The 10 best foundations for acne-prone skin in 2023

The best foundations for acne-prone skin promise to blur, conceal and prevent breakouts. We put those claims to the test and here are our top picks...

A comp image of some of the best foundations for acne-prone skin including IT Cosmetics, NARS and KVD Beauty
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best foundation for acne-prone skin doesn’t have to be complicated. After all, acne is very common, so most major foundation brands will have a formula geared towards people with this particular skin concern.

If you suffer from acne, it’s important to look beyond the best foundations and seek out formulas that have been created with acne-prone skin in mind. You need to look for a base that’s going to care for your skin while also providing the level of coverage you desire.  

So what factors should be considered when looking for a foundation for acne-prone skin? According to skincare expert Fiona Brackenbury, foundations that have been formulated with carefully selected skincare ingredients are best. “Some ingredients to look out for are charcoal (for clarifying), hyaluronic acid (for hydration), niacinamide (to support the skin barrier and help combat breakouts) and salicylic acid (to unclog pores),” she explains.

To help you find the best foundation for acne-prone skin, we’ve tried and tested the latest formulas which contain these key ingredients as well as cult classics. These are the ones we think are genuinely worth your money

How we tested the best foundations for acne-prone skin

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

A selection of the foundations for acne prone skin we tested for this guide

(Image credit: Kelle Salle)

To whittle down our edit of the best foundations for acne-prone skin, we tried dozens of formulas spanning every price point - from the best drugstore foundations to top-rated luxury picks. We applied each one in the morning and wore it for a full day, without touch-ups, to see how well it performed. To score highly, the foundation had to cater to acne-prone skin by concealing or preventing breakouts, while delivering on staying power. 

We also paid close attention to how long each foundation lasted and whether it improved our skin or caused further breakouts. The way our skin felt with the foundation was another big deciding factor: every product on this edit nourished and protected our skin. Finally, we judged each foundation based on ease of use and of course, the all-important finished look.

THE BEST FOUNDATION FOR ACNE PRONE SKIN, AS CHOSEN BY OUR BEAUTY EXPERTS 

Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

(Image credit: Armani)

1. Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

The best luxury foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £44.50 / $69
Shades: 40
SPF: No
Finish: Natural, radiant

Reasons to buy

+
 Oil free 
+
 Longwear 
+
 Suitable for all skin types 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can transfer

Wanting a foundation that keeps acne at bay doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to have a lit-from-within glow. If a foundation that offers a radiant finish is a non-negotiable for you, then Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation might be just what you are looking for. This silky, lightweight award-winning foundation delivers glowing skin in an instant. It’s oil-free, so it won’t clog pores, and contains Micro-fil technology which brightens the skin. We loved how lightweight the foundation was and how easy it was to apply. It did provide a brightening effect while also improving our skin’s texture. 

We also noticed that it minimized the appearance of our acne. Our skin was hydrated all day long, which wasn’t that much of a surprise because the formula is infused with glycerin. After a full day’s wear, it wasn’t cakey and it didn’t highlight our dry areas which we loved. Very impressive considering that some foundations that have been formulated with oily skin in mind tend to dry up in less shiny areas. Although this foundation is oil-free, it’s suitable for all skin types. Our only complaint is that it does transfer so you might need to touch it up during the day depending on your desired level of coverage. We recommend applying it with a blending brush for a seamless, skin-like finish and adding more layers where needed.  

Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint

(Image credit: Fenty Beauty)

2. Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint

The best tinted foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £27 / $32
Shades: 25
SPF: No
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
 Buildable coverage 
+
 Sweat and transfer-resistant formula 
+
 Instantly evens out complexion 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Limited shade offering 

Even though Fenty Beauty’s Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint is more of a tinted moisturizer than a foundation, we still wanted to include it in this edit because we loved how it seamlessly blended in with our natural skin tone and offered a lovely blurring effect in just a few drops. What probably makes the blur effect so great is the addition of the HydraBlend complex. This foundation delivered such a lovely no-makeup makeup look. It applied really well and it evened out our skin tone. 

