Wearing makeup when you're dealing with a breakout is a catch-22. You want to cover up your blemishes, but using the wrong foundation can clog up your pores even more so that your pimples hang round longer, or worse: new ones pop up.
The main offenders? Foundations that promise a dewy finish or have added shimmer to make you glow. Instead, look for formulas that are oil-free and have a matte finish. Bonus: Some brands feel the struggle, too and have added the same acne-fighting ingredients that are found in your skincare products to their foundations.
Ready to mask that those pimples and get on with your life? We've rounded up the best foundations for acne-prone skin.
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1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15
Similar to how paying rent sucks the funds out of your bank account, the Amazonian clay in Tarte's shine-free foundation absorbs your skin's excess oil which can be contributing to your breakouts. Available in a wide range of the shades, the long-wear formula keeps complexions looking blemish-free for up to 12 hours.
Tarte | $39
2. Neutrogena Skin Clearing Liquid Foundation
Formulated specifically with acne-prone complexions in mind, this foundation offers full coverage that won’t suffocate your already clogged pores. It also contains salicylic acid that helps treat existing blemishes and controls oil so new ones don’t form.
Neutrogena | $12
3. Cover FX Natural Finish Foundation
Packed with vitamins, emollients and redness reducers, this foundation improves skin's texture without irritating it—even if your complexion is overly sensitive. Plus, once you find your perfect shade, you can easily build up coverage without stressing over it looking packed on and cakey.
Cover FX | $40
4. Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup
A foundation that masks your breakout while simultaneously treating it? That’s what we consider a win-win situation. Clinique’s formula is spiked with acne-fighting salicylic acid—the same pimple-clearing ingredient found in many popular spot treatments.
Clinique | $28
5. Bare Minerals Matte Foundtion Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Powder foundations often get a bad rap for being cakey and draw attention to acne. Bare Minerals' formula is one exception that plays nice with blemishes. The matte edition of the brand's cult-favorite formula goes on like the average powder foundation, but melts into skin like a cream for a natural, smooth finish. The range of 30 available shades is impressive in itself, but the powder also offers SPF 15 protection, too.
Bare Minerals | $29
6. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Liquid Makeup
This oil-free foundation withstands heat, humidity, and your hight intensity workout class without leaving buildup in your pores. Its buildable formula lets you customize what coverage you want based on whether you're dealing with a single monster blemish or a full-blown infestation. No matter the situation, the foundation wears smooth without changing color.
Estee Lauder | $42
7. E.L.F. Acne Fighting Foundation
Infused with a cocktail of acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, witch hazel, and tea tree oil, this drugstore diamond shrinks zits without drying out your skin.
E.L.F. | $6