13 Best Foundations for Acne-prone Skin That Don't Clog Pores

Written by Sayantani Deb, Makeup & Beauty Writer
Updated on Feb 27, 2024
Best Foundation for Acne-prone Skin
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Being a person with oily and acne-prone skin, I am extremely skeptical when looking for a foundation, as doubts keep popping up in my mind. When I discovered some of the best foundations for acne-prone skin, they turned out to be more than just makeup products for me. Their lightweight formulas allowed my skin to breathe, without triggering excess oil production, aggravating the zits, clogging pores, or irritating my skin in any way!

However, that doesn't mean that the products are compromised on the buildability or coverage. They are well-equipped with the right formulation that can cover up your acne without causing irritation or settling into uneven textures. Some of them have potent ingredients that can even soothe the skin and control sebum production for the best results! I am sure there are people out there just like me who get worried about picking the right one for them. Fret not, I am here to help you! Take a look at the recommendations first!

13 Best Foundations for Acne-prone Skin

Maybelline’s Fit Me range needs no introduction! From beginners to professionals, this drugstore brand and its spectacular liquid foundation have been a beauty staple for its budget-friendly price tag, superb formula, and high-end-like finish. Right from when I started my makeup journey during my teen years, this foundation has been my go-to product! 

The formula is buildable and gives a smooth coverage, thereby covering imperfections and delivering a smooth canvas for other makeup products. While it covers the appearance of enlarged pores, it doesn’t clog them or aggravate acne — something which is rare in drugstore formulations. And, while the product lasts long, taking it off with a micellar makeup remover is a breeze!

Skin Type: All, especially oily skin

Pros
  • Oil-free formula
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight texture
  • Extensive shade range
  • Comes with SPF 18
Cons
  • Not for sensitive skin
  • Best Transfer-proof Formula

    Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation

    Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation
  • This liquid foundation from Catrice boasts of giving you a matte finish with a resilient that stays on all day! Enriched with niacinamide, which is a holy grail for controlling the production of excessive sebum, the foundation minimizes the oil build-up without dehydrating the skin (speculated in a study by the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy). 

    The unique dropper applicator needs special mention to make the process a whole lot easier for the user! Furthermore, the ultra-lightweight formula gives an airbrushed effect that lasts for about 24 hours.

    Skin Type: Oily

    Pros
    • High coverage
    • Easy to apply
    • Transfer-proof
    • Waterproof
    • Vegan-friendly
    Cons
    • Settles in pores
  • Best Long-lasting Formula

    Phoera Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation - Pack of 2

    Phoera Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation - Pack of 2
  • What impressed me the most about this miraculous liquid foundation from Phoera is that it os formulated with the pliable properties of skin-friendly silicones, which provide a silky smooth base for your makeup. 

    The delectable formula has a silky texture that makes it really indulgent and easy to apply on the skin. It gives the skin a soft shine, which radiates your look without looking artificial. In my experience, this lightweight foundation gave a semi-matte finish to my naturally oily skin, and I fell in love with the results!

    Skin Type: All

    Pros
    • Gives a smooth matte finish
    • Waterproof
    • Highly pigmented
    • Cruelty-free
    • Stays up for 24 hours
    Cons
    • Settles in skin’s creases
  • Best Cruelty-free Formula

    e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation

    e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation
  • e.l.f.'s Flawless Finish foundation is one of my favorites for its ability to improve uneven skin tone without settling into the large pores which is a common problem for people with acne-prone skin. It gives a semi-matte coverage that is quite buildable, so you can layer up on it to achieve your desired makeup base. 

    Furthermore, the formula of this medium-coverage foundation blends like a dream despite the skin texture being uneven and pigmented. Plus, it also boosts skin radiance!

    Skin Type: Dry

    Pros
    • Clean formula
    • Vegan-friendly
    • Cruelty-free
    • Blendable formula
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Strong smell
  • Best Dermatologically-tested Formula

    Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Foundation

    Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Foundation
  • If you want to cover your imperfections as the product works on your skin flaws and protects your skin at the same time, Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Liquid Foundation is the one! Packed with antioxidants, feverfew, and vitamin E, the lightweight formula gives a breathable coverage that works best for acne-prone skin. 

    It further shields your skin from harmful UV rays, and the credit goes to the SPF 20 infused in the formulation. Furthermore, it improves visible radiance and texture for great results.

    Skin Type: Sensitive, all

    Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Non-greasy
    • Silky texture
    • Calms the skin
    • Nourishing formula
    Cons
    • Shades have an orangish undertone
    • Leaky container
  • Best Allergy-tested Formula

    Dermablend Smooth Liquid Foundation

    Dermablend Smooth Liquid Foundation
  •  

    Dermablend offers you one good liquid foundation, packed with SPF 25, that is dermatologically tested and proven to suit all skin types including acne-prone skin and sensitive skin! The high-performance pigments beautifully cover your imperfections without settling into fine lines and large pores. 

    On the other hand, the hydrating ingredients present in the formula prevent drying the skin out throughout the day. Also, the product facilitates smooth coverage and delivers a natural finish that stays on for commendably long!

