If you are acne prone and you find that oily shine on your face more than once a day, maybe it is time to give one of the best foundations for oily acne prone skin a shot. Is it a challenge to find that holy grail, tried and true foundation that doesn’t look cakey or greasy and provides good coverage? As a matter of fact, it is. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
In case you would like to read our blog post on choosing the right foundation for your skin, I encourage you to check it out before delving into this list.
The best foundation for oily skin is a long-wear product that is non-comedogenic (meaning, doesn’t break you out), lightweight, mattifying, and hydrating. Don’t act surprised, just because your skin is oily, doesn’t mean it is hydrated, we’ll get to that.
Once you know what ingredients to look for, it gets better. As a general rule, you want to have oil-absorbing ingredients in your foundation. So, foundations with skincare ingredients like tea tree oil, green tea, salicylic acid, and activated charcoal are the way to go. On top of that, you have to avoid things that can be heavy for oily skin – petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly), and essential oils are a strict no-no. These are too heavy for oily skin – they can clog pores and aggravate your acne. Look for the word non-comedogenic and oil-free on product labels to make your life easier.
One of the things people get wrong about oily skin is that oil equals hydration. That’s far from the truth. Your skin can be oily and dehydrated at the same time. The idea that oily skin doesn’t need hydration is complete BS. Every skin type needs hydration, and so does oily skin. And the best foundation for oily skin should have hydrating agents like hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and glycerin.
Skin barrier-supporting fatty acids like ceramides and antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, and E can also be a great addition to your foundation if you are struggling with oily skin. You might think that alcohol can help deal with excess oil, but it can dry it out and lead to dehydration. So, avoid them at all costs except for fatty alcohols.
I feel like this is the time to let the stars of the show, foundations for oily acne prone skin to shine.
So, let’s jump right into it!
Best foundations for oily acne prone skin
#1. MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Skin Undetectable Longwear Foundation
- Long-wearing A bit pricey
- Gives a natural finish
- Very lightweight on the skin
- A bit pricey
Powered by a micro skin system ( second skin technology that mimics what skin does naturally) , this foundation stands out as the best one with a natural finish. It is a liquid foundation that goes a long way (24 hours!) and provides medium coverage. What we like most about is the fact that it contains Vegetable Glycerine, a natural humectant. It draws the moisture to the skin leaving it hydrating the whole time. What’s more, it checks the inclusive shade range box for us, with 40 shades!
#2. Revlon Colorstay Make Up for Combo/Oily skin
- Oil-free, lightweight, heat and sweat resistant
- Very affordable at only $ 15.99
- Has sun protection (SPF 15)
- Impressive shade range with 43 shades
- Couldn’t find any, let me know if you do
An oil-free foundation for oily acne prone skin with an SPF that isn’t going to break the bank? Yes, please! This cult-favorite foundation by Revlon offers medium but very buildable coverage. It is oil-free, sweat and heat-resistant, perfect for warm weather days. It is just what oily acne prone skin needs – a lightweight, buildable foundation with a matte finish. I feel like these are the things best foundations for oily acne prone skin should offer.
We are not done praising this one yet! It also has a skin-loving antioxidant- Vitamin E for supporting the skin barrier and providing moisture. With an impressive shade range of 43, this one remains at the top of our list of best foundations for oily acne prone skin.
#3. E.l.f Acne Fighting Foundation
- Provides full coverage
- Formulated with acne-controlling ingredients
- Skincare benefits
- Super affordable
- Comes in 6 shades only
This foundation by E.l.f combines makeup and skincare. Truly the best of both worlds. While providing full coverage, it takes care of oily acne prone skin. Formulated with ingredients like salicylic acid (0.5%), witch hazel extract, and tea tree oil, it is going to clear out the pores and prevent further breakouts. It easily glides on the skin giving it a satin finish. Plus, it is super affordable for under 10 bucks. The only downside is the shade range, which E.l.f certainly needs to work on.
#4. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna
Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Powder Foundation
- Has a matte finish
- Extensive shade range (50 shades!)
