How to choose the Right Makeup Foundation for Oily Skin

Updated: Jan 19

Finding the right foundation for your specific skin type can be a serious challenge. Listen, I can feel your pain, especially when it comes to oily skin. There are so many options out there but don't stress, I am here to help you. Today I am addressing the oily skin type. oily skin is a challenge for Makeup artists for you the customers alike. Nothing stays, shiny face, oily sticky product with less favorable consistency applied to your face, trust me, it can be a headache to deal with.

Foundation, as the name suggests, is the foundation for laying down your makeup. It gives an even skin tone, provides coverage, hides those sneaky blemishes, as some people would say "flaws", gives your face a smoother texture and a medium for which the other makeup products applied. Choosing the right one will ensure you address these issues.

Having a good skincare routine helps to reduce the amount of work you have to do when putting on your makeup. Doing a proper C.T.M routine twice daily keeps your skin free of oils and clogged pores. See my earlier post where I share my daily skin care routine on Cleansing, Toning, and Moisturzing.

First, you need to know what is oily skin.

Oily skin results from an excess of sebum production, an overproduction of sebum is known as seborrhea. how do you know your skin type is oily? You have:

  • enlarged, clearly visible pores

  • a glossy and shine texture

  • thicker, pale skin: and unlike normal skin, blood vessels

  • people with oily skin type most times present acne.

Things that can make oily skin worse include stress, diet (High ingestion of greasy foods), Poor Hygiene (Failure to cleanse the skin periodically), etc. Read more; learn how to Cleanse, Tone, and Moisturize. I explained further the different skin types in this post, 5 skin types you should know.

Oily skin and makeup

I usually don't recommend that people with acne wear makeup, there may be problems that may arise later. Most times people with oily skin present acne, once there are signs of irritation, redness, and clogged pores. Foundation and concealers make cause further breakouts by locking in those clogged pores. Once you follow the right C.T.M procedure this should clean your skin. I recommend oil-free products. Gel-based cleansers are also a good start along with toners that help to eliminate blackheads.

Many people don't like to put powder on the entire face, but remember to apply a powder to your T-Zone (forehead, nose bridge, chin) these are the areas most affected in people with oily skin.

How to choose the right foundation that matches your skin tone?

everyone in the business knows where to do this test, and the best places to test whether a foundation is a match for your skin is your neck or jawline. Some people use the inside aspect of the arm but I prefer the neck and jawline because the tone of your arm usually varies greatly from that of the skin closer to your face.

If it’s leaving a whitish cast on your skin or if it’s making you look darker, then it’s the wrong shade. This also works because your skin tone will vary through the year and also vary in different areas of your face.

Remember to use a slightly darker shade foundation whenever you are in doubt. Choosing a lighter shade will give you a chalky look, have you looking like a ghost, or as we say in Jamaica a "Duppy" haha

You Must Identify Your Undertone

Now that you've identified that your skin is oily, let's look at your tone, after all this is a characteristic of your skin, right? Take a good look at your bare skin, is it golden? (yellow toned) or rosy (pink-toned)? If you have that golden look, you have a warm undertone, and if you are rosy in color, you’re probably what we call cool-toned. We say you have a neutral undertone. If it’s a combination of the two.

Over the years some makeup professionals have devised another method to figuring out the undertone of their clients, which is now taught in all makeup Schools. What they did was to look at the color of the veins, if they appear deeper purple or bluish, you will likely fall in the cool-toned. If your veins appear greenish, you’re warm-toned. Now how to pick the right foundation?

Now that wasn't so difficult, was it? Once you’ve determined your skin’s undertone, it will be easier to shop for your foundation, trust me you will get the one that's best for you. Some makeup brands have warm-toned and cool-toned labels on the foundations which makes them even easier to identify.

Bellow are some foundations used I always have ready in my artillery ready for my shoots;

NARS Sheer Matte Foundation

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation, Espresso

Guys don't be afraid to mix your foundation. It's fine, mix foundations together from various brands but if you mix a matte finish foundation, be sure to use the same texture foundation but in another shade. Other makeup artists can agree with me that it is ideal to used more than one foundation shade because the face naturally has many different tones, this you will blend to achieve that uniform finish.

