15 Best Foundations for Sensitive Skin That Are Safe to Use
For many individuals, applying foundation is an indispensable part of their makeup routine as it's like second skin but smoother and flawless. However, certain skin types have a hard time finding their match, especially when you are searching for the best foundation for sensitive skin.
Dr. Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC, says, "People with sensitive skin tend to experience redness, inflammation, dryness, stinging, burning, itching, and even acne breakouts. And the reason why they tend to react so much more profoundly is that their skin barrier is not as strong and intact as somebody with normal skin...and so they need to approach any new product they put on their face very cautiously and really allow themselves the time to see if that product works for them."
Our contributor Dr. Vinod Vij, Chief Plastic Surgeon & Founder at Clinique Aesthetica, clarifies how using a foundation can affect the sensitivity of the skin, saying, “It totally depends on what type of foundation you are using and how often you wear it. Some foundations with heavy coverage can be quite drying and clog pores, which can lead to irritation of the skin. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin it’s important to choose a foundation formula that is specifically designed for sensitive skin and gives lighter coverage. And remember to always take off your makeup before bed in order to keep the skin clean and healthy.
If you have any doubts about using a certain foundation or type of makeup, consult with a dermatologist first for professional advice. Doing so can help ensure that your makeup does not lead to further issues with skin sensitivity and irritation down the line.
Keeping these sensitive skin concerns and their consequences in mind, we have put together a list of the top 15 foundations with high-quality formulations and outcomes. Whether you are a dry, oily, combination, normal, or mature skin type, you'll find your perfect foundation match in this list. So keep on reading!
In This Article
15 Best Foundations for Sensitive Skin to Try in 2023
For those of you who prefer your foundation to look like a second skin, we have just the right fit! The Phoera Full Coverage Liquid Foundation is a smooth cream foundation for sensitive skin. It comes in various shades and combos that you can mix and match. The formulation is oil-free and developed with climate-adaptive technology. This makes it resistant to sweat and humidity. This foundation doesn't clog pores or develop cracks after a few hours. So you can go about your day with flawless skin and secure confidence.
- Buildable coverage
- Contains SPF
- Natural finish
- Thick consistency
DERMABLEND PROFESSIONAL Cover Creme Full Coverage Foundation
With 21 shade options, the Dermablend Cover Creme foundation is a dermatologist recommended makeup for sensitive skin. Not only does it cater to different skin tones but also diverse types and concerns. This foundation helps to cover scars, vitiligo, hyperpigmentation, bruising, etc., while evening out the skin tone. Being free of phthalates and parabens, this foundation is allergy-tested. The coverage is medium and buildable, and additionally, the foundation helps to moisturize and strengthen the skin barrier. It also contains SPF 30, so your skin will stay protected from sun damage.
- Wide shade range
- Vegan formula
REVLON Photoready Candid Foundation
The Revlon Photoready Candid Foundation, with a basket of 31 shades to choose from, is a paraben, phthalates, harsh dyes, and fragrance-free formulation. The consistency resembles a thick moisturizer, but it dries very quickly and hence is the best foundation for oily sensitive skin. It offers medium buildable coverage and can be comfortably worn for long hours. This foundation is infused with anti-pollution, anti-blue light, and antioxidants like vitamin E which makes it all the more nourishing. They also keep the skin hydrated while protecting it against environmental pollutants.
- Moisturizing Fragrance-free
- Wide shade range
- Great coverage
- Slightly patchy
PHYSICIANS FORMULA Super CC+ Cream
Among the top drugstore foundations for sensitive skin, we have the Physicians Formula Super CC+ Cream. As a lightweight, blendable formula, this foundation also works as an anti-aging cream, moisturizer, and SPF product. This foundation helps to minimize redness, smooth skin texture, and even out skin tone. Being approved by dermatologists, this foundation does not contain parabens, gluten, or artificial fragrance. Therefore, it is safe for all skin types. The ideal all-in-one base product, it helps to cover fine lines, discoloration, age spots, blemishes, etc.
- Sun protection
- Natural Finish
- Not long-wearing
COVERGIRL Outlast All-Day
With an all-new look, the Covergirl Outlast All-Day functions as a three-in-one liquid, concealer, and powder foundation for sensitive skin. Labeled by many customers as an easy-to-use product, it covers and conceals like a liquid foundation and gives a finish akin to a soft powder. You can use the sponge that comes with it for the application or you could also opt for any beauty blender. The texture of the product is smooth, and it glides effortlessly. You can find your perfect shade match from the available 7 options and then rock this long-wearing foundation all day long.
