Which are the best non-comedogenic foundations? If you’ve been looking around for a foundation, I think you could agree with me that it’s hard to find a good one for acne-prone skin.
In this post, we will review some of the best non-comedogenic foundations on the market today and provide you a guide on non-comedogenic makeup so that you can make a decision to see if this type of makeup is right for you.
Best Non-Comedogenic Foundations List
L’Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup
If you are looking for a budget foundation that packs a lot of value, the L’Oreal’s True Match Super Blendable Makeup is non-comedogenic and worth being on your “to try” list. What’s great about this product is that there are tons of different shades available. Which is safe to say that there is probably a shade for everyone.
It doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. Most important, it’s CHEAP! For certain shades, it even has SPF 17. The bottle isn’t that big (1.0 Ounces or 30ml), but you don’t need a lot for great coverage making it a good investment.
This foundation is a bit more liquidity and it would not work for you if you are looking for something heavier or full coverage. I also want to mention that the foundation doesn’t come with a pump. However, considering its features and price, this foundation is a great (and affordable) buy.
More from L’Oreal: The L’Oreal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear foundation is non-comedogenic. This foundation is waterproof, sweatproof and transfer-proof. It comes in 30 shades and is a medium coverage foundation that is buildable to full coverage. It’s also a lightweight formula making it easy to apply. It’s a long-lasting foundation with colors that lasts up to 24 hours.
If you’re interested in other waterproof foundations, check out my detailed guide on waterproof foundations.
NARS Sheer Matte Foundation
A lot of people ask me if NARS foundations are non-comedogenic. The short answer is: Yes, some NARS foundations are non-comedogenic!
NARS has always produced quality products and the NARS Sheer Matte Foundation is the best oil-free non-comedogenic foundation from NARS. This foundation does not look cakey on the skin. It works great on oily skin and lasts for 8+ hours. As this is a sheer foundation, it won’t give you full coverage. The foundation works by protecting and nourishing your skin.
NARS Sheer Matte Foundation works well with acne-prone skin and none of my clients have reported any breakouts after using this foundation.
NARS’s buildable formula works but you have to be careful with the amount that you use. The product does have a smell to it but it’s not strong. Some people may have a problem with this and it really depends on how sensitive to smell you are. The smell is only noticeable when you apply the makeup and goes away after.
The bottle also does not have a pump which makes it a bit more cumbersome to use. However, given the great features of this foundation, such as being lightweight, skin nourishing, easy to blend and long-lasting, I recommend this as one of the best oil-free non-comedogenic makeup on the market today.
If you’re curious, other non-comedogenic foundations from NARS are:
NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation – As its name implies, this is a long-wear foundation and NARS claims that it can provide you with 16 hours of wear. It contains raspberry, apple, and watermelon extracts. There is also a ton of different shades to choose from which is always a good thing.
It is a light-weight formula that is very important for long-wear foundations. It has sheer coverage and a non-greasy feel. However, it’s not a full coverage foundation so only use this in thin layers.
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint – This is NARS’s latest foundation and it’s one of the best non-comedogenic foundations for oily skin. It contains great skin-nourishing ingredients like rose fruit extract, vitamin C and vitamin E. It’s lightweight, oil-free and works great on sensitive skin. It has a matte finish which is excellent for oil control and comes in a nice 1.7oz bottle.
A few downsides are that it doesn’t have any sun protection so you’re going to need to mix your own. Since it’s light-weight, it’s designed for light coverage. Some people may not know this and ended up applying way too much, which caused the product to feel cakey. The matte property works well for people with really oily skin.
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation – The NARS sheer glow foundation is non-comedogenic and oil-free. As the name suggests, this foundation provides a sheer a buildable coverage with a natural finish. It is free from parabens, alcohol and fragrances. It contains Glycerin, vitamin C, antioxidants and turmeric extract. This foundation is great for hydration and it feels soft and smooth on the skin. It has been tested by both Dermatologists and Ophthalmologists.
BareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation
Is BareMinerals non-comedogenic? Yes! Bare minerals foundations are non-comedogenic. This includes most liquid and powder formulas. The one that I like the most is the Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Foundation.
This is a non comedogenic mineral foundation with sun-blocking properties (SPF 15). It’s has a “clean” formula which means it’s free from talc, parabens, phthalates, fragrance, preservatives, and chemicals. It’s light-weight, buildable and is one of the best non comedogenic powder for oily skin because the powder has great oil-absorbing power.
Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation
This Smashbox foundation is non-comedogenic and oil-free. It’s a medium coverage foundation that is buildable to full coverage. It’s made from flexible and breathable polymers that allow your skin to move freely without settling in your pores or wrinkles. The foundation will not oxidize, which means the color will stay the same for the duration of wear. It is matte finish, sweatproof and will not transfer to your clothes.
This foundation gives you great oil control, especially in the areas around your T-Zone which is trouble area for most people.
The Smashbox studio skin foundation is vegan and one of the best cruelty free non comedogenic foundations.
Clinique Even Better Foundation Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15
The Clinique Even Better Foundation is one of the best water based non-comedogenic foundations. It’s a medium coverage foundation that works great to provide hydration for your skin. It’s non-comedogenic and won’t clog your pores. The creamy formula also provides 24 hours of wear. It has sun protection SPF 15.
This foundation is formulated with Clinique’s “stay true” pigments which means the color will not change from oxidization.It’s a great foundation for oily skin but also works for combination and dry skin types. It’s free of parabens and phthalates.
BTW, I have written a detailed guide on water based foundations if you want to find out more about this kind of makeup.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint is one of my favorite non-comedogenic foundations for dry skin. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, which is a popular ingredient for boosting skin hydration.
This is an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula that helps to moisturize your skin for 24 hours. It’s very lightweight and provides a light buildable coverage with a dewy finish. This foundation can last more than 6 hours on the skin.
It comes with a wand-applicator and there are 10 shades to choose from. Custom shades can also be created by mixing different shades together.
This foundation moisturizes and plumps skin for all day. It helps to improve the suppleness of your skin over time.
BTW, I’ve written a detailed guide on the best foundations with hyaluronic acid (like this one) if you want to find out more.
IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation
The IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation is non-comedogenic and it’s one of the best non-comedogenic powder for oily skin. This is a full coverage non-comedogenic foundation created using highly pigmented powder to ensure that the color is consistent throughout the day. It contains superior anti-aging ingredients like collagen (increases skin strength), silk (increases skin elasticity) and peptides (stimulates collagen production) to help restore and nourish your skin.
This foundation is also formulated with hyaluronic acid, a good skin hydrating ingredient that helps to lock in moisture. It contains free radical fighting antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, E and skin nourishing ingredients like rose, aloe, niacin, grape seed and olive.
As with most powder foundations, the IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation is great for absorbing oil. It doesn’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles. Due to its many benefits, this is also one of the best non-comedogenic foundations for mature skin.
This foundation does not contain Talc, Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Synthetic Fragrance and Phthalates.
BTW, I’ve written a detailed guide on the best foundations for mature skin if you want to find out more.
Best Non-Comedogenic Drugstore Foundations
Now that you have an idea of what to look for, here are some drugstore foundations that are non-comedogenic and that I have used personally with great results.
Covergirl Clean Powder Foundation
The Covergirl Clean Powder Foundation is non-comedogenic. Its oil-free and powder formula reduces that chance that it will clog your pores. Further, it’s very affordable. The only downside is that it’s not being offered in many shades (6 Total). So you will need to mix and match the shades a bit to get a match for your skin tone.
Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Liquid Foundation
This foundation is a light-weight full-coverage non-comedogenic foundation that is oil-free. If you’re looking for a liquid foundation that can provide better coverage than a powder foundation, you may want to give this one a try. This foundation is supposed to last all day (24 hours).
From experience, I was able to get a good 12 hours before needing some minor touch ups. There are 16 different shades to choose from and the product is very avoidable. To keep the product full coverage while lightweight, Maybelline used saturated color pigments in this foundation. This means all you need is a thin layer of this product and it should be able to cover most blemishes. Being lightweight also means it has a lesser chance that it will clog your pores.
