Oily Skin? How to Choose and Use Foundation That’s Right for You


From treating breakouts to controlling shine around the T-zone, taking care of oily skin can be tricky. Another challenge? Finding an oil-absorbing base product that stays put past lunchtime. To help solve this foundation frustration, we turned to Derek Selby, International Director of Artistry and Education at Cover FX. (The entire Cover FX line is oil-free, so you could say he’s the guy for the job.) In addition to offering up some of his must-have makeup picks, Selby also shares tips for keeping oily skin healthy—while keeping excess grease in check. Hint: your cell phone needs a bath and white pillowcases are your new best friend.

Prepping the skin

“Foundation only looks as good as the skin underneath it,” says Selby, “and for oily skin, this means balancing the complexion’s natural oils, not stripping them away.” A simple skin care routine is best, Selby recommends, as too many products can make oiliness even worse. To start, use an exfoliant with salicylic acid, a natural ingredient derived from willow bark that has anti-inflammatory properties, and can be found in most acne-fighting cleansers. Selby recommends avoiding products with artificial fragrances added, too, because they can lead to breakouts.

And remember that proper hygiene is crucial for controlling excess oil—clean your makeup brushes regularly, wash your facecloths after every use, and don’t forget to sanitize your cell phone with an antibacterial wipe often. Selby also has a clever way of keeping tabs on your skin. “Sleeping on white pillowcases can tell you a lot about your skin,” he explains. “It’s easier to see oil and residue, and you’ll launder them more often.”

Finding your foundation

So which foundations are best if you’re prone to greasy skin? The answer is simple, according to Selby: a pressed mineral foundation. “About 90% of my clients with oily skin prefer this type of foundation,” he says. “It helps minimize shine and has a lighter, more natural look.” Cover FX’s formula is especially well-suited for oily complexions as it contains hydrating ingredients like vitamin F and omega 3 fatty acids, as well as kaolin, an oil-absorbing clay found along the Amazon. The key is to not overdo it. “People make the mistake of re-applying powder throughout the day as they get shiny, which just adds extra pigment and unnecessary coverage.” Translation: cakiness ensues. To avoid this beauty blunder, Selby tells his clients to leave the powder foundation at home, and instead pack extra blotting papers.

Try: Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation, Anna Sui Oil Control Paper & Case


Those with oily skin tend to have larger pores, so it’s important to even out the skin first with a mattifying primer. Next, Selby recommends dusting the face with a blotting powder using a flat foundation brush (sponges tend to dispense too much product). Once you’ve prepped your canvas, use a clean brush to apply foundation in light, gentle strokes. “For areas with more oil, you can use a ‘press and roll’ motion to soak up more of the oil,” Selby explains.

Try: Cover FX Mattiying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment, Cover FX Blotting Powder, Cover FX Liquid Foundation Brush or Wayne Goss Brush 01

Featured Products