Best foundation and primers for oily to combination skin

Now this is a topic I could go on and on about but I’m only going to focus on foundation and primers. I suffer with hormonal acne and as such tend to have combination skin. I’m also fair skinned so finding a foundation that is right for me is really hard. In the last 3-6 months I have splurged out a several products just to find out what is the best. I’m no makeup artist or skin expert all the below products have been tested by myself.


Foundations come in many varieties and range from budget to luxury. The choice you need depends on your skin and the coverage you want. Most acne sufferers want a full coverage and a matt foundation which can lead to become cakey if too much is applied. You need to strike a happy balance when applying foundation to make sure you don’t apply too much make up to look like you’re wearing a mask. You should still be able to look like you when wearing foundation. Most professional makeup artists random the less is more approach. Apply a thin layer of foundation (after a good primer) then touch up the areas needed with either foundation and/or concealer. Always make sure to set your foundation afterwards. I will do another article on powders Vs sprays.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation £29.50

The videos on the CT website showed fantastic results. I was immediately sucked in and purchased myself a CT foundation. The packaging it arrived in was really cute and I got some free lipstick samples. The foundation is quite heavy and despite all my best efforts it just looked cakey every time I applied it. I tried applying it with a brush, fingers and even a sponge. The matt finish effect only lasted a couple of hours at best then started to melt off my face.

Lancome Skin Perfecting Duo £38.00


Oh lordy what a terrible mistake. I purchased this on a whim travelling back from Belfast. I saw it on offer in duty free and thought oh why not I’ve been meaning to try a new foundation for ages. It comes with the coverage corrector and foundation. You apply the corrector first then the foundation. The corrector was far too creamy and looked awful under the foundation. Not an ideal option for oily or combination skin.

BareMinerals Original £26.50

Avoid avoid avoid if you have oily skin. Just avoid all mineral powders full stop unless you want a cakey complexion. Honestly it is not a good look. It’s a false sense of security, mineral products are good for the skin but not for those with oily skin. It might look nice as soon as you’ve applied but and then added the mineral veil for sealing but within an hour or even walking out the house it will start to fall apart.

CLOSE SECOND: Vichy Dermablend 3D Correction £21.50

Now this is an expensive little tube of colour. It is made by skin care manufacturer and is suppose to help your skin whilst covering up your imperfections. It does provide a seamless finish but not that great around big pores.  I would say this was more like an expensive CC cream than a foundation.  It’s definitely a good choice for work if you just want quick fix coverage. It’s best applied with the fingers. Alternatively you could double up your foundations and use this on areas needing more coverage. If applied with a decent concealer brush to the blemishes it does give ok results.

TOP PICK: Boots No7 Protect and Perfect £16.50

I was sceptical about retrying this product. In the past when the first colour match was brought out it kept identifying colours that made me look yellow so I avoided it for a few years. I got another colour match and this time I was happy with my choice. Applied with the primer I am getting a near all day wear out of the foundation with only the odd powder touch up.  I get a very oily forehead about half way through the day but a little dab with a towel and light coating of powder solves that. However, nothing will stop makeup melt in 30 something degrees.  I found the best brush to apply this with was the EcoTools Foundation Brush.

LOWEST RATING L’Oreal Paris 24H Infallible £9.99

You’ll probably need to purchase two shades to get the right blend. It’s an ok brand but it has down sides such as colour matching. It’s ok as a round the house foundation but not so much for all day wear or evening wear. The light shade is a little too ghost white even on my pale complexion. Eventually goes cakey when you start to go oily.


The type of primer you need will depend on A) your skin and B) the foundation you wish to apply. Try to have the same base finish for both to avoid your foundation slipping off.

TOP PICK Boots Airbrush range £16.50

Works well with the No7 protect and perfect range. There are four choices available depending on the foundation and your skin. I opted for Airbrush Away Pore Minimising Primer. I tried the free sample pot from my purchase during the boots advantage card points event. It helped my foundation stay put all day. Unlike some primers I didn’t breakout after a couple of hours. I do find that I can only apply primer to my checks and t-zone. If I apply on my chin its irritates my skin a little too much.

Illamasqua Hydra Veil £32.00

This primer is enriched with lots of skin loving loveliness vitamins C and B3. It’s also vegan friendly.

Although it is an extremely great quality primer it doesn’t work well with combination skin. It would be lovely on my sister’s skin as she has the odd breakout.

LOWEST RATING BareMinerals Prime Time £22.00

Works well with BareMineral products but not so much others. It states that it’s good for combating excess oil and fine lines but it just made my skin oilier and sat in my 11’s frown lines.

GREAT FOR EYES: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion £18.00

This one is great on the eyes, it’s on the expensive side for its size but it does what it says on the tin.  If you have oily skin you really must have a primer on your eyelids. It will help stop your eye shadow from melting away leaving a crease line.

Katherine  xo