The 18 Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin Are Breakout-Proof

Say goodbye to blemishes.

collage of the best foundations for acne prone skin including estee lauder and fenty beauty foundation
(Image credit: Brittany Holloway-Brown/Future)

So, you have acne. Welcome to the club—breakouts are a fact of life and one hundred percent normal. While there’s no need to conceal your blemishes or hide them under acne spot treatments if you don't want to, some of the best foundations out there are made to cover and treat acne-prone skin simultaneously. Foundations for acne-prone skin will disguise redness, blur over texture, and look like an extension of your skin. No matter how bad your breakout is, no one will be the wiser.

While picking a top-notch formula is the foundation for a breakout-prone base (pun very much intended), application technique is just as important when you're covering blemishes and blackheads. “It’s all about patience and targeting,” makeup artist Ehlie Luna tells Marie Claire. “Don’t treat your entire face like the more acne-prone spots. The skin will always look fresher if you keep things on the more sheer side wherever you can, and go in a little more where you need more coverage.” 

With this makeup artist-approved tip in mind and one of the best foundation brushes on standby, keep scrolling to shop the best foundations for acne-prone skin. From lightweight liquids that give surprising coverage to heavy-duty complexion products that won’t let redness peek through, the following options are tried-and-true favorites tested by makeup artists, celebrities, and Marie Claire editors. 

The Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin

Also Recommended

What to Look For in the Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin

  • Coverage

Foundations for acne-prone skin range from sheer to heavy coverage. Consider your skin type and makeup preferences before committing to one. Sheer formulas or light-coverage options serve as a base without clogging or suffocating sensitive skin. For a foundation that can cover redness and blur texture, try a full coverage, long-wear formula with a matte finish. 

  • Ingredients

Very rarely will you find a foundation with a "good for acne-prone skin" stamp on the bottle. Instead, finding a formula that won't exacerbate break outs is a bit more nuanced and requires plenty of testing.

The most important requirement across brands and shades is a non-comedogenic formula, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali. “It’s not necessarily right to say that all foundations are bad [for acne],” the expert notes. However, non-comedogenic formulas are specifically designed to prevent blocked pores. Also keep an eye out for formulas including salicylic acid—it's an acne-fighting ingredient that's sometimes infused into foundations, to treat your skin while wearing your makeup.

Dr. Bhanusali also suggests avoiding ingredients that can irritate the skin barrier and cause breakouts. Those range from oils and heavy fragrances to dyes and occlusives (moisturizing agents).

Meet the Experts

Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali
Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali

Dr. Bhanusali is a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. After being accepted into medical school at 17, he completed his studies at the Michigan State University medical scholars program where he was also awarded the Spartan Scholarship and Arthur L. Foley Memorial Scholarship. He went on to complete his dermatology residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. He specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology and looks to bridge the gap between cutting-edge technologies and established paradigms. Dr. Bhanusali was recently featured as the dermatologist behind Amazon’s first skincare line, launched globally in 2019, and currently serves as a medical expert for many companies in the field, including Johnson& Johnson (Neutrogena, ROC, Clean & Clear, Aveeno) and Solta (Fraxel, Clear & Brilliant, Pelo).

Jennifer Fleming
Ehlie Luna

Ehlie Luna is a pro makeup artist, content creator, and creative consultant with a focus on sharing expert tips, entertaining, and injecting her unique perspective into the beauty space. She has worked as the key makeup artist for the New York City Ballet and has collaborated with brands like MAC Cosmetics, Beautyblender, Uoma Beauty, Macys, and more. 

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar,,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.

With contributions from