The best no-breakout foundations of 2019

The top-rated foundations, reviewed for your skin type

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
Dec 13, 2019 · 5 min read

We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

With so many varieties out there, amazing foundation is more widely available than ever, and the makeup industry is moving fast, with no sign of slowing down. If you’re a long-time reader of the Curology blog, you’ll know we have a penchant for good foundation that won’t clog pores. So which foundation is best for you? Here’s an up-to-date review of the best foundations of 2019, from the drugstore to Sephora.

Finding your foundation match

There are literally thousands of makeup foundations to choose from, each with different qualities. Here’s the quick rundown on what it all means so you can pick a foundation that will work for your unique skin type.

Coverage: how “covered” your face will be — it refers to how much pigment is in your foundation.

  • Full: high pigmentation — for those who love a pancake face or want to heavily conceal skin

  • Medium: moderate pigmentation — easier to sheer out or build up for flexible coverage options

  • Light: low pigmentation — for no-makeup makeup looks, with coverage aimed at color-correcting

  • Sheer: no pigmentation — the most natural look; these foundations don’t conceal, but aim to even skin texture and tone (usually with silicones and moisturizing ingredients)

Finish: the way the foundation looks when it’s dried and how it will sit on the skin.

  • Matte: smooth, non-shiny — best for oily skin

  • Satin: semi-matte, slight luminosity — best for combo skin

  • Luminous: shiny, glowy — best for dry skin

  • Natural: luminous, your skin but better — best for mature skin

Formula: the consistency of the foundation — it’s up to personal preference based on how you like to apply and blend your makeup.

  • Liquid: good for dry skin or aging skin — apply with a damp beauty blender (or equivalent sponge)

  • Powder: good for oily skin — apply with a fluffy brush

  • Cream: best for full-coverage — apply directly to the skin; blend in with a stiff brush

Now that we’re all hip to the lingo, here are the best foundations of 2019, reviewed.

The best foundation for acne-prone skin

bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Skin-Clearing Loose Powder

A powder foundation with a matte finish that has salicylic acid as an active ingredient to help counteract active breakouts — but if you’re not actively breaking out, bareMineral’s original loose powder is a better choice for a daily foundation. Both have a mineral-based, non-comedogenic formula that makes it perfect for sensitive skin.

$29.00 via bareMinerals

The best foundation for dry skin

ILIA True Skin Serum

Aloe is the main ingredient in this hydrating liquid foundation, making it ideal for dry skin. With light, buildable coverage, it’s easy to blend, meaning you can apply enough product to conceal blemishes without it caking or flaking on dry parts of the face.

$54.00 via ILIA

The best foundation for combination skin

M.A.C. Studio Fix Powder Plus

A powder foundation with medium coverage and a matte finish, this smooths the face while containing shine. This mineral-based formula is gentle on dry parts of the skin and long-lasting on oily parts.

$31.00 via M.A.C.

The best full-coverage foundation

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Stick

This cream foundation stick has an ultra full-coverage formula with a matte finish to provide the maximum amount of pancake face. It comes with SPF 21, but dermatologists recommend your sunscreen to be SPF 30 or higher.

$43.00 via Lancome USA

The best long-wear foundation

Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R Soft Matte Longwear

A long-wearing liquid foundation with a full-coverage, semi-matte finish. Dimethicone is one of the main ingredients, which helps makeup sit comfortably on the face from morning to night without drying you out. It’s one of the most highly rated foundations of all time, and the hype is real.

$35.00 via Fenty Beauty

The best affordable foundation

Maybelline Fit Me Dewy+ Smooth

Medium coverage with a semi-matte finish gives flexibility to this drugstore foundation, which only adds to the appeal of its price point. It’s also a good liquid foundation for dry skin — main ingredients include glycerin, which moisturizes, and dimethicone, which helps seal moisture in.

$7.99 via Maybelline

The best high-end foundation

Glo Skin Beauty Pressed Base

This powder is a mineral-based foundation that should work well with most skin types, but it’s an especially great choice for mature skin. The formula includes a few age-defying ingredients, including retinyl palmitate and vitamin C in the form of ascorbyl palmitate.

$50.00 via Glo Skin Beauty

The best natural-finish foundation

PUR Cosmetics 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup

A pressed powder with a mineral-based formula that offers light coverage with a glowy finish to make your skin look healthy and radiant. It also contains retinol, which may help breakouts and signs of aging. It comes with SPF 15, but dermatologists recommend you use SPF 30 or higher.

$29.00 via PUR Cosmetics

The best lightweight foundation

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

A light-coverage liquid foundation that aims to improve your skin’s natural appearance. It has a semi-matte finish to minimize uneven skin texture — at the same time, the moisturizing formula keeps skin hydrated to bring out an inner glow.

$40.00 via Urban Decay

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New year, new you

Beauty geeks know that the best makeup hack is a great skincare routine. If you’re struggling with breakouts or signs of aging, you already know how important it is to use makeup that has the best ingredients for your skin, with nothing extra. You can nourish your skin with a simple skincare routine when you sign up for a free month of Curology — just pay $4.95 to cover the cost of shipping and handling. New members receive a prescription cream, customized for their unique skin needs. You can also complete your routine with our non-comedogenic cleanser and your choice of moisturizer for no extra cost. Start your #SkincareJourney and have the best year ever 🎉

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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