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How To Apply Makeup on Oily Skin and Make It Last

It all starts with finding the right products for your skin.
  • Clare Holden
May 03, 2024

If you have oily skin, chances are good you’ve spent plenty of time looking for makeup that’ll actually last without sliding off by 3 pm. Finding the best foundation for oily skin is a good start—but how you prep your skin for your makeup application (and set it when you’re done) is of equal importance.

Whether you favor matte makeup or like a glowy (but not greasy) look, we can help. Here, we’re sharing a simple makeup routine for oily skin that will actually stay put. Plus, you’ll discover some of our favorite makeup for oily skin, from foundations to concealers and more. All the details, ahead.

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What Type of Makeup Is Best For Oily Skin?

Makeup isn’t one-size-fits-all—the “best” formula for you may not work the same for somebody else. That said, there are a few things to consider when seeking out makeup for oily skin.

If you’re prone to shine, consider opting for matte-finish products, as these will help to keep your skin looking balanced. It’s also a good idea to stick to makeup that’s oil-free and non-comedogenic, especially if you’re prone to clogged pores and breakouts. You can use more luminous, dewy-finish makeup—just take care not to overdo it, as oily skin already has a bit of a sheen.

Is Liquid or Powder Foundation Better for Oily Skin?

Those on the hunt for the best foundation for oily skin will quickly find that there are several different types of formulas to choose from (though powder and liquid are the most common). Neither is objectively better than the other; the right pick for you depends on your personal preferences.

Powder foundations are drier and may have a more matte finish than their liquid counterparts, making them ideal for those who want to diminish shine. They’re also compact, portable, and easy to apply, so they’re useful if you anticipate doing touch-ups throughout the day. Liquid foundations, meanwhile, are more versatile and tend to offer more coverage. However, there are many different liquid foundations to choose from—and dewier, glowier options may not be ideal for those with oilier skin.

Our Favorite Foundations for Oily Skin

If you have been searching for a good foundation for oily skin with no luck, check out a few of our top picks below.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation

This lightweight foundation for oily skin ticks all the boxes: It’s non-comedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free; suitable for all skin types; and offers medium coverage with a flattering, skin-like finish. Plus, the hydrating formula comes in 47 shades spanning warm, cool, and neutral undertones equally. If you need help nailing down which shade is right for you, we suggest checking out our article How To Find Your Perfect L’Oréal True Match Foundation and Concealer Shades. You can also see what it looks like on skin below.

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L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

If you’re looking for a foundation for oily skin that can last you all day, we suggest trying the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. The creamy formula applies smoothly and delivers up to 24 hours of demi-matte wear for a smooth, clear-looking complexion. Apply it with a foundation brush for a full-coverage finish, or use your fingers to sheer it out for a more skin-like effect.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Hyaluronic Tinted Serum

For those who favor a lighter base, we recommend this serum-foundation hybrid. The tinted formula fuses skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid with sheer mineral pigments for lightweight coverage that looks radiant and natural. Plus, the skin-focused serum helps hydrate and smooth skin over time for a more radiant, luminous-looking complexion.

5. Reach for skincare-makeup hybrids

There are quite a few products that can help you achieve dewy skin, but there’s one product combination we recommend to anyone who will listen: Mixing an illuminating primer with moisturizer for the perfect makeup-meets-skin care moment.

Try mixing a pea-sized amount of the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer with a nickel-sized dollop of the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream. The former will give you a hint of pigment and tons of glow, while the latter deeply hydrates and helps plump the skin.

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L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder

There’s no risk of a cakey finish with this powder foundation. The weightless formula covers like a liquid while providing a blurred matte finish that still feels breathable and light. Plus, the powder is oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it a great foundation for oily skin (it’s even suitable for acne-prone skin!)

5 Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

If you want to keep your makeup looking fresh all day, here are some makeup tips for oily skin to keep in mind.

1. Prep your skin

Don’t buy into the myth that moisturizer is optional if you have oily skin: all skin needs hydration to look (and feel) its best. If you have oily skin, however, you’ll want to reach for a lightweight, non-greasy formula. We like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream. The water-based formula absorbs quickly, leaving the skin feeling hydrated and plump, not greasy. Plus, it won’t clog your pores, so you don’t have to worry about waking up to an unexpected breakout.

2. Use a makeup primer

When you have oily skin, chances are you’ve experienced a midday makeup meltdown before. Applying a makeup primer before layering on your foundation can help make your makeup grip better, making it less likely to slide off. We suggest starting your makeup routine for oily skin that’ll help your makeup grip and minimize shine. Try the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter, which instantly mattifies unwanted shine and helps visibly rebalance the skin over time.

3. Reach for matte formulas

As we mentioned above, both powder and liquid foundations have their merits—it’s up to you to determine which type of foundation best suits your needs. That being said, if keeping oiliness at bay is your main priority, we suggest reaching for a mattifying formula. These will help control the excess shine that can interfere with your makeup’s staying power. If matte makeup really isn’t your thing, then try a natural-finish foundation for a balanced, healthy-looking complexion that’s neither flat nor visibly oily.

Keep in mind that for a seamless makeup application, you’ll also want to consider the formulas of the other face products you use. Liquid and powder makeup layer equally well over liquid foundation, but if you opted for a powder foundation, we suggest staying on theme and using powder products for the rest of your routine. Layering liquids or creams over a powder base could result in a patchy, disjointed finish.

4. Don’t skip setting spray

To keep your look in place all day, finish your makeup with a spritz of L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray, spraying it in an “X” and “T” motion to cover every inch of your face. The non-comedogenic setting spray is designed to help keep your makeup looking fresh all day long.

5. Touch up with blotting sheets

If you find your skin looking shinier than you’d like, you can use a blotting sheet to help minimize the appearance of excess oil. These absorbent papers help soak up excess oil to mattify your skin—without disrupting your carefully-applied makeup. Throw a pack in your purse for midday touch-ups and you should be able to tackle any shine that crops up throughout the day.

Next Up: How To Apply Liquid Foundation For a Smooth, Streak-Free Finish

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