I know I'm not the only one who's purchased a foundation or concealer labeled as "oil free" only to find an oil spill a few hours later on your t-zone and cheeks. Maybe you've bought a foundation promising to moisturize and condition your dry skin, but the results left your face worse than when you started.
After doing some digging, I'm noticing this is definitely not something crazy I can blame on my skin. The cosmetics and skincare industries are somewhat vague when it comes to some rules and regulations regarding ingredients, formulations, and other factors that go into creating products.
When a product is labeled oil-free, the companies are mostly focused on excluding ingredients that include the word "oil" in their name (mineral oil, coconut oil, etc.), but not all oils have that specific distinction. Oil-free cosmetics can unfortunately include ingredients with similar or identical properties, such as lanolin, squalene, or glyceryl tribehenate, to name a few.
This can be extremely misleading for a customer with oily skin who purchased an OF-labeled product from a well-known brand that you could reasonably assume has no oil in it. These questionable formulations often include an ingredient called esters. They're technically oil-free, but these additives including mono- and diglycerides are emollients that are proven to be comedogenic.
What about those of you with stubborn acne? Make sure your routine includes products with fatty acids, sterols, and/or silicone. These will enable you to get all of the benefits of traditional foundation, but still be a true representation of a truly oil-free formula.
In the same token, there are many products labeled as OF (which is often recommended for dry or combination skin) that include ingredients that are extremely drying to the skin. If you have anything other than moderate to severely oily skin, make sure your foundation includes a non-oil, non-drying ingredient like silicone, glycerin, or glycol. This will allow for the foundation to go on smoothly and seamlessly and can often help fill fine lines and wrinkles without clogging your pores.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be compiling research and doing some testing of my own on this topic and will continue to add additional photos and findings to this blog.
Below you will see a super easy way to check your oil or oil-like content in your foundations and concealers. Simply apply a nickel-to quarter-sized sample of foundation onto an oil blotting paper & let it do its thing... [*Pro-Tip: start this experiment while doing your makeup in the morning. It can sit all day & be reevaluated before bed. This will give you a pretty accurate representation of how long you'll typically wear yours.] I like the white/translucent papers, but you can use any kind you have just floating around in that random makeup drawer that collects all of the half-empty bottles and tubes or broken compacts you decide to ditch (but can't actually bear to throw away) in order to make room for the newest "essentials" in your makeup bag. Don't forget to let these sit on a non-porous surface; otherwise, you may have some oil transfer under the blotting paper and give you faulty results with dual absorption (plus a stubborn oil stain!).
Have a foundation you've been DYING to try? I'll test, review and give a few application tips and techniques! Contact me via the Contact JB tab or in the comment section down below.
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Beauty Expert & Image Consultant
Certified Makeup Artist | Lash Technician
Stylist at Envy Hair Salon, Columbia, TN
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