The best foundation for oily skin: natural coverage that won't slip

Finding the best foundation for oily skin is easy with our tried-and-tested guide to the top formulas on the market

A selection of the best foundation for oily skin from Fenty Beauty, Too Faced and Sculpted by Aimee
(Image credit: Future/brands pictured)

Aside from providing you with your preferred level of coverage, the best foundation for oily skin has to tick a number of boxes. First and foremost, it shouldn't make oily or blemish-prone skin even more so. It must also go the distance and not go shiny within an hour or two of wearing it, whether you prefer a natural, skin-like finish or velvety matte, full coverage. 

With all that said, the hunt for the best foundation is easier now than ever before, as many modern formulas work to keep shine levels down while covering imperfections with ease – all in natural-looking, true-to-skin shades, of course. So what does a makeup artist advise you to look for when shopping for a good match for oily skin? 

"Make sure to look for foundations that specifically say 'oil-free', advises Bobbi Brown Pro Artist Hollie Ellis. "If you want your foundation to last all day, this is key to helping the makeup stay in place." Non-comedogenic is another keyword to look out for, indicating that none of the ingredients contained in the formula will clog your pores. As for making base last on oily skin? "Dust a little powder through the t-zone after your foundation to control the oils," Hollie says, recommending the brand's Sheer Finish Pressed or Loose Powders because they don't add coverage, therefore won't cause a foundation to go cakey. 

How we tested the best foundation for oily skin

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

A selection of the best foundations for oily skin from Dior, Sculpted by Aimee, Estée Lauder, Fenty Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury and Too Faced

A selection of the foundations one tester trialled for this guide 

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

To ensure that our guide contained the very best foundations for oily skin, a few oily-skinned testers wore the foundations for at least one full day, in order to share their first-hand experience of how well it applies and stays in place. When testing, we took all of the following factors into account:

  • Number of shades available
  • Packaging and dispensation 
  • Ease of application
  • Buildability
  • Finish 
  • How it wears throughout the day – did it go shiny, patchy, or transfer?
  • Cost 

After putting dozens of formulas through their paces, we compiled this list that covers powder foundations, long-lasting liquids, foundations with antibacterial ingredients, and the best matte foundations with shine-proof finishes that don’t look flat or chalky. 

The best foundations for oily skin, chosen by our beauty experts

Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation

(Image credit: Bobbi Brown)

1. Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation

Most versatile foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP: $40/£29
Shades: 28
Coverage : Medium buildable
SPF: 20

Reasons to buy

+
Lasts extremely well
+
Soft-matte finish 
+
Decent SPF
+
Paraben-, phthalate-, sulfite-, and gluten-free
+
Sweat- and transfer-resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Dispenser can be messy 

We've voted that Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder – a name that just means it sets from a liquid to a more powder finish – is the best foundation for oily skin, thanks to its long-lasting formula and skin-healthy perks.

When we tested this particular foundation our standout takeaway was that it's the opposite of traditional heavy, matte foundations. It’s a loose, water and silicone-based fluid that sets down into a velvety finish that really lasts. What's more, it comes with the added bonus of a little sun protection (though it's not a high enough factor to rely on as your sole daily SPF) as well as a moisture-boosting protein complex.

This particular foundation would suit combination skin types who need an extra boost for lasting power and oil control, but who still want a little bit of a soft-focus sheen when it comes to finish. As we expect of Bobbi Brown, the shade range here is great, and the water-light texture is lovely. The only downside of this particular buy is that it can get a bit runny from the nozzle, but that’s easily cleaned up and doesn't detract too much from its brilliance; it still takes pride of place in our edit as the best foundation for oily skin overall. 

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear 24H Foundation

(Image credit: Lancôme)

2. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation

Best luxury foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP: $47/£34
Shades: 50
Coverage : Full
SPF: 15

Reasons to buy

+
Very long-lasting
+
Excellent shade range
+
Non-comedogenic and suitable for sensitive skin

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs thorough removal

Our testers hailed this a favorite for true, stay-all-day wear that doesn’t look cakey. Its ability to mattify shine for 24 hours without dulling your natural radiance has seen Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24h Foundation gain bestseller status in both the US and Europe. Impressive stuff!  

Unless you're partying all night long, no beauty editor could ever recommend wearing makeup for 24 hours in good conscience – you must always cleanse before bed, people! But however long you do need this foundation to stay put for, rest assured that it will, and you’ll certainly need a thorough double cleansing session to take it off at the end of the day. Because of this, our testers' verdict is that it's definitely a go-to for 'big day' beauty, occasions like weddings, or even a jam-packed 9-to-5. 

This award-winning formula further impressed us because it comes in 50 shades and, more specifically, the deeper options contain a unique ultramarine blue pigment that ensures they never appear ashy on the skin. All in all, it's one of the best full coverage foundations for oily skin that also gives off a radiant glow.

