Anyone with acne knows the catch-22 of makeup: you wear it to hide pimples, but it can make them worse. We’ve got some good news for you: if you choose the best makeup for acne-prone skin and develop an acne skincare routine that suits your skin type, you can be acne-free.
Paying attention to the ingredients in your makeup is the most important thing you can do to avoid the vicious breakout cycle. We’ve researched the best foundations for acne prone skin and analyzed their ingredients to make it easier to find the right foundation to add to your acne skincare routine. We’ll only ever recommend products that are unlikely to clog pores or irritate your skin.
Please note that we are not affiliated with any of these brands. We want to provide you with the best foundations for acne prone skin that will not clog your pores or irritate your skin!
What makes best foundations for acne prone skin?
Knowing your skin type and which formulas work best for you is one of the most challenging aspects of picking a foundation. It varies on the individual, the product, and even how you apply it—using a primer first will make your foundation go on smoother and last longer.
When it comes to foundations for acne prone skin, the rules are simple: if you have oily or combination skin, a lightweight foundation with a matte finish is your best bet; if you have dry skin, a tinted moisturizer or foundation with a natural, glowy, or dewy finish (i.e., one with moisturizing properties) is an excellent place to start. Choose a foundation for acne prone skin with buildable, medium, or full coverage to conceal skin imperfections such as acne or redness. The less concealer you need to reach your desired look, the more coverage and finish your foundation has. And, because concealer has a thicker or cakier texture than foundation, less is always more.
Finding the correct foundation for your skin’s texture, coverage, and finish may help you achieve your desired look, whether it’s a natural, “no-makeup makeup” look or a porcelain-like flawless finish. It’s all up to you! Here are our favorite foundations for acne prone skin without further ado.
Best foundation makeup
These are your best bets for buildable coverage foundations for acne prone skin: they provide adequate coverage with just one layer, but you may layer on additional as needed in areas where you need it.
Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
- A soft-matte
- Longwear foundation
- Medium to full coverage
- 50 shades
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation
- Stick Formula
- Full Coverage
- Natural Finish
- Best for Dry, Combo, Normal Skin
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
- Sheer, buildable coverage
- Natural finish
- Paraben, alcohol, and fragrance-free
BECCA Ever-Matte Shine Proof Foundation
- Creamy formula with medium coverage
- Formulated for combination to oily skin
- Features a microfine powder to deliver a matte, soft-focus effect
Best lightweight foundation
These foundations for acne prone skin are for those who don’t want to feel like they’re wearing foundation but still want to conceal acne, make skin texture look smoother, or cover up redness. Some of them also double as tinted moisturizers with skin-beneficial comnponents, leaving your skin looking smooth and polished with a light finish.
ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation
- Natural finish
- With Niacinamide and Allantoin
- 30 shades
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
- Demi-matte finish
Lancôme Dual Finish Multi-Tasking Powder Foundation
- Sheer to full coverage
Clinique Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Makeup SPF 15
- SPF 15
- Vitamins C and E
Best full-coverage foundations
These foundations for acne prone skin are ideal for those who desire full coverage that hides pores, acne, and other imperfections. Because full-coverage foundations for acne prone skin tend to be thicker or richer, ensure yours is free of pore-clogging ingredients! These have been examined to ensure they’re safe to try, but your results may vary.
Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation
- 44 shades
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15
- Medium-to-full buildable coverage
- 24-hour wear
- 63 shades
- SPF 15
Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation
- 100% cruelty-free
Lancôme Teint Idole 24H Ultra Long Wear Foundation
- Full Coverage
- Matte Finish
- Best for Oily, Combo, Normal Skin
Remember to use sunscreen!
Sunscreen should be worn every day, regardless of the weather or season. It’s one of the best ways to prevent your skin from damage and early aging (wrinkles are fine, but who wants them before they’re ready?) skin cancer, to name a few. During the day, you should wear at least SPF 30 if you use acne-fighting products with active ingredients that can make your skin sensitive to the sun.
Several foundations for acne prone skin on the market have built-in sunscreen, which is fantastic. However, if your foundation doesn’t contain an SPF of 30 or greater, you’ll need to add more sunscreen – and don’t forget to reapply.
