Best non-comedogenic foundations: our favorite picks that won’t block up your pores

Our favorite formulas for anyone on the lookout for the best non-comedogenic foundations

Model applying foundation to depict best non-comedogenic foundations, in the background foundation bottles from the likes of giorgio armani and lacome and displayed
(Image credit: Getty Images / Caroline Tompkins )

Finding the best non-comedogenic foundations can be difficult, but we may have finally nailed it. 

We all know that using regular foundation on oily and acne-prone skin can feel like a vicious cycle - the more we use it, the more it aggravates our skin, and the more we feel the need to pile on even more. So when we hear about non-comedogenic foundations that claim to give us all the photogenic skin we’ve spent years striving for without leaving it shiny, clogged up, and sprouting more spots than a Dalmatian, we’re all ears.

After getting to grips with what non-comedogenic means and whether to go non-comedogenic foundation vs oil-free foundation, it was clear that we needed to add one to our makeup routine. 

We tested quite a few bottles of non-comedogenic foundations, and think Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk ticks all the boxes, with its shine-free, natural-looking glow and buildable coverage that goes the distance - no matter what your skin type is. If you’re looking for something more full-coverage, then the Yves Saint Laurent All Hours will give you a substantial finish without the heaviness that usually comes with thick formulas. And we love L'Oréal Paris’ True Match for a budget buy that gives its counterparts a run for their money.

How to choose the best non-comedogenic foundation for you

When choosing the best non-comedogenic foundation for you, the main thing to be aware of is the ingredients list.

“For people with sensitive, problematic or reactive skin, it is worth opting for oil-free formulas and stay away from full-coverage, long-wear formulas,” advises aesthetic doctor Dr Maryam Zamani. “Always consider skin type, skin concerns, the season, skin tone match and desired coverage.”

“Your ideal foundation should be lightweight, water, gel or aloe-vera based,” adds Dr Parisha Acharya, Aesthetic Doctor at London Marylebone’s Waterhouse Young clinic. “Bonus points if it contains salicylic acid for acne prone individuals. Look for terms like hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic but remember these terms are not necessarily regulated so still be vigilant of the ingredient list.”

More sheer water-based formulas will leave you with a natural look rather than the dreaded caked-on effect. And of course, those who are plagued with oily skin will benefit from anything that boasts a matte finish.

But if you're an acne-sufferer who needs a higher coverage, try and look for something that is non-drying so it won’t catch on your blemishes and start flaking off throughout the day. 

Things start getting a little trickier when you have both oily and dehydrated skin, so in that case it’s best to look out for anything containing hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and any emollients, which will pack hydration into your skin without clogging up pores with something more heavy.

The My Imperfect Life edit

The best non-comedogenic foundation for most people

Best non-comedogenic foundation, Giorgio Armani Luminous silk

(Image credit: Giorgio Armani)

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk

A glow-giving all-rounder that works for all skin types

Specifications
Coverage: Buildable medium coverage
Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 40 shades and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
Added extras: Micro-fil™ technology
Reasons to buy
+Satiny, non-shiny finish+Natural-looking glow+Lightweight but tactile texture+Customizable coverage
Reasons to avoid
-On the pricier side

While oilier skin types may be put off just by the name, this buildable formula gives a satiny finish to all skin types without leaving any grease or shine in its wake. And the best thing about this customizable fluid that manages to hide any sign of pores, redness, or blemishes despite its sheer-esque consistency? The subtle glow that’ll leave you looking like you’ve actually managed to fit in a post-lockdown jaunt to the Med - no two-week quarantine required.

Read in full: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation review

The best luxury non-comedogenic foundation

Best non-comedogenic foundation, Yves Saint Laurent All Hours

(Image credit: Yves Saint Laurent)

Yves Saint Laurent All Hours

A full coverage, non-comedogenic wonder that adds elegance to your dressing table

Specifications
Coverage: Full coverage
Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 30 shades and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
Added extras: SPF20
Reasons to buy
+Full-coverage but natural finish+Dewy but grease-free glow+Applies and blends smoothly+Long-lasting+Non-drying
Reasons to avoid
-Can develop shine throughout wear

It’s not often you’ll come across a full coverage foundation that also ticks the non-comedogenic box, but this one does it all. For those acne-prone and oily skin types who want to stick with their thick formulas, this will fully hide any imperfections, while even leaving a tiny hint of the best bits of your skin (i.e. freckles and beauty spots) so it’s doesn’t look like you’ve just caked on face paint.

It brushes on smoothly and gives a flushed glow, which is something you wouldn’t expect from a high-coverage fluid. It can develop a little bit of shine throughout the day on oilier skin types, but that’s simply due to the dewy texture that makes it suitable for a wider range of skin types.

