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The best foundations for oily skin to buy in 2023

Whether you’re looking to achieve a matte finish or a radiant glow, the best foundations for oily skin promise to last the day

The quest to find the perfect foundation isn’t easy. Throw oily skin into the mix and there’s a whole new layer of issues to worry about. Will the formula make skin look more oily? Will it stay in place beyond lunchtime? Will it shift around and oxidise? All are valid concerns, but most will become a thing of the past once you find the perfect foundation for oily skin. And yes, such formulas do exist.

Foundations for oily skin should perform in exactly the same manner as ordinary formulas while remaining unaffected by a little extra oil on the skin’s surface. Mattifying foundations work well on oily complexions, but there are satin and dewy formulas available for this skin type, too. Forming the base for all the rest of your makeup, including blusher and highlighter, nailing down the perfect foundation for oily skin will help you feel more confident that your makeup will last the day.

So, read on to discover the best foundations for oily skin, plus our brief buying guide to help you find the perfect formula for you.

Best foundations for oily skin: At a glance

How to choose the best foundation for oily skin

There are many misconceptions about oily skin. This makes it more difficult to find the right foundation, and far more likely that you’ll end up settling for a product that isn’t quite cut out for your skin type.

READ NEXT: Best primer for oily skin: Keep your face shine-free all day long

What types of foundations for oily skin are available?

These days, oily skin types aren’t limited to having just one or two foundations available to them. There are as many options available for this skin type as there for those with normal or dry skin. It’s simply a matter of discerning the type of finish, formula, and level of coverage you desire.

What features should I look for in a foundation for oily skin?

All foundations serve the same general purpose: to provide coverage for the skin and create an even base and texture. To pick one that best suits your own complexion, consider the following aspects.

  • Coverage: This refers to the consistency of the formula. If you prefer a foundation that’s opaque for camouflaging blemishes, discolouration, or uneven texture, you’ll want to consider a product that offers heavy coverage. For a translucent, more natural look, lighter coverage is preferable. Many foundations are buildable, and can be layered to achieve your desired level of coverage.
  • Wear time: Foundation should last for hours without any melting, fading or transfer. Consider the use for your formula – is it a daily-wear foundation or for a special event? This will dictate how long you need your foundation to last.
  • Format: Foundation is available in various formats and which you opt for – powder, liquid, gel, foam, spray or stick – will likely come down to personal preference. Powder is a great option for oily skin, however.
  • Finish: The finish of the foundation is how the product appears on your skin. Finishes are typically found in matte, satin and radiant options. They range from soft and dew-free to glowy and luminous.

How we test foundations for oily skin

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. When it comes to testing foundations for oily skin, we apply the products to that specific skin type, assessing the various formulas and noting the coverage they deliver and the length of time for which they last on the skin.

When testing, we adhere to a product’s instructions, evaluating it for its feel on the face once applied, wear time, and the quality of the finish. We also note how well a variety of foundation types work on oily skin. Finally, we confirm the format of the product, as well as how much coverage and the finish it delivers.

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The best foundation for oily skin you can buy in 2023

1. Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R Soft Matte Longwear Foundation: The best long-lasting foundation for oily skin

Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Boots

Rihanna’s foray into the makeup world has proven to be exceptional. This particular foundation is a great fit for those with oily skin, thanks to its oil-free formulation and matte finish. Being long-wear makes it a great choice for both regular days and special events, and while sweat and muggy weather may have once been a cause for concern, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief since this foundation is resistant to both.

Buildable to full coverage, this PRO FILT’R foundation feels neither cakey nor heavy on the face. Plus it’s a great option for those who find that their other foundations crease and accentuate fine lines. With a whopping 50 shades to choose from, finding a perfect colour match won’t be a struggle, either – and once it’s on, it stays put for hours without any need for touch-ups or blotting.

Key specs – Coverage: Medium to full; Finish: Matte; Format: Liquid

Check price at Boots

2. L’Oréal Paris Infallible 32H Fresh Wear Foundation: The best budget foundation for oily skin

Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Amazon

Drugstore foundation brands aren’t frequently the recipients of as much praise as their high-end beauty counterparts. However, quality isn’t always tied to price – as L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible foundation proves. Its impressive 32-hour long-wear formula is hard to beat for longevity and this is only bettered by its wallet-friendly price. The finish straddles the line between matte and radiant, which is likely to be a happy medium for anyone with oily skin.