- Very buildable
- The packaging might be tricky
- Might need a few touch ups
If you are a fan of powder foundations and you have oily, acne prone skin, this one is for you. This powder foundation is buildable, so applying a thin layer at the beginning and building up as needed is the way it works. It comes with a sponge for touch-ups throughout the day.
Powder foundations are notorious for drying the skin out, but that’s not the case for this one by Fenty. However, it wouldn’t hurt to apply a hydrating moisturizer or primer underneath the foundation so it will stick to it well.
Despite the positive reviews around the web, some people complained about the packaging, saying it got hardened in the pan.
#5. NARS Light-Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation
- Acne prone skin friendly
- Good variety of shades (36)
- Over 40 bucks
There is a reason why this foundation by NARS is a viral TikTok sensation. NARS took a great approach with this, by introducing a blend of makeup and skincare. The Light Active Micro-Prisms are combined with Algae Extract and Polynesian Seawater to brighten the skin and hydrate it inside out.
It is specially formulated with ingredients that smooth out the texture of the skin, perfect for blemished and imperfections. It is a vegan formula that has a natural finish and comes in a variety of shades. With a very gentle formula, this foundation is close to being the best foundation for oily acne prone skin.
#6. Neutrogena Skin Clearing Liquid Makeup
- Has salicylic acid
- Limited shade range
Love it or hate it, Neutrogena is here to stay. Being one of the best foundations for oily acne prone skin in drugstore category, this one definitely makes the list. It has salicylic acid (0.5%) to treat acne, and is oil-free. It provides medium coverage and offers a semi-matte finish. This one is the holy grail drugstore foundation for oily acne prone skin. For best results, use it with the Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder.
#7. Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation SPF 25
- Has SPF
- Contains skin supporting agents
Best foundations for oily acne prone skin are formulated with ingredients that target excess oil, and obviously, acne that comes with it. Formulated with hero ingredient for oily skin – Niacinamide (aka Vitamin B3), Caffeine to brighten up the skin, this is skincare disguised as makeup. I guess their motto – “Makeup for skincare freaks” perfectly checks out here. However, these aren’t the only powerhouse ingredients in the formulation. Next, we have hyaluronic acid to plump up the skin, squalane, Vitamin B5, and arnica to nourish it. And last but not least, peptides for anti-wrinkle effect.
With its added SPF 25, it makes its way to our list of best foundations for oily acne prone skin proudly. It is also non-comedogenic, non-irritating, and has been clinically tested. If you have sensitive and oily skin, this should be your new go-to.
Check out the blog post on Niacinamide: The Complete Guide To Vitamin B3 For Skin
#8. Ilia True Skin Medium Coverage Serum Foundation
- Vegan and Cruelty-free
- Has Niacinamide
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- The silky texture might not be for everyone
This is a weightless foundation infused with skin agents like Niacinamide for oil control and redness, allantoin, and aloe to soothe the skin. If your skin is oily and is on the combo side, you should this one a go.
It is suitable for most skin types, as it is non-comedogenic, vegan, cruelty, and fragrance-free. Unsurprisingly, this foundation is especially popular among those with sensitive skin. Although good serum foundation is a bit rare to find, this one can positively surprise you. It will blur out the blemishes and leave you with a silky, yet natural finish.
The best foundation for oily acne prone skin is the one that won’t clog your pores, dry you out or leave your skin dehydrated. It is going to take some time to find the best foundation for oily skin, but you will find the one that works for you, hopefully out of this list.
I feel like NARS Light-Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation takes the crown in this list. However, acne fighting foundation by E.l.f and The skin clearing liquid foundation by Neutrogena are also among honorable mentions in terms of being affordable and efficient.
FAQ on finding the best foundation for oily skin
The best foundation for oily acne prone skin is the one that provides good coverage while supporting skin barrier with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid. It should also have SPF.
Look for words like oil-free, non-comedogenic, non-irritating. Remember that best foundations for oily acne prone skin are the ones that combine makeup and skincare.
Do what you feel comfortable with. Use a beauty blender for even coverage. Make sure to wash it regularly to prevent bacteria. Press and dab the product on your skin gently, without irritating the skin. Or, use the good old method – clean fingers!