- The best foundation for combination skin will depend on whether your skin tends more toward oiliness or dryness.
- Avoid formulas with extreme finishes such as ultra-matte or dewy.
- Use a foundation with ingredients proven to improve skin health, for added skin care benefits.
- Thoroughly cleanse your skin after wearing foundation to prevent clogged pores.
When choosing a foundation for this skin type, it is important to keep in mind that not all combination skin is alike.
Combination skin exists on a spectrum: some people have skin on the drier side with some oily areas, while others have the opposite.
The first step in choosing a foundation is identifying where you fall on the spectrum; this will help you find a product that will work best for your particular skin.
What Makes a Good Foundation for Combination Skin
The best strategy when choosing a foundation for combination skin is to find a product that works for most of your skin, then add extra steps to your makeup routine as necessary to address the problem areas.
Foundations are available in a variety of finishes ranging from ultra-mattifying to dewy and radiant.
If your skin is mostly dry, use a hydrating radiant formula to give your skin extra glow and then apply a setting powder over the T-zone to prevent shininess.
If you have oilier skin, you may choose a demi-matte finish, and ensure you apply plenty of moisturizer to the dry areas of your face to compensate for the mattifying product.
Avoid foundations with extreme finishes: an ultra-matte foundation can make dry patches of skin look dull, while a wet, dewy finish may appear greasy.
The better matched your foundation is to your skin’s needs, the better it will look and the longer it will last.
Ingredients to Look For
Whatever the unique needs of your combination skin, as a bonus, foundations are now packed with active ingredients proven to treat many skin issues.
Look for foundations containing nourishing, hydrating and anti-aging ingredients to improve the health and appearance of your skin.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a humectant, meaning it helps the skin retain moisture. While it occurs naturally in the body, its production decreases as the body ages. These levels can be restored by applying HA topically in a product, such as foundation to increase skin elasticity and hydration without causing shininess or breakouts.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide, has been demonstrated to reduce hyperpigmentation, blotchiness, sallowness, fine lines and wrinkles. Regular use of a vitamin B3 foundation can be a powerful anti-aging tool.
Vitamin E has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It smoothes the skin’s appearance, making it an effective ingredient to treat roughness and dryness in combination skin.
However, Vitamin E is often found in heavy, rich formulations designed for dry skin, so be sure to choose a product that is light enough for the oily areas of your face.
Peptides are amino acid chains naturally occurring in the body. They play a number of roles, including signaling to your skin to produce more collagen and elastin.
Regular use of a foundation formulated with peptides has anti-aging benefits that will improve the overall health and appearance of your combination skin.
A regular application of sunscreen is the most important part of your skin care routine. A two-in-one foundation with SPF can cut back on the number of steps in your routine while ensuring you do not forget to protect your skin from the damaging sun.
Most foundations containing sunscreen have SPF 15, which is enough protection if you spend most of the day indoors. However, when outdoors, wear a minimum broad-spectrum SPF 30 and reapply every two hours.
Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Combination Skin
When dealing with combination skin that’s also prone to acne, the solution is not a product designed for oily skin, but a balanced, buildable formula that’s both oil-free and hydrating.
Even if you have acne, a fully matte finish may appear too flat to use on combination skin. Try a demi- or semi-matte finish, which is one level closer to dewiness. A demi-matte finish leaves skin looking natural – neither oily nor dry.
A foundation containing salicylic acid (SA) can do double-duty as both a makeup and skin care product. SA kills the bacteria that causes acne to control current breakouts and prevent future inflammation.
SA also slows the production of sebum, the oil naturally occurring in skin. Reduced sebum isn’t always a desirable outcome when you have combination skin, as it may worsen dry skin on the cheeks.
That said, proceed with caution when using a foundation containing SA and know that it might not be suitable for everyone with combination skin.
Full coverage formulas
If you are experiencing acne, try a full coverage foundation. These mattifying formulas can thoroughly conceal blemishes; however, they are the heaviest type of foundation and may feel uncomfortable for some.
In addition to the more common liquid and powder formulas, you may consider a full coverage foundation stick, which works similarly to a concealer but can be used over the entire face and buffed out with a brush or fingers.
Best Foundations for Combination Skin with Large Pores
The first step to conceal large pores is to select a primer that works well with your combination skin. A primer evens out your skin’s appearance with silicone-based polymers and illuminating particles that fill in large pores and diffuse light across your face.
For foundation, liquid or creamy foundations can make the skin appear greasy and exaggerate the size of pores. Instead, choose a mineral powder foundation that will even out the surface of your skin and absorb excess oil and shininess in the T-zone.
Best Foundations for Sensitive Combination Skin
When dealing with sensitive skin, look for a sheer foundation that lets your skin breathe. Mineral foundations, available in both liquid and powder form, are a good choice.
Avoid any added fragrance, which can increase skin irritation.
How to Use Foundation on Combination Skin
Start in the center of the face and blend outward using a brush or dampened beauty sponge. To maintain coverage, you may need to reapply or touch up your foundation throughout the day.
As with any skin type, be sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin after a day of wearing foundation. Never sleep without first removing makeup, as it can worsen the issues of combination skin, such as acne and clogged pores.
If you’re comfortable going without foundation, it’s best not to wear it every day. An occasional day off allows skin time to breathe and can reduce the likelihood of breakouts and skin irritation.
Finding the best foundation for your combination skin is a matter of knowing your skin well and choosing a product that can increase its overall health.
Since your skin is neither very dry nor oily, try products with semi-matte, demi-matte or radiant finishes. Avoid ultra-matte or high-shine, dewy finishes that can make your skin look either too flat or too shiny.
Always apply foundation to clean skin and thoroughly wash it off at the end of the day. To optimize skin health, give your skin a break by not wearing foundation every day.