Ask and you Shall Receive: Foundation for Oily Skin

By | November 7 2006 | 24 Comments reader Rachelle contacted us with this query:

I have just stumbled upon the website & i am delighted that i did!
Whats the best foundation for oily skin?

Hi Rachelle!

Well, fear not, for there are good products out there for oily skin. I’ll help you to wade through the myriad of products out there and work out what would suit you best. To start off with, these are the types of foundation available, so it’s no wonder it’s confusing: oil-free and matte liquid foundations, ultra-matte foundations, water-based and standard liquid foundations, oil-based foundations, pressed powder–based foundation, cream-to-powder foundations, liquid-to-powder foundations, stick foundations, sheer foundations and tinted moisturisers and foundations with shine. Phew! And I’ve probably missed a couple too.

We can immediately rule out anything like water based products as the emollients in them will promote shine on oily skin. Oil based foundations are out too as they’re really only suitable for those with extremely dry or wrinkled skin. If you have very oily skin a pressed power formulation isn’t going to work too well either – as the day goes on, oils from the skin can resurface through the makeup and sort of pool on your face. Not such a hot look.

Cream to powder formulations don’t work well for someone with oily skin because the cream ingredients in them can make your skin look even more oily. Foundations with shine will make your face look greasy, not glowing, and sheer foundations and tinted moisturisers aren’t suitable for those with oily or spot prone skin.

A note on stick foundations – this means the evil panstick! If you want a shiny, sticky, mask-like look, then this is the one to go for. I’m guessing you don’t though!

So what can you use? Well the good news is that Oil-free and matte liquid foundations are the type you should go for. This sort of product will give you a nice smooth look without shine. They should last for a good few hours as they are formulated with your skin-type in mind, but their longevity does depend on how much oil you have in your skin, so touch-ups might be necessary. So who makes such a fabulous product?

If you have slight to medium oily skin, a brand like Clinique’s Stay-True Makeup Oil-Free Formula or Estee Lauder Equalizer Smart Makeup for Combination Skin SPF 10 or Almay’s Clear Complexion Liquid Makeup would be a good bet. You can buy these in a good chemist, one of the larger Boots branches or any good department store. You’d probably expect to pay in and around €30 for the first two, and maybe slightly less for the Almay version – it’s hard for me to know precisely I’m afraid, because Boots in their ‘wisdom’ don’t provide Euro prices on their website.

For very oily skins, MAC Studio Fix is the product for you. This is a powder and foundation in one product. It maintains a matte finish on the skin by absorbing oils on your face, and it’s really long-wearing. Bobbi Brown Oil-free Even Finish Foundation would also be a really good product to check out – and you can buy either of these products in Brown Thomas stores.

I recommend you shop around a bit first and ask at beauty counters (if possible) for a sample of the product to try before you commit to buy it. Once you have selected your chosen product, fix your foundation with a bit of translucent loose powder and carry blotting sheets with you every day – Clean & Clear Clear Touch Oil-Absorbing Sheets are meant to be good.

Oh – and let us know how you get on!

Acknowledgements: huge help was gleaned from the Paula’s Choice website in the creation of this article!

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24 Replies to "Ask and you Shall Receive: Foundation for Oily Skin"

  • etan says:

    hey! i used a really good foundation the other day for oily skin! it was a maybelline one and i dont actually know what its called but it was oil free and FANTABULOUS! you shouldhav a look and give it a go! it was long lasting too. x

  • Aphrodite says:

    sounds good – and probably a good price too! Maybelline do really nice foundations, I think they and Max Factor have the best reasonably priced foundation.

  • NAR says:

    Avene Thermal, La Roche Posay and Clarins. These are the ones I am hopeful are gonna work for my extremely sensitive, allergic and usually oily skin.

  • Marena says:

    Have tried and tested many for my rather annoying shiny combination/oily skin and shine still breaks through!! My favs at the moment are Becca and Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser. Yes, surprisingly enough the tinted moisturiser is amazing for shiny skin and comes in an oil free one too.

  • Admin says:

    Hey Marena – I’d love to do some stuff on Becca but can’t find info on Irish stockists – where did you get it?

  • Tiptoe shortbread says:

    Just googling foundaitons and saw this, Becca is in harvey nics in Dundrum as far as I know

  • Lucy Gordon says:

    I use estee lauder double wear foundation. I have tried Clinique – which doesn’t last long – elizabeth arden which has the same problem and numerous others that wear off after 2-3 hours leaving my skin looking uneven. Estee Lauder double wear stays put for my whole day at work. I walk around outside a lot as I am a building surveyor. I will not swap foundations now. It’s the best I have tried ever and have been swapping for around 10 years now.

