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Go-To-Guide on The Best Foundations (And Reviews) For Your Oily/Combination Skin

09 Oct, 2020
By Valda Noble
Still struggling to find your perfect foundation? We’ve got your back. An all-inclusive must-have guide on all the deets, inside info, real-life user reviews and ratings on 18 of the best affordable drugstore foundations for oily and combination skins…

Few of us are fortunate to find our holy grail foundation. It’s not surprising. Just who has the time, money - or desire - to try out masses of products, and eliminate them one by one? For most of us it’s a bit of a hit or miss affair. Our bestie swears by it or we trip over a rave review, and think, that’s the ONE. Only to be disappointed yet again…

It’s because everyone’s skin and needs are different. And if you have oily or combination skin, it can be more challenging than most to track down the best foundation just for you. That dreaded midday oil slick, disappearing makeup, slippage, creasing, patchiness and caking - you’ve most likely seen it all…

We’ve all been there. If you’re still chasing after that perfect look, feel and finish for your face, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about affordable drugstore foundations to help you make your choice. But first off, a few general tips to keep in mind when searching for the best liquid foundation for your oily or combination skin.
 
  • A matte foundation is the best bet for oily skins to help absorb all that oil and fight shine. Look for words like ‘mattifying’, ‘powdery’, ‘blurring’ or ‘pore-perfecting’. Be cautious of words like ‘luminous’ and ‘radiant’ that indicate light reflecting ingredients which can add even more unwanted shine to your skin, but are great to use if you’re not too oily and are just looking for a little natural glow.

  • Avoid products high in any form of alcohol. Yes - alcohol does dry out your skin, but it then overreacts by producing even more oil.

  • Opt for long lasting foundations which are less likely to fade or slip off during the day.

  • Even though it may feel your skin is all-over oily, most of us have combination skin (oily in the T-Zone, drier on the cheeks). A too-matte foundation on drier skin can look lifeless and lead to flakiness and clumps. Look for ones that mattify your face but with a more natural finish.

  • If your face is truly an oil slick, be aware that thin, water-based matte foundations with little added moisture content will not mix well with your oil. The result? Streaking, caking, patchiness and balling. And even though a foundation may tick all your boxes, it’s best to lock in long wear on a very oily skin by finishing with powder. You may also need an oil free primer.

  • While some mattifying foundations are good for acne prone skins, you want to avoid too many layers that can look like you’re wearing a mask. For the most natural finish, apply just one layer your foundation to even out your skin tone, then spot conceal to cover up all those blemishes.

  • Including an SPF in a foundation is a BIG plus in our sunny climate. The sun is by far the biggest cause of premature ageing and pigmentation problems. However, sunscreens used in the product may cause flashback in photos so be aware if you’re using it for a big event…

  • You may have heard of oxidation - when your foundation goes darker or changes colour (usually more orange) after a few hours of wear. It’s all to do with a combination of your skin oils, your moisturiser, the product’s ingredients (and age), plus exposure to air. Fortunately, oxidation doesn’t happen to everyone - it’s a bit of a hit or miss affair. If you’re prone, it’s best to try out a new foundation on your face for a few hours before you commit.

With all these ‘rules’, it’s no wonder that shopping for a foundation for oily and combination skin can be a nightmare; trying to find a formula that strikes a perfect balance between controlling shine while still leaving your skin looking fresh and healthy.

The good news? We’ve taken all that pain out of your pursuit for the best ever matte foundation for your skin. Here’s a complete summary and review of 18 of the best budget friendly liquid foundations for oily and combination skins available in South Africa. What they are (all matte and most long wear), how they can help your skin, their coverage, finish, shade range, their WOW (and not so wow) points, plus real-life user reviews and ratings - warts and all.

In alphabetical order…

Almay Truly Lasting Color Liquid Makeup

What it is: Long wear, lighter weight, matte finish with a natural glow.
How it helps: Hardworking foundation which lasts for 16 hours, even in heat and humidity. Light to medium coverage with skin loving vitamin E and lemon extract plus subtle brighteners to give you a naturally luminous and flawless glow. Hypoallergenic and fragrance free.
Coverage: Sheer to Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal; Sensitive
Shades: 7
Reviews and Ratings: Influenster: 4/5
WOW factor: Lots of rave reviews. Perfect coverage without the weight. Totally budge proof even in heat and humidity. Doesn’t cause breakouts. Hypoallergenic.
UMM factor: Limited shade range. Clumps on dry skin.
SHOP IT HERE

