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For those with temperamental skin, finding the right foundation can be exhausting. Either the formula is too heavy, too rich, or too irritating for the skin. Sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin types are finicky and the wrong texture can send skin into a tailspin. That’s where an oil-free foundation comes in. It’s the superstar not only in the hot and humid summer months, but all throughout the year (yes, even in winter). Another important element in oil-free foundation is its breathability—it doesn’t clog your pores or congest your skin. Formulated specifically for unpredictable skin, the best formulas leave you looking flawless and matte, all while continuing to keep you shine-free all day and night. Here, our list of the top oil-free foundations made for your skin type.
Best Overall: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Liquid Foundation
Lightweight and airy, this liquid foundation goes on easily and evenly. It has a demi-matte finish, meaning it’s not too matte, but not too dewy. It’s the perfect balance that won’t leave you glistening. Infused with light-diffusing spheres and wrinkle-reducing ingredient Matrixyl 3000, it expertly buffs your canvas for a gorgeous, seamless look.
The feathery texture glides right on and feels practically weightless, so it’s made for the hotter temps when wearing makeup isn’t ideal, but coverage is still needed. Plus, the formula is brightening, leaving your skin still looking like yours, except better.
Best Budget: e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation
With over 40 shades, you’re certain to find your true match when it comes to this oil-free foundation. It’s e.l.f.’s best-selling liquid foundation for a few reasons: its long-lasting wearability, the clean semi-matte finish, and the incredible price. When applied, the formula blends right into your skin, covering up any patchiness, discoloration, and blemishes. The best way to apply it is by using a dense foundation brush or a sponge, so the product ends up on your face and not buried in the brush’s bristles.
Best Full Coverage: Too Faced Born This Way Undetectable Foundation
When you’re in need of full coverage, this little bottle has got it. A favorite amongst makeup connoisseurs and beauty editors alike, this foundation boasts up to 12 hours of long-lasting wear, is photo-friendly, and offers 40 face-perfecting shades. Infused with hydrating coconut water, plumping hyaluronic acid, and strengthening alpine rose, it not only buffs away any imperfections, but it also helps heal skin at the same time. In short: it’s totally ideal for those with skin that tends to act out.
Best Sheer Coverage: LORAC Sheer POREfection Foundation
Sometimes, all you want is a hint of coverage—just enough to keep your skin looking dewy, clean, and seamless. Made up of anti-aging antioxidants, like vitamin E and lemon fruit extract, this super light formula feels silky smooth as it glides onto the skin for a healthy, natural-looking finish.
The satiny texture provides a lustrous glow while reducing the appearance of pores. Plus, the coverage is buildable, so you can go as sheer as you like, or add more product for medium coverage. Anyway you like it, this is definitely the right oil-free foundation for the coveted “no-makeup makeup look”.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15
Ah, sensitive skin types. You apply a foundation, feeling hopeful, and it seems to go okay, but then it all starts happening: the itchiness, the redness, and gasp, the breakouts. Another foundation to bid adieu to. Well, not anymore. Say (an enthusiastic) hello to a dermatologist-developed oil-free liquid foundation that will not only cooperate with your skin, but visibly reduces the appearance of age spots and uneven skin tone.
The allergy-tested formula has a combo of luminous minerals, antioxidants, and SPF 15 coverage that brightens and prevents new discolorations from forming. To apply, use a foundation brush and start from the middle of the face and blend outward.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup
An oil-free foundation that provides coverage and helps to clear skin? Sign us up! The MicroClear® technology and blemish-fighter salicylic acid band together and make a power-packed acne-fighting formula. As much as it keeps breakouts at bay, the formula still feels lightweight and gives skin a clean, natural look, all without the dreaded greasiness. In fact, in a clinical test, 100% of users said they felt it improved their skin over time. So everyday use is not only gentle for the skin, but recommended.
Best Matte Finish: L'Oréal's Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation
For a truly seamless, no-shine-in-sight look, a matte foundation is your best friend. This particular option gives that desired soft-focus look, hiding imperfections with its rich and creamy formula. The best part? It’s super long-wearing and ultra-lightweight, so your airbrushed finish lasts for up to 24 hours without weighing down your face.
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular oil-free foundations on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 7 different foundations overall, screened options from 7 different brands and manufacturers, read over 3 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 5 of the foundations themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.