The best foundations for acne

Let's get the obvious out of the way. If you are suffering from a breakout, the best solution is to wear no makeup at all. But unfortunately sometimes life gets in the way, and you may not feel comfortable heading into the world with bare skin. We hear you. These are the foundations to consider on those occasions.

Often, if you’re an acne sufferer you will find the products marketed to you are for oily skin, but rarely is our skin so easily defined. You may have dry patches around breakouts but be greasy overall because of your acne; this doesn't mean you are an oily skin type. The temptation here is to go in with a heavy, matte foundation which often can make skin look worse. Most people have areas of their skin that is not problematic, like the cheeks, forehead or nose. Tailor your foundation so that these areas get a chance to shine through, and keep your skin looking as light as possible whilst still getting some coverage on problem areas.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10; €40.00 at Brown Thomas

For all-over coverage


In this generation of glow-getters Double Wear foundation gets a bad rep, despite one being sold every 12 seconds worldwide. Estée Lauder’s best seller is famous for its high coverage which is often conflated with it being cakey. Yes, if you go heavy with the application it’s going to look piled on, but it's all about how you apply. We would recommend going in with a richer moisturiser underneath and applying Double Wear immediately, whilst your skin is slightly tacky. This will stop it looking dry or heavy. Remember, apply in thin layers as it’s easier to add more than take away, and build that coverage slowly. Powder, but do this strategically on areas you are oiliest so as not to diminish that glow!

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15; €41.00 at Brown Thomas

Patchy Breakouts

Acne is often confined to just a few areas rather than all over, like the cheeks and chin. If this is the case a heavy cover-all foundation might not work. We would recommend something lighter that will keep breakout free areas looking like skin and not caked in product. Instead, go in with a heavy duty concealer just where you need it. The Nars Soft Matte Concealer is fantastic for this. We also recommend Bobbi Brown's Skin Foundation, lightweight yet buildable, this is fresh, glowy and formulated to look like skin. Again you will need to knock back the shine with a little powder but apply just where needed leaving high points of the face like cheekbones and forehead powder free. This strategic approach will give you a natural, flawless skin.

Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation; €49.00 at Brown Thomas

For oily skin


If you naturally have an oilier skin type you may really need more of a matte foundation. Despite being oily, you will likely still have some patches of dryness around broken out areas so you don't want anything too drastically matte as it will cling. We love Giorgio Armani's Power Fabric as it has a velvet finish with a really lightweight texture. Skin never looks greasy, but not dry either, and it stays in place all day. Also did we mention it has the most amazing coverage?

It can be easy to panic when you have acne, (trust me I've been there) and reach for the heaviest coverage, pan-stick foundation on offer, but this will not help. Be as light-handed as possible in areas that are not affected. Most importantly, remember that skin is not a matte canvas, it's supposed to have different textures, so let that dewiness shine through where you can!

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