BTW, if you’re looking for more oil-free foundations, check out my in-depth guide on the best oil-free foundations.
NYX Stay Matte but Not Flat Powder Foundation
This is an oil free non-comedogenic foundation. It is in powder form with a good matte finish and one of my favorite non-comedogenic matte foundation. As with most powder foundations, it does a great job for people with oily skin as the powder helps to soak up the oil on the surface of the skin.
This is a buildable coverage foundation which means you can pack on more layers to suit your coverage needs. As it’s in powder form, more layers probably not block your pores. My recommendation is always to use just enough to cover what you want to be covered.
The foundation has 24 shades to choose from and comes with a sponge for the easy application on the go.
BTW, if you’re looking for more powder foundations, check out my best powder foundations guide.
EVXO Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation
The EVXO Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation is one of the best natural non-comedogenic foundation. This foundation was created using certified organic and natural ingredients that are non-comedogenic and lasts on your face all day.
The formula provides a medium to full coverage with a dewy finish.
Here are the key natural and non-comedogenic ingredients in this foundation that makes it worth checking out:
- Chamomile – Provides ani-inflammatory functions and works well on sensitive skin that are prone to inflammation.
- Thyme – Helps to treat blemishes caused by acne bacteria.
- Vitamin E – Contain ani-aging properties that fight free radicals from the body.
Each bottle comes with a push button droppers that help you control the amount of foundation you use.
This foundation so proudly made in the USA. It is organic, gluten free and cruelty free. This is also one of the best vegan non comedogenic foundations. There are 11 shades to choose from.
Dermablend Professional Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Foundation
The Dermablend Professional Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Foundation is one of the best non-comedogenic hypoallergenic foundations. This foundation is created with an oil-free and water-free formula consisting of only 10 ingredients.
It’s a full-coverage foundation formulated with concentrated pigments to keep its true color all day long.
The formula does not contain fragrance, parabens or oils. It’s a vegan foundation that is allergy-tested to ensure it’s safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
The bottle comes with a dropper, making it easy for you to apply and control the amount of product to use. The foundation feels smooth and it’s very easy to blend.
Non-Comedogenic Drugstore Foundations + Selection Tips
The drugstore is my go-to place for makeup these days and since we’re on the topic of non-comedogenic makeup, I thought I’d provide some tips on recognizing and choosing non-comedogenic drugstore foundations.
Here is how you should choose non-comedogenic drugstore foundations:
- Forget the Label – Just because a product is labeled as “non-comedogenic”, it doesn’t mean that it’s free of ingredients that might block your pores or cause breakouts.
There are no FDA cosmetic regulations that govern which products are non-comedogenic and which are not.This means that we as consumers need are at the mercy of makeup companies and cross our fingers that they have tested the product enough to be confident that it won’t block pores for most people.
- Know the Pore Clogging Ingredients – Some common comedogenic ingredients are isopropyl myristate, algae extract, mink oil and corn oil.
Understand that just because a product contains a comedogenic ingredient, it doesn’t mean it will clog your pores. It all depends on the amount of ingredients in the product and your own skin conditions.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of makeup ingredients that might block your pores, check out my beauty labels page where I listed over 30 ingredients. You can use it the next time you go shopping.
- Choose Oil-Free or Powder Foundations – Products that are oil free have a better chance to not clog your pores because oils are thicker and may mix with the natural oils of your skin to create a barrier over your pores. Oil based foundations are mainly used for people with dry skin who need extra moisturization. If you have dry skin, I’ve written an in depth guide on oil based foundations that may help you out.
Powder Foundations have a less chance of blocking your pores than liquid foundations. This is because liquid foundations form a barrier over your pores. While a lighty set powder foundation provides space for your skin to breathe. You do need to pad your skin more often throughout the day if you decide to go with a powder foundation.
