Sometimes your skin is dry. Sometimes it’s oily. Sometimes it’s both. If this sounds like your complexion, you probably have combination skin. Most people with this skin type will notice midday shine on the T zone, while their cheeks tend to be parched and flaky, so finding that Goldilocks product can be tricky to say the least. Pick something that’s too hydrating and you’ll look like a grease ball by 5 p.m. Apply a foundation that’s too matte, and it can make your dry areas look even drier. So we went on a hunt to find the best foundation for combination skin and here are 15 products that create total harmony.
Dryness and Oily T-Zones Be Gone, Here Are the 15 Best Foundations for Combination Skin
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Best Foundations For Combination Skin At A Glance:
- Best Shade Range: Fenty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
- Best Budget-Friendly Foundation: L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Makeup
- Splurge-Worthy Foundation: Chantecaille Future Skin Gel Foundation
- Most Lightweight Foundation: Chanel VITALUMIÈRE AQUA Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Sunscreen Makeup
- Best Cream Foundation: BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
- Best Drugstore Foundation: Revlon Colorstay Makeup for Combo/Oily Skin
- Best Matte Foundation: L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24-Hour Liquid Longwear Foundation
- Best Full-Coverage Foundation: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation
- Best Multi-Tasking Foundation: ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation
- Best Hydrating Foundation: Too Faced Born This Way Undetectable Medium-to-Full Coverage Foundation
- Best Longwear Foundation: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation
- Best Powder Foundation: Bareminerals Matte Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15
- Best Dewy Finish Foundation: Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation
- Best Foundation Stick: Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick
- Best Full-Coverage Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
Best Shade Range
Why We Love It: Buildable coverage, sweat and humidity-resistant, 50 different shades
We loved this foundation the moment its 40-shade range hit shelves in 2017. But our obsession has only grown over time. As the name suggests, it really stays on for the long haul and creates the kind of poreless finish we never thought was possible. We’ve worn it during a heat wave in the middle of August and can vouch that it’s neither too matte nor too shiny.
Best Budget-Friendly Foundation
Why We Love It: Oil and fragrance-free, easy to blend, 45 different shades
This under-$10 drugstore staple contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin and dimethicone to keep dry patches in check, while also minimizing excess oil production. It even packs in vitamin E, which maximizes sun protection when combined with SPF. One enthusiastic reviewer goes so far as to call it the best foundation she’s ever used. She goes on to say, “I have sensitive skin with a combination between dry and oily. This foundation is very lightweight, and IMO, it is perfect for us women who love a more natural appearance.”
Why We Love It: Oil-free formula, soothes irritated skin, barely-there feel
Two words: gel foundation. This hydrating formula delivers moisture deep down into the skin without using oil, which means it won’t cause your oily zones to look even slicker. It’s also made with reflective pigments that provide adjustable coverage, so you can go heavier on blemishes and lighter on dry patches, while skincare-level ingredients (like aloe, chamomile and arnica) soothe and calm irritation. One reviewer also mentions that it melts seamlessly into her skin, leaving her face with a beautiful glow all day.
Most Lightweight Foundation
Why We Love It: UCB protection, a little goes a long way, has a glowy, radiant finish
Thanks to its thin, water-like consistency, a little bit goes a long way. A few drops provide full coverage that feels light and hydrating without creating too much excess oil. One happy customer says, “I’ve tried several brands over the years but this is by far the best coverage with a light, airy feel that doesn’t leave my pores clogged.” Chanel-level perfection for $50? Yes, please.
Best Cream Foundation
Why We Love It: Has SPF 30, hydrating formula, buildable coverage
Another gel foundation that bridges the gap between matte and dewy, this BareMinerals productblends seamlessly with both dry and oily areas for flawless, non-cakey coverage. But don’t take it from us; take it from the 5,026 positive reviews on Ulta, which are all along the lines of “I can’t remember the last time new makeup made me so happy.”
Best Drugstore Foundation
Why We Love It: Controls oiliness, up to 24 hour wear, buildable coverage
This one is specifically formulated to stay put on combination skin all day long. It won’t slide off oily spots or look cakey on dry patches thanks to its just-right matte finish that controls shine without sucking the moisture out of skin. Plus, it’s been around forever. One reviewer says she’s been wearing it for over 25 years and always comes back to it whenever she strays, saying, “It’s the right price, right color selection and formulation. I personally don’t think you can beat this.”
