Foundation for Oily Skin Is Tricky-I Asked Makeup Artists for All Their Secrets


Even though I’m absolutely obsessed with makeup (I’m beauty editor, duh) and even though I’ve personally tried what feels like hundreds of primers and foundations on my own oil- and acne-prone skin, I am not a professional. I don’t prep celebrities and models for red carpets, photoshoots, and runways. There are hundreds of secret tips I’ve never laid eyes or ears on, and perhaps most importantly, the only canvas I’ve ever worked on is myself. Unlike, say, celebrity makeup artists who work with countless tones, textures, and skin types on a regular basis. (At least, pre-quarantine, anyway.)

Although we’re midway through summer and oily skin feels especially relevant right now (the grease simply won’t stop!), acne, oil, and excess shine is a year-round dilemma for those of us who naturally veer more slick and slippery. And if you can relate, you already know how tricky it can be to apply and wear foundation with natural-looking yet budge-proof success. To lend a helping hand in the form of secret-spilling beauty intel, I recruited two of the best makeup artists in the business, Bob Scott and Tasha Reiko Brown. Not only are they sharing eight of the best foundations for oily skin, but they’re also sharing the most important application tips to make said foundations sing the second they touch your face. Keep scrolling! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the best foundations for oily skin and beyond lay just ahead.

Tip #1: Always apply your foundation on hydrated skin.

“If you skip hydrating your skin after you cleanse, your body will overcompensate by pushing more oil to the skin to hydrate itself,” Scott explains.

To keep your skin topped up with moisture, he suggests equipping yourself with certain essentials like hydrating mists, hyaluronic acid serums, or gel-formula moisturizers, which are lighter in weight and better suited for oily skin types.

Tip #2: Invest in a foundation primer and makeup setting spray.

According to Scott, oily skin tends to shed foundation faster and more easily than other skin types, so he recommends using a foundation primer and a setting spray to give your foundation application even more stamina.

“I love the primer from Pat McGrath Labs, and Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray-their All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder is also amazing for oily skin.”