Best Non-Comedogenic Makeup Brands
Not all brands are created equal. There are certain brands out there that make high value and amazing quality non-comedogenic makeup. Here is a list of the best non-comedogenic makeup brands and why they are good:
- bareMinerals – bareMinerals can be summarized with 1 word: “Clean”. That’s because they guarantee that their formulas are created 100% free of any chemical sunscreen, formaldehyde, microbead, mineral oil, paraben, phthalate, propylene, triclocarban, triclosan.
They also do not test on animals. They have a large line of makeup that is non-comedogenic including foundations, concealers, and primers.
- Neutrogena – Neutrogena creates some of the best non-comedogenic makeup in the world. If your concern is blocked pores that might lead to acne breakouts. Neutrogena’s formula comes with their own “MicroClear Technology” that not only helps to cover blemishes but also prevent future breakouts. MicroClear Technology helps to dissolve oil and boost the delivery of salicylic acid to the source of breakouts.
Neutrogena makeup is non-comedogenic and they carry a variety of different products including foundations, concealers, and tinted moisturizers.
- Dermablend Professional – Dermablend is another popular brand for non-comedogenic makeup. All of their products are tested by dermatologists on sensitive and allergy skin. Their formulas contain high-performance pigments to ensure longer lasting color. Dermablend products do not contain fragrance, SLS, Triclosan or Phthalate. They are also cruelty-free and never tested on animals. Dermablend carries a large number of different types of face and body makeup products including foundations, concealers, highlighters, tattoo cover-ups and stretches mark cover-ups.
Non-Comedogenic Foundations: What You Need to Know
What Does “Non-Comedogenic” Mean?
One that’s hitting the mainstream with the increasing attention to skincare is “non-comedogenic” (non-pore clogging). It’s a word with almost miraculous promises, a label that guarantees pores free from gunk but is it too good to be true? The short answer: “kind of”.
First off, non-comedogenic denotes a product specifically designed to not block pores. This sounds amazing because makeup has been demonized for so long for clogging pores and causing acne, but the truth of the matter is a bit different. In fact, it’s completely the opposite.
Non-comedogenic makeup has a bad reputation, but it is not related to acne. The real culprit here could be that you are not cleansing your skin properly. Taking your makeup off at night is extremely important and it’s a bit harder than people tend to think. Getting it all off can be tough, meaning it can be beneficial to use a level of physical exfoliation appropriate for your skin type.
For example, people with sensitive skin should use a soft microfiber washcloth or an extremely gentle cleansing brush. The more durable among us may be able to handle scrubbier cloths. People with oily skin types might opt for a water based cleanser. Fans of Asian skincare products ascribe to “like dissolves like” and recommend taking makeup off with an oil based product, followed by double cleansing with something water based.
How Do Non-Comedogenic Foundations Work?
The simple answer here is: they don’t. If you’re worried about your makeup aggravating any breakouts you might currently be experiencing, then you might be disappointed to find out that simply choosing a foundation with a label that says “non-comedogenic” is not enough. It’s true that a product ill-suited for your skin might irritate your acne. In this case, non-comedogenic foundations sound like a holy grail. Unfortunately, the truth there stings too.
In reality, non-comedogenic is an empty standard. There are no rules to what can call itself non-comedogenic, because it’s not a protected term. There is no enforcement agency that decides on any one product’s pore clogging capability. This holds true for all makeup products across the world. That means foreign brands making similar claims come with a similar dearth of testing.
Typically, the heavier the consistency, the more likely to clog pores. Even the thickest, greasiest foundations can gift itself the title of non-comedogenic. This is why it’s important to read the reviews of a certain product before you buy it.
If a Makeup Product Label Doesn’t Say “Non-Comedogenic”, Will It Cause Acne?
It’s tough to say one way or another because labels aren’t always reliable. We know for sure that makeup can be a compounding factor in breakouts, so what are some real concerns you should be looking out for? For one, fragrances. Heavily perfumed foundations typically contain irritating ingredients to achieve those scents. This is of special concern to those of us with oily or acne-prone skin as these ingredients tend to be drying and can exacerbate oiliness or worsen breakouts.
