The 12 Absolute Best Foundations For Oily Skin

Everyone loves a good glow, but if your oil glands are already over-producing, which results in a not-so-cute shiny t-zone, you want to stay away from super dewy foundations. Instead look for a matte, oil-free, water-based formula to balance-out your skin’s oil production. From the drugstore hero to the most luxurious formulas in the game, ward off a shiny forehead with these H20-happy foundations.

Dior Forever 24h Wear Matte Foundation

Introducing: An Instagram filter in a bottle. This foundation offers buildable-slash-medium coverage with a texture that feels velvety and smooth on your skin. The formula is full of pansy extract, which is a a super hydrating ingredient that will give dry skin a healthy glow.

Shop $52

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

A Rihanna-approved foundation that diffuses every pore on your face and doesn’t move all damn day? Yes, please. Not to mention that I use this foundation frequently, because my T-zone loves to get super shiny, and the bottle lasts me so long.

Shop $36

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation

This is the newest foundation the brand added to its lineup that beauty lovers can’t stop talking about at the moment. Everyone’s loving the silky-soft veil it leaves behind on the skin, covering dark spots, redness, and other ailments in seconds. Its oil-free blend of ingredients— ceramides, peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid and squalane—are all magic words when it comes to boosting moisture.

Shop $32

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

The brand’s most natural-looking foundation, this sheer, easy-to-blend cream will give you medium to full coverage depending on how you layer it. Oil-free and formulated with coconut water and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin moisturized, just be wary that it’s not too too dewy or hydrating if you have suuuper oily skin.

Shop $40

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15

The mixture of hydrating and light-reflective elements in this Bobbi Brown formula will make your skin look especially dewy, plump, and radiant in the morning. It’s a favorite of beauty fiends who want more of a lightweight, sheer finish.

Shop $50

Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation

Milk Makeup’s easy applicator uses a tip that minimizes any exposure to air (meaning your foundation will stay fresher than ever) and eliminates drips that waste your precious money. Making the K-beauty blurring trend easier than ever, the product uses light-diffusing technology to create a poreless, airbrushed effect.

Shop $40

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF 15

This formula is expensive, but not for nothing as it really does deliver on its “post-facial glow” promise. Made with mineral from the deep waters of Bretagne (fancy!), it brightens the skin by reflecting light to eradicate facial shadows, resulting in a glowy soft focus finish.

Shop $77

Burberry Fresh Flow Luminous Fluid Base

Burberry’s illuminating pearlescent primer can be worn on its own or mixed with foundation to create a dewy glow that never reads too shiny or sparkly. If you’re looking to add radiance to a dull winterized complexion before summer, this is your stuff.

Shop $48

MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation

Finding that happy medium between providing soft, yet solid coverage without drying out the skin, this water-like, gel-serum foundation works on ALL skin types and provides SPF 30 protection. Plus, it comes in a cool dropper bottle.

Shop $36

Cover FX Natural Finish Oil-Free Foundation

In more than 20 shades, you’re bound to find your perfect match with this super-blendable, long-wearing formula. It’s also very concentrated, so a little bit of product goes a long way, ensuring you get all the bank for you buck.

Shop $42

Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup Foundation

A beauty editor favorite, if you’re in the market for au naturale day-to-day coverage, this is your stuff. It has that “your skin, but better” look down to a science with a water-based gel formula that blurs away imperfections while delivering sheer to medium matte coverage.

Shop $43

L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup

This drugstore steal is notorious for being *amazing* for normal to very oily skin. Its fluid, silk-like texture goes on smoothly and will let your natural complexion show through while still diffusing uneven skin tone, blemishes, and T-zone shine. It also comes complete with SPF 17.

Shop $11

MARIECLAIRE article

How CeraVe Became The Budget Skincare Brand Beauty Editors Go Wild For

It’s difficult to articulate exactly what makes a universally beloved beauty product, but whatever it is, skincare brand CeraVe has it. Having launched in 2006 in the US and finally arrived in the UK in 2018, few faces that have tried a CeraVe product have not liked it. Before it crossed the pond, British beauty journalists were known to return from work trips to the US towing suitcases loaded with CeraVe products. Now, it’s the fastest growing brand in health and beauty, with a total estimated retail value of over £31 million.

Over Zoom, one of the founders of the brand, Tom Allison, explains that a big clue to its success is in plain view on the utilitarian packaging. “Under the CeraVe logo, it says ‘developed by dermatologists,’” he says. “In 2004, we brought together a panel of dermatologists who are considered the world experts in ingredient formulation design and asked them what they would create were they to start a skincare brand themselves. They pointed us to ingredients called ceramides.”

At the time, skincare fell into one of two camps: so gentle it wouldn’t disrupt sensitive skin, or so thick and occlusive that skin had no option but to not dry out. Ceramides, which had been extensively researched and scientifically supported by clinical papers, offered a solution to these two extremes, and one that would work for all skin types. “If you imagine the skin is a brick wall, skin cells stack up on top of each other like bricks, and there is mortar that holds the cells together. Half of that mortar substance in skin is comprised of ceramides,” explains Allison. “Put simply, you don’t lose water through the skin cells themselves, but rather through the cracks between them – also known as barrier dysfunction.”