Unlike the brand’s foundation, there are just 25 shades available but they are flexible, so you should be able to find the right match for you. If you are looking for a base that’s breathable and will even out your skin tone without concealing it, this foundation is worth a try. The brand recommends applying it with your fingers but we preferred the way it looked when we used our best foundation brush

best foundation, IT Cosmetics your skin but better

(Image credit: IT Cosmetics)

3. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation and Skincare

The best natural foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £33 / $44
Shades: 40
SPF: No
Finish: Natural radiant

Reasons to buy

+
Improves skin tone in two weeks  
+
Contains skincare ingredients 
+
Provides second skin finish

Reasons to avoid

-
 Takes a while to blend into skin  

Ideal for all skin types, this hyaluronic acid-infused foundation offers medium buildable coverage and a natural radiant finish. If you have acne-prone skin and aren’t sure about opting for a foundation that offers a radiant finish, then how about opting for one that instantly improves your complexion at the same time? IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation was formulated with aloe vera extract, vitamins E, B5 and hepes acid and it was also developed with dermatologists, so our hopes were naturally high.  With an SPF of 40, this foundation also made its way into our list of the best foundations with SPF

Overall, we thought the foundation offered excellent coverage without looking overdone. It felt light, and smooth in appearance and instantly evened out our skin tone, reducing the appearance of spots. The finish was so good that we were asked by a few people which foundation we were wearing. As for whether it offers better bare skin in two weeks, we can’t attest to that yet because we haven’t worn it long enough, but we really liked the coverage. Our skin looked better without looking cakey or feeling heavy. To reap the benefits of what this foundation has to offer, we recommend prepping the skin with your best face moisturizer and primer beforehand.  

Erborian Super BB Au Ginseng in Chocolat

(Image credit: Erborian)

4. Erborian Super BB Au Ginseng in Chocolat

The best pore minimizing foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £20.50 / $42.50
Shades: 5
SPF: Yes
Finish: Matte

Reasons to buy

+
 Non comedogenic 
+
 Clarifies imperfections  
+
 Contains skincare ingredients  

Reasons to avoid

-
 Limited shade offering 

Even though they were introduced to the market in the 2010s, the best BB creams are still sought after due to their ability to nourish the skin and provide barely-there coverage. They’re the perfect addition to your make-up collection if you tend to opt for a less is more approach. This BB cream from Korean skincare brand Erborian is described as ‘half-skincare, half makeup. We loved how easy it was to apply - it has a light texture that instantly concealed our imperfections. It also felt really comfortable and gave our skin a natural look while evening it out. The skincare element of the cream combines two K-beauty ingredients (white Ginseng and Ginseng flower), which reveal smoother, moisturized skin. 

We thought the cream settled into our skin with ease and with ingredients like ginseng and niacinamide in the formula, we loved how it took care of our skin without hiding it. While this BB cream ticked most of our boxes, it hasn’t been formulated with oily skin in mind so it didn’t reduce the appearance of lines and we did have to use our blotting powder quite a few times during the day. Lastly, we do think the shade offering could be a lot better. There are only two shades for darker skin in the range, but this is something the brand is working on.  If you're looking for one of the best lightweight foundations that's also suitable for acne-prone skin, you can't go wrong with this one. 

YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint Foundation

(Image credit: YSL)

5. YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint Foundation

The best longwear foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £36 / $54
Shades: 40
SPF: Yes
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Weightless
+
Contains SPF
+
24 hour wear

Reasons to avoid

-
Can oxidise

Following the success of the brand’s iconic Touche Eclat Highlighting Concealer, YSL launched the Touche Eclat Foundation in 2002. Like the highlighting concealer, the foundation is also a best-selling product, so we were excited to put it to the test. One of the most important things we take into consideration when curating this edit is the application process. We found this foundation to be a bit on the runny side and because of that, it took a bit of time to dispense. However, it doesn’t feel heavy, which makes it great for acne-prone skin and the coverage is medium, so a little bit goes a long way. 

We also loved how smooth the finish was. Once applied, our spots were barely visible. It didn’t oxidize after a day of wear and our skin felt hydrated. As our experts explained, when choosing a foundation with acne-prone skin in mind, it’s important to look for something that has hydrating properties and this one delivers hydration in every way. As well as being non-comedogenic (which is great for oily/combination skin types), it also has an SPF of 22. If you’re looking for a foundation that protects your skin while you wear it, you might want to give this one a try. 