Best Matte Foundation
Why We Love It: Matte finish that doesn’t become cakey, sweat and heat-resistant, non-transfer formula
While we don’t condone wearing foundation for a full 24 hours, this formula would certainly stay on for that long. Aside from its impressive wear time, its patented Shine Defy Blotting Spheres, which control oil all day without the need for blotting papers, are also something to write home about. An Ulta employee says, “Having worked in prestige cosmetics at Ulta for two years, I’ve tried all of the best-selling foundations, and this is still my number one.”
Best Full-Coverage Foundation
Why We Love It: Formulated with SPF 25, smooth application, wide shade range
Think of this formula as the matte stepsister to the brand’s ever-popular Luminous Silk foundation. It’s formulated with the same Micro-fil technology that creates a full-coverage finish with a lighter-than-air texture that won’t leave dry areas looking cakey. One loyal fan says, “This is the only foundation I have 100 percent faith in (and I’ve tried a ton of foundations). I have oily skin in the summer and combo skin in the winter, and this works with both!”
Best Multi-Tasking Foundation
Why We Love It: SPF 40, formulated with hyaluronic acid, plumps and hydrates the complexion
Mattifying, glow-inducing and hydrating all at once, this clean beauty standby is combination skin’s dream come true. Bonus: Its nontoxic, skincare-packed formula is so lightweight, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing any makeup at all. One PureWow editor wrote a whole ode to it, saying, “Its superfine pigments blur imperfections and practically erase my pores for an airbrushed finish that looks like my skin, but better.”
Best Hydrating Foundation
Why We Love It: Formulated with hyaluronic acid, has a dewy finish, long-lasting formula
Contrary everything we learned in middle school, oily skin needs hydration too. And this foundation is packed with both coconut water and hyaluronic acid to deliver a one-two punch of moisture without leaving your T-zone looking shiny. It does, however, create a naturally dewy finish, so you look glowy, never chalky. One reviewer emphasizes that it provides great coverage without a caked-on look, while another applauds its formula for not making her combination skin break out.
Best Longwear Foundation
Why We Love It: Helps to control oil and shine, water-resistant, minimizes imperfections
If you need your foundation to last from 6 a.m. SoulCycle through post-work dinner plans, this 15-hour long-wear formula is it. Not only does it stay on for all your waking hours, it also controls oil throughout the day to minimize shine without looking cakey or flat. One reviewer lives and breathes by its staying power, saying, “I got an entire 11-hour day of wear out of this foundation without it breaking apart or separating on me.”
Best Powder Foundation
Why We Love It: Feather-light feel, won’t clog pores, longwear formula
There’s a reason this loose powder has thousands of positive reviews: It works on all skin types. Thanks to its mineral base, it helps mattify shine and blur imperfections naturally. Plus, the powder consistency means you can easily build up coverage in oily spots and go lighter on dry spots to minimize the appearance of flakes.
Best Dewy Finish Foundation
- Why We Love It: Gives the skin a glowy finish, even coverage, lightweight formula
OK, so your T-zone tends to be on the oilier side but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a foundation that gives you a little glow where you want it. This one from Charlotte Tilbury is super lightweight (no pilling here!) and helps minimize any texture on your skin, so pores and fine lines are smoothed out as if you put on a filter.
Best Foundation Stick
- Why We Love It: Natural-looking finish, weightless formula, non-cakey
Foundation sticks might feel a little intimidating to use at first, but they really shouldn’t be. In fact, they give you more control over where you place the product, giving you as little or as much coverage as you see fit. This formula in particular is easy to build, so you can go from sheer to full coverage in just a few swipes. Plus, it looks and feels like a second skin once it's blended in.
Best Full-Coverage Foundation
- Why We Love It: Oil-free formula, up to 24 hour wear, wide shade range
Allow us to present a longwear foundation that delivers full coverage without any caking on your skin. It’s light, it’s breathable and TBH, it feels more like a tinted moisturizer that actual foundation once applied. The highly pigmented formula is especially useful if you're prone to blemishes or have uneven tone, since it softens any imperfections without looking like you have on a full face of makeup on.