How Do I Choose the Best Foundation for Oily Skin?

Helen Akers

Choosing a good foundation for oily skin is sometimes a matter of trial and error. It is more difficult for those with an oily complexion to find a suitable foundation due to its tendency to mix with a person's facial oils within a matter of hours. Despite this issue, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. Choosing oil free, non-comedogenic and cream or powder foundations are a few of the recommendations.

Foundation for oily skin.
Foundation for oily skin.

When searching for a foundation for oily skin, it is important to choose one that is water-based. Thicker foundations tend to be oil-based, which will only perpetuate the problem. It is equally important to look for ingredients that are non-comedogenic, as oily skin tends to also be acne-prone.

Those with oily skin should be careful to select an oil-free sunscreen for daily use.
Those with oily skin should be careful to select an oil-free sunscreen for daily use.

Those with oily skin might find that they prefer a light foundation. Due to the fact that excess facial oils make the skin feel sticky, any heavy liquids will increase discomfort levels and potentially lead to clogged pores. Keep in mind that if you live in a humid climate, liquids might not be the best foundation for oily skin.

Matte foundations are intended to absorb oil and create a smooth canvas for additional makeup.
Matte foundations are intended to absorb oil and create a smooth canvas for additional makeup.

If a liquid foundation is preferred, choose one that indicates it helps absorb excess facial oils. Many foundations are specifically labeled and formulated for oily skin. Be sure to check the label and make sure that the first ingredient listed is water, which indicates that it is water-based. In addition, try to choose a foundation that is labeled non-comedogenic and doesn't contain any unnatural dyes, perfumes or synthetic ingredients.

Some of the better foundation for oily skin comes in powder or compact form. Unlike liquid foundation, powders automatically provide a matte finish to the skin. They help absorb excess shine and do not wear off as fast as their liquid counterparts. As with liquid forms, make sure that any powder foundations are oil free and non-comedogenic.

Mineral makeup is also considered to be a good foundation for oily skin. These products are oil free and do not usually cause much skin irritation. Mineral foundations are available in both liquid and powder forms. This might be the best choice if you have both oily and sensitive skin.

Look for foundations that contain zinc oxide or serecite, as these ingredients help to soothe inflammation and absorb excess facial oil. Be sure to avoid makeup with ingredients such as parabens, BHT and bismuth oxychloride. Natural foundations are an additional alternative to mainstream brands. These foundations might be another good choice for those with oily and sensitive skin.

Non-comedogenic makeup is designed to avoid causing acne.
Non-comedogenic makeup is designed to avoid causing acne.

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Discussion Comments


@fify-- Have you tried mineral powder foundations?

Mineral makeup is becoming really popular lately and I think rightly so. It's more natural than regular makeup and has minerals in it which absorb excess oil. So it doesn't clog pores and lead to acne.

I can't list a drugstore brand off the top of my head but I think drugstore makeup companies have also started producing mineral versions of makeup.

I use a mineral loose foundation that is the best foundation makeup I've tried. It works really well. It doesn't look cakey and it doesn't look oily. It looks matte all day long and it doesn't cause breakouts either. I think mineral foundation might be what you're looking for. There are mineral versions of liquid foundation, but the powder foundation is the best in my opinion.


@fify-- No, all oil-free foundations are not non-comedogenic. Even some products which are labeled as being non-comedogenic are not. Oils are definitely comedogenic (can cause acne), so you are better off with "oil-free" and "matte" foundation for oily skin. But there are also lots of other ingredients in foundations that can cause you to break out such as alcohol and fragrance.

So I'm going to have to agree with the article that it is a little bit of trial and error. You could get a list of comedogenic ingredients and check ingredients of products before buying. You could also read reviews online. If you see a product you like, check out reviews of it and see if it has caused breakouts with other people.


How do I know which ingredients in foundations are non-comedogenic or not?

Are all oil-free foundations non-comedogenic?

I really need to find out because the two liquid drugstore foundations I've used recently have both broken me out. They seem to work fine the first day but on the second day of use, I see small raised areas on my face- developing whiteheads. It's a nightmare and I feel like I need to wear foundation to work because I have uneven skin. I'm just very conscious about it.

What are the best drugstore foundations for oily skin? I need recommendations!

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