LUSH Slap Stick

(Image credit: Lush)

6. LUSH Slap Stick

The best dewy foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £17 / $21
Shades: 40
SPF: No
Finish: Dewy

Reasons to buy

+
Vegan 
+
Buildable
+
Travel friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Can melt when it is hot

Although Lush is renowned for its skincare products, it also sells cosmetics. The first thing that attracted us to the Slap Stick Foundation was the environmentally conscious packaging. The base is housed in a recycled cardboard box, so we didn’t spend time figuring out how to get to the base - we simply opened the box and there it was. The foundation was quite easy to apply - it reminded us of the days when we used to use foundation sticks. We applied it directly to our skin and loved how easy it was to determine how much coverage we wanted. It’s vegan, which is an added bonus. 

To get the best out of what this foundation has to offer, we decided to opt for a no-makeup look during the day and fuller coverage in the evening and it didn’t look cakey at all, particularly on our dry areas. Lush has covered all undertones with this offering, so you won’t struggle to find a match - another bonus.

But there were some downsides to this foundation, like its staying power and formula, which won't suit everyone. It didn’t stay on all day so would probably need to be topped up with some powder.  And if you have acne-prone skin that is also oily/combination, you might want to give this one a miss during the warmer months as it’s made with ingredients that allow it to soften at body temperature. If you have oily skin, you might find something more suitable on our guide to the best foundations for oily skin.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

(Image credit: NARS)

7. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

The best buildable foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £34 / $46
Shades: 16
SPF: Yes
Finish: Natural, radiant

Reasons to buy

+
Contains Vitamin C 
+
Oil-free
+
Hydrates and smoothes skin 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Limited shade range 

If you’re looking for one of the best tinted moisturizers that offer fuller coverage, NARS’s Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer has got you covered. Ideal for all skin types, this bestseller offers oil-free coverage and is packed with SPF 30. In addition to keeping skin nourished and moisturized, it also keeps it hydrated and protected thanks to the inclusion of Vitamin C and French Polynesian Kopara. We weren’t having a great skin day when we gave this foundation a try, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Overall, we were very happy with how it looked and how easy it was to apply. It blended in really well with our skin and looked just as good when applied with a brush as it did when applied with our fingers. It felt comfortable and it also has a really pleasant smell, which is something you wouldn’t really associate with foundations.

It comes in 16 shades, which isn’t great (there are only two deep shades and two medium shades), but if you are lucky enough to find a match, let it dry down on your skin first.  

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

(Image credit: Illamasqua)

8. Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

The best matte foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £33 / $37
Shades: 26
SPF: No
Finish: Sheer matte

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable 
+
Suitable for most skin types 
+
Second skin effect

Reasons to avoid

-
The packaging

Illamasqua is on a mission to empower everyone with the confidence to express their true selves. With professional-grade vegan makeup, the brand is redefining beauty, one product at a time. We were super excited to try this one. 

Our first impressions? The application process could have been better. The bottle doesn’t come with a dispenser which is a bit of a deal breaker if you’re prone to spillages. This also meant the base was difficult to get out of the bottle. Once applied, we found the foundation to be lightweight and comfortable, although we didn’t get much of a sheen effect. It didn’t draw attention to our spots and it didn’t settle into fine lines, which was an added bonus. We also loved how smooth the matte finish was - though you might need to touch it up with some powder or use some blotting paper once or twice throughout the day.

Although it doesn’t contain any acne-fighting ingredients, we were really impressed with the finish. It doesn’t clog pores and would be a great option for day-to-day wear even though it might take a while to apply, depending on how skilled you are at applying foundation - though this is a common issue with most of the best matte foundations.

