The 13 Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin, Tested & Reviewed
Tell us if this cycle sounds familiar: As soon as you see a pimple you cover it with layer after layer of concealer and foundation until it disappears, but then days later, you find four more start to emerge. While acne is a natural part of life (and adult acne is a very real thing), sometimes our pimples are too red, too mountainous, and too…confidence-shattering that we feel the need to camouflage them as best we can for sanity’s sake.
Trying to find your perfect foundation match that covers your acne without exacerbating the problem is like trying to find a needle in a haystack — but we will never surrender. Our team of InStyle editors, each with a different skin type, texture, and acne pattern, are fighting the good fight against pimples everywhere by testing the bestselling foundations specifically formulated for acne.
We evaluated each foundation for its ability to cover our red-flushed blemishes and the scars left in their wake, while still feeling soft and silky (not goopy and gross), before judging the final look and whether our complexion appeared even with an all-over wash of coverage for a neutral, natural-looking base. We kept an eye out for new pimples, a surefire sign that the formula caused congestion, before tallying up the scores, and ranking each foundation on its performance. Our favorite foundations make up this list for the near-flawless finish they give our skin.
Best Foundation for Redness: Oxygenetix Acne Control Foundation
Nothing haunts us more from bad acne flare-ups than the scars they leave behind, and since these ghosts of bad breakouts past come in various forms — think flat, discolored marks or deeper, indented lines — finding one foundation to conceal all types is tricky. Lucky for us, the Oxygenetix Acne Control Foundation ran the gamut and hid scars, redness, and discoloration under its silky veil.
Its formula relies on a non-pore-clogging aloe vera base, as opposed to water or oil, to soothe inflamed skin, lighten hyperpigmentation, and prevent future scarring.6 This gave it a serum-adjacent feel and one we unabashedly applied as it melted like butter into our skin, in return, its dewy finish rewarded us with a healthy, radiant glow.
Meanwhile, salicylic acid, one of the most effective exfoliating ingredients for softening acne scars, and the brand-patented yeast-based ingredient Ceravitae work together to promote skin cell turnover and make breakouts less frequent.7 As a bonus, the brand packaged the foundation with an airless pump to prevent bacteria growth.
INSTYLE/ JESSICA JULIAO
Overall, there are truly no tricks with this treat of a foundation except when it came to shade matching, which threw us for a loop because our initial pick looked too yellow for our complexion. Satisfyingly, it dried down to a color that better suited our natural skin tone.
Type: Liquid | Key Ingredients: Ceravitae complex, aloe, salicylic acid | Non-Comedogenic: Yes | Coverage: Buildable | Number of Shades: 13 | Size: 0.5 oz