PSA: If you’ve got temperamental skin (read: sensitive, oily, or acne-prone) and you’re not already using an oil-free foundation, you’re doing it wrong. The exclusion of oil means you’re less likely to get clogged pores or a breakout. Unlike oil-based products, coverage from oil-free foundations will feel more feather light and breathable. But not to worry — they’re actually equally as effective in the coverage department. The best oil-free foundations “generally, are more matte or natural looking and help to reduce natural oil [production] from the skin,” explains celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon to TZR.
Oil-free formulas are a particularly good choice during the hot summer months when makeup has a tendency to melt right off. “I love a good glow as much as the next person, but it’s nice to control it,” adds Aharon. Another noteworthy feature of an oil-free formula is that it really helps to eliminate the need for a setting powder. These drier formulas also tend to have more lasting power, meaning you won’t have to go back and reapply throughout the day (like you might have to with a dewier, oil-based one). “The less tending to my face (or any face) for excess shine, the better,” says the pro.
What Makes A Good Oil-Free Foundation?
When it comes to selecting the right oil-free foundation you want something that’s going to give you your desired coverage, something that’s going to stay put, and something that won’t further agitate any existing skin conditions. As you're perusing your options, make sure to read the ingredient lists. “The only way you can tell if a formula is oil free is if it’s written on the product. It usually says oil free non-comedogenic,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, Board Certified NYC Cosmetic Dermatologist and author of ‘Skin Rules’.
Some formulas will say right there on the bottle that it’s oil free, but a lot of times it’s not as obvious. You might have to actually read through the entire list to find your answer — some ingredients like sunflower seed oil or coconut oil should be red flags while other labeled ‘extract’ might be a bit more nuanced. Be especially careful to look out for and avoid foundations with essential oils hidden in the formula as they can be especially irritating for acne prone skin. Some options are almost completely natural, while others are filled with synthetic ingredients. What works for you might not work for someone else — that’s why it’s imperative to test out a few options yourself.
So if a clean, matte look (that continues to absorb oil and reduce shine as you wear it) sounds good to you, shop the best oil-free foundations below.
We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.