Ciate London Extraordinary Foundation

(Image credit: Ciate London)

9. Ciate London Extraordinary Foundation

The best radiance boosting foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £28 / $23.80
Shades: 22
SPF: No
Finish: Radiant, second-skin

Reasons to buy

+
Glow enhancing
+
Cruelty free 
+
Blurs pores and imperfections 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Can cause dry patches 

The Ciate London Extraordinary Foundation is the brand’s first-ever foundation. It’s long-lasting, weightless and provides a second-skin finish. Additionally, it’s non-comedogenic and has been formulated with hyaluronic acid, mimosa and arctic rose extract, which works to energize skin. We know that there are so many foundations for acne-prone skin on the market to choose from, so when we tested this, we wanted to see what sets it apart from the rest. And we weren't disappointed - we loved how soft and subtle the finish was. The blurring effect was elite. 

We found that it felt really lightweight and our pores were barely visible after applying it. This foundation has a thick texture, so to ensure we got the best finish, we applied it with a damp beauty sponge and it definitely did the trick as it lasted all day long. We were also impressed with its oil-controlling properties. If you don’t have oily/combination skin, then you might want to avoid it as it could be a little drying. The key to avoiding a heavy or cakey look with this foundation is to take a less-is-more approach first.

KVD Good Apple Full-Coverage Transfer-Proof Serum Foundation

(Image credit: KVD Beauty)

10. KVD Good Apple Full-Coverage Transfer-Proof Serum Foundation

The best skincare foundation for acne prone skin

Specifications

RRP: £34 / $42
Shades: 40
SPF: No
Finish: Full, natural

Reasons to buy

+
Longwear  
+
Lightweight
+
Covers imperfections 

Reasons to avoid

-
Better suited to oily/combination skin

The first thing that caught our eye when we came across the brand-new addition to KVD’s foundation collection was the gorgeous glass bottle. It has a beautiful shape accompanied by a luxurious design and it’s recyclable - what’s not to love? What makes it ideal for acne-prone skin is that it’s been infused with apple extract, which is rich in Vitamin C and promotes healthy, radiant skin. We found this foundation to have a very lightweight feel - throughout the application process, we didn’t feel like we had any makeup on. It provides a full-coverage look that will have everyone asking what foundation you are wearing. It also does a fantastic job of covering blemishes and acne scars - you might need to apply a bit more if you have hyperpigmentation. 

This foundation has been formulated with oily/combination skin types in mind and we could tell. It minimized the appearance of our pores and no touch-ups were required throughout the day. If you have acne-prone skin, always apply your best primer before your foundation because they are the first defense against acne and blemishes. The natural, seamless finish and long-lasting formula have secured this foundation its rightful place in our makeup collection. To quote the brand, we’ve never seen full natural coverage like this.

How to choose the best foundation for acne-prone skin

So what makes a great foundation for acne-prone skin? According to dermatologist Salome Dharamshi, you should look for products that “will give you good coverage while not clogging pores and providing other skincare benefits.”

Skincare expert Fiona Brackenbury, explains that foundations that have been formulated with carefully selected skincare ingredients are best. “Some ingredients to look out for are charcoal (for clarifying), hyaluronic acid (for hydration), niacinamide (to support the skin barrier and help combat breakouts) and salicylic acid (to unclog pores),” she explains.

Oil-free and non-comedogenic formulas are highly recommended for acne-prone skin. “Choosing a foundation that is non-comedogenic will allow the foundation to rest on the skin’s surface. If you have oily skin and you want lighter coverage, powder foundation could be a good option,” says Ada Ooi, celebrity facialist. A lot of people with oily skin tend to stay away from products with hydration or moisture-boosting properties so their complexion can stay matte but this is actually the worst thing to do. “When acne-prone skin lacks hydration, this can cause aggravation as well as add stress and inflammation to already struggling skin,” says Brackenbury. For those who have acne-prone skin that is also dry, a non-comedogenic formula could further dry the skin out. If the formula is too drying, it can cause flakiness, breakouts, and an uneven finish. “Sticking to a slightly dewy foundation could actually work best,” advises Ooi. 

Although acne is common, everyone’s issues are different, so if you find that your skin tends to get irritated easily, you might want to opt for formulas that have been infused with skincare ingredients. “Antioxidants like Vitamin C are good to look out for as they have a brightening effect, which can work well if you have scarring or hyperpigmentation,” explains Ooi.

“They also protect the skin from environmental pollutants and free radicals. Anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric or niacinamide can have a calming effect and help to soothe the skin."