What Makeup is Good for Oily Acne Skin?

One of the most common questions I get asked has to do with what makeup is good for oily acne skin. This is probably because oily skin is the most prone to acne.  Teens, in particular, tend to have oily skin due to the hormonal changes they are dealing with during puberty.

The most important thing to look for in a makeup for oily skin is staying power. Most foundations and concealers seem to melt off as the day goes on, leaving all those blemishes out there for the world to see. The trick is to find a foundation and concealer that are relatively long lasting, then combine them with a good primer, such as Tarte’s Clean Slate, and a setting powder. The final, essential item is a good blotting powder or blotting sheets to carry with you throughout the day.

bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 FoundationMineral makeup is one great solution for oily skin since it doesn’t have most of the additives that liquids and creams have. My favorite mineral makeup brand for skin that is oily and acne prone is Bare Mineral Matte foundation. It doesn’t have the irritating and shimmery bismuth oxychloride of other formulations, and it helps absorb oil during the day. You will need to use the bareMineral multi-tasking concealer before and after applying the foundation if you have a lot of acne to cover. Finish everything off with some of their Mineral Veil.

Make Up Forever Foundation for Oily SkinAs a liquid foundation for oily acne skin, the overwhelming consensus among reviewers is Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation. It gives full coverage, controls shine, is both oil free and water resistant, and has a wide range of colors. Sound too good to be true? Well, I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it received an average 4 1/2 star out of 5 star rating from over 2,000 user reviews. It is definitely at the top of my list of foundations to try once the summer and hot weather comes around.

If you like a creamy foundation and have a lot of difficulty concealing redness and acne on your oily skin, consider Cover FX makeup as your ultimate concealer and long lasting makeup. Cover FX has a cult following of its own, since it has the widest range of skin tone shades I’ve ever seen. If you can’t find a shade to match your skin from this makeup line, you never will. Their Cover FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation tops the charts with its reviews and there is a great starter kit. It does have sunscreen in it, so if you are sensitive to chemical sunscreen this product is not right for you. However, it also contains calming ingredients to combat redness.

The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 piece)Cover FX has their own line of setting powders to go with your foundation that will make it last all day. You can get a complete kit, The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 piece), to get you started with the whole shebang. The main thing to remember with this foundation is that you must use a primer with it. Otherwise it will be difficult to blend since it is so thick. With such a great range of colors, you could just use it as a concealer on its own.

As a quick recap, here are the top makeup foundations for oily acne skin, based on our own tests and hundreds and hundreds of user reviews:

Mineral Makeup: Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals MATTE SPF 15 Foundation

Liquid Foundation: Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation

Cream Foundation: Cover FX The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 pieces)

MAC Blotting Powder for Oil Control

MAC Blot Powder for Oily Skin

Don’t forget to use a primer to protect your skin and to allow the makeup to go on smoothly and last all day. For extra coverage, you can use the concealers that go with each brand, or mix and match. Just remember that you can’t mix a powdery mineral makeup with a creamy concealer. The result would be a cakey mess.

P.S. I almost forgot the best part! Carry blotting sheets with you during the day to absorb excess oil. Or try the MAC Blot Powder, which we recently reviewed and fell in love with.


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The Best Acne Makeup

At Makeup for Acne, we are always searching for the best acne makeup.  Finding makeup that is safe for acne prone skin involves much more than just reading the label for ingredients.  Everyone’s skin reacts differently to specific ingredients and it is important to know this before blindly applying the latest product that everyone is raving about.  Know your own skin and what makes you break out.  Keep track of what is in a product that you have reacted to in the past.  Look for makeup and acne skin care products that have as few ingredients as possible.  And, most important of all, make sure you try out a new product on a small part of your face or neck to see what your reaction will be before putting it on your whole face.