The CeraVe range is built on ceramides, which explains where the “Cera” in its moniker came from. The “Ve”, meanwhile, comes from MultiVesicular Emulsion (MVE), a clever delivery technology in each formula that escorts ingredients to exactly where they need to be within the skin – no mean feat given our skin is a defence machine that doesn’t let any old thing through its walls. “It delivers six times the amount of active ingredient to skin, in comparison to an identical formulation without MVE – and it’s patented and exclusive to us. [Skincare] brands that just have water as an ingredient in their dropper bottle formulations? There’s no thought into the actual delivery of the ingredients into the skin,” Allison says.

Allison and his team understand that today’s customers can see through a poor formulation. In this hyper-connected age, we are more skin-savvy, understand the specific benefits of each and every ingredient, and know what the skin needs. As a result, transparency is king. “Our product development process gives us a leg up, since the dermatologists we partner with are considered subject matter experts when it comes to ingredient and formulation designs,” says Allison. “Transparency drives trust with the consumer.” 

Since a lot of skincare now comes with a lofty price tag – and sometimes for dubious formulas – CeraVe’s affordable, efficacious (and luxurious) formulas are refreshing. All products – even the jumbo sizes – cost less than £20, with the bestselling Hydrating Cleanser a steal at £15 for a large 473ml bottle. “CeraVe delivers performance while still driving accessibility,” adds Allison. “We define accessibility in two ways: easy to find at your local store or e-commerce site, as well as value for formulation design and size of format.” Big tick on both counts. 

Since the brand puts an onus on creating a product that appeals to dermatologists – its “most important customer” – it’s not just the formulas that are important, but how easily their clients can get hold of them. If a dermatologist is to recommend a product to a client to use consistently, they need to know it’s affordable and easy to find – especially since most clients are paying to visit the dermatologist in the first place, and will often be forking out for prescriptions, too. Accessibility also comes from the fact that there is a formula for every skin type, race and age.

The brand can afford to sell its excellent formulations at a great price because it forgoes the big budget celebrity advertising and paid influencer posts that so many brands subscribe to. Instead, it lets the products speak for themselves, and ultimately, word of mouth is the biggest driver of sales. You only have to take a quick glance at TiKTok to see thousands of videos offering organic testimonials and before-and-after photographs featuring the brand’s products. “We are not making as much money as other skincare brands, and L’Oréal [which bought the brand in 2017] knows that, but it’s okay because we perform and that’s really all that matters,” says Allison.

So, what to try first from the brilliant budget brand beauty editors can’t get enough of? Well, if this article hasn’t already communicated just how brilliant the cleansers are, then it’s not done its job correctly. The Hydrating Cleanser is an excellent all-rounder that effectively and gently removes make-up and grime, leaving all skin types happy and hydrated. The recently-launched Hydrating Cream-to-Foam cleanser, meanwhile, is designed for those who like the sensation of a foaming formula, but with the sensibility of the hydrating cleanser – it uses amino acids, rather than surfactants, so won’t strip the skin like most foaming formulas do. Oily skin types will love the SA Smoothing Cleanser thanks to the 0.5 per cent concentration of salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates clogged pores. 

The rest of the range is brilliant, too. Everyone should have a Facial Moisturising Lotion in their repertoire, whether their skin is acneic, and even the Salicylic Acid Foot Cream is a must-buy.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser was developed with dermatologists to cleanse and refresh the skin without over-stripping it or leaving it feeling tight and dry. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a gentle face wash with ingredients like three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, to help restore the skin’s barrier and retain hydration. It also includes the patented time-release MVE Delivery Technology for all-day hydration. This non-comedogenic face wash is an effective yet non-irritating way to start off any skincare regimen for normal to dry skin.

Buy on Amazon $23

CeraVe Smoothing Cream

A salicylic acid cream is an effective way to improve skin texture by exfoliating, softening and smoothing very dry skin. From scaly skin on the legs to bumps on the backs of the arms, smooth skin starts with eliminating dead cells. The ideal cream for rough skin contains salicylic acid, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ceramides. We recommend a hypoallergenic, non-irritating moisturizer like CeraVe SA Cream for Rough & Bumpy Skin to help improve skin texture.

Buy on Well.ca $20

CeraVe Moisturising Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream acts as both by effectively hydrating as it helps restore the skin’s protective barrier. Developed with dermatologists and ideal for dry and very dry skin on the face and body, this rich, non-greasy, fast-absorbing moisturizing cream features three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and the patented time-release MVE Delivery Technology for all-day hydration. Suitable for sensitive skin, this oil-free and fragrance-free ceramide cream also helps the skin hold on to moisture while improving its look and feel.

Buy on Amazon $8

Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser

Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser begins as a cream before transforming to a soft foam when you begin to lather it on the skin with water, and effectively removes dirt and makeup without stripping the skin’s natural moisture or leaving it feeling tight and dry. This gentle, fragrance-free formula features three essential ceramides, amino acids and hyaluronic acid, which work together to help maintain the skin barrier and lock in moisture.

Buy on Amazon $18

CeraVe Smoothing Cleanser

A gentle salicylic acid cleanser can help exfoliate and smooth your skin while also effectively removing oil and dirt, sweeping away dead cells, and softening rough skin—without leaving skin feeling dry. Cleansing with CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, a salicylic acid cleanser enhanced with barrier-restoring ingredients like ceramides, can help keep moisture in while keeping irritants out.

Buy on Amazon $19

VOGUE article