During my time as a beauty editor, I've learned a lot about skincare and makeup in general, but I've also made some important discoveries about my own skin and how it reacts to different products. Growing up, my skin was always extremely oily, something I spent years fighting with harsh scrubs and drying acne medications. Now, I find that my skin gets dehydrated but remains oily on the surface, which makes shopping for makeup products like foundation and concealer really tricky.
I finally learned that matte products just don't work well for me—they leave my skin even more dehydrated and looking flaky. I then turned to hydrating formulas that are still noncomedogenic and that seemed to do the trick. If you have a similar problem, keep reading. I spoke to a dermatologist to learn more about oily skin and how to choose the right concealer. Read on for the best options for oily skin types.
What a Dermatologist Recommends for Oily Skin
It may be obvious, but I'll say it anyway: Drying out oily skin isn't the solution. It's also important to understand the difference between, dry, dehydrated, and oily skin. Personally, I struggle with dehydrated skin that still becomes oily on the surface, making it tough to find the right concealer for my skin. Board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi sheds some light on this issue.
"Dry skin produces less sebum, the oily substances secreted by our sebaceous glands," she says. "Our skin needs lipids in oil to protect against external irritants, support the moisture barrier, and maintain hydration. Dryness refers to a skin type, whereas dehydration is considered a skin condition or state where skin cells lack adequate water, not oil. Oily skin types naturally produce more oil than dry skin types. It’s important to also note oil secretion is heavily influenced by our body’s hormonal climate. Dehydrated skin is mostly due to external factors that result in diminished water content within the skin, like dry weather. Now, if the skin is over-stripped with too many exfoliants or harsh cleansers, or if it becomes irritated, then it may signal the oil glands to rev up oil production to compensate."
There are several factors that determine your skin's oil production levels. According to Shirazi, the primary ones are genetics, stress, and hormones. But like I said above, over scrubbing or drying it out isn't the answer, either. "If you over-cleanse or over-scrub your skin, it will compensate by increasing oil production," says Shirazi. "It’s best to use lightweight moisturizers, water-based makeup removers, and gentle cleansers to maintain a strong skin barrier."
Finding the best concealer for oily skin depends on the factors mentioned above. It took me a while to realize that I needed a hydrating, noncomedogenic formula instead of a matte formula. If you also struggle with skin that gets dehydrated but remains oily on the surface, you may want to try one of the hydrating formulas below. Shirazi advises looking for hydrating formulas with humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Most importantly, look for a label that says "noncomedogenic." For some hydrating and matte concealer options, keep scrolling below.
Best Hydrating Concealers for Oily Skin
I've recently started using this Ami Colé concealer and I love its creamy and easy to blend texture. Most importantly, it doesn't dry out my skin. The nourishing ingredients like baobab seed extract, hibiscus flower extract, and pumpkin seed extract keep my under eye area perfectly balanced.
Saie Beauty's Hydrabeam is loaded with ingredients that help skin retain moisture like squalane, glycerin, and cucumber extract.
A favorite of makeup artists, Milk Makeup's Future Fluid is effective for both dry and oily skin. It features hyaluronic acid, caffeine, aloe vera, and arnica, along with ingredients that support and protect the skin barrier. I love that it hydrates without leaving a greasy film on my skin after a few hours.
Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind is a fan-favorite from the drugstore because it's crease-resistant, hydrating, and totally noncomedogenic.
Packed with hydrating squalane and protective vitamin E, this option from Rose Inc. is another great choice for those with dehydrated skin that still gets oily on the surface. It is buildable and creamy, while also being noncomedogenic.
The Dior Backstage Concealer provides a radiant finish, which may not be suitable for those with very oily skin. But I've found that it works well for my dehydrated skin that tends to get oily on the surface. The formula is smooth, hydrating, and contains caffeine to refresh the under-eye area.
Best Matte Concealers for Oily Skin
Although this formula is technically labeled as matte, I've found it to be pretty hydrating. It never dries out my under-eye area like some matte formulas do, never creases or flakes, and doesn't turn into an oil slick after a few hours either. It's the most-used concealer in my makeup bag at this point and is also a favorite of makeup artists.
"My favorite concealer for oily skin is Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer because it stays in place all day and does not move," says Sara Talias, a celebrity makeup artist. "With oily skin, products tend to slide and breakdown but Tarte Shape Tape is so long-wearing that it is ideal for oily skin. To make concealer last longer on oily skin, always set with a loose powder," she advises.
This Nyx formula is a true matte and works wonders for those who like a waterproof, full-coverage formula.
Fenty Beauty's concealer and foundation are fan-favorites for oily skin. The formulas are light and airy but leave a soft matte finish that won't crease or flake.
I love that this Make Up For Ever option leaves a natural matte finish—it never looks too cakey and is totally breathable.