Best Foundations for Combination Skin: Reviews & Guide (2018)

Updated 6 years ago

Wearing makeup with combination skin is a real challenge that can make the most patient person loose their cool. How do you choose a foundation when some parts are too oily and others are too dry?

You need one of the best foundations formulated specifically for combination skin. They can mattify your oily T-zone and add dewy radiance to dry cheeks. Check out our reviews of the top foundations below to choose the perfect one for your needs.

How to tell if you have combination skin

Many people have combination skin. Besides having an oily T-zone on your forehead and nose, with dry patches under your eyes and by your jawline, here are other indications that you have it:

  • 20 to 30 minutes after you wash your face, some parts are shiny while others are not
  • The pores on your nose look much larger than the pores on your jawline and cheeks
  • Your T-zone reacts to the weather, so hot weather means even more oil
  • You’ve had both acne breakouts with dry spots at the same time

If that describes you, you may feel that you keep see-sawing back and forth, trying to find a balance with your makeup. Instead of buying two bottles or settling for either too much shine or too much matte, let’s take a look at the top foundations for combination skin.

The top makeup foundations for combination skin

We’ll begin with a favorite product that is very popular because it's inexpensive and it works.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Makeup for Combination /Oily Skin

Revlon’s ColorStay is water-based and non-greasy. It feels lightweight on your skin but provides good coverage. Revlon says its matte finish can last up to 24 hours.

It comes in a pump bottle, which is nice because it’s less messy and less exposed to bacteria. It contains titanium dioxide as a sunscreen and comes in 22 shades to match most skin tones.

Clinique Even Better Makeup Spf 15 Dry Combination to Combination Oily Skin

Lots of people love Clinique and have used their products for years. The Even Better Makeup Foundation comes in nine shades. It provides light to medium coverage and feels nice on skin.

L’Oreal Paris Ideal Balance Balancing Foundation for Combination Skin SPF 10

The L’Oreal Paris Ideal Balance Foundation is made for combination skin so it controls shine and still hydrates dry areas. Users say it holds up all day with minimal oiliness.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Teint Mattifying Mousse Matte Foundation for Oily Skin and Sensitive Skin

La Roche-Posay’s line of Toleriane products are made to help people with sensitive and oily skin—which is basically combination skin. The very lightweight Mousse Matte Foundation covers uneven skin tone and fine lines while it absorbs excess oil. It comes in 5 shades.

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

Rimmel’s Stay Matte Foundation is a light mousse that goes on creamy smooth that hides pores and skin discoloration. It sinks into skin and controls oil very well indeed. In fact, if you don’t want to have to blot or touch up your T-zone, this might be the perfect foundation for you. But don’t worry, the matte finish is dewier than it is dry-looking. It comes in 8 shades.

BOOTS No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation

BOOTS No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation comes in seven shades for pale to dark-medium skin tones. It’s designed to maintain shine under control for up to 12 hours. Users say it makes their skin look flawless even if they have acne or uneven skin coloring.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation SPF 15

MAC Studio’s Fix Foundation makes your face have a satin finish that lasts for hours. It stands up to humidity and sweat without letting oily zones become shiny. There are several shades available.

L'Oreal Paris Cosmetics Infallible Total Cover Foundation

Users who wear the Infallible foundation from L’Oreal Paris say it doesn’t melt even under duress for ten hours or more. It doesn’t look caked-on even though it does a great job of covering imperfections. It comes in 12 shades.

Jolie Mineral Sheer Tint SPF 20 Tinted Moisturizer (Medium) Foundation

Jolie’s Mineral Sheer Tint is a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen that acts as a lightweight foundation. It comes in 7 shades and is packed with ingredients to hydrate skin and fight signs of aging.

Jolie Mineral Liquid Powder Foundation SPF 15

Jolie’s Mineral Liquid Powder Foundation comes in 5 colors. It’s fluid, but its formula is loaded with minerals that set to a soft powdered finish. The ingredients include micro-diffusers that disguise large pores and keep oily areas shine-free. It looks best when applied with a brush.