It’s for the same reason that you may have heard to avoid alcohol based foundations that are exceptionally dehydrating. Alcohols are typically listed as denatured or specially denatured (SD). For more information on how to read labels for common skin-upsetting ingredients, check out this video:
If you’re unsure about the nature of your acne and have an inkling that a common irritant might be the culprit, check your products for peppermint and witch hazel. Both are prevalent actives popular in skincare circles but should be limited to spot treatment. They should be avoided entirely if not paired with heavy moisturizing.
Another no-no is foundations and concealers that are gloppy, thick, or completely solid. Creams and heavy coverage might seem like the best option for covering problem skin and glaring blemishes, but the thick consistency increases the likelihood of clogged pores and leaves skin with an unnatural finish that can draw the eye to areas meant to be made inconspicuous.
Instead of looking for a magical “non-comedogenic” heavy coverage foundation, maybe opt for a medium or even light coverage foundation and a full coverage concealer to target trouble spots. This serves to let your skin breathe, lowers inflammation and provides a natural appearance.
Regardless of your skin type, you should be wary of preserving your skin’s pH and protecting the acid mantle. This is much more important than what foundation you choose. Contrary to what most might believe, the skin is actually a little acidic— skin pH is typically around 5.5. The acid mantle is the layer of sebum and sweat that forms atop the outermost layer of the epidermis and acts as a physical and chemical barrier for harmful toxins and various microorganisms.
Upsetting the skin’s natural balance with too acidic or too basic products can damage this shield. It is recommended to research the pH of any new products to make sure they’re close to that of the skin or pH neutral (7). This is also why it’s recommended to avoid such housewives’ tales remedies like baking soda (9) and lemon juice (2).
Are Non-Comedogenic Foundations Good or Bad For Oily Skin?
Since there are no standards, there’s no real way to say if a specific product will be beneficial or harmful to your skin. The biggest takeaway about non-comedogenic foundation, makeup, and skincare is this: do what works for you. Skin is very uniquely yours, so there’s no one routine or blanket product recommendation that works for everyone.
Your best bet for troubled skin is to stop all products completely, then slowly add back in one at a time to quickly pinpoint anything that’s distressing your face. This holds true for makeup and skincare products.
At the end of the day, good skin requires commitment, and product research is a necessary evil. If you were considering non-comedogenic product purchases, hopefully, this shed some light on how little the label entails, and hopefully, your findings inspired you to do a little digging on any product you might add to your arsenal.
Are Oil-Free Products Non-Comedogenic?
No, oil-free products may still contain comedogenic ingredients. Oil-free makeup should not be assumed to be non-comedogenic.
What’s The Difference Between Non-Comedogenic or Non-Acnegenic Makeup?
There difference between non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic makeup is that non-comedogenic makeup are not made of pore-clogging ingredients and have a lesser chance of clogging your pores. Common pore-clogging ingredients include algae extract, cocoa butter and mink oil. I’ve complied a large list of common comedogenic makeup ingredients on my post about skincare labels. Check it out if you want to know more.
Non-acnegenic makeup refers to makeup products that are designed to not cause acne breakouts. These products are usually free from harsh chemicals, fragrances, alcohol and oils.
Should You Choose Non-Comedogenic or Non-Acnegenic Makeup?
Choose non-comedogenic makeup if your goal is to reduce the chances of acne-breakouts due to blocked pores. Choose non-acnegenic makeup if your breakouts are caused by skin irritants.
When we think of acne breakouts, we often think that they are caused by blocked pores. However, acne breakouts can be caused by a number of factors including hormones changes, bacteria, diet and medications.
Keep in mind that a product labeled as “non-comedogenic” have a lesser chance of clogging your pores, but this doesn’t mean they won’t cause acne. Similarity, a product labeled as non-acnegenic does not contain skin irritants that may trigger acne breakouts. However, they may clog your pores.
Bottomline: You need need to determine the cause of your acne breakouts and then find a suitable type of makeup to fit your skin condition.