About a year or so ago, I was visiting one of my favorite facialists (Hey, Dakota Katt!) at one of my favorite facial spots in L.A. (Hey, VH Skincare!) when I had an epiphany. Or rather, my facialist, Katt, simply enlightened me to the enigmatic trigger that had been exacerbating my acne-prone skin for years. (Cue the ominous drumroll.) From the outside looking in, I was doing everything "right." I wasn't falling asleep with my makeup on, I was washing my face before and after workouts, I was eating a clean, well-balanced diet, I had a strict, esthetician-approved skincare protocol… But no matter how I tinkered or tweaked, the bumps kept on coming and coming and coming. So when Katt asked me mid-extraction, "Wait… What foundation do you wear?" you can imagine the flood of facepalm and mind-blown emojis that overtook my brain.
Even though I obsessively curate my skincare routine in an effort to keep my pores as clear as possible, I had somehow managed to forget about my makeup and foundation. I knew enough to avoid products with lots of natural and botanical ingredients like essential oils, but after doing some research, I learned that almost all of my favorite foundations contained comedogenic (i.e. pore-clogging) ingredients—things like coconut oil, talc, shea butter, plankton, algae… The list is a mile long. Sure enough, when I switched over to the foundation that Katt recommended (Armani Beauty's Luminous Silk Oil-Free Foundation, $64, if you're curious), my breakouts began to slow and eventually slammed the brakes altogether.
Now, I do want to point out that everyone's skin is unique and sensitive to different things. Some people can wear comedogenic foundations without a problem, and some people might choose a noncomedogenic foundation but still end up with irritation or breakouts due to some other ingredient. Unfortunately, I can't promise you that the below formulas will 100% not break you out, but I do feel confident saying they're far less likely to. Most, but not all, foundations that are noncomedogenic are labeled as such, but if you're not sure about a product's ingredients or want to know if your current lineup is noncomedogenic, I recommend heading to Acne Clinic NYC's website, where you can copy and paste a beauty product's ingredients list to check if it contains anything comedogenic. (It's so easy and has been a complete game changer for me and my online shopping ventures!)
Since my skin has been healthier and smoother than ever since I made the switch to noncomedogenic foundations, I thought I'd share the 10 favorites I've personally vetted and swear by. Keep scrolling!
Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation
I love and routinely recommend Uoma's Say What?! Foundation for so many reasons. It's carefully formulated with noncomedogenic ingredients that will keep your complexion plump and hydrated (thanks to the buildable coverage, you can customize your finish), but it's also revolutionary, in that it contains six different formulations under the same Say What?! umbrella. The different cap colors differentiate the specific undertones each grouping is geared toward—green for dark brown skin, orange for brown skin, yellow for rich tan skin, pink for olive skin, purple for very fair skin, and blue for fair skin.
Urban Decay Stay Naked Weightless Foundation
Whenever I wear this foundation (it used to be my absolute go-to for long nights outs), I get compliments on my skin. Not my foundation, mind you, but my actual skin. It's so featherlight that you will literally forget you have anything on your face, but it's impeccably buildable, long-lasting, and virtually creaseproof, even in the tricky areas like around your mouth and under eyes.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare
I was (and, sporadically, still am) a die-hard fan of It Cosmetics's cult-classic CC+ Cream ($40). The coverage, skincare perks, and dewy finish are so unparalleled, and I considered it one of my all-time favorite foundations up until somewhat recently when I realized it contained certain comedogenic ingredients such as soybean sprout extract. It doesn't have too many pore-clogging ingredients, so I still use it on occasion, but for the most part, I've been prioritizing this new foundation from the brand instead. It's noncomedogenic and has many of the same features I love about the CC+ Cream—hydrating ingredients that encourage a radiant finish and a buildable formula that grants medium to full coverage. Plus, there are a lot more shade options.
Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation
I personally think this noncomedogenic foundation is one of the best matte options on the market. (The fact that it won't break you out or clog your pores is a cherry on top.) Here's the 411: Eternalsoft Polymer keeps your skin feeling comfy and soft (not tight or itchy like some long-wear formulas), and NAI pigments balance your skin's pH level so the color stays true throughout the day. Plus, perlite and silica are included to suck up extra oil. (FYI: This is the foundation I'm wearing in the promo photo above.)
Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation
This new foundation from Selena Gomez is so serum-like and lovely, and as amazing as it made my skin look the first time I applied it, I was convinced it had to contain tons of pore-clogging oils. Alas, after doing some research, I discovered (with great relief) that it's actually completely noncomedogenic. I'm obsessed with the entire range of Rare Beauty, and layering this foundation with the brand's liquid concealer, blush, and highlighter has been getting me so many compliments.
Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation
The hefty price tag of this iconic foundation is really the only fault I (and any makeup or skin pro I consult) can find with it. It does just what the name suggests by creating an even, satiny, luminous finish that reflects light beautifully on the high points of your face but never veers greasy thanks to the oil-free composition. There are tons of shades to choose from, it lasts all day long with nary a crease nor crack, and it's super buildable, so you can layer or sheer it out to your heart's content.
Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Foundation
Again, this noncomedogenic foundation is expensive, but it makes your skin look insanely healthy and glowy. To provide context, I wore it to a fancy dinner event once last year when my skin was healing from an aggressive facial (there were lots of red, bumpy extraction marks dotting my face underneath this foundation), and a famous blogger quite literally yelled across the table at me to ask what (if anything) I had on my face because it looked "amazing." I would trust Mother McGrath with my life and, most definitely, with my acne-prone skin.
Physicians Formula The Healthy Foundation With SPF 20
Believe it or not, this $12 foundation is noncomedogenic and is just as fabulous as formulas five times its price. The shade range needs improvement, but I appreciate that it has a healthy dose of sun protection and is chock-full of other skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamins A, C, and E.
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation
To prove to you just how much I trust this foundation and its noncomedogenic formula, I used to wear it to my post-work cycle or pilates class when I didn't have time to wipe off my makeup before leaving the office. Not only would this foundation look freshly applied even after 10 hours of it being on my face, but it also never ever caused a single pimple. This is one of my all-time favorite foundations, and I love that my congestion-prone skin loves it just as much as my camera does.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Acne Control Foundation
Oxygenetix is known for its acne-friendly treatment foundations, so it's hardly a surprise it makes some of the best noncomedogenic options money can buy. Aloe vera keeps skin cool, calm, and collected while other strategic additions like salicylic acid de-gunk blocked-up pores and help prevent future breakouts. We also appreciate that the brand makes a few different iterations. While the above is geared toward acneic skin, the brand also makes a hydration-rich version (below) that comes in two different undertone options—yellow or blue.