See our full Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation review

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation

(Image credit: Rimmel London)

3. Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation

Best budget foundation for oily skin

Specifications

Price: $7.75/£6
Shades: 25
Coverage: Medium
SPF: 15 and 20

Reasons to buy

+
Very good value
+
Natural look
+
Blurring finish

Reasons to avoid

-
May need topping up 

If you're lucky enough to have a reasonably even skin tone and don't require the highest of coverages from your base, Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation will cover mild redness and blemishes without looking at all mask-like. Something we also loved about this formula is that it also absorbs oil and blurs the appearance of pores for the best part of the day. You might need a little touch-up on particularly long days or if it’s very humid or hot out, but we found its longevity to be impressive overall. 

The name Match Perfection refers to the 25-strong shade selection on offer here, and its adaptable pigment technology, which makes each shade flexible enough to work within a spectrum of skin tones. This is all the more impressive when you take into account its bargain price. For this reason, among many, we found that it was a worthy inclusion in our edit of the best foundation for oily skin, and, with that price tag, you've very little to lose here. 

Too faced born this way matte

(Image credit: Too Faced)

4. Too Faced Born This Way Matte Foundation

Best blurring foundation for oily skin

Specifications

Price: $40/£29
Shades: 35
Coverage : Full
SPF: No
Special ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, coconut water, alpine rose

Reasons to buy

+
Blurring finish
+
Light feel  
+
Great shade range
+
Waterproof, oil-free, transfer-resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Full coverage 

Don’t be fooled by the youthful pink packaging or sassy product name; this is seriously good stuff for skin of any age. We cannot get enough of this foundation for oily skin, which benefits from its all-day mattifying properties, and neither can shoppers far and wide. It's actually become something of a go-to among our testers for evenings out or long working days thanks to its flawless coverage.

The very well-balanced formula combines lasting pigment, non-pore-clogging hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and coconut water, plus mica, a mineral powder that gives a soft-focus glow (often found in higher concentrations in the best highlighters). It offers medium to full coverage, which will be good news to many but we did find it can yield a look that's a bit too 'done' if you prefer sheer, barely-there tints. 

Sculpted by Aimee Satin Silk Longwear Foundation

(Image credit: Sculpted by Aimee)

5. Sculpted by Aimee Satin Silk Longwear Foundation

Best healthy finish foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP : £27 (UK only)
Shades: 30
Coverage: Full
SPF: No

Reasons to buy

+
A little goes a long way
+
Flawless coverage that looks like skin
+
Lasts well 
+
Non-comedogenic

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in the UK and Ireland

In a word, we would say that this Sculpted by Aimee foundation is b-e-a-utiful. It builds well, gives excellent coverage, and, rather impressively, we found that one pump is enough to cover the entire face (for very full coverage, two pumps are plenty). Despite yielding such full coverage and promising long wear, it's non-comedogenic and doesn't feel at all heavy on the skin while you are wearing it. 

As for the finish, as the name satin suggests this strikes that nice balance between matte and glowy – we'd describe it as a healthy-looking, skin-like matte. Also, very importantly for oily skin, we found that it doesn't go shiny throughout the day. 

When testing this one out we loved the shade range – 30 options across a broad spectrum – but it wasn't just the sweat-resistant pigments in the formula that impressed us. There's a nice cocktail of skin-loving ingredients involved here, too, including hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin E, and Centella Asiatica. All in all, it only confirms our hypothesis that Aimee Connolly can do no wrong when it comes to creating makeup products. 

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Foundation

(Image credit: fenty)

6. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Best long-lasting foundation for oily skin

Specifications

Price: $36/£26
Shades: 50
Coverage: Full
SPF: No

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent shade range
+
Flawless finish
+
Paraben- and phthalate-free
+
Vegan; cruelty-free

Reasons to avoid

-
Very matte 

How often does a makeup brand come along and genuinely revolutionize the industry? It's a rarity, that's for sure, but that’s exactly what Rihanna did when she launched Fenty Beauty back in 2017. One of the contributing factors to its massive impact was this very foundation, which hit the market with a 40-strong shade range that caters to all undertones and includes everybody. This may not sound that groundbreaking by today's standards, but that's only because 'The Fenty effect' prompted other, less-inclusive brands to pull their socks up on that front. Kudos to Rihanna. 

While there are now a number of different Fenty foundations, the original is the best suited to oily skin. As well as its shade range, what really impressed us is its ability to stave off shine all day or night long – even without setting spray – something that's no mean feat in oily skin and something our testers agreed is a rarity.

Despite its thick consistency, it offers medium to full coverage, and we loved how buildable the formula is when buffed in with a firm brush. With a nice soft matte finish that doesn’t look at all heavy, it also won't creep into any fine lines. The shade selection now stands at 50, so you're even more likely to find your perfect match. 

