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. Buzzwords abound in the makeup world, some more real than others. 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. For the long answer, buckle up and let’s get started.

Our Picks For The Best Non-Comedogenic Foundations

ImageFoundation NameKey Features
L'Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup-Very Affordable
-Tons of Shades (cool, warm and neutral)
-Light to Medium Coverage
-For all skin types (including oily)
-50 colors
Bare Minerals BareSkin Pure Serum Foundation
(Best Non-Comedogenic Oil Free Foundation)
-No silicone, fragrance, parabens or oil
- 20 Colors
-Sunblock (SPF 20)
-Adjustable coverage
NARS Sheer Matte Foundation
(Best For Acne Prone Skin)
-Sheer Matte Coverage
-Oil Free, Water Based
-18 Colors
- Works good on oily / acne skin
Bare Essentials Minerals Foundation
(Best Non-Comedogenic Powder Foundation)
- Full Coverage
- Sunblock (SPF 15)
- 12 Colors
- Water and Sweat Proof
Used These Before? Which Non-Comedogenic Foundation Would You Recommend To Others?

Choose up to 2 to recommend

If We Had to Choose From the List Above..

Choice 1 – L’Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup

true match foundationNon comedogenic drugstore foundations are getting more and more fancy these days. If you are looking for a budget foundation that packs a lot of value, you may want to add L’Oreal’s True Match Super Blendable Makeup to 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’s non-comedogenic and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. Mostly 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 a 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.

Choice 2 – NARS Sheer Matte Foundation

NARS has always produced quality products and this 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 a full coverage. The foundation works by protecting and nourishing your skin. My clients have reported that after just a few weeks of use, people began to comment on their skin rbest Non-comedogenic foundationather than on their makeup. 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 light weight, skin nourishing, easy to blend and long lasting, I recommend this as one of the best non-comedogenic foundations on the market today.

What Does “Non-Comedogenic” Mean?

First off, non-comedogenic denotes a product specifically designed to not blocked 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 opposite.

Makeup foundations have 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 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.

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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 decide 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.

If a Foundation 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 contains 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 which 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 Dad 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 in general 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 products 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.