Makeup Artists Say These Foundations Work for Oily Skin Better Than Any Others

Model Grace Elizabeth in a pink dress and with pink blush and lipstick

Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for Breast Cancer Research Foundation

If you have oily skin, then you know the drill. You apply your longest-lasting foundation, wait an hour or two, then find the nearest mirror or front-facing camera to touch up your melting makeup. In the summer, when humidity rises and temperatures soar, you're even more likely to see you makeup crease, smudge, and move beyond control.

Luckily, you can help prevent that ever-annoying scenario if you know which foundation formulas to use. We asked a few expert makeup artists to reveal their no-fail foundations for oily skin. Ahead are 10 options that will keep you looking matte and creaseless—no matter the temperate outside.

Luminess Air Airbrush Ultra Dewy Finish Foundation
Luminess Ultra Airbrush Foundation $44
Shop

Stephanie Massie, the head makeup artist on Modern Family, is a fan of this under-the-radar spray foundation. "I recommend Luminess foundation, especially when working on set under hot lights with my clients," she says. "I like it because it uses 10 times less makeup and goes on in thin layers, so it lets skin breath, helping to reduce shine while still giving even coverage."

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro
Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro $37
Shop

Makeup Artist Jenn Blum says it all comes down to skin preparation and application technique. "As a makeup artist, I can make many foundations work for most skin types," she says. If pressed, Blum does have a few go-to formulas for oily skin, like this one from Face Atelier. "I love it," she says. "I use it on myself and in my kit. It leaves the skin looking dewy, not oily or greasy, needs no primer, provides lightweight, buildable coverage, and is silicone-based, which is great for oily skin." Plus, you don't need to set this liquid foundation with powder to help it stay in place.

Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation $43
Shop

Blum also recommends this long-wearing foundation from Make Up For Ever. "Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation is my jam as a makeup artist working in film and TV, and it works great on oily skin or skin that can get oily under hot lights," she says. "I can create medium to full coverage that's undetectable, even in 4K, and offers a natural skin finish." Blum also uses this foundation on herself when she wants her oily skin to look "fresh, not made up." She adds, "It never feels greasy, doesn't pool in my T-zone, or settle into my pores. Plus, with 50 shades available, anyone can find their perfect match."

Revlon Colorstay Foundation
Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin SPF 15 $14
Shop

If you're in the market for a budget-friendly foundation, Blum says you can't go wrong with Revlon's ColorStay Foundation. "It is super affordable, oil-free, and transfer-resistant while giving medium to full coverage," she explains. "It has salicylic acid, which helps control oil, and even SPF 15, so you get sun protection too." Just be sure you avoid wearing this foundation when you're going to take photos. "Its active ingredient is titanium dioxide, which causes a flashback, the annoying white cast that shows up in photos," Blum says. 

Hourglass Liquid Powder Foundation
Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation $56
Shop

"It has a liquid to powder formula, so it absorbs oils and evens out skin tone. It does look like you have makeup on, but you won't need powder or blotting papers, so you can put it on in the morning and go all day," says Blum. Kaolinite clay found in this vegan and paraben-free formula helps keep oil at bay, so you look glowy, not greasy throughout the day.

Makeup artist Ashley Rebecca also swears by this formula. "It has a soft-matte finish and holds up to any oil or sweat," she says. "If you pair it with their Veil Mineral Primer ($54), it immediately becomes waterproof and sweatproof, making it a staple product to use all summer." 

Long Wear Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF
Jafra Long Wear Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20 $25
Shop

Makeup artist and Share the Glam founder Mickey Williams swears by Jafra's long-wear foundation formula since it provides a "natural, matte finish" with a creamy feel. Plus, it has SPF 20 to protect from both UVA and UVB rays (because sun damage is real). "This transfer-resistant formula stays put no matter what while offering medium coverage," Williams says. "It's available in 10 versatile shades, so it's great on all my clients."

IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation
It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation With SPF 50+ $36
Shop

According to Williams, this foundation "gets better the longer you wear it. When first applied, the powder covers imperfections and creates a glowy-matte look to the skin. There's a soft-focus or eggshell-like luminosity that you don't find with many other powder foundations." Since it's a powder foundation, it will immediately mattify the skin and keep shine at bay.

Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation
Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation $52
Shop

Christina Chen, the makeup artist behind Makeup by Quis, recommends Dior's long-wear foundation. She uses it when she's working on brides, models, or editorial shoots since it has great coverage, a natural feel, and a waterproof finish. Apply this foundation with a stippling brush, like the MAC 187SH Duo Fibre Face Brush ($42), to build up to your desired coverage. 

Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup Pebble 3C2 1 oz/ 30 mL
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup $43
Shop

This Estée Lauder foundation has a slightly thicker consistency compared to the above mentioned Dior formula. Thankfully, it offers a medium to full coverage that manages to look natural, stays put, and is available in 56 shades. Plus, you won't have to worry that the color will oxidize (aka it doesn't transform into a darker orange shade a few minutes after you apply it to your skin).

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Foundation
Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Skin Liquid $38
Shop

Chen's final recommendation is another liquid foundation from Make Up For Ever. "This is an OG makeup artist go-to. It has amazing coverage but is also very buildable and blendable," she says. "It has a soft matte finish, feels light, waterproof, and works great even without a primer." 

Related Stories