The 18 Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin in 2024

Breakouts? What breakouts?

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 100 percent normal, and something that the majority of the population experiences. While there’s no need to cover up your acne or blast it with acne spot treatments (you do you), we’re happy to report that the best foundations for acne-prone skin will disguise redness, blur over texture, and look like an extension of your skin—not like a mask.

While picking a top-notch formula is the foundation for a great base (pun very much intended), application technique is just as important.  “It’s all about patience and targeting,” says makeup artist Ehlie Luna. “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 all-time best foundations for acne. From lightweight liquids that pack surprising coverage to heavy-duty complexion products that won’t let redness peek through, here are our tried-and-true favorites. 

Deals

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte, $27.30

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte, $27.30 $14

“It doesn't emphasize texture like dewy foundations or make your skin appear dry or looking flat,” says Luna. It’s also a great option for extra hot or humid days, as it has a special climate-adapting technology (yes, it's a thing) that keeps shine and sweat under control. 

Lancôme Teint Idôle Ultra 24H Long Wear Matte Foundation, $57

Lancôme Teint Idôle Ultra 24H Long Wear Matte Foundation, $57 $40

"A current foundation fave in my personal and professional kit is Lancôme’s Teint Idol Ultra Wear 24H Longwear Foundation," says makeup artist Jennifer Fleming. "It's lightweight wearability and full coverage help camouflage texture and hyperpigmentation—I was hooked instantly! An added bonus? It is oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it perfect for acne-prone skin." 

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte Full-Coverage Foundation with SPF 40$47

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte Full-Coverage Foundation with SPF 40, $47 $35

While we’ve written a love letter about the best sunscreens for acne-prone skin, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little extra protection in your foundation. This full-coverage liquid formula checks all the boxes: It has SPF 40, color corrects, leaves a matte finish, and gives skin a little dose of hydration throughout the day. The formula is also infused with charcoal, which is an ingredient loved for its oil-absorbing properties. 

Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup Foundation, $34

Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup Foundation, $34 $24

Salicylic acid is the holy grail of acne-fighting ingredients, so it’s no surprise that this BHA-infused foundation landed on our list. Not only is this liquid foundation going to cover existing blemishes, but the salicylic acid is going to actively prevent new ones from forming.

What to Look For in a Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin

  • Coverage

The level of coverage you reach for is totally up to your personal preference. You can 100 percent reach for a sheer formula or a light coverage option. But if you want something that is going to cover redness and blur texture, we suggest 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 break you out is a bit more nuanced. The most important requirement, however, is a non-comedogenic formula. “It’s not necessarily right to say that all foundations are bad [for acne],” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali. “I’d just recommend looking for ones that are non-comedogenic and don’t have any ingredients that can clog pores or lead to breakouts.” Avoid picking something with oils or fragrance as well, as they can irritate skin. 

Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin

Meet the Experts

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Jennifer Fleming
Texas-bred, Jennifer Fleming’s passion for makeup began with the red painted lips of her family’s matriarchs, igniting an appreciation for the power and ability of makeup to enhance and transform. Years later in a packed Mustang, she made the leap to the lights of New York City. Working backstage assisting on fashion shows, photo shoots, and celebrity red carpet helped inform her foundation for makeup. She found her niche in advertising and men’s grooming for several brands including Maybelline Chase, and the National Basketball Association. Fifteen years later and her timeless approach to glamour is defined by clean refined skin, while enhancing her client’s natural beauty. Today, she continues to draw inspiration from art, travel, nature, and history- while being inspired by current digital beauty trends. Jennifer currently splits her time between New York and Paris; struggling to learn French and cosplaying as a chef.  
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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. 

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).