BioNike Defence Color Mat-Zone Mattifying Foundation

What it is: Mattifies and evens out skin tone, and keeps shine under control for a natural and radiantly alive skin.
How it helps: Gives a natural finish and minimises pores and imperfections, refining skin texture. Mattifies skin and keeps T-zone shine under control. Revitalises the skin tone for a radiant, healthy glow.
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Combination; Normal
Shades: 5
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.7/5
WOW factor: Fantastic finish - lightweight and natural. SPF 15.
UMM factor: Very limited shade range. Some comments about the fragrance.
SHOP IT HERE

Black Opal True Color Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation

What it is: Light buildable skin-like coverage. Comfortable matte finish. For all skin types.
How it helps: Promises picture poreless skin. Is lightweight and oil-free to seamlessly blend to provide flawless coverage with a high definition finish. Exclusive poreless technology helps minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, controls excess oil and renews skin natural radiance. Formulated with shea butter to soothe and hydrate skin.
Coverage: Sheer Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: All skin types, including sensitive
Shades: 12
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4/5 Influenster: 4.4/5
WOW factor: High end quality. Airbrushed, natural, poreless, skin-like finish. True-to-tone natural shade match. For all skins, including sensitive.
UMM factor: Mattifies to a point but oilier skins may need powder.
SHOP IT HERE

Catrice All Matt Plus - Shine Control Make Up

What it is: Acts like a second, invisible skin. Unwanted shine is controlled, complexion is mattified and skin is replenished.
How it helps: Controls unwanted shine all day long. Its silky texture is oil-free with full coverage to even out skin tones and hide imperfections. Light reflecting pigments ensure a silky, matte and flawless finish without a mask-like effect.
Coverage: Sheer Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 4
Reviews and Ratings: Influenster: 4.1/5
WOW factor: Affordable - really good value for money for day wear. Creamy matte picture-perfect finish. Doesn’t look mask like. Great beginner foundation.
UMM factor: Very limited shade range. Staying power not great. Not for very oily skin or T-Zone - can go patchy and flakey after a few hours wear. Can crease if not blended well. Some reports of oxidising.
SHOP IT HERE

Essence Stay All Day 16h Long-Lasting Make-Up

What it is: Long lasting for 16 hours
How it helps: Long-lasting with a smooth and silky complexion all day long. Its delicate texture allows a simple and even application for an indescribably beautiful look.
Coverage: Sheer Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Combination; Normal; Dry
Shades: 4
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4/5 Beauty Heaven: 3/5
WOW factor: Great affordable value for day-use. Lightweight sheerer type finish. Use Essence lightening or darkening foundation drops to create your perfect colour.
UMM factor: Very limited shade range if not mixing. Skin tone matching problems. Limited long wear. Can go patchy and some reports of ashiness and oxidation.
SHOP IT HERE

L’Oréal Infallible 24 Hour Mattifying Foundation

What it is: Up to 24hr matte without the flat. Air-light texture, Demi-matte finish.
How it helps: Achieve a matte finish that won’t fall flat. Air-light, longwearing liquid formula. Lightweight and creamy, goes on smooth with a demi-matte finish that lasts up to 24 hours - hiding imperfections for a smooth, clear complexion. High-coverage that gives a light-weight, non-cakey matte finish for up to 24 hours.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 6
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.5/5 Influenster: 4.4/5
WOW factor: Lots of raving fans. Amazing natural coverage. Transfer proof. Lightweight even though full coverage. Doesn’t dry out like other matte foundations. Good for photography.
UMM factor: Limited shade range. Can go cakey particularly on dry skin. Reports of oxidising.
SHOP IT HERE

Read More. The Ultimate Pro Guide on How to Do Foundation Perfectly

Max Factor Facefinity All Day Flawless 3-In-1 Foundation

What it is: A 3 in 1 with built-in primer and concealer for a long-lasting and flawless finish.
How it helps: Flexi-hold™ technology provides a full matte coverage that moves with skin all day and feels feather light. 24-hour wear, water-proof, touch-proof, sweat-proof, tear-proof, shine-proof and life-proof.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 15
Reviews and Ratings: Influenster: 4.2/5
WOW factor: SPF 20. Great lightweight coverage that lasts. Sits well on skin. Transfer proof.
UMM factor: Patchy and cakey on drier skin. Some slippage and oxidation on oily skin.
SHOP IT HERE

Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation

What it is: 16-hour wear. Matte and lightweight with soft powder smooth finish.
How it helps: Long-lasting and lightweight featuring exclusive silky matte powder spheres that glide evenly onto the skin for a flawless, soft-focus 16-hour matte finish.
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal; Sensitive
Shades: 7
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.2/5 Influenster: 3.8/5
WOW factor: Great wear time and velvety soft finish. Mattifies without drying skin. True to skin shades. Good beginner’s foundation.
UMM factor: Mix of love/hate reviews. Can be drying. Balling and pilling when building coverage. Caking on dry and uneven skin. Slippage on oily skin. Reports of oxidising and breakouts.
SHOP IT HERE

Read More. The Ultimate Beginners Makeup Kit: What You Need to Start Out

Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation

What it is: Matches skin tone and texture while mattifying skin and minimising pores.
How it helps: A lightweight foundation that mattifies and refines pores to leave a natural, seamless finish. Features micro-powders to control shine and blur pores.
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 14
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.5/5 Influenster: 4.4/5
WOW factor: Many rave reviews. Demi natural matte look. Great wear, lightweight and not cakey. Good shade matches; evens out to match skin tone. Works well for photographs.
UMM factor: Dehydrates, doesn’t blend well and cakes on dry skin.
SHOP IT HERE

Maybelline Superstay 24hr Foundation

What it is: Relentless, all day wear. Lightweight hi pigment coverage. Flawless transformation.
How it helps: Full coverage 24-hour wear with a flawless finish that doesn't fade or shift all day. Saturated colour pigments provide an ultra-transforming effect. Lightweight, yet high-impact coverage formula glides onto the skin for a flawless makeup finish that lasts all day.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 10
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.3/5 Influenster: 4.4/5
WOW factor: Lots of rave reviews. Really long lasting. Great for covering up for imperfections but not too thick and heavy. Transfer proof. No flashback.
UMM factor: Oily skin may need powder to last. Can cake on dry skin. Reports of oxidising.
SHOP IT HERE

NYX Can't Stop Won't Stop Full Coverage Foundation

What it is: Keeps skin looking flawless and matte all day long. Lightweight, long wearing and waterproof. Choose from 44 shades.
How it helps: Glides on smooth, delivering matte coverage and colour that stays true for up to 24 hours. Works to control shine and mattify your complexion all-day long. Transfer proof.
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Matte
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal; Sensitive
Shades: 44
Reviews and Ratings: Influenster: 4.4/5
WOW factor: Lots of rave reviews. Airbrushed, natural looking, flawless matte finish which lasts. Feels weightless and doesn’t crease. Controls oil and holds up in heat. Huge shade selection. Find yours with the NYX foundation shade finder. Vegan formula.
UMM factor: Can dry out skin. Some reports of breakouts, caking and creasing. Claim for all skin types but definitely not for dry skin - too mattifying and unforgiving.
SHOP IT HERE

Read More: Is THIS Actually the Secret to A Perfectly Flawless Look All Day?

NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation

What it is: Full coverage with a mineral enriched matte finish.
How it helps: The oil-free and water-based formula is perfect for both day and night time wear. Available in 19 shades.
Coverage: Sheer Medium
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 19
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 3.5/5 Influenster: 3.9/5
WOW factor: Lightweight thinner matte finish but good coverage and buildable. Find your shade with the NYX foundation builder.
UMM factor: Not full coverage as claimed or that long lasting. Can become patchy, cake and slip particularly on oily skin. Separates on dry skin. Shades biased to yellow spectrum. Reports of oxidising and product separation.
SHOP IT HERE

NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

What it is: Customize your coverage like a pro. Provides sheer-to-full coverage and a soft matte finish.
How it helps: Fine-tune this velvety matte foundation with the coverage you need using the dropper: simply adjust the number of drops until you create the look you are after. Want more coverage? Add more drops.
Coverage: Sheer; buildable to medium and full
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 24
Reviews and Ratings: Influenster: 4.2/5
WOW factor: Lightweight buildable coverage. Matte finish, wears well and long lasting. Soft velvety texture. Breathable and natural looking. Covers imperfections. Wide shade range. Vegan.
UMM factor: Doesn’t mix with oil-based primers. Can separate on face, dry and flake. Sponge blenders can be a problem; brush is a must. Not value for money if you want full coverage.
SHOP IT HERE

Revlon Colorstay Full Cover Foundation

What it is: Full coverage, fully matte, 24/7, without the heaviness
How it helps: Matte, mousse-like, full-coverage foundation that is never cakey. Feels lightweight and wears for up to 24 hours: heat- and sweat-resistant. Comfortable wear that moves with your skin; won’t cake you up or weight you down.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte
Skin Type: Oily; Combination
Shades: 14
Reviews and Ratings: Influenster: 4.2/5
WOW factor: Good coverage with very little product. Great matte finish, not drying, no caking, flaking or creasing. Great price.
UMM factor: Complaints about scent. Mixed reports on delivering full coverage. Reports being too thick and caking if use too much. Tricky to blend - use sponge not brush. Not transfer proof.
SHOP IT HERE

