12 Foundations That Won't Slip, Smudge, or Slide Off of Oily Skin


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

Here's the thing about choosing a foundation for oily skin: It has to look good (ideally like your skin but better) and stay put. That second part is more complicated than it sounds. After all, oil and makeup rarely mix. Anyone with a slick T-zone knows how the wrong foundation can slip, smudge, or completely slide off your face over the course of a day. Add in heat, humidity, and a lack of setting powder or blotting papers, and it's a real challenge. 

The key word there was "wrong" foundation. The right ones won't do any of those things; they'll perfect the look of your skin and stay put without dissolving into a makeup mess. Some will even control oil and shine so you don't have to constantly blot your skin throughout the day. Ahead, see the 12 best foundations for oily skin, according to a celebrity makeup artist. 


(Image credit: @amaka.hamelijnck)

What to Look for in a Foundation for Oily Skin

Celebrity makeup artist J Guerra says there are four things to look for. First, choose an oil-free formula. "These are typically designed for oily skin types specifically," he says. "They provide coverage and perform like other formulas without adding extra oil to the skin." Second, choose a formula with a matte finish. "This will help control shine and give the skin a more refined surface without adding any unwanted glow or shine," he adds. Third, choose a foundation that's labeled noncomedogenic, which means the product is not likely to clog pores. Guerra says, "That's especially crucial for oily skin, which can be more prone to breakouts." Finally, look for claims like "long-wearing" or "24-hour wear." Guerra says these formulas are designed to last longer and can stand up against oil production better than other foundations.


(Image credit: @sasha.mei)

According to Guerra, powder foundations are the best bet. "Mineral-based, loose powders or compact powder foundations can be excellent options for oily skin. They leave a matte finish, are lightweight, and absorb excess oil. Touch-ups are also much easier and more convenient. Just be sure they're finely milled for the best finish," he says.

As for specific ingredients, check the label for salicylic acid, silica, and dimethicone. The first one can treat breakouts, the second one can absorb oil, and the third one creates a smooth surface for a flawless-looking complexion. On the flip side, Guerra recommends avoiding isopropyl myristate, which makeup artists call IPM: "It can exacerbate oiliness, clog pores, and even lead to severe breakouts." 

Best Overall: Armani Beauty Power Fabric + Longwear High Cover Foundation

Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.