    Skin Type: Sensitive, all

    Pros
    • Buildable coverage
    • Provides hydration
    • Gives smooth coverage
    • Fragrance-free
    • Allergy-tested
    • Non-comedogenic
    Cons
    • Expensive
  • Best Hypoallergenic Formula

    Almay Skin Perfecting Comfort Matte Foundation

    Almay Skin Perfecting Comfort Matte Foundation
  • This dermatologically-tested foundation for acne-prone skin from Almay works like magic on sensitive skin as well. It has a lightweight formula that doesn't clog the pores and settle into the fine lines. Even though it gives you a flawless matte finish, it feels comfortable for up to 16 hours on your skin. 

    Formulated without formaldehyde, parabens, mineral oil, or palm oil, this foundation doesn’t expose your skin to common irritants that can trigger or worsen your existing skin problems, which makes it a great investment!

    Skin type: Sensitive, all

    Pros
    • Controls excess oil
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Clean formula
    • Ophthalmologist-tested
    • Fragrance-free
    Cons
    • Some users find it too dry
    • Doesn’t cover pores well
  • Best to Nourish the Skin

    Covergirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation

    Covergirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation
  • Enriched with coconut milk and aloe extract, the Covergirl clean fresh skin milk foundation gives a moisture boost to your dehydrated acne-prone skin. The lightweight formula doesn't settle into fine lines and large pores which is an advantage worth mentioning for textured skin. However, let me tell you that it doesn't compromise the buildability of the product. As it thoroughly nourishes the skin, the product leaves a healthy glow while evening out the skin tone. Furthermore, you would love to know that the product hasn’t been tested on animals.

    Skin type: Dehydrated, all

    Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Thoroughly nourishes skin
    • Cruelty-free
    • Gives dewy glow
    • Sulfate-free
    • Ensures flawless finish
    Cons
    • Coverage could be better
  • Best Waterproof Formula

    Hide Premium Liquid Foundation

    Hide Premium Liquid Foundation
  • A really good drugstore foundation for acne-prone skin, this product from Hide can be your savior on the days you need buildable coverage. This has a waterproof formula that stays on your skin for the longest possible time. The ultra-lightweight formula is quite breathable for the skin, feels comfortable, and doesn’t aggravate acne or clog the pores. And, it gives a beautiful natural finish, which doesn't look cakey. The best part? It keeps your skin oil-free for about half of the day.

    Skin type: All

    Pros
    • Wide range of shades
    • Waterproof
    • Covers hyperpigmentation
    • Gives natural finish
    Cons
    • Inefficient applicator
  • Best for Mature Skin

    Mirabella Invincible HD Foundation

    Mirabella Invincible HD Foundation
  • Mirabella’s invincible HD foundation is packed with glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and Matrixyl 3000 that intensely hydrate the skin for a soft, dewy look (a study published on NCBI). Specially formulated for sensitive skin types, it doesn't cause any irritation or burning sensation on your acne-prone skin as you apply it to the skin! The lightweight formula is equipped to even out the skin texture while being hydrating to the skin! It also takes the upper hand at brightening out your skin tone for a youthful look!

    Skin type: Sensitive, all

    Pros
    • Improves fine lines
    • Increases elasticity
    • Moisture-rich formula
    • Demi-matte coverage
    • Plumps the skin
    Cons
    • The shade guidance could be better
  • Aliver Flawless TLM Color Changing Foundation Makeup - Pack of 2

    Aliver Flawless TLM Color Changing Foundation Makeup - Pack of 2
  • This color-changing foundation from Aliver amazes me with its tone adaptability! Specially formulated for people with sensitive skin, the foundation changes color as per your skin tone so that you can say goodbye to the struggle of finding the right shade for your skin tone. The lightweight formula leaves no residue or doesn't feel sticky while giving you a nourishing feeling as it evens out your skin tone. Furthermore, it contains SPF 15 which shields your skin against harmful UV rays for all-in-one protection.

    Skin type: Sensitive, all

    Pros
    • Blends well
    • Moisturizing formula
    • Illuminating features
    • Settles evenly
    • Color-matching formula
    Cons
    • Pump doesn't work
  • Lamel Oh My Clear Face Full Coverage Foundation

    Lamel Oh My Clear Face Full Coverage Foundation
  • Packed with salicylic acid and tea tree extract, this cream foundation beautifully covers your imperfections and gives a dewy coverage to your acne-prone skin. It doesn't clog pores and cause breakouts that can aggravate the present condition. Addedly, the oil-free formula of the foundation controls your excessive sebum production without irritating your skin, and the credit goes to its anti-inflammatory ingredients. Furthermore, it blurs out imperfections and makes your skin smooth, shine-free, and camera-ready with a seamless finish.