Lumene Longwear Blur Foundation SPF 15 for All Skin Types Medium Coverage with Arctic Cloudberry

If you want to look like you have flawless skin, try the Lumene Longwear Blur Foundation. It’s medium, not full coverage, but its formula uses silicone to even out texture and color. Fine lines and pores seem to disappear. It comes in 5 shades for light to medium skin tones.

bliss Staycation Long Wear Liquid Foundation

The bliss Staycation Long Wear Foundation comes in 12 shades. Its full coverage hides pores, lines, and pigment problems all day long without budging. Users say even though it offers full coverage, it doesn’t feel caked on or heavy. It goes on very smooth and is buildable. .

e.l.f. Studio Flawless Finish Foundation SPF 15

e.l.f.’s Studio Flawless Finish Foundation feels like silk when you put it on and it feels very lightweight. But the coverage is good enough to disguise pores and uneven coloration. The finish is satiny matte and it lasts for hours even on oily skin.

Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte Plus Poreless Foundation Makeup

The Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte Plus Foundation does wonders for controlling excess oil in your T-zone without overly mattifyings your dry areas. Plus, it’s inexpensive and effective. There are 24 colors total so you can find the right color for your face. It’s water-based and buildable, and it doesn’t clog up pores.

Mary Kay TimeWise Matte-Wear Liquid Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin

Mary Kay’s TimeWise Matte-Wear Foundation is targeted for mature users who want younger-looking skin without a fake look. The formula not only controls shine, it stands up to humidity and perspiration. The addition of peptides and Vitamin E nourishes skin to help reverse signs of aging.

But if your favorite foundation is still struggling to keep up with your needs, you can benefit from two other steps: Primer and Powder.

Put a primer underneath foundation for the perfect look

Putting on primer under foundation ensures success, especially over the top of your T-zone.

DHC Velvet Skin Coat

Many users love the DHC Velvet Skin Coat’s transparent gel. It’s actually used by professional makeup artists.

theBalm TimeBalm Face Primer

Another popular product is the TimeBalm Face Primer. Funny name aside, this one is packed with vitamins and helps hide fine lines. Your makeup looks flawless longer even if you have mature skin. Use it with the theBalm TimeBalm Foundation.

theBalm TimeBalm Foundation

If you need to conceal fine lines and wrinkles without having to cake on makeup, use theBalm’s primer and foundation for long-wearing coverage. The foundation glides on smooth, so a little goes a long way. It’s designed to not irritate sensitive skin.

SMASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation Primer Unificateur Deteint

Anyone who spends time on camera has heard about SMASHBOX. Their Photo Finish Primer is very lightweight, perfect for use under one of their foundations.

Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Foundation

Smashbox’s Studio Skin is a long-wearing foundation that comes in several shades. It’s buildable so you can hide serious imperfections, or apply just one layer for medium coverage. The formula stands up to sweat and humidity, controls shine, and still manage to hydrate your face.

Powder to set the foundation

People with oily skin know the secret to managing makeup—they set it with powder to keep shine under control.

e.l.f. Perfect Finish HD Powder Sheer

e.l.f sells this Perfect Finish sheer powder that looks white in the compact but is transparent when applied. It’s very smooth and can extend the life of your makeup by hours.

Other accessories to maintain a flawless appearance

Sometimes a long day overwhelms the best makeup. And sometimes the way you apply it makes all the difference.

Natural Green Tea Oil Absorbing Tissues - 100 Count, Premium Face Oil Blotting Paper

If your oily patches are overwhelming your makeup, simply blot them with these all-natural oil-absorbing tissues.

Flat Kabuki Foundation Brush from Bella and Bear

This is a flat tip Kabuki, or stippling, brush for applying either liquid or powdered foundation. The synthetic bristles are silky soft and dense and don’t fall out easily. Get two and keep one washed and ready to use.

Make your skin the ideal canvas

When you apply your foundation, it will look better and last longer if you’ve prepared the canvas—your face—first. Wash your skin with a gentle cleanser, pat it dry, and apply a toner. Let that dry, then apply a light moisturizer. You can use one with sunblock if you like.

Wait a couple of minutes, then put on a primer. Some people only use it for their eye makeup, and that’s okay if that works for you. Primer on your oily zones can make all the difference in maintaining a shine-free surface.

When you apply your foundation, use clean hands, a clean brush, or a clean sponge. Start in the middle of your face and work outwards and downwards. Blend it onto your neck and décolleté for best coverage so it looks completely natural.

Set the foundation with a powder. A translucent powder won’t change the color of your makeup but it will fix it in place without making it look caked-on and fake. Carry blotting tissues with you if you know it’s going to be a long, hot day.


We hope you found the ideal makeup foundation today, the one that matches your skin tone plus help you maintain a radiant appearance all day long. Check back soon for new reviews of the best in beauty products.