Best foundations with sunscreen
Although these foundations for acne prone skin provide SPF, keep in mind that it may not be enough sun protection, particularly if you don’t want to reapply your foundation during the day. Start by applying a layer of face sunscreen beneath your makeup, and then reapply sunscreen on top of it throughout the day (we recommend reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours at least). At the very least, we recommend SPF 30. Even if your foundation has an SPF of 30 or greater, remember that SPF isn’t a one-and-done deal: it needs to be reapplied throughout the day to keep working.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+
- Hydrating anti-aging serum
- Broad-spectrum sunscreen
- Brightening color corrector
- Poreless-finish primer
- Dark spot concealer
- Moisturizing day cream
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
- No-makeup-makeup look
- Vitamin E
- Broad-spectrum SPF 20
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Buildable coverage
- SPF 30
- Vitamin C
- 16 shades
Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen
- 100% mineral
- SPF 50
Best powder foundations
What’s all the fuss about mineral makeup? Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica, and iron oxides are common components. They offer a variety of functions, including giving the skin a matte texture, disguising pores, and protecting the sun’s damaging rays. Mineral foundations for acne prone skin has fewer components, which is beneficial for those who have sensitive skin. However, the mineral powder may mix with the oil and appear caked or clumpy if you have oily skin.
Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation
- Buildable coverage
- 45 shades
- Hypoallergenic ingredients
bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Loose Powder Foundation
- With salicylic acid
bareMinerals Original Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15
- Sheer-to-full coverage
- Won’t clog pores
Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation
- Buildable coverage
- Weightless matte finish
- Vegan & cruelty-free
Best drugstore foundations
These are drugstore foundations for acne prone skin (or online at drugstore rates), not “high-end” foundations with larger price tags—which some people think are well worth it, which is OK! We want to ensure that you can get the correct product, regardless of your budget. It’s entirely up to you if high-end foundations are worth the extra money; as always, the quality of the foundation is determined by the ingredients used in each product. High-end cosmetics aren’t always “better,” as these foundations for acne prone skin demonstrate.
Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation
- Ideal for normal to dry skin
- Allergy tested
- SPF 18
Wet n Wild MegaCushion Foundation SPF 15
- The formulation is both light and pigmented.
- Layering is simple and allows you to adjust your coverage.
- No-mess application with a built-in sponge makes it simple to reapply SPF while touching up.
L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation
- Air-light texture
- Demi-matte finish
- Longwearing liquid formula
- Lightweight and creamy
e.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation
- Lightweight formula
- Full coverage
- With salicylic acid, witch-hazel, camphor, tea tree, and aloe vera
Ingredients that clog pores or irritate the skin
Even though the product is labeled “non-comedogenic,” some common ingredients in makeup might clog your pores! Because the FDA doesn’t regulate that word, beauty goods can (and frequently do) advertise that their products won’t clog pores, even if they do. When you know how to verify the ingredients list on your own, you’ll be able to make better decisions on what makeup to use. Fortunately, a tool can quickly evaluate any product for chemicals that clog pores or irritate the skin. It’s called CosDNA.com, and it’s bookmark’s must-have.
Acne can be caused by irritation.
Avoid foundations and any other product containing denatured alcohol as a general rule. Although denatured alcohol is non-comedogenic and does not clog pores, it can be irritating and drying to pimples that are already red and irritated. On CosDNA.com, denatured alcohol scores a “5” in the irritant column. If your skin is acne-prone or sensitive, we recommend avoiding items with 3’s, 4’s, or 5’s in the irritant column, as we did with the acne column.
Break up with your makeup
We understand how difficult it is to find a foundation with the perfect texture, color, consistency, finish (matte or glowy? ), and ingredients that won’t clog your pores or irritate your skin. Each of the foundations for acne prone skin we recommend has a distinct look and feel, so you’ll want to try a couple to see which one suits you best. But, take it from the pros: the ingredients of a product should be your primary concern before applying it to your skin.
We applaud you if you’ve made it this far and are ready to give up makeup for good! Even if you have pimples, there’s no reason to hide them while your acne heals. Giving your skin a vacation from cosmetics can be helpful (even non-comedogenic makeup). You may always conceal any flaws with a bit of concealer here and there. Alternatively, for a one-and-done daytime makeup routine, use tinted sunscreen to smooth out your skin’s appearance while protecting it from the sun. Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen in the morning for a genuinely simple approach. You’ll praise your skin (and have more time to hit the snooze button) for it.
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Beauty, U. (n.d.). Shade Finder – Urban Decay Cosmetics Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup | Ulta Beauty. Shade Finder – Urban Decay Cosmetics Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup | Ulta Beauty; www.ulta.com. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://www.ulta.com/shade-finders/urban-decay/naked-skin-weightless-ultra-definition-liquid-makeup/
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