    Skin type: Oily

    Pros
    • Doesn't cause breakouts
    • Lightweight
    • Provides a seamless application
    • Shine-free finish
    • Cruelty-free
    Cons
    • Unsettling smell
  • FV Full Coverage Liquid Foundation Makeup

    FV Full Coverage Liquid Foundation Makeup
  • This full-coverage foundation from FV is an excellent product to give a flawless finish while camouflaging the acne scars and dark spots, which are common problems of acne-prone skin. It has an oil-free formula that gives buildable coverage without transferring or being cakey to textured skin. The product also lasts for up to 15 hours while reducing the shine on the face, which is something oily-skinned people struggle with. Also, the formula evenly blends onto the skin leaving a nude matte finish.

    Skin type: Oily and combination

    Pros
    • Weightless
    • Breathable
    • Lasts for 15 hours
    • Doesn't clog pores
    • Improves skin elasticity
    • Cruelty-free
    Cons
    • Contains silica

    Now that you've checked the product list, take a look at how you can pick the best one among them!

    How to Select the Best Foundation for Acne-prone Skin?

    Below are the parameters that you can consider:

    a) Ingredients: Check the label and take a good look at the ingredients. Effective components like salicylic acid, niacinamide, green tea, tea tree, and aloe are excellent for minimizing oil production without irritating the skin (study by Molecules). On the other hand, harmful ingredients like phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, mineral oil, and palm oil should be avoided at all costs as they are likely to aggravate the skin condition in the long run.

    b) Formula: The formula of your foundation depends on the current skin condition and personal preference. If you have sensitive skin, picking a hypoallergenic and dermatologically-tested formula is recommended. Other than that, those who are mindful beauty lovers can pick a sustainable vegan-friendly, or cruelty-free formula that doesn't go against their morale.

    c) Consistency: The consistency should always be lightweight and not settle down into your pores and fine lines. Also, a thick consistency will likely highlight the pesky spots and uneven textures more than the lightweight ones. 

    d) Finish: It again depends on the personal choice only! However, I would recommend a matte finish as it is less likely to highlight the problematic areas than the foundations with a dewy finish.

    Now that you have checked out the buying guide, let's take a look at how you can apply the foundation!

    How to Apply Foundation on Acne-prone Skin?

    Below are the steps to follow:

    Step 1: After CTM (cleansing, toning, and moisturizing), apply a silicone-based primer which helps in blurring your imperfections while controlling the sebum production.

    Step 2: Apply a green-colored corrector over your acne, pimples, and acne marks and blend it properly.

    Step 3: Now, take a lightweight foundation and apply it in a dotted manner before blending it out with a clean and damp beauty sponge or a makeup brush.

    Step 4: Lastly, apply some loose powder over your base makeup to set it well.

    Step 5: Don't forget to apply some makeup spray to set everything in and ensure a seamless finish.

    Conclusion

    There you go! You have the list of the best foundations for acne-prone skin that are here to give you seamless coverage without irritating or aggravating your acne. These products are great for hiding the pesky spots and textures. Lastly, I would like to point out which one worked for me like magic so that my readers can pick one without a doubt! 

    If you have super oily skin with visible pores, the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation is the one for you! Secondly, if you are a mindful beauty lover who is looking for a seamless finish, the e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation could be your answer. Lastly, the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Foundation can be your ideal choice if you have sensitive skin. Happy shopping!

    FAQ's

    Which foundation brand is best for acne-prone skin?
    It depends on the formulation of the product, not the brand. Still, I found Neutrogena can be a safe choice if you have acne-prone skin as the products are dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic in some cases as well.
    What is the best over-the-counter foundation for acne scars?
    Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation works really well in acne scars and acne as this provides a buildable matte coverage that lasts long on your skin.
    Should I wear a foundation if I have acne?
    Yes, why not? If you have acne you should choose a buildable or a high-coverage formula that can camouflage the imperfections without settling into the pores or textured surface.
    Is matte or dewy foundation better for acne scars?
    I find matte foundation works better for acne scars. As dewy foundation tends to give a little less coverage than matte ones, also dewy formula might highlight the imperfections and textures on the skin more than matte ones.
    Is liquid or powder foundation better for acne?
    Liquid foundation can be better for acne than powder foundations as powder formula can clog the pores which might aggravate the acne conditions.
    Are drugstore foundations effective in providing full coverage for acne-prone skin?
    Yes, there are plenty of drugstore foundations from Maybelline, e.l.f., Neutrogena, and Dermablend that provide excellent full coverage on acne-prone skin.
    Are there long-term benefits to using foundations designed for acne-prone skin?
    None as such! However, there are a few foundations that are formulated with effective ingredients like niacinamide, tea tree extract, aloe, and salicylic acid that minimize oil production or irritation for a short period.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Our makeup and beauty expert, Sayantani, knows the drill of finding the right foundation for any skin type. Being a person with oily acne-prone skin, she admits it is quite challenging to come up with the right foundation as it can settle down in pores, look cakey on a textured surface, or produce excessive sebum. Thus, she picked quite a few formulas that don't do the same while giving seamless coverage. She considered parameters like skin type, ingredients, formula, and finish before listing the products in the article.

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    reviewer
    Sayantani Deb
    Makeup & Beauty Writer

    Sayantani is a certified hair and makeup professional turned writer with 2+ years of experience in the same genre. Ap More