long-lasting dewy complexion. Simply apply with your fingertips or a sponge for a gorgeous matte finish that keeps shine at bay.

Best liquid foundation for oily skin

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup, £32.50, Fabled

It’s pretty full coverage, making it perfect for anyone who wants a completely flawless base – but it can be easily lightened up when mixed with a dot of moisturiser. What’s more, it mattifies skin and lasts all day and into the night, without smudging or needing any touch-ups at all.

Best matte foundation for oily skin

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation, £35, John Lewis

Perfectly matte thanks to its oil-free formula, this one packs some major pigment whilst still remaining lightweight.

Best powder foundation for oily skin

BareMinerals Original SPF15 Foundation, £27, Lookfantastic

Nothing really beats a powder foundation when it comes to oil control, and BareMinerals’ is a timeless favourite for a reason – the mineral formula is completely non-comedogenic, so there’s no risk of pores becoming blocked.


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