14 Best Foundations for Oily Skin of 2023

Our best overall pick is Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Foundation

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Best Foundations for Oily Skin

Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

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 your 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 considered dozens of formulas. We conducted hours of research on the best foundation for oily skin, evaluating each formula based on ingredients, finish, and shade range. After considering dozens of different brands and consulting with three celebrity makeup artists, we landed on the following best in show.

Best Overall

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

4.2
Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

 Courtesy of Make Up For Ever

What We Like
  • Feels comfortable on the skin

  • Buildable and blends seamlessly

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish when dry

What We Don't Like
  • May accentuate textured or dry, flaky skin

"This is an OG makeup artist go-to," says Christina Chen, celebrity makeup artist. "It has amazing coverage but is also very buildable and blendable. It has a soft matte finish, feels light, waterproof, and works great even without a primer." 

Price at time of publish: $40

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

Byrdie / Khera Alexander

What Our Testers Say

"Because it blended effortlessly and was really pigmented, it didn’t take very long for my skin to have the finish and coverage I was looking for from this product." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester

Best Splurge

Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation

Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation 080 Ebony 1.3 oz/ 40 mL
What We Like
  • Blends into skin seamlessly

  • Covers imperfections

  • Looks natural

What We Don't Like
  • Some shades have been discontinued

Chen also 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 to build up to your desired coverage. 

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 14 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1.3 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Shade Range

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

4.9
Fenty Beauty Pro Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Sephora

What We Like
  • Inclusive shade range

  • Applies and wears smoothly

  • Lasts all day

What We Don't Like
  • Can cling to dry patches

If your skin has a dewy glow all on its own, matte is the way to go. This best selling foundation goes on undetectably for a soft matte, shine-free finish that easily builds from medium to full coverage. Rihanna really delivered with a boundary-breaking 50 shades of breathable foundation, so you're bound to find your ideal fit.

Price at time of publish: $39

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 50 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Pro Filt’r’s rich pigments need a moment to dry down to their truest color, so when you're testing shades, remember to let the formula dry completely to find your best match.

Runner-Up, Best Shade Range

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation

Make Up For Ever

What We Like
  • Lasts all day

  • Buildable without caking

  • Covers imperfections

What We Don't Like
  • Takes some layering to achieve full coverage

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."

Price at time of publish: $43

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 50 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Full Coverage

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Liquid Foundation

4.8
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Liquid Foundation

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Doesn't budge or transfer

  • Covers imperfections

  • Inclusive shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to blend in

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).

Price at time of publish: $43

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 56 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Spray

Luminess Air Airbrush Ultra Dewy Finish Foundation

Luminess Air Airbrush Ultra Dewy Finish Foundation

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Goes on very light

  • Buildable without caking

  • Skin looks even and radiant

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging could be improved

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 breathe, helping to reduce shine while still giving even coverage."

Price at time of publish: $35

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 12 | Finish: Satin | Size: 0.6 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Buildable Coverage

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro

Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in unique shades

  • Lightweight

  • Range includes built-in color adjustors

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

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.

Price at time of publish: $38

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 20 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget

Revlon ColorStay Makeup Longwear Liquid Foundation

revlon ColorStay Makeup Longwear Liquid Foundation
What We Like
  • SPF 15

  • Helps control oil and prevent blemishes

  • Buildable without caking

What We Don't Like
  • Can cause flashback in photos

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. 

Price at time of publish: $14

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 16 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Vegan

Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation

4.2
Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation

Uoma Beauty

What We Like
  • Sits well on the skin

  • Six different formulas to target varying skin needs

  • Inclusive shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Easy to apply too much

This blurring foundation is matte enough to handle your oily skin, but hydrating enough to prevent that dry, cakey look. With 51 shades to choose from, you can give your skin a flawless finish while feeling good about the vegan, cruelty free ingredients. The buildable coverage blurs the look of pores and fine lines, and users say it delivers smooth skin all day long.

Price at time of publish: $39

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 51 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

No matter your skin tone or type, the Uoma Beauty foundation can give you the customizable matte finish you've been looking for, all while wearing nicely throughout the day.” — Celeste Polanco, Product Tester

Best Soft-Matte Finish

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

Sephora

What We Like
  • Keeps skin looking matte

  • Feels velvety on skin

  • Dries to a powdery finish

What We Don't Like
  • Takes a lot of product to cover blemishes

"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, it immediately becomes waterproof and sweatproof, making it a staple product to use all summer." 

Price at time of publish: $60

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 22 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Powder

IT Cosmetics Celebration Full Coverage Powder Foundation

IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation
What We Like
  • Matte without looking too dry

  • Has skincare benefits

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Limited shade range

According to Williams, this foundation "gets better the longer you wear it. When first applied, the powder covers any uneven texture and tone, creating 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.