  • Monique says:

    This was a very good article. I have very oily skin and Ive used a few of the products youve listed in the past. I love MAC tinted moisturizer bc its light weight and has coverage but your right its not meant for us people with oily skin. I often use MAC studio fix but and/or Loreal true match and I find I still shine with both them. I can control it a little more because I have MAC blotting press powder. Ive always wanted to try Bobbi Brown foundation but its somewhat expensive. I just went and bought Revlon Color Stay Foundation for combination/oily skin thats suppose to last up to 16 hours, well see how this works. If it doesnt Bobbi Brown will be my next investment. Thanks!

  • candice says:

    I have extremely oily skin and i have tried many foundations and powders however none of them seem to work on my skin. I only have a small budget on makeup however and i find it hard to get a cheap foundation that works well.. Can you help?

  • littlemisswonders says:

    Candice, have you tried mineral make up?

  • emer says:

    i use a foundation by a brand called royal effem and its called extreme matte or something like that, if u google it there is a website but my local beautician stocks the brand, its excellent, iv really oily skin and this stays put and has really good coverage, iv tried bobbi brown, rimmel, and bourjois too and they dnt ave a patch on this brand.

  • nasreen ali says:

    Hi, i was hoping you would be able to help me. i am using a foundation by ybf cosmetics but the coverage is not enough, i would really like to try smashbox camera ready full coverage cream to powder foundation but im not sure if it would suit my skin type. I have a oily complexion and am prone to break outs,the oil problem i keep under control using blotting sheets but im really concerned if i try this foundation it will break me out as it doesn’t seem to state hypoallergenic etc anywhere. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you, Nasreen.

  • chris says:

    I have a problem with oily skin as well. The first foundation that I used was MAC’s studio fix liquid and found that within an hour of applying it, I had a buildup of oil that was beyond bearable, and the foundation was feeling like a mask of gunk. So i went to the MAC counter at the department store and they recommended MAC’s Studio Sculpt foundation. Sadly, this foundation had the same effect on my skin. Just recently I went to the Clinque counter and they recommended Clinique Superfit makeup and I absolutely love it. It feels so natural on my skin and I don’t have the same oil buildup like i did with the MAC products. I recommend this brand to everyone who has the same oily skin problem as I do. Although it does help a ton with the oil, I still find a need to use oil absorbing sheets, but that’s no bid deal. =]

  • Kerrie says:

    That Almay Clear Complexion make up sounds perfect for my skin!Does anyone know a Boots in Dublin that stocks it?I heard the Boots in Liffey Valley is huge but I’d like to know for certain before goin all the way up there!

  • Megan says:

    Hi Girls, I used the Almay Clear complexion a while back and loved it, but I cant get it anywhere now, I tried Boots today, and they told me they havent stocked for over a year! Does anyone know where I can get it here in the Republic of Ireland…….pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • tuts says:

    boots dont do almay anymore its only available in america as far as i no or on ebay , but i swap on makeupalley and swaped for it and the maybaline oil free foundation havent tried them yet , hoping they work :)

  • tuts says:

    boots dont do almay anymore only place you will get it is online ;)

  • Kenni says:

    I have extremely oily skin and I have tried EVERYHING. (honestly).I can now swear by Bare essentials mineral powder. Go through with the whole steps and lightly dab on the warmth powder or just use it sparingly. You can get in BT2 in Dundrum.

  • Jerri says:

    Hi, I have oily combination skin & I use Revlon Colorstay foundation in the oily/combination formula. I have tried lots of foundations & it’s the best. The active light makeup in the tube is good also if u want something lighter for every day use. I use both. I use the Sand Beige shade. I have blonde hair & blue eyes with rosacea & this stuff covers the rosacea too!!

  • Little Blue says:

    Jerri – I have the Revlon Colourstay for oily skin foundation too, a friend gave me a sample about a year ago and I was hooked, spookily the same colour as well (I’ve dark hair, blue eyes and pale Irish skin)

    The colourstay is great and even after work if your going out somewhere it’ll take another dusting of powder without seizing up / going patchy. It gives full coverage so perfect for night time or a crap skin day.

    Also the Colourstay comes out alost identical in reviews against the Mac Studio Fix Pump Foundation.

    I’ve also been using the bare minerals matte for day and am finding them very good also.

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