A few of my favorite products:


Tarte Clean Slate Natural Face Primer

Clean Slate Natural Face Primer


Benefit Hello Flawless Custom Cover-Up with SPF 15

Hello Flawless Custom Cover-Up with SPF 15

Tarte Cosmetics Smooth Operator SPF 20 Foundation
Smooth Operator SPF 20 Foundation (1.7 fl oz.)


bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 Foundation

bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 Foundation Fair


bareMinerals Mineral Veil SPF 25

bareMinerals Mineral Veil SPF 25


Tarte The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer

The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer


Kinerase Clear Skin Moisture Light

Kinerase Clear Skin Moisture Light

Some of the products I list are not necessarily designed or marketed for acne prone skin, but I’ve had great results with them.  In fact, many makeup products that are made specifically for acne can aggravate your skin further if you are already using an acne treatment.  Ingredients like salicylic acid, often added to acne makeup, can overdry your skin if you have already applied something like benzoyl peroxide. Consider your own skin’s sensitivity and how dry or oily it is before selecting a product.

Have fun trying out different makeup!

-Sharyn

P.S. I often go to the sites advertised on the right to explore reviews on different products. Don’t just listen to sales associates in cosmetic stores. They are often just promoting the latest makeup they’ve been trained on. Use the websites online to get real user reviews. You can always return something if it doesn’t work out for you.

Meet Matte: Bare Minerals Matte Foundation

I did a review of Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Matte foundation not long ago. Recently, I came across this video that Bare Escentuals must have created when they first introduced their matte foundation. It’s so funny that I had to share it with everyone. I didn’t know they had such a sense of humor. It looks like a fun place to work. Take a look if you need a laugh.

You can read my Bare Minerals Matte Foundation review if you want to learn more about this product. It’s great as makeup for oily, sensitive skin with acne.

P.S. This foundation has no bismuth oxychloride, in case that is an issue for those of you with very sensitive skin.

Watch the founder and creator of Bare Escentuals, Leslie Blodget, discuss her bareMinerals makeup and Rare Minerals lines.

You can purchase bareMinerals and Rare Minerals at our Makeup for Acne Store by clicking on the Mineral Makeup category.  Alternatively, click on the link below to buy the Get Started Kit:

bareMinerals Get Started Kit ($174 value)

bareMinerals Get Started Kit

There is a lot of competition over whether mineral makeup or airbrush makeup is the best makeup for acne prone skin.  I have always loved Bare Escentuals bareMinerals makeup, (also referred to as bare minerals or bare essentials).  However, with all the hype around air brush makeup systems I felt it was time to give one a try.

I decided to try the TEMPTU AirBrush Makeup System since I could get a demonstration at my local Sephora store.  My first thoughts on looking at the system was that there was no way I was going to use something that complicated, that big, or that expensive.  The salesperson assured me that it would not be difficult to use.  There was nothing she could do about the expense since it is a standard price and no discounts are offered.

It was easy enough to find a shade, even for my pale skin, so I cleaned off the makeup I was wearing and we began.  There was no need for a primer since it is built into the foundation itself.  As the salesperson applied the airbrush makeup, all I felt was a cool breeze.  It did not feel like I had any makeup being applied.  However, when I looked at my skin in the mirror it looked absolutely flawless.  No redness and nothing in my pores.

She then proceeded to apply highlighter, blush and bronzer using the same air brush machine.  Again, my skin looked perfect.  I just had to let it dry before touching it.  The one thing I did do was pat the area around my eyes, since I had scrunched up my eyes a bit and the makeup had wrinkled there.  Patting it down a little took care of that issue.

After letting the makeup dry for a little while, the only thing I did was apply some of my bareMinerals Mineral Veil for a little oil absorption.  I think the illuminating finisher from the TEMPTU looked a little too shiny for my liking and my Mineral Veil gave it a better feel.

Many hours later and lots of running around and my skin still looks fantastic.  I think this is an excellent system for anyone looking to get a flawless, natural finish. For people with acne, this is an especially good system since it does not get into your pores and will not make you break out.  The downside is the expense.  At $225 for the airbrush machine and $55 for two pods of makeup, it is difficult to decide whether to lay out the money.  My plan is to use my bareMinerals for general every day use and use the air brush makeup for going out at night, when I need a little extra coverage, for a big event, or when I know I will be on the go all day.  For you, that might mean a wedding, anniversary, prom, bar mitzvah, job interview, corporate event, or anytime you want to look your absolute best.  Of course, you will look gorgeous in any photo – without the touchups of Photo Shop!

Read my review of the TEMPTU AirBrush Makeup System to learn more about the benefits of airbrush makeup for acne prone skin and where you can buy the TEMPTU system.

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