Haven’t you heard? EVERYONE is breaking out right now! Fun! But 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 (although, IMO, I say let your natural skin shine free in all of its beautiful glory), or you can use one of these 17 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.
Best Gentle Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
1. Clinique Even Better Refresh Hydrating and Repairing Makeup
If you’re prone to breakouts and redness too (hi, me), 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.
Best Powder Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
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. A win-win-win.
Best Multitasking Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
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 I love how the lightweight, serum-y texture give me dewy, lightweight coverage that doesn’t clog my pores or cause irritation.
Best Matte Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
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.
Best Smoothing Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
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.
Best Lightweight Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
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.
Best Foundation Stick for Acne-Prone Skin
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.
Best Hydrating Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
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.
Best Fragrance-Free Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
9. Burt’s Bees Goodness Glows Liquid Makeup
Fact: Synthetic fragrance (you can ID it as “parfum” or “fragrance” on the ingredients list) can irritate the hell out of your skin, causing acne and redness to flare. 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).
Best Organic Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
10. Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Serum Foundation
This organic, silicone-free foundation for acne-prone skin works just as well as conventional face makeup to help cover up breakouts and old acne marks. It uses plant-based pigments to give buildable coverage plus antioxidants and hydrating coconut extract to help smooth skin without clogging your pores.
Best Long-Lasting Foundation for Acne-Prone Foundation
11. 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.
Best Customizable Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
12. Dermablend Flawless Creator Liquid Foundation Drops
These liquid foundation drops for acne-prone skin allow you to adjust the coverage level of your foundation without having to use a bunch of different products. Use one drop on your best skin day, two drops when you want sheer coverage, and three or four drops when you want something a bit more full-coverage. Or if your new foundation or tinted moisturizer is a bit too dark for your skin tone, brighten the color with a few of these drops in a lighter shade.
Best 2-in-1 Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
13. Stila Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer
If you have cystic acne (the kind that manifests in red, angry bumps under your skin) then you know that a few layers of foundation aren’t always enough to cover things up. Your solution? This foundation and concealer duo. Use the foundation to even out your skin tone, then flip open the cap to reveal the matching concealer, which you can use to spot-treat bumps.
Best Foundation with Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
14. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation With SPF 50+
Okay, so the SPF 50 in this foundation for acne-prone skin shouldn’t take the place of your regular facial sunscreen, but it’s a great way to get some added protection from skin-damaging UV rays on days that you’re going to be outside. The hydrating, non-comedogenic formula gives you full coverage and comes in 12 different shades to suit your exact skin tone.
Best Brightening Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
15. Becca Skin Love Weightless Blur Foundation
You can’t talk about acne without talking about acne scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation—the dark marks and scars that linger on your skin well after your zit has healed. This brightening foundation helps reduce the appearance of both existing acne and PIH, thanks to its combo of blurring ingredients and spot-fading vitamin C.
Best Mineral Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
16. BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Skin-Clearing Loose Powder
When you think “powder foundation,” you probably think heavy and cakey. Not this mineral formula formula though. Not only does it gives you a full-coverage finish, but it also stays lightweight and breathable on your skin, so you won’t feel weighed down. The formula also contains 0.5 percent salicylic acid to curb oil production and oat proteins to calm irritated skin.
Best Drugstore Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
17. Neutrogena Skin Clearing Liquid Makeup
Shine from your highlighter? Cute. Shine from the excess oil on your skin? Maybe not so much. The lightweight, oil-free foundation for acne-prone skin helps to keep your T-zone under control, while also dissolving oil and dead skin cells that get built up in your pores with its key ingredient, salicylic acid.