Price at time of publish: $44

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 7 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Acne Control Foundation

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Acne Control Foundation

Dermstore

What We Like
  • Easy to match to skin tone

  • Feels light on the skin

  • Blends easily

What We Don't Like
  • Shade range could be expanded

When you're prone to breaking out, the last thing you want is a foundation that feels too heavy on your skin. Enter this lightweight foundation designed to feel breathable on acne-prone skin. It contains maximum-strength salicylic acid to help treat and prevent breakouts and aloe vera gel to help calm redness and soothe skin. And although it's lightweight, it doesn't skimp on coverage, especially for blemishes, scarring, and hyperpigmentation.

Price at time of publish: $76

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 7 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best with SPF

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Available in mini size

  • Contains skincare actives

  • Applies smoothly and easily

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to get a shade match

Using a foundation or CC cream that contains SPF like this one by IT Cosmetics lets you skip a step—and with the inclusion of niacinamide, collagen, and peptides in the formula, you might even skip your moisturizer if you're in a pinch. This oil-free cream contains physical sunscreen and has SPF 40. It blends into skin so easily and blurs pores for a matte, full-coverage finish.

Price at time of publish: $44

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 12 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1.1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Large Pores

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Great value

  • Wide shade range

  • Tamps down shine

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

This iteration of Maybelline's best-selling foundation is designed to blur pores and glide onto skin like silk. With a wide shade range, it's easy to find a match, and it's lightweight enough to use if your skin is prone to breakouts. Overall, skin looks smoother and firmer, without any excess shine.

Price at time of publish: $9

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick on this list is Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Foundation, a favorite of makeup artists for good reason. It's lightweight and blurs pores and fine lines, and it's very easy to work with on any skin type. But for a less expensive alternative, we also love Revlon ColorStay Makeup Longwear Liquid Foundation, a buildable option that contains SPF 15.

Meet the Expert

  • Jenn Blum is a celebrity makeup artist whose work has been featured in editorial and commercial work. She is an expert in makeup for all skin types.
  • Christina Chen, is a celebrity makeup artist with a portfolio that spans editorial and commercial, and she is an expert in using full-coverage foundation.
  • Makeup artist Ashley Rebecca works with celebrity clientele and also is a Byrdie contributor, specializing in makeup application.


What to Look For in Foundations for Oily Skin

Finish

The type of finish you prefer for your foundation depends on your personal preference. While many people with oily skin may lean toward a matte look to prevent oiliness, there are foundations for oily skin that can provide a more natural or satin look, like Luminess Air Ultra Dewy Finish Foundation.

Our list contains foundation options that will reduce oil and adhere well to oily skin with various finishes. You don’t have to commit to the matte look just because you tend to have oilier skin.

Also consider how you prep and prime your skin for foundation. Using a primer or a setting spray can affect how your foundation's finish will look overall. The skincare you use before applying makeup also absolutely have an effect on how matte or dewy your foundation will look.

Coverage

The amount of coverage you need or prefer is essential for choosing a foundation for oily skin. If you also tend to have breakouts, you may need a full-coverage foundation or one that’s buildable up to full coverage. Others may prefer a more sheer, natural amount of coverage. 

If you tend to only break out during certain times of the month, look for a foundation that provides medium coverage that you can build up to provide full coverage.

Shade

The correct shade for your skin is vital when looking for a foundation. A brand with wider shades is more likely to have a shade that matches seamlessly with your skin tone. It’s wise to have a solid idea of your undertones and general skin tone so you can choose from warm, cool, or neutral foundation shades.

Ingredients

When you have oily skin and your goal is to make your foundation last, look for a mattifying foundation that contains certain ingredients meant to control oil. Many options on this list are formulated to reduce excess oil and tamp down shine, and contain ingredients like salicylic acid or charcoal, including Revlon's ColorStay Makeup Longwear Liquid Foundation.

Longevity

When you have oiler skin, one of the most significant concerns is the longevity of your foundation. Melting or sliding foundation is an issue when you have oily skin, so be sure to look for a foundation that can stand up to the task of staying put for as long as you need it to. Look for a more extended wear foundation if you need your makeup to last a full day—like Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation.

FAQ
  • Which foundation is best for oily skin?

    Our top pick for the best foundation for oily skin is the Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation. It is a comfortable, natural-feeling foundation with buildable coverage and finishes to a natural matte look.

  • Is liquid foundation better for oily skin?

    A liquid foundation is not necessarily better for oily skin, but it works very well if you choose a liquid foundation specifically designed for oily skin. Ideally, the foundation itself would be oil-free. Powder foundations can be another fantastic option for oily skin.

  • Can oily skin use foundation?

    Oily skin can use foundation, and in fact, a foundation for oily skin can help tame oil production and create a more matte or natural look to your skin. It is best to choose a foundation that is specifically beneficial for oily skin.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Lu J, Cong T, Wen X, Li X, Du D, He G, Jiang X. Salicylic acid treats acne vulgaris by suppressing AMPK/SREBP1 pathway in sebocytes. Exp Dermatol. 2019 Jul;28(7):786-794. doi: 10.1111/exd.13934. Epub 2019 May 15. PMID: 30972839.

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