14 Skin-Perfecting Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin

Clear and conceal all at the same time.

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If you suffer from acne, foundation can be a double-edged sword—can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Plus, you’ve likely already tried every foundation in the beauty aisle and nothing prevents you from feeling like an oil slick, so might as well give it up anyway, right? Think again.

While it may be hard to believe, there are foundations out there that won't clog your pores or make your acne worse. It all starts with finding the right formula. If your skin is prone to breakouts, it’s important to look for a lightweight option that contains minimal ingredients and is specifically made for acne-prone skin. It’s true, not all foundations have to leave you feeling caked on and greasy. No matter how difficult your situation may be, there is an option for you. After all, there is nothing worse than feeling like you can’t wear makeup, especially when you need it most.

Read on to learn about the best foundations for acne-prone skin you can buy now.

Best Overall: Maybelline Makeup Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Regardless if you have a full face of acne or just a few spots, you know that covering it with foundation is only half the battle. There are so many formulas out there that claim to cover acne, and while they may, they appear dry and unnatural on the skin which actually accentuates acne as opposed to concealing it. That’s why It’s no wonder that this matte (read: shine-free) formula is a favorite amongst YouTube stars, beauty editors, and of course, makeup artists.

Featuring a seriously impressive 46 shades infused with blurring micro-powders, this budget-friendly buy smooths over the skin for a pore-less appearance at just a couple of bucks. Besides diminishing pores, the dermatologist-and allergy-tested liquid never appears flat or cakey. It also minimizes the appearance of shine throughout the day, which is essential for those whose complexions turn into an oil slick come noon. Bottom line: You won’t be reaching for your blotting sheets any time soon. 

Best Budget: Neutrogena SkinClearing Liquid Makeup

We’re all about high-quality ingredients at an affordable price, which is why we’re so obsessed with this foundation from Neutrogena. It contains Micro-Clear technology, which includes a unique blend of salicylic acid to help unclog pores and dissolve oil while keeping existing blemishes covered in one shot.

It doesn’t end there! Neutrogena conducted clinical testing on this product, which revealed that 100% of women who tried it claimed it improved their skin over time. Now that’s impressive.

Best Drugstore: No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation

no-7-beautifully-matte-foundation

Courtesy of Walgreens

A high-street gem, this matte-finish foundation contains salicylic acid to control excess oil production in acne-prone skin and treat existing breakouts while also covering up blemishes, and minimizing the appearance of large pores without clogging.

Best for Oily Skin: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Courtesy of Sephora

Rihanna’s 40-shade foundation has the internet wrapped around its perfectly frosted glass bottle, and for good reason.

Medium to full-coverage no longer means thick and heavy. The lightweight oil-free fluid glides smoothly over skin—it goes on like a liquid and dries to a powder, making skin feel foundation-less. It’s also sweat and humidity resistant thanks to its unique climate-adaptive technology. What does that mean for those with oily skin? No shine! Hallelujah.

Beyond the basics, it doubles as a base for other makeup, helping blush and highlighter stay put from day to night. One thing to know: The product oxidizes, which means that what you see on your skin when you first blend it in might change once it sets. So, take your time when selecting the right shade. With 40 extensive options, you’ll definitely be able to find your perfect match.

Best for Dry Skin: Tarte Water Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15

TARTE Water Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 - Rainforest of the Sea™ Collection
Courtesy of Sephora

Yes, acne-prone skin can be dry too. And finding the right foundation to complement such opposite issues can be quite the task.

Whether you’ve gone overboard on drying lotion or are just experiencing seasonal dryness, you need this in your life—the perfect match for oily yet dry skin. Made of 20% water, this hydrating foundation helps add moisture while simultaneously covering redness (including blemishes), large pores, and even fine lines. The ultra-breathable formula doesn’t make skin feel like it’s suffocating and it’s made without parabens, phthalates, or any other irritating ingredients, so you can wear it daily without having to worry.

Best for Mature Skin: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm Makeup

Ceramide Lift and Firm Makeup Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15 - Warm Sunbeige (1 oz.)
Courtesy of Derm Store

Unfortunately, teenagers aren’t the only people who struggle with acne. As skin changes with age, finding the right foundation to conceal blemishes can become increasingly difficult. Aside from zits, you now also have to think about fine lines and dark spots.

Our answer to foundation for mature skin? Look for one that contains skin care ingredients. This Elizabeth Arden potion includes the brand’s long-trusted triple ceramide complex, which is backed by science and technology to help reduce the appearance of lines and even out your complexion. It helps lift, plump, and firm, while balancing and replenishing skin to keep breakouts at bay.

