Whether you’re dealing with the occasional pimple or a constant onslaught of zits, you can be sure of one thing: The wrong foundation can make your breakouts look a hundred times worse. Sure, you can slather on the first full-coverage foundation you can find in hopes of minimizing the redness, bumps, and dark marks (although, IMO, I say let your natural skin shine free in all of its beautiful glory), or you can use one of these 15 tried-and-true foundations for acne-prone skin.
Each of these zit-approved foundations are formulated to cover breakouts, neutralize redness, absorb excess oil, and even treat your existing breakouts. So find your new favorite formula, below, and get blending.
Love Cosmo? Want the mag? Subscribe here!
This Lightweight Foundation
1. Lune + Aster Real Glow Skin Tint
If you hate the feeling of heavy makeup on your face, you need to try this lightweight foundation. A few pumps offer sheer-to-medium coverage that literally feels like nothing on your skin. I blend a thin layer all over using my fingers, and then add a few more drops across my chin and forehead where I tend to have more breakouts.
This Foundation Stick
2. Flesh Firm Flesh Thickstick Foundation
This creamy, full-coverage stick foundation is ideal for when you’re out and need to quickly cover up a breakout. It’ll never spill or leak in your bag, and you don’t even need to use a sponge to apply it. Just buff the stick into areas that need a little more coverage, and blend with your (clean) fingers.
This Hydrating Foundation
3. Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Soft Matte Hydra Makeup
The problem with overly mattifying foundations? They can actually make your skin oilier and more prone to breakouts. Why? They often dry the hell out of your face, which can end up triggering excess sebum production, leaving you with a greasy, pimply situation. Instead, go with a mattifying formula that’s infused with hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, like this one from Estée Lauder.
This Fragrance-Free Foundation
4. Burt’s Bees Goodness Glows Liquid Makeup
Fact: Synthetic fragrance (you can ID it as “parfum” or “fragrance” on the ingredients list) can irritate the hell out of your skin, causing acne and redness to flare. Play it safe and opt for a foundation that says “fragrance-free” on the packaging, like this one from Burt’s Bees. (Side note: “Unscented” doesn’t count—it only means the formula doesn’t have a distinct smell, not that it doesn’t contain synthetic fragrance).
This Organic Foundation
5. Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Serum Foundation
This organic, silicone-free foundation works just as well as conventional face makeup to help cover up breakouts and old acne marks. It uses plant-based pigments to give buildable coverage plus antioxidants and hydrating coconut extract to help smooth skin without clogging your pores.
This Long-Lasting Foundation
6. MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
Sweat, humidity, triple-digit temps…this liquid foundation can hold up to it all. The medium-to-full coverage formula is totally waterproof and lasts for 36 hours (not that you should leave it on that long, but still, pretty awesome), so you don’t have to worry about it sliding off your face during the day.
This Customizable Foundation
7. Cover FX Custom Cover Drops
These liquid foundation drops allow you to adjust the coverage level of your foundation without having to use a bunch of different products. Use one drop on your best skin day, two drops when you want sheer coverage, and three or four drops when you want something a bit more full-coverage. Or if your new foundation or tinted moisturizer is a bit too dark for your skin tone, brighten the color with a few of these drops in a lighter shade.
This 2-in-1 Foundation
8. Stila Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer
If you have cystic acne (the kind that manifests in red, angry bumps under your skin) then you know that a few layers of foundation aren’t always enough to cover things up. Your solution? This foundation and concealer duo. Use the foundation to even out your skin tone, then flip open the cap to reveal the matching concealer, which you can use to spot-treat bumps.
This Foundation With SPF
9. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation With SPF 50+
Okay, so the SPF 50 in this foundation shouldn’t take the place of your regular facial sunscreen, but it’s a great way to get some added protection from skin-damaging UV rays on days that you’re going to be outside. The hydrating, non-comedogenic formula gives you full coverage and comes in 12 different shades to suit your exact skin tone.
This Brightening Foundation
10. Becca Skin Love Weightless Blur Foundation
You can’t talk about acne without talking about PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation)—the dark marks and scars that linger on your skin well after your zit has healed. This brightening foundation helps reduce the appearance of both existing acne and PIH, thanks to its combo of blurring ingredients and spot-fading vitamin C.
This Powder Foundation
11. BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Skin-Clearing Loose Powder
When you think “powder foundation,” you probably think heavy and cakey. Not this mineral formula formula though. Not only does it gives you a full-coverage finish, but it also stays lightweight and breathable on your skin, so you won’t feel weighed down. The formula also contains 0.5 percent salicylic acid to curb oil production and oat proteins to calm irritated skin.
This Pore-Clearing Foundation
12. Neutrogena Skin Clearing Liquid Makeup
Shine from your highlighter? Cute. Shine from the excess oil on your skin? Maybe not so much. The lightweight, oil-free foundation helps to keep your T-zone under control, while also dissolving oil and dead skin cells that get built up in your pores with its key ingredient, salicylic acid.
This Soothing Foundation
13. E.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation
Although salicylic acid is an OG acne-fighting ingredient, it can also be a bit drying on your skin. So instead, this formula uses tea tree oil (a natural antibacterial) and aloe (an intense soother) to mitigate dryness and inflammation from your zits—or worse, your acne products. It also applies super smoothly, giving you top-notch coverage for under $10.
This Oil-Absorbing Foundation
14. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
Does anyone actually powder their nose in the middle of the day when shine creeps up? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Thankfully, this liquid-to-powder foundation eliminates the need for a midday touch-up with its kaolinite-clay base, which absorbs pore-clogging oils while giving you a matte, airbrushed finish.
This Matte-Finish Foundation
15. Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup
A foundation that really, truly stays matte all day is a match made in heaven for acne-prone skin. So, please meet the new love of your life. This foundation not only covers all redness and breakouts (without getting cakey), but it also contains a bit of beta-hydroxy acids to calm irritation and keep pores clear.