The 11 Best Foundations for Combination Skin

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When you have combination skin, it can feel like your complexion is bipolar. Your T-zone may produce loads of oil, but your cheeks may feel as dry as the Sahara. So how are you supposed to choose a foundation that makes your whole face happy?

Look for an oil-free formula that contains enriching ingredients to hydrate drier areas, suggests celebrity makeup artist Molly R. Stern. It should have the ability to build up fuller coverage as needed in drier areas but stay sheer in oilier places where skin needs more breathing room, she says.

Combination skin can also have different tones, so Stern often mixes two shades of foundation to follow the natural cues of skin for the most glowy look. That could mean blending two hues for underneath the eyes and the center of face, where skin tends to get shinier and shift tone, for a more authentic look.

Here are some of our favorite foundation picks for combination skin.

2/12 Photograph courtesy of CoverGirl
CoverGirl Outlast Stay Luminous Foundation

If most radiance-boosting foundations leave you with shiny skin, try CoverGirl’s oil-free and non-greasy version that delivers a luminous finish all day. (And that’s not just a claim—we tried it, and it really did last!) The pump keeps your fingers away from the product so it stays hygienic and fresh longer.

Buy it: $13, ulta.com

3/12 Photograph courtesy of Smashbox
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water

The beauty balm (BB) trend has left many a combination skin frustrated, since formulas often don’t control oil or provide deeper hydration for dry patches. But Smashbox uses a primer water technology in its new BB cream that's good for controlling oil and moisturizing dryness. First you shake the product, then you release a few drops to blend into silky smoothness with your fingertips.

Buy it: $42, smashbox.com

4/12 Photograph courtesy of Jay Manuel Beauty
Jay Manuel Beauty Skin Perfector Foundation

Makeup haters will love this super-lightweight formula that boasts buildable coverage. Each foundation is made with crushed gemstones and diamond dust to refract light for a real-life take on Instagram filtering. Plant-based antioxidants give both oily and dry areas of skin a refreshing treatment.

Buy it: $38, jaymanuelbeauty.com

5/12 Photograph courtesy of Neutrogena
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20

The natural finish of this silky-light foundation is ideal when you want the confidence of some coverage without looking like you’re wearing makeup. Nutrients work to improve skin’s radiance, tone, and texture for an even look across both oily and dry sections of your complexion. Plus, it’s a multitasker with SPF 20.

Buy it: $14, drugstore.com

6/12 Photograph courtesy of Lancôme
Lancôme Miracle Cushion

The popular Korean beauty trend of cushion foundation comes stateside with Lancôme’s take on it. Gently press down with a sponge to release a lightweight formula ideal for combination skin that contains both hydrating and brightening benefits for a dewy, glowing finish.

Buy it: $47, lancome-usa.com

7/12 Photograph courtesy of Josie Maran
Josie Maran Matchmaker Powder Foundation SPF 20

The new powder version of Josie Maran’s best-selling Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation blends on with medium to full coverage that sets to a smooth, matte finish. Argan oil in this case can provide combination skin with light, lasting hydration that is often needed when weather turns cold.

Buy it: $34, sephora.com

8/12 Photograph courtesy of Rimmel London
Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation with Comfort Serum

If you’re in search of affordable full coverage, Rimmel’s latest foundation contains a serum that hydrates dry areas while maintaining integrity over oilier spots. The brand claims a sweat-proof, humidity-proof, and heat-proof formula packed with antioxidants and vitamin E to keep skin looking fresh for 25 hours.

Buy it: $7, walmart.com

9/12 Photograph courtesy of Suntegrity
Suntegrity Tinted Moisturizer + Face Primer BB Cream SPF 30

This BB cream-primer hybrid offers nourishment for dry patches, while providing a solid base for applying makeup over oilier areas. The coverage is sheer, and it's got SPF 30. 

Buy it from our e-tailer Rodale's: $45, shop.womenshealthmag.com

10/12 Photograph courtesy of Tarte
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15

Solid full coverage foundations tend to dry out combination skin. Tarte’s iconic version is oil-free and formulated with Amazonian clay to absorb oil throughout the day, while keeping drier areas comfortable with hydration from a form of hyaluronic acid. We love the wide variety of shades offered in the line.

Buy it: $39, tartecosmetics..com

11/12 Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Nude Makeup SPF 15

If large pores are one of your main beauty concerns, Elizabeth Arden’s breathable foundation minimizes the look of them both immediately and on a deeper level over time. Vitamins and antioxidants protect drier areas of skin, while the pigment technology helps color stay put on oilier areas.

Buy it: $39, elizabetharden.com

12/12 Photograph courtesy of Orlane
Orlane Teint Absolu Treatment Foundation No 12

Luxury beauty lovers, take note: Orlane’s complexion-evening foundation gives dry patches a deep hydration boost with lightweight hyaluronic acid that also serves to volumize skin’s surface for a firmer look and add a radiant-yet-matte finish to oilier areas. No wonder it’s a celebrity red carpet favorite. 

Buy it: $70, orlane.com

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