In the video above, the model had a dark cool tone which I had to use two different brands of liquid foundations I have shown above, Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation, Espresso and NARS Sheer Matte Foundation I used these two to get her tone. She also has oily skin so they were matte.

Here are some other foundations that are known by "all" most makeup artists or makeup enthusiasts; I've tried all of these and they are all good for oily skin types.

L'Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Longwear Foundation

This product is oil-free, Matte, medium buildable, long-wearing, and comes in 22 different shades. Give it a try.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation Makeup, Natural Beige, 1 fl; oz; Oil-Free Foundation

This product is matte, Medium buildable, semi-long stay, in 40 shades not to mention it is oil-free. I started out in makeup artistry using Maybelline products. You can't go wrong with them.

COVERGIRL TruBlend Matte Made Liquid Foundation

This foundation is oil-free Matte, medium coverage, long-wear that comes in 40 shades.

L.A. Girl Cosmetics LA PRO.mattte HD.highdefinition long wear matte foundation

Another brand I enjoyed using when I just started out in the industry and still use is L.A. Girl. I use all their products but the foundation is just smooth. the one I have here is Matte, but it's not oil-free, it's a long-wear that comes with 24 shades. There are so many oil-free foundations out there to choose from but this matte one can be used if you can't find any.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Can't Stop Won't Stop Foundation, 24h Full Coverage Matte Finish

This foundation is also oil-free, matte, full coverage, long-wearing and comes in 45 shades to suit your beautiful tone.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin

Revlon Colorstay is oil-free, matte, medium-full, long-wearing, and comes in 43 shades. Note; this foundation can also be used for combination skin types as well.

Makeup foundation powders are usually great as well, they nullify the shiny look, some great foundation powders include;

Here are some Dos and Don'ts for makeup and oily skin;


  • Practice a skincare routine( cleanse your face twice daily, it's important)

  • Use a good moisturizer

  • Use non-comedogenic products on your face (non- acne-causing products)

  • Always clean your makeup brushes regularly


  • Touch or play with your face unnecessarily

  • Sleep with makeup on your face

  • Over-exfoliating your face

  • put your makeup on without an Oil- control primer

Primers form a protective layer between your skin and your makeup which helps to prevent makeup from clogging your pores. So now you know, they do not only extend the wear time of your makeup but also reduces sebum production and keeping your skin looking cool and matte.

Sleeping with makeup on causes your pores to clog and aids further breakouts. we don't want that do we?

To make your foundation last longer is not to forsake your skincare routine, guys, I can't stress this enough, moisturizer is like makeup holy water. Dehydrated skin tends to compensate by producing excess oil, which causes the main issue people with oily skin face "Acne". Add a lightweight gel-based moisturizer to your routine, such as the Paula's Choice RESIST Super-Light moisturizer, do this twice a day. It will do wonders.

Listen to me, when it comes to applying makeup, the secret lies in the prep! Guys prep, prep, and do more prep, lol. No matter what your skin type is, moisturizing is essential, using a primer is mandatory if you want your face to look and feel gorgeous all day long.

Please Consult A Makeup Professional

I know that a professional Makeup artist or someone who knows the ins and outs of makeup are sometimes hard to come by, you can sometimes find a knowledgeable person at the drug store who knows a little about makeup. This is especially helpful for all you beginners. Some brands also offer testers to interested customers, and you can test it out over a few days in mirrors and different lighting and also see how it photographs.

Now that you have a fair idea about how to choose the right foundation, here are a few things you should keep in mind during it!

  • Be sure to get the right application tools, when you have the right tools, be it a simple rounded foundation brush or a full makeup kit – purchase high-quality tools, these produce a seamless even look.

  • If you want your face to look natural, to avoid the so-called "Instagram Mask look " always apply your foundation sparingly to specific parts of your face that need an even tone. Don’t splatter your face with too much foundation.

  • Instead of adding setting powder every second once you notice a shine, always have blotting papers to remove extra oil. This prevents you from looking like you plastered your face with too much makeup.

Lovies, look, there are many foundations for oily skin to choose from out there, you just need to pick one and try it. This list is good for those of you who are just starting out in makeup artistry. it gives you some insight into the brands that are widely used and their spectrum action. Stay fabulous


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