Main content

The Secret to Applying Foundation When You Have Oily Skin

A photo of a woman smiling in a full face of makeup and red lipstick

Like many things in life, knowing how to expertly apply foundation takes a little practice. Mastering the craft requires some beauty education, time, and—perhaps most importantly—an understanding of your skin type and the products that work best for your complexion.

In this article, we’re discussing foundation for oily skin, specifically, including what sort of skincare steps you should take first, how to use both powder makeup and liquid foundation to your advantage, and how to ensure your foundation lasts all day long.

Address Your Skincare Needs First

Before thinking about makeup and foundation for oily skin, you’ve got to first dive into skincare. Balancing your complexion is priority number one. To do so, you’ll want to subscribe to a gentle skincare routine that promotes hydrated skin while reducing excess sebum production.

Infused with skin-loving ingredients such as ceramides, peptides, and colloidal oatmeal, Confidence in a Cleanser removes oil, dirt, impurities, and makeup without making your skin feel dry and tight. After cleansing, saturate a cotton pad with Bye Bye Pores Leave-On Solution Pore-Refining Toner and sweep across your face, focusing on the T-Zone. The formula—which includes kaolin clay, silk, coconut water, and salicylic acid—helps visibly mattify skin by absorbing excess oil and controlling shine.

Afterward, don’t forget to moisturize your skin with an oil-free moisturizer. Confidence in a Gel Lotion Moisturizer is a lightweight formula that delivers 72 hours of hydration and leaves your skin radiant and primed for foundation.

Pro Tip: For oily skin, we recommend incorporating a product with glycolic acid at night, such as Bye Bye Pores Glycolic Acid Serum. This powerful serum helps reduce the look of pores while gently exfoliating for smoother-looking skin.

Apply an Oil-Free Primer

For some extra grip and to help keep oil at bay, you’ll want to apply a makeup primer. Our favorite makeup base is Your Skin But Better Makeup Primer+ Oil-Free which features IT Cosmetics' proprietary All Day Grip Technology to extend the wear of your makeup. At the same time, it helps pores look smaller so your foundation goes on seamlessly. After moisturizing, simply apply a thin layer directly to your skin with clean fingers or a makeup brush.

Choose the Best Foundation for Oily Skin

With your prep work complete, it’s time to move on to makeup! When trying to find the best foundation for oily skin, both powder and liquid will work. It’s ultimately just a matter of finding the formula you love and checking the ingredients to ensure it’ll work for your complexion and not against it.

When using liquid foundation, stick to an oil-free formula that helps control oil throughout the day, such as CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40. This full-coverage foundation delivers a poreless, natural-looking matte finish while camouflaging blemishes, dark spots, and redness from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and rosacea. Plus, it’s been clinically tested* to reduce shine and control oil for up to 12 hours.

Oily skin before and after photo - IT CosmeticsCaption: These before and after images shows how CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40 can create the look of a shine-free finish.

We recommend Your Skin But Better CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder if you prefer a powder foundation. This sheer-to-full coverage powder is packed with blurring pigments that essentially act as a real-life filter to conceal pores, dark spots, and other imperfections. Plus, it's infused with skin-loving ingredients such as hydrolyzed silk and collagen, niacinamide, and peptides. It delivers a skin-softening, flawless effect.

Apply & Blend Your Foundation

Application is super important when it comes to applying foundation on oily skin. For liquid foundation, apply one to two pumps to fully prepped skin. Next, use a complexion brush—such as Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection #7 Makeup Brush—and start blending the product onto your skin in gentle, sweeping motions.

Continue blending until your foundation is completely smooth and even. If you need to, you can apply a second layer to areas that may need more coverage. For a flawless finish, use the smaller end of the brush to blend around your nose, eyes, and mouth.

If you’re using a powder foundation, swish your Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder Brush #8 into the compact and gently sweep over your face until you’ve covered all areas. You can go back in with a second layer if you like. Either way, make sure to blend well!

Set Your Makeup

Setting your foundation is a must if you have oily skin. Bye Bye Pores Pressed Setting Powder—which is now available in extended shades—not only keeps your makeup in place, but it delivers a smooth, natural matte finish that blurs the look of imperfections. As a bonus, the formula features skin-loving ingredients such as silk and antioxidants.

For upkeep throughout the day, you can spritz a makeup setting spray such as Your Skin But Better Setting Spray+. Consider it a midday treat that delivers soothing hydration, extended makeup wear, and glowing skin.

Heads up! We’ve rounded up some of the best ingredients for blemish-prone skin. Which ones are you using already?

*Results observed in a clinical study.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device