See our full Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Foundation review

Dior Forever Matte Foundation

(Image credit: Dior)

7. Dior Forever Matte Foundation

Best high-end foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP : $54/£45
Shades : 42
Coverage : Full
SPF : 15

Reasons to buy

+
Promises no transfer and 24h of wear
+
Soft matte finish
+
Looks like flawless skin
+
Non-comedogenic

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

This is a very expensive foundation; we aren't suggesting otherwise. But if you feel like treating yourself and are prepared to part with over $50 (or almost £50) for a foundation, this luxurious buy from one of the world's most famous fashion houses does not disappoint. 

Despite its high coverage and lovely, velvety finish, this formula isn't excessively thick and buffs into the skin beautifully. As is the case with many foundations that suit oily or blemish-prone skin, it's also non-comedogenic, boasting a lovely natural matte finish that just looks like seriously healthy skin. 

A feature that really stood out for our testers is the fact that this foundation is so, so comfortable to wear. With a predominantly skincare base (86% to be precise), it's no wonder that it feels really light on the skin; you'll barely notice that you've got makeup on. That said, it still never transfers, giving beautiful coverage that we found lasted all day. There are cheaper foundations on the market for sure, but if your budget allows and you're happy to spend big on a foundation, we think you'll love it. 

See our full Dior Forever Matte Foundation review 

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

8. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

Best full coverage foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP : $46/£36
Shades : 44
Covaerage : Full
SPF :

Reasons to buy

+
Full yet natural-looking coverage 
+
Buildable
+
Good shade range 

Reasons to avoid

-
Coverage may be too heavy for some 

It's hard to believe that Charlotte Tilbury's eponymous brand has only been around since 2016 – you'd be hard-pressed to find a makeup wearer that doesn't love her products. With several different finishes on offer, this brand's foundation formulas in particular are the stuff of legend. 

Airbrush Flawless Foundation is the matte finish and fullest coverage option, so if you like lighter bases or dewy finishes, it won't be for you. That said, it's buildable, doesn't go cakey when applying and a little goes a long way, meaning it feels quite light on the skin. However – as is the case with all very full coverage foundations – we would say that if you apply too much it can look a little mask-like.

The broad range of 44 different true-to-skin shades is very impressive and it blurs the skin well, disguising any large pores or uneven skin texture nicely. The finish isn't too matte, and we also love how resistant it is to sweat and transfer. To that end it's become one of our testers' go-to camera-ready formulas, so we highly recommend it for special occasions. 

See our full Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation review 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup

(Image credit: Estée Lauder)

9. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup

Best classic foundation for oily skin

Specifications

Price: $43/£31
Shades: 60
Coverage: Very high
SPF: No

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra long wear
+
Excellent shade range
+
Oil-free, oil-controlling and waterproof
+
Fragrance-free
+
Non-acnegenic; won't clog pores

Reasons to avoid

-
Thicker texture

This is an absolute classic long-wear foundation and easily one of the most well-known, best-selling buys on the market. Even faced with the oiliest T-zone on the most humid day – and let’s throw a hot flush in the mix, too – this stuff seriously does not budge. This makes it an absolute godsend for those with very shiny skin or acne, particularly as the formula is oil-free. 

Naturally, the trade-off for that supreme wear is that this is a full-on, full-coverage foundation. There's no building up to full coverage here; you get it from the get-go as it is absolutely loaded with pigment, so it wouldn't suit those who want a natural look. It’s also on the thicker side, so although the texture certainly feels comfortable for how hard-working it is, we would also point out that it dries down or 'sets' in place quite quickly.

Another aspect of Double Wear that ticks our testers' boxes is that it has an exceptionally strong shade range with 60 different options on offer. Estée Lauder offers a handy virtual try-on tool for its color products, making shopping for foundation online much easier. 

See our full Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review 


Which foundation type is best for oily and acne-prone skin?

Foundations generally have one of three bases: oil, water, or silicone. “Water-based foundations provide long-term hydration in the skin,” explains Ellis. “They are normally slightly lighter weight in formula and are great for all skin types." 

“Silicone-based foundations are best used on normal-oily skin types. The silicone helps to control oils in the skin, and normally provides a matte finish." Silicones tend to give foundations a kind of slippy feel, but they often help to blur the look of enlarged pores and smooth out their texture, as well as helping to control oil levels.  

"Oil-based foundations are best used on normal-dry skin types," Ellis continues. "The oils in the foundations help to provide long-term moisture in the skin, give a gorgeous glow, and help with skin texture.” Therefore, for oily skin, water or silicone bases are generally the go-tos. 

Is liquid or powder foundation better for oily skin?

While powder was once the go-to for oily skin, many modern liquid formulas are excellent at controlling oil and providing a long-lasting, shine-free finish. That said, it’s often a good idea to set any particularly shine-prone areas with a little setting powder to keep your base in place – though it’s important to apply carefully to avoid looking cakey. 

“Use a sheer [loosely packed] powder brush and sweep the powder foundation onto the skin for a lightweight finish,” Ellis advises. “On any areas where you may want a little extra coverage, a full coverage face brush provides a cushion effect, so simply press and stipple into the skin. Tailor where you want coverage to avoid the skin looking cakey.”