The Best Foundations For Sensitive Skin

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For people with sensitive, reactive, or allergy-prone skin, shopping for foundation can actually be terrifying. Swatch the wrong one, and you might wake the beast (or trigger a reaction, in more direct terms). Instead of doing that, opt for one of the best foundations for sensitive skin featured here. There’s an option to suit every application preference, be it liquid, powder, BB cream, or something in between; but they all have gentle, fragrance-free formulas that lack common, potentially irritating additives, and are enriched with skin-soothing and moisturizing ingredients, like aloe, squalane, and non-comedogenic, plant-based oils, instead.

A good starting point when you’re looking for a foundation, or any other kind of makeup for sensitive skin, is to find brands that cater specifically to reactive skin like yours. These can be drugstore brands, whose products will typically shout out having been dermatologist-, sensitive skin-, and/or allergy-tested, or "natural" brands (friendly reminder to take this very unregulated term with a grain of salt), which inherently tend to leave out the harsh chemical additives that are responsible for aggravating sensitive skin.

Of course, when trying out any new skin care or makeup product, you should do a patch test somewhere discreet — like on your wrist, elbow, or behind your ear — to make sure it doesn't trigger a reaction before putting it all over your face. If you don't notice a reaction within a day or so, you should be safe to use the product.

With that in mind, scroll on to shop seven of the best foundations for sensitive skin, safely, and with confidence.

1. Best Lightweight Foundation

Other than a BB cream, this hypoallergenic foundation from Physician's Formula is the lightest-feeling liquid makeup you can put on your face. Also like a BB cream, it’s infused with lots of moisturizing ingredients, like jojoba oil, aloe vera, cactus flower extract, and squalane, which all work to refresh and hydrate your skin. But a BB cream it is not: Even though it applies sheer, you can build it all the way up to a solid medium coverage. Expect a dewy, natural finish and comfortable-feeling skin all day long.

  • Available shades: 12

2. Best Full Coverage Foundation

All of Dermablend’s products are suitable for sensitive skin (they’re dermatologist-tested, sensitive skin-tested, allergy-tested, and fragrance-free), but I particularly like this Liquid Camo Foundation for its SPF of 25, courtesy of non-irritating titanium dioxide — that’s almost on par with most face sunscreens, which tend to have an SPF of 30. Beyond that, this is a great choice if you want true medium-to-full coverage, all-day wear, and zero hint of itchiness, tightness, or irritation. The finish is slightly dewy, though, so you can look a little more natural with a lighter touch.

  • Available shades: 15

3. Best For Oily Skin

L’Oreal True Match is the only foundation on this list that’s not formulated specifically for sensitive skin, though lots of sensitive-skinned users around the internet confirm that this drugstore staple works for them. One person on Amazon reported that it doesn’t leave their sensitive eyes watery or irritated, and another with sensitive skin claims that it’s “the best [foundation] I’ve ever used.” It also happens to be fragrance-free, which is pretty non-negotiable in a foundation for sensitive skin. This works especially well for people with oily or combination skin, since the dimethicone in the formula helps curb excess shine. It’s free of oils and comedogenic ingredients, too — a boon if you’re prone to breakouts.

  • Available shades: 45

4. Best Pressed Powder

Another good choice for folks with oily skin: this Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation. In here, kaolin clay and silica work to absorb excess oil without clogging pores, and green tea leaf powder and phytosphingosine help combat redness and irritation. It’s incredibly gentle, too: One reviewer who had a skin transplant found this when their doctor recommended that they use a chemical-free foundation, and this was the “most pure” foundation they found. Plus, the mirrored compact in which it comes makes it super convenient for travel and touchups throughout the day.

  • Available shades: 40

5. Best Loose Powder

Mineral powders are the gentlest type of makeup you can wear, since they contain so few ingredients (this talc-free Alima Pure foundation contains a mere four ingredients). And functionally speaking, they literally form a veil over your skin, so they have no shot at clogging/suffocating your pores. This loose mineral foundation offers a light wash of coverage, as opposed to the buildable coverage you’d get with Cover FX’s pressed powder, but reviewers confirm it does a beautiful job of gliding over inconsistencies in their skin texture, tempering redness, and giving their skin some glow.

  • Available shade: 45

6. Best Foundation Stick

This creamy foundation stick from PUR offers medium-to-full coverage with a velvety matte finish, but it’ll sneakily double as a skin care product in the process. A few highlights from this impressive ingredients list: Niacinamide for a more even skin tone; squalane to refresh dehydrated skin; and ceramides for locking in moisture. Exfoliators like retinol and lactic acid even make appearances in here, which can help brighten and smooth your skin over time. You can use this as a foundation, of course, but the stick can also multitask as a contour, bronzer, or highlighter, pending your shade choice.

7. Best BB Cream

While we’re on the topic of impressive ingredients lists, Inika's BB cream formula Is virtually identical to a face oil blend: Certified organic oils like jojoba, avocado, argan, and rosehip (which is especially good for quelling breakouts) all show up in here, to name just a few, which help keep your skin soothed and moisturized. The same gentle minerals that show up in mineral foundations are responsible for the tint. This applies sheer, as you would imagine, but the coverage is surprisingly buildable. It’s definitely a pricier option, but it can honestly work in lieu of your usual moisturizer.

  • Available shades: 8