Whether you’re dealing with the occasional pimple or a constant onslaught of zits, you can be sure of one thing: The wrong foundation can make your breakouts look a hundred times worse. Sure, you can slather on the first full-coverage foundation you can find in hopes of minimizing the redness, bumps, and dark spots, or you can use one of these 10 best foundations for acne-prone skin.
Each of these zit-approved foundations is formulated to cover breakouts, neutralize redness, absorb excess oil, and even treat your existing breakouts with active, pore-clearing ingredients. So find your new favorite formula, below, and get blending.
1. Clinique Even Better Refresh Hydrating and Repairing Makeup
If you’re prone to breakouts and redness too, this gentle foundation for acne-prone skin is about to be your new go-to. The medium-coverage liquid formula is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and made without known skin irritants, like synthetic fragrances or dyes. Plus, it contains lightweight moisturizers to improve your skin’s protective barrier, making it less prone to sensitivity with time.
2. Wander Beauty Wanderlust Powder Foundation
This foundation is proof that not all powder foundations leave your face feeling like a cakey mess. The silky, ultra-fine powder covers breakouts and blurs rough texture without clogging pores, settling into fine lines, or making your skin feel dry and crackly.
3. Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
This foundation has been a legit miracle for my acne-prone skin. Not only does it protect my skin with zinc-based SPF 40, it contains brightening and anti-inflammatory niacinamide, which has dramatically reduced the red splotches and dark spots on my face. And we love how the lightweight, serum-y texture give me dewy, lightweight coverage that doesn’t clog my pores or cause irritation
4. Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation
Does anyone actually powder their nose in the middle of the day when shine creeps up? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Thankfully, this liquid-to-powder foundation for acne-prone skin eliminates the need for a midday touch-up. It absorbs pore-clogging oils while giving you a matte, airbrushed finish that lasts for hours.
5. Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation
This iconic foundation from Armani is beloved by celebs and makeup artists for good reason: It covers acne and dark marks like a freaking a champ. A few pumps of the medium-to-full coverage liquid formula hide blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) while giving your skin a super-smooth and luminous (but not overly shiny) finish.
6. Lune + Aster Real Glow Skin Tint
If you hate the feeling of heavy makeup on your face, you need to try this lightweight foundation for acne-prone skin. A few pumps offer sheer-to-medium coverage that literally feels like nothing on your skin. I blend a thin layer all over using my fingers, and then add a few more drops across my chin and forehead where I tend to have more breakouts.
7. Flesh Firm Flesh Thickstick Foundation
This creamy, full-coverage stick foundation for acne-prone skin is ideal for when you’re out and need to quickly cover up a breakout. It’ll never spill or leak in your bag, and you don’t even need to use a sponge to apply it. Just buff the stick into areas that need a little more coverage, and blend with your (clean) fingers.
8. Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Soft Matte Hydra Makeup
The problem with overly mattifying foundations? They can actually make your skin oilier and more prone to breakouts. Why? They often dry the hell out of your face, which can end up triggering excess sebum production, leaving you with a greasy, pimply situation. Instead, go with a mattifying formula that’s infused with hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, like this one from Estée Lauder.
9. Burt’s Bees Goodness Glows Liquid Makeup
Play it safe and opt for a foundation that says “fragrance-free” on the packaging, like this one from Burt’s Bees. (Side note: “Unscented” doesn’t count—it only means the formula doesn’t have a distinct smell, not that it doesn’t contain synthetic fragrance).
10. MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
Sweat, humidity, triple-digit temps…this liquid foundation for acne-prone skin can hold up to it all. The medium-to-full coverage formula is totally waterproof and lasts for 36 hours (not that you should leave it on that long, but still, pretty awesome), so you don’t have to worry about it sliding off your face during the day.