Combination skin has nothing to do with deciding if you want fries and soda with your burger to make it a "combo." It's referring to the fact that your complexion doesn't just have one concern. Some areas of your skin, like your T-zone, may be excessively oily while the rest is overly dry. The struggle to keep everything balanced is exactly why it's tough to find makeup products that work with your complexion, instead of making the situation worse.
"People with combination skin tend to see more oil buildup in their foundations, especially in the T-zone area, including the forehead, inner parts of the cheeks, nose, and chin," explains NYC-based makeup artist Neil Scibelli. "After periods of long-wear, and oil buildup, the makeup that is layered onto the skin tends to separate. In other words, you'll start to notice your blush breaking up, the oil will break up the foundation around your mouth, particularly if you have smile lines, and so forth. It's a natural separation that happens over time but it can be minimized or avoided with the right products, like a mattifying primer, as well as a change in foundation formula."
Scibelli suggests looking for a foundation formula that targets enlarged pores and excess oil production. Although it can be pore-clogging if you don't wash it off at the end of the day, dimethicone is widely found in these formulations. "Dimethicone gently blocks the pores from producing too much oil, and leaves a silky, silicone-like finish on the skin," says Scibelli. Other ingredients to look for? Oil-absoribing clay, as seen in Tarte's stick foundation, and rice bran like Chantecaille's Future Skin foundation. "Clay helps to control oil throughout the day and draws out impurities. Rice bran and rice powder works similar to dimethicone and refines pores, slows down oil production and absorbs oil buildup," says Scibelli.
While a dewy finish may be in, combination skin should avoid reaching for foundations with illuminizing finishes since this skin type tends to look radiant on its own when wearing foundation. "Steer away from those types of products because they can also have fine pigments of shimmer in them, which sometimes accentuates pores and seems oily. Anything with too much light reflecting on the skin can build up with the skin's oil and just start to look too wet," Scibelli explains.
The following seven formulas meet all of the aforementioned requirements. Keep scrolling for our favorite foundations for combination skin.
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