- Easy to use
- Might settle into fine lines
MINERAL FUSION Pressed Powder Foundation
With 24 shades to choose from, the Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation is a lightweight and long-wear formula. This is one of the best powder foundation for sensitive skin and offers a light coverage that can be enhanced. The powder is triple-milled for a smooth finish and airbrush effect. The formulation is devoid of toxins like gluten, parabens, talc, SLS, and phthalates and contains skin-nourishing botanicals. It includes pomegranate, red and white tea, and sea kelp that add to its exotic blend of ingredients. All of these fight to lessen the appearance of blemishes while boosting the skin's natural glow.
- Wide shade range
- Toxin free formula
- Glides smoothly
- Light coverage
glo Skin Beauty Pressed Base Powder Foundation
Glo Skin Beauty Pressed Base Powder Foundation is a vegan and sensitive skin powder foundation that is free of gluten, parabens, sulfates, talc, and phthalates. This formulation consists of antioxidants like green tea and vitamins C and E that provides environmental protection against aging free radical damage. This triple-milled pressed foundation offers buildable coverage and a semi-matte finish. Because it is quite lightweight, you can wear it all day long without getting uncomfortable or worrying about dryness, cakiness, or flashback. In the 24 shade options, we are sure you'll find the one that looks second-skin to you!
- Wide shade range
- Buildable coverage
ARTDECO Mineral Powder Foundation
Artdeco Mineral Powder Foundation is a 2-in-1 solution that offers the coverage of a conventional foundation and the mattifying finish of a loose powder. It comes in 4 shades that can be effortlessly applied using a kabuki brush right after your moisturizer. This medium-priced foundation is infused with high-quality minerals such as magnesium and zinc oxide. They protect the skin against radical damage from UVA and UVB rays. The velvety texture is great for everyday wear as it leaves a natural-looking, clean, and radiant face. To minimize product wastage in the case of powder foundations, we advise you to take a little product and build the coverage as required.
- UVA/UVB protection
- Easy to use
- Natural matte finish
- Quick touch-up
- Contains parabens
W7 Legend Lasting Wear Foundation
Available in 8 shades, the W7 Legend Lasting Wear Foundation is one of those cream foundations that takes you back to your childhood. Packaged in the classic glass bottle, this vegan-friendly formula offers medium coverage that can be buildable to the desired level. The texture is smooth and easily covers light spots and blemishes. It leaves a dewy-matte, natural 'no makeup' finish. Through our trial and error, we discovered that this foundation is best for normal to Sensitive skin types because it can get slightly greasy during the course of the day. But at this price, it's a total value for money!
- Smooth application
- Gets slightly oily
FV SK-FOREVER Skin Nourishing Liquid Foundation
FV Skin Nourishing Liquid Foundation, ideal for normal to dry skin, is an affordable foundation for sensitive skin. It gives a selfie-perfect natural dewy finish. Further, you can layer it to build coverage if you want to cover wrinkles, acne, and under-eye bags that can be hard to conceal otherwise. The upgraded formula is hypoallergenic and does not aggravate skin irritation. It is waterproof, sweat-resistant, and oil-absorbent. For a long-lasting effect, use this foundation with a primer. You can find your match for this foundation from the available 7 shades.
- Smooth texture
- Not long-wearing
Colorscience Tint Du Soleil
Colorescience Tint du Soleil is a high-end SPF foundation for sensitive skin that is available in 4 universal shades. It has a smooth, whipped texture that feels lightweight and comfortable for everyday wear. Being suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin, the dynamic formula offers anti-aging benefits. It contains collagen-building peptides that improve skin health. The ceramides and milk lipids infuse hydration, and the multivitamin complex nourishes the skin while reducing wrinkles and fine lines. The 6.7% zinc oxide and 4.8% titanium dioxide further offer broad spectrum SPF 30 UV protection.
- Sun protection
- Anti-aging components
- Glides smoothly
ALMAY Skin Perfecting Healthy Biome Makeup
Almay Skin Perfecting Healthy Biome foundation is a dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested hypoallergenic formulation. It offers medium coverage and a dewy, hydrated, natural finish. This foundation contains a prebiotic complex that restores the skin's healthy barrier. It is also infused with skin-caring ingredients like antioxidant vitamin E and broad spectrum SPF 25 to shield the skin against harmful UV rays. We give this formula a thumbs up for being devoid of phthalates, SLS, paraben, mineral oil, etc. Also, it uses sustainable packaging
- Sun protection
- Slightly thick and heavy
MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
Don't have the time to follow lengthy makeup routines? The MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation will come in handy to get a smooth, flawless, matte skin texture. This sensitive skin foundation from a cult-favorite brand is ideal for everyday wear. It glides smoothly, is weightless, and stays on for long hours. It is high-quality and does not dry, fade, cake, or crease. Available in a wide range of shades, this pressed foundation helps to reduce the appearance of large pores and control excessive oil and shine.