Read More. How to Use Makeup to Camouflage Those Bad Skin Days

Revlon Colorstay Makeup - Oily/Combination

What it is: Oil-free foundation that delivers a flawless matte finish for oily and combination skin, and wears for up to 24 hours. South Africa’s #1 foundation.
How it helps: Delivers a flawless matte finish for 24 hours, and is also oil-free and fortified with SPF 15, to help protect your skin. Buildable to full coverage; contains salicylic acid to balance skin.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Acne-prone
Shades: 18
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.6/5 Influenster: 4.3/5
WOW factor: Rave reviews. Excellent coverage, flawless lightweight finish and great staying power. Doesn’t cake. Heat proof; sweat proof. SPF 15. Great skin tone matches. Salicylic acid to balance oily, acne prone skins.
UMM factor: Some reports of not being transfer proof. Check for flashback in photos (includes titanium dioxide).
SHOP IT HERE

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25h Foundation

What it is: Instant perfect coverage that feels extra comfortable and lasts all day.
How it helps: Lightweight with medium, natural-looking coverage enriched with a comfort serum. Blending seamlessly onto skin, covers visible pores and imperfections, whilst helping to minimise unwanted shine. Skin looks fresh and dewy with a long-wearing, streak-free finish. Sweat, heat and humidity resistant. Transfer proof. SPF20.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte Dewy
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal; Dry
Shades: 18
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.6/5 Influenster: 4.1/5
WOW factor: Flawless dewy satin matte finish. Great natural everyday coverage and finish. Lightweight without heaviness. SPF 20.
UMM factor: Reports of wearing off and fading during day – needs powder. Could be too greasy for very oily skins. Some breakouts reported. Too heavy and cakey. Check for flashback in photos (includes titanium dioxide).
SHOP IT HERE

Yardley Even Complexion Foundation

What it is: Combines skincare benefits into a complexion perfecting foundation.
How it helps: Natural matte finish that leaves skin looking radiant day after day. Reduces the appearance of dark spots and evens out the skin tone. Contains porcelain flower extract and synerlight to keep skin hydrated. SPF 20.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte Dewy
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal; Dry
Shades: 8
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.3/5 Beauty South Africa: 4.0/5
WOW factor: Natural coverage, lightweight, not too dry, and moisturising for a glow. SPF 20.
UMM factor: May be too greasy for a very oily skin. Can cause flashback (contains zinc oxide).
SHOP IT HERE

Yardley Stayfast Foundation

What it is: Transfer proof, natural full coverage that lasts 24 hours.
How it helps: Longwearing, semi-matte coverage and non-smudge. Contains moisturising amino acids, vitamins and SPF 20. Hides imperfections and dark circles. Designed to use less product so lasts longer.
Coverage: Medium Full
Finish: Matte Natural
Skin Type: Oily; Combination; Normal
Shades: 15
Reviews and Ratings: Beauty Bulletin: 4.6/5 Beauty South Africa: 4.0/5
WOW factor: Great value for money - affordable and longer use-up rate. Good lightweight coverage and matte finish. Covers up blemishes. Transfer proof. SPF 20.
UMM factor: Comments about thick consistency and fading/flaking after a few hours. Very oily skin may oxidise - need to finish with powder. Can cause flashback (contains titanium and zinc oxides).
SHOP IT HERE

Read More. Valuable Tips on How to Use Concealers to Really Conceal

Wrapping it Up

A few points to note when you are using this guide…
 
  • The WOW and ‘not so wow’ UMM factors have primarily been extracted out of the user reviews so represent the thoughts and opinions of real people. But if they’ve had a bad experience, it’s possible they may have been using the wrong product for their skin type and it reacted badly.
     
  • Based on this, we’ve focussed on the skin types for which each product appears to be most suitable, so not all of these will match the brand claims.
     
  • For the finishes, again the user comments have been a guide. When only ‘matte’ appears, it generally means a perfect matte finish. When used together with natural, the finish will appear less flat, and matte dewy implies a slight natural glow to the skin (not an oil slick!).
     
  • Included are South African reviews from Beauty Bulletin and Beauty South Africa where available. However, as these number only a few, the Influenster and Beauty Heaven reviews were added to give a much broader overall viewpoint of user opinions. Average ratings may change online as more reviews are added.
     
  • If you have any comments, questions or queries about any of these or other foundations, please drop us a line here. We’d love to hear from you.
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