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The Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin

By Carly Cochrane - 1 year ago | Updated
woman with problematic skin applying foundation

It doesn’t matter if it’s an odd hormonal pimple or the end of a brutal breakout; when our skin is acting out, we’ll do anything to cover it up.

Normally, we reach for the full coverage foundation in hopes that it will camouflage the lumps and bumps that have set up shop on our face. But, more often than not, it makes the zit-sitch worse.

If you're no stranger to a bad breakout, then slathering on the wrong foundation formula can suffocate the skin, clog pores and welcome more stubborn spots – not ideal. And whilst going makeup-free often seems like the best bet, sometimes we’re just not ready to bare it all.

With that in mind, we've done the rounds and found the best foundation and products for acne-prone skin.

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup

If anyone knows how to care for your complexion, it’s skin care superstars Clinique. Boasting a lightweight, oil-free formula, this foundation effortlessly covers up blemishes, controls breakouts and reduces redness, all whilst leaving you with a natural, smooth finish.

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Burt's Bees Exclusive Goodness Glows Liquid Foundation

Burt's Bees Exclusive Goodness Glows Liquid Foundation

The Goodness Glows Liquid Makeup can help you camouflage angry breakouts and prevent them from returning. The 98.9% natural mineral foundation is made with Meadowfoam seed oil, which is great for moisturising. Paraben-, phthalates- and synthetic fragrance-free, it's the secret to improving skin on the inside and out.

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur Cream

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur Cream

Okay, it’s not technically a foundation but in this case, less really is more. This oil-free beauty balm provides all the coverage and blurring technologies you need in order to conceal the appearance of pores, blemishes and uneven skin tone. Not to mention, it's bursting with oil- and sweat-absorbing ingredients, meaning you can beat the midday meltdown.

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bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Foundation - 4N-Neutral Tan

bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Foundation

Liquid foundation isn't for everyone, which is why we've recruited this super lightweight powder formula. Specially designed for oily and acne-prone skin, it keeps complexions clear, matte and purified thanks to a breakout-busting blend of 0.5% salicylic acid, zinc, sulfur and kaolin clay.

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Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation - Carob

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation

Introducing the remedy for unwanted redness. Composed with 60% water and infused with aloe leaf and camellia sinesis extract, this foundation soothes, smooths and reduces the appearance of redness. Better yet, it boasts a buildable, light-reflecting finish that makes masking imperfections all the easier.

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NARS Cosmetics Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30

NARS Cosmetics Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30

Cult-favourite brand NARS brings a non-pore clogging formula that will soon become your favourite. A cocktail of rose fruit extract, vitamin C and E work to heal and protect the skin, whilst transparent blurring powders minimise the appearance of pores and imperfections.

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Lancôme Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint SPF 23

Lancôme Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint SPF 23

This skin tint does exactly what it says on the bottle – makes your skin feel good. Offering sheer coverage, it’s the perfect formula for mild breakouts. Bursting with skin-loving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, moringa tree extracts and vegetal glycerin, your complexion is actively improved and protected, even after you wash off the makeup.

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e.l.f. Cosmetics Beautifully Bare Foundation Serum

e.l.f. Cosmetics Beautifully Bare Foundation Serum

Inject the life back into your skin with the help of this e.l.f foundation. This formula boasts a serum base that melts into skin and provides luminosity, all whilst minimising the appearance of pores. Vitamin A, C & E combine with grapeseed oil, pomegranate oil and goji berry to brighten, restore and protect skin.

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Rodial Diamond Foundation

Rodial Diamond Foundation

This fluid-cream foundation is your one-stop shop to making imperfections invisible. Working around the clock to conceal blemishes, it laces skin with a uniformed finish that’s bursting with radiance. An added infusion on vitamin E keeps your complexion strengthened and shielded from free radicals.

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3INA 3 In 1 Foundation

3INA 3 In 1 Foundation

Primes, conceals and covers – it comes as no surprise that this 3-in-1 foundation is a bestseller. Specially designed to give you blemish-free skin for 24 hours, the featherweight formula utilises vitamin E in order to eliminate small pimples and spots and prevent future acne breakouts.

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Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

The hype is real with this one. Not only does this foundation arrive in the biggest shade range you’ve ever seen, but the formula is out-of-this-world. With a full matte coverage that’s long-wearing and super-blendable, you can expect a shine-free, filter-like finish that lasts all day.

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IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skin Care

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skin Care

IT Cosmetics has married makeup and skin care to bring you a foundation that goes above and beyond. The Your Skin But Better Foundation stays true to its name by vowing to only enhance your natural complexion. With ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera extract and nourishing vitamins E and B5 headlining the formula, your skin is hydrated and protected, whilst the lightweight, medium coverage camouflages skin imperfections.

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Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation

Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation

Looking for a foundation that provides real results without triggering breakouts? Then make the Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation your go-to. This serum-like formula is made without silicones in order to ensure a blurred, refined and smooth canvas.

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Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Cream Foundation

Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Cream Foundation

Cle de Peau Beaute’s Radiant Cream Foundation leaves skin with a natural luminosity, thanks to its cutting-edge Japanese technology and research. As well as leaving the skin with a silk-like radiant finish, the beautifying foundation delivers a protective barrier that defends against the stressful effects of oxidation.

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Beauty Bakerie InstaBake Aqua Glass Foundation

Beauty Bakerie InstaBake Aqua Glass Foundation

Covering blemishes, acne scars and skin imperfections is made easy with this foundation from Beauty Bakerie. The best part? It’s natural-looking.

The Aqua Glass formula has been specially created to provide a flawless, dewy finish that leaves skin comfortable. Expect a silky-smooth result that never feels cakey, dusty or drying.

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Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation

Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation

If anyone knows how to provide makeup formulas that work on all skin types it’s Pat McGrath. This foundation is a real-life Instagram filter for your skin. It creates a visibly clearer canvas by blurring pores, hiding blemishes and evening out skin tone. Better still, it supplies ultimate nourishment for a naturally radiant finish.

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Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

Beautify your skin like never before with the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation. Expertly developed for oily and spot-prone skin types, it boasts an oil-free, lightweight formula that mattifies shine. Your complexion looks and feels fresh, all day long. Discover the 22 versatile shades and reveal Insta-worthy skin in an instant.

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Marc Jacobs Beauty Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate

Marc Jacobs Beauty Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate

Showcase your skin but better with the Marc Jacobs Beauty Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate – another oil-free formula that serves up a soft, matte finish that lasts from A.M to P.M. This foundation is bursting with clever technologies and good-for-skin ingredients in order to provide a flawless complexion.

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The Ordinary Coverage Foundation

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation

What do you get when you combine hard-working skin care ingredients with makeup coverage and a wallet-friendly price tag? The Ordinary Coverage Foundation. We love The Ordinary as they cut through all the noise in order to supply genuinely good formulas. This foundation ticks all the boxes in order to leave your skin nourished, protected and perfected.

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Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation

Maybelline might be a brand that defined your teenage years, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that some of their formulas are a classic. The Fit Me! Matte & Poreless is a cult-favourite across all ages, thanks to its ability to blur, refine and improve the appearance of your skin.

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Take your pick from these skin-friendly foundations and you'll never have to worry about aggravating those stubborn spots again. Instead, you can rock a flawless makeup base where pores, blemishes and zits are made invisible.

Struggling to understand why your skin keeps breaking out? Check out our guide to Adult Acne: Why You Get It and How To Tackle It.

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Carly Cochrane

Written by Carly Cochrane

Carly is a beauty editor at Cosmetify and has been a part of our family for three years. She has over five years of experience in health, beauty and wellness writing.