- Easy application
- Matte finish
- Helps control oil
BOBBI BROWN Skin Weightless Powder Foundation
With travel-friendly packaging containing a sponge and mirror, the Bobbi Brown Skin Weightless Powder Foundation is a sheer non-oily powder foundation. Simple to use, the soft, creamy texture helps with an effortless application and leaves the skin feeling smooth in just one stroke. After putting it to the test, we can affirm that a lightweight foundation for sensitive skin stays on comfortably throughout the day, even in heat and humid conditions. It blurs fine lines and pores, leaving behind a fresh, natural-looking glow.
- Glides seamlessly
- Value for money
COLORESCIENCE Natural Finish Pressed Foundation
This foundation is absolutely free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, talc, mineral oils, drying alcohols, etc., The Colorescience Natural Finish Pressed Foundation boasts clean composition and is available in 8 shades to suit the majority of skin tones. It offers medium to buildable coverage that is impressive. The protective formula contains carrot seed oil which nourishes the skin with omega 3, 6, and 9 and protects it from oxidative particles. Vitamin E fuels the formula with its powerful antioxidant properties and shields the skin against free radical damage. Finally, this foundation offers broad-spectrum SPF 20 protection and leaves the skin feeling smoother and rejuvenated.
- UVA/UVB protection
These were the top 15 sensitive skin foundations for different textures and tones. But selecting the best foundation for sensitive skin is not only about picking the right shade. It goes way beyond that. The next section covers this for you.
How To Choose the Best Foundation For Sensitive Skin
Choosing the right foundation shade is definitely the most important. But when it comes to sensitive skin that could get irritated or react to components easily, analyzing other aspects, such as ingredients, skin type, packaging, etc., becomes crucial as well. Therefore, be mindful of the following points when choosing the best foundation for sensitive skin.
While a foundation helps to smoothen skin texture and cover blemishes, it also helps to combat other concerns. Generally, this is what you can adhere to based on your skin type:
- Oily Sensitive Skin - Opt for pressed powders or lightweight water-based liquid foundations. A matte finish is ideal so the face does not reflect excess oil and shine.
- Dry Sensitive Skin - Pick a cream-based foundation with a long-lasting dewy finish. Look for hydrating elements so that it does not get cakey.
- Mature Skin - Foundations with anti-aging benefits, containing SPF and rich antioxidants, will be ideal to make the skin look youthful and rejuvenated.
It is a no-brainer that sensitive skin individuals should steer clear of harmful chemicals. Avoid foundations encompassing parabens, phthalates, SLS, artificial dye and fragrances, etc. Instead, go for a dermatologist recommended foundation that has powerful natural ingredients, antioxidants, and SPF. If you have a breakout- or acne-prone skin, ensure the foundation is non-comedogenic.
Coverage of the foundation is another important aspect and varies from one individual to another. A light to medium coverage is preferable for everyday wear. For special occasions, opt for a high or buildable coverage foundation. The packaging of the product is also crucial when it comes to sensitive skin. You don't want to get germs and bacteria on your face! When using a pressed powder foundation, ensure you are cleaning the sponge regularly. A pump bottle, while hygienic, may not be travel-friendly. Therefore, it all depends on what is your priority when selecting a foundation.
However, if you face any kind of sensitivity, our contributor Dr. Vinod Vij, has a way to calm your skin. He suggests, “The first step is to take a break from wearing any form of makeup for at least one day in order to let your skin rest and recover. Then, it’s important to cleanse your skin gently with a gentle, mild cleanser. Steer clear of harsh chemical ingredients like alcohol that may dry out and irritate the skin further.
Once you’ve finished cleansing your face, use a hydrating toner or facial mist to soothe any remaining irritation on the skin. Then, apply a calming serum or cream to help restore the skin’s moisture and balance. Finally, finish your routine off with a gentle moisturizer that won’t clog your pores or irritate the skin any further.”
Always keep in mind that every person has a different skin type and concern. Don't follow recommendations blindly unless it is from a certified professional. In the case of sensitive skin, we advise you to conduct a patch test because a foundation is a full-face makeup product that stays on the skin for a long duration. Additionally, it's best if you can use a primer before applying the foundation to blur large pores. This will help you attain a smoother, flawless complexion while adding a protective layer to the skin. We hope these tips will help you select the best foundation for sensitive skin next time you go makeup shopping!
Contributor: Dr. Shereene Idriss, Board-Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Vinod Vij, Chief Plastic Surgeon & Founder - Clinique Aesthetica
Why Trust Pinkvilla
Having curated products such as highlighters, eyeshadows, mascaras, etc. that are suitable for sensitive skin, finding foundations for the same was a breeze for our makeup expert Sayantani. She accredits this to advanced and gentle makeup formulations in the market today that are inclusive of different skin types, such as eczema-prone, acne-prone, sensitized, etc. The products on this list are adored by their customers and have been lauded in most testimonials, which Sayantani duly considered in her reviews. While she loves all these products, Dermablend Cover Creme and Physicians Formula Super CC+ Cream are her favorite ones.
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!
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