On the face, it looks neither cakey nor greasy, plus the formula is waterproof and comes with a sunscreen, too, making it a great option for warmer days or to take on holiday. Straddling into the skincare space, the foundation even includes vitamin C, which is great for evening out your skin tone – what more could you want?

Key specs – Coverage: Full; Finish: Satin; Format: Liquid

Check price at Amazon

3. MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation: The best powder foundation for oily skin

Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at Boots

For many, the words “powder foundation” are likely to conjure images of the pale faces of the Victorian and Edwardian eras – but think again. Formulas have improved considerably since then, with powder makeup often the perfect solution for those who frequently have to blot or reapply makeup through the day. And in that vein, MAC’s Studio Fix foundation is a firm favourite for a number of reasons.

Arriving in a compact, it includes a spongy applicator that’s ready to go. Pat the formula on to skin, and even if you’ve applied it in several layers, it doesn’t look flakey or caked on; the finish is soft and subtle, not ghostly. Available in 32 different shades, finding a suitable match won’t be an issue. And despite being a powder, it will happily last a half-day, with the compact perfect for slipping into your bag for touch-ups on the go.

Key specs – Coverage: Medium to full; Finish: Matte; Format: Powder

Check price at Boots

4. Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup: The best foundation for oily skin with acne

Price when reviewed: £32 | Check price at Look Fantastic

Some folk with oily skin will likely find themselves dealing with acne, too. And while makeup is typically framed as an exacerbator of blemishes, Clinique’s foundation begs to differ, asserting itself as a preventative measure. So, what makes this option different from others? This formula is made to improve the skin’s appearance and actually treat acne while you’re wearing it.

The hero spot-fighting ingredient here is salicylic acid, which works by amping up cell turnover and pushing out dead skin cells, as well as soothing redness and pigmentation. Finish-wise, this foundation sits on the natural side; it isn’t at all powdery, neither is it dewy. In fact, we’d say it covers the middle ground, sitting right between full-coverage foundations and lighter tinted moisturisers, which means it delivers a little camouflaging without hiding the natural look of your skin.

Key specs – Coverage: Medium; Finish: Natural; Format: Liquid

Buy now from Look Fantastic

5. Urban Decay Stay Naked Foundation: The best buildable coverage foundation

Price when reviewed: £34 | Check price at Look Fantastic

For a more natural matte finish that might prove difficult to achieve with a powder foundation, look to Urban Decay’s Stay Naked Foundation. It doesn’t deliver the most heavy-duty coverage, but it’s just enough to create an even-looking complexion and diminish the look of pores. This makes it a solid makeup staple for those who prefer an au naturel appearance. Using the right brushes or applicators, coverage can be built up to full.

It’s a great pick for oily and combination skin types, and despite being a liquid formula, you won’t have to worry about it sliding off or transferring onto that new white blouse – it stays put. And with 50 shades to choose from, it will cater to numerous skin tones. Plus, those who care about animal welfare will be pleased to learn that this formula is both vegan and cruelty-free.

Key specs – Coverage: Medium, buildable; Finish: Matte; Format: Liquid

Check price at Look Fantastic

6. NARS Cosmetics Sheer Glow Foundation: The best foundation for a dewy finish

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at Cult Beauty

Many foundations for oily skin counter the oiliness by delivering a matte formula. However, not all who have greasy skin are seeking such a finish. If it’s a dewy complexion you’re after, one that enhances your natural glow, then you’ll love NARS’ Sheer Glow foundation. A favourite for many different skin types, it delivers radiance by the bucketloads, even for those with oily skin.

And this is another formula that includes a number of skincare-worthy ingredients. Turmeric extract, vitamin C and other antioxidants combine to achieve that coveted glow from a deeper level. With a choice of 40 shades, you’re sure to find your perfect colour, whether it’s to be worn shimmying to and from the shops, or dancing at your best friend’s wedding, this foundation is built to last for hours.

Key specs – Coverage: Light to medium; Finish: Radiant; Format: Liquid

Check price at Cult Beauty

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