It has a luxuriously creamy texture that is super easy to blend but also doesn’t budge. But be aware because a little bit of this foundation goes a very, very long way. The light whipped goodness goes on easily, helping you conceal imperfections without making your skin feel congested from caked on base makeup.

Best for Combination Skin: Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup

CLINIQUE Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup
Courtesy of Sephora

Combination skin is the most common skin type people associate with, and often, the most difficult to accommodate. So, when it comes to finding the right foundation, we suggest looking for one that contains both blemish-busting and calming ingredients to pull double-duty.

Instead of clogging pores like most foundations, this one simultaneously covers and combats acne. The tinted fluid contains the acne-eradicator, salicylic acid, to help improve lesions while providing natural-looking coverage. It’s also packed with sea algae extract to help purify and caffeine to mitigate irritation and redness. Whether you’re mid-breakout, or not, this medicated triple threat is your everyday answer to concealing, treating, and preventing acne.

Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Teint Mattifying Mousse Foundation

No one wants their foundation to turn their complexion into a blotchy, red mess. But if you have skin that tends to do so then you’re probably a bit more careful when choosing the products that you put on your skin. That’s why we love this one from sensitive-skin experts La Roche Posay. Perfect for those with sensitive complexions, this foundation is infused with the brand’s signature mineral-rich natural spring water known for its soothing and healing properties.

The fragrance- and preservative-free foundation boasts an oil-free mousse-like texture that immediately mattifies the skin upon application without clogging pores or sinking into fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps to minimize the appearance of pores and texture all while concealing imperfections like blemishes and hyperpigmentation. For more coverage use a foundation brush to apply or if you want a lighter look apply with a damp beauty sponge. 

Best Full-Coverage: Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation

Get full-throttle full coverage with the help of this 30-shade foundation range, brought to you by the world’s most famous beauty blogger, Huda Kattan. When it comes to taking a photo, Huda certainly knows how to work the lens, but ironically, her #FauxFilter foundation is so good that you won’t even need to throw a filter on your selfie.

Huda’s secret sauce is loved by beauty vloggers and makeup artists alike for its intense coverage and the dewy finish it leaves on the skin. For most, this HD coverage is a little intense for everyday use. That said, it’s the absolute best for special occasions and photo shoots. Packed with superfine pigments this foundation seamlessly conceals any trace of blemishes and discoloration.

Best Matte Finish: BareMinerals Matte Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15

This powder-to-cream foundation will have you mad for matte. The loose power smooths skin, making your complexion appear poreless while providing SPF 15 for daily protection. You can brush on a sheer layer, or build it up for full coverage (let’s face it, sometimes those bad areas need a little more than others). It leaves the skin looking naturally flawless without causing any unwanted shine or cakiness.

A tip from the powder pros: Generally, powdery formulas are best for oily skin. While this option is significantly less drying than most powders out there, we still suggest a liquid option for drier skin types.

Best Water-Based: Dior Forever Undercover Foundation

A water-based foundation can be a godsend in warmer weather—especially if you have acne. It won’t mix with your sweat and clog your pores, but it also looks a bit more natural during humidity. While many water-based formulas aren’t made to last, this innovative formula from Dior holds its own. While all of Dior’s complexion products are worth the higher price tag (in our opinion, of course), this lightweight fluid is arguably their best one yet.

With double the amount of pigments as their fan-favorite original Dior Forever Foundation, this water-based fluid delivers a full-coverage matte finish that lasts up to 24-hours. Hence the name, the serum-y texture seamlessly blends into the skin making it literally undetectable to the eye. Not only does it look like you’re not wearing foundation, but it also feels weightless while still concealing blemishes, dark spots, and old acne scars. Note: To apply, shake well, then blend into the skin using clean fingertips or a foundation brush. 

Best Mineral: CoverFX Pressed Mineral Foundation

cover-fx-foundation

Courtesy of Sephora

Free from mineral oil, fragrance, gluten, parabens, and talc, this is the one for very sensitive, acne-prone skins. As with all CoverFX products, it’s been formulated under the watchful eye of a dermatologist and contains green tea extract plus vitamins E and C to boost the skin’s healing process.

Best Oil-Free: Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation

laura-mercier-silk-creme-foundation

Courtesy of Nordstrom

A high-performing full-coverage foundation, this oil-free formula is great for covering up blemishes and acne scars while absorbing excess oils for a natural-looking matte finish.

Best with SPF: Korres Pomegranate Foundation SPF 15

korres-full-coverage-foundation

Courtesy of Walmart

Utilizing the antioxidant and astringent properties of the tannins and vitamins (A, C and E) found in pomegranates, this mattifying SPF foundation helps to rejuvenate blemish-prone complexions, tighten pores and strengthen the epidermis (the outer layers that form your skin’s barrier).

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