The best budget non-comedogenic foundation

Best non-comedogenic foundation, L’Oréal Paris True Match

(Image credit: L'Oreal Paris)

L'Oréal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation with SPF and Hyaluronic Acid

Could easily disguise itself as a high-end pick

Specifications
Coverage: Buildable medium coverage
Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 40 shades and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
Added extras: Hyaluronic Acid, aloe vera extract, vitamin blend, SPF17
Reasons to buy
+Long-wearing+Buildable pigment+Smooth texture
Reasons to avoid
-Shiny throughout wear-Slightly off colours

We often overlook more reasonably-priced options for more premium options, but with L’Oréal Paris hailing from the same house as more luxury brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Lancôme, Armani, and IT Cosmetics, its formulas are on par with some of the most expensive on the market. And that’s certainly the case for this buildable staple that glides on smoothly and lasts all day. Its coverage is easily buildable and the infusion of hyaluronic acid leaves skin soft and stops the formula from drying out on the skin.

It did come up a bit shiny as the day went on so could maybe do with a little dab or a touch of powder on top - and be sure to color-match thoroughly, as the shades can come up slightly different to what you might expect.

The best non-comedogenic foundation for oily skin

Best non-comedogenic foundation, Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear foundation

(Image credit: Laura Mercier)

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear foundation

Bestows the wearer with the kind of magic oily skin types never thought they’d get

Specifications
Coverage: Medium to full weightless coverage
Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 30 shades and suitable for all skin types, especially normal to oily
Added extras: Water-resistant
Reasons to buy
+Effective coverage without being heavy+Blurs pores+Matte finish without cakiness+Comfortable to wear+Didn’t leave marks on clothes
Reasons to avoid
-May be too matte for dry skin types

Known for their incredible Pure Canvas range of primers and their famous loose setting powder, this is one brand that knows how to ace a base. And we love the substantial but lightweight coverage this beauty gives - especially to oily and combination skin types.

It keeps oil at bay throughout the day, and the finish is matte without being cakey. The formula is also sweat, water, and transfer-resistant, meaning it didn’t leave any pesky orange marks all over our white T-shirts. We are also kind of obsessed with how it conceals large pores, getting to work quicker than Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.

The best non-comedogenic foundation for dry skin

Best non-comedogenic foundation, Nars Cosmetics Sheer Glow

(Image credit: Nars)

NARS Cosmetics Sheer Glow

A cult favourite that has all the benefits of a respectable moisturiser

Specifications
Coverage: Sheer, buildable coverage
Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 40 shades and suitable for normal to dry skin types
Added extras: Vitamin C, antioxidants, turmeric extract
Reasons to buy
+Blur imperfections+Dewy glow+Skin-loving formula+No greasy residue
Reasons to avoid
-Can become shiny

A skincare-makeup hybrid that most beauty fans will have tried at least once, Sheer Glow boasts a concoction of skin-loving ingredients while doing its job as a silky foundation. The sheer formula is more pigmented than you might expect so does a good job at blurring imperfections, while the NARS Complexion Brightening Formula leaves skin dewy and glowing without any greasy residue.

It’s packed with hydration so it can develop some shine after a few hours, but it’ll definitely leave dry skin with a healthy finish.

The best non-comedogenic foundation for all skin tones

Best non-comedogenic foundation, Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation

(Image credit: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation

Say hello to glowy shine-free medium coverage with a bespoke-like colour match

Specifications
Coverage: Medium coverage
Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 50 shades and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
Added extras: Water-resistant, vegan-friendly
Reasons to buy
+Fresh finish+Shine-free glow+Easily buildable+No dry patches+Perfect colour match
Reasons to avoid
-Didn’t last all day-Expensive

As society learns and progresses, face makeup is thankfully getting more and more inclusive - and this sterling product is proof of that. With a finish that’s actually remarkably similar to our Giorgio Armani favorite, it gives a glowy shine-free, medium coverage look that can be layered for more coverage. And the vast range of shades allows you to really personalize the color that you’re getting.

It has the kind of fresh finish that leaves you looking like you’ve just had a facial, and won’t flake into any dry patches of the face. Our one and only niggle was that it did start to show signs of wear after a few hours, settling into pores and fine lines and sporting a bit of shine, so perhaps one to pair with a finishing powder or setting spray.

The best non-comedogenic foundation stick

Best non-comedogenic foundation, Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra SPF15 Foundation Stick

(Image credit: Lancome)

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra SPF15 Foundation Stick

For a healthy on-the-go finish

Specifications
Coverage: Full, buildable coverage
Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 25 shades and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
Added extras: Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Reasons to buy
+Buildable coverage+Easy to apply+Blends seamlessly+Healthy, oil-free finish
Reasons to avoid
-Pores weren’t blurred-Some shine throughout wear-Some flaking on dry patches-Limited shade range

We might all be predominantly stuck in the house at the moment, but the day will come (we can only hope) when we have to venture back out onto the morning commute. And for that day this is the foundation you want to be using to do your make-up on the move. This foundation takes just seconds to apply, gliding onto the skin and then blending in seamlessly with a buffing brush or blending sponge.

It gives just the right amount of coverage for a healthy flush, without looking too greasy and covers up imperfections nicely. It doesn’t have the airbrushed matte glow of others we’ve seen and can develop some shine throughout the day while also minimally flaking on dry patches after a few hours, but good for any on-the-go afternoons as it stays put until evening.