I love this, but unfortunately, it’s not for me…
How many times have you heard, or worse, said that? Sensitive skin is a common issue that causes strong reactions to chemicals, dyes, and fragrances present in products. The worst part is that the reaction is unpredictable.
More often than not, you won’t be aware of whether the product is irritating before it comes into contact with the skin. That means a constant risk of rashes or irritation, insecurity, and sticking to a few proven products, like, forever.
And then you find the best foundation for sensitive skin that doesn’t do any harm, ideally even helps…
But then the product gets discontinued, or the brand is sold and/or the formula changes.
In search of a new holy-grail product, it can be beneficial to differentiate the types of sensitivity. Knowing your condition and your triggers lead to knowing what to avoid. Furthermore, such an approach minimizes the risk of wasting your money on yet another wrong product.
Common Types of Sensitivity
If you have a problem with the allergic reactions or a type of contact dermatitis, you will probably want to avoid fragrances, artificial colors, latex, even certain plant extracts.
Redness, swelling, rashes, blisters may occur after the contact with an unsuitable cosmetic product. What you want to look for in the ingredients list is the absence of common irritants and the presence of anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic components.
Dry skin is often sensitive, and the condition worsens if the protective moisture barrier is damaged. Proper hydration is crucial, as much as avoiding the products that irritate or further dry out the skin’s outer layer.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a condition that provokes the appearance of dry, itchy patches. Your cosmetics should support the medical treatments, so avoid the common irritants and search for calming plant extracts like Aloe and Cica.
Related: Best Lotions for Eczema
Rosacea is probably the trickiest and sneakiest condition on our list. It causes red skin and visible blood vessels; in worse cases even small bumps. And it’s just as unpredictable as it is annoying.
The best foundation for sensitive skin is an essential tool for anyone who suffers from this mosquito of a condition. It has to be calming, safe from aggravators, while providing excellent coverage, ideally redness-neutralizing.
Finally, photodermatoses are an abnormal reaction to sunlight, so your foundation for sensitive skin must come with a world-class broad-spectrum SPF.
15 Best Foundations for Sensitive Skin
1. Liquid Minerals A Foundation by Jane Iredale
This unusually formulated serum features pigment spheres and provides sheer to medium coverage. It works to nourish and hydrate your skin, diminish the fine lines and wrinkles, and minimize pores’ appearance. Additionally, it evens out skin tone and adheres well to ensure a minimal transference.
The unique look of this formula is due to the content of spheres visible in the airless pump. These beads are liposomes encapsulating liposomes. The state-of-the-art technology aims to prevent the degrading of active ingredients while allowing them to slowly release and develop into the skin.
The Liquid Minerals foundation has no rated SPF; therefore, it might not be the perfect choice in the case of photodermatoses.
Jane Iredale foundation serum is certified cruelty-free, vegan, contains no phthalates, parabens, or GMO ingredients. Also, it is free of synthetic preservatives and fragrances, talc, nanoparticles, and mineral oil.
2. Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Foundation Makeup by Dermablend
This liquid makeup foundation is the 2018 Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner. Its formula is oil-free and water-free, with only ten ingredients. Concentrated pigments provide a lightweight yet full coverage.
The light, full-coverage drops contain the blend of high-performance pigments in a weightless suspension. Due to its non-comedogenic properties, this foundation is suitable for acne-prone, oily skin. In fact, it’s ideal to use on normal to oily types.
The light fluid spreads easily and blends evenly, so your makeup will never look cakey. This lightweight foundation feels like a second skin and lasts up to 16 hours without melting.
Shake the bottle well before use because the content separates naturally. Apply in a thin layer, sufficient for covering acne, redness, scars, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and more.
Flawless Creator Liquid Foundation is fragrance-free, allergy-tested, formulated without parabens, non-comedogenic, vegan formula.
Expert Advice: Formula with up to ten ingredients minimizes the risk of irritation, so it’s always the right choice for sensitive skin. In case you experience discomfort, fewer components will make it easier to identify the trigger.
3. Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation
Good news for those, who only like medically trusted brands and products because this foundation is tested by dermatologists. This product would not cause your allergies or skin irritation.
The formula of this product does not clog your pores. It means that this foundation can be used for skin that suffers from acne and breakouts. Also, this foundation will be a perfect match for those who can not find their perfect shade because this product comes in many shades and tones.
This product is a perfect option for those who have dry and sensitive skin because it gives you 24-hour hydration. Also, this foundation covers fine lines, wrinkles, and large pores.
UVA and UVB rays can cause a lot of skin problems, this is why the Dermablend brand put an SPF 25 protection in their foundation.
And last, but not least this foundation is fragrance-free, phthalate-free, triclosan-free, SLS-free, and vegan, cruelty-free.
4. Colorescience Tint du Soleil
This foundation will be a great option for a vacation or for those who like a sheer coverage of a foundation. This product gives you a light, but beautiful and radiant finish look.
The formula of this foundation contains powerful antioxidants that are a great weapon against free radicals and aging. Also, this foundation contains plenty of natural fruits and flower extracts that nourish and moisturizers your delicate skin.
Also, it is important to mention that this product is a UV protective foundation and has SPF 30, which is a lot for a foundation! To have maximum protection brand recommends reapplying foundation after 40 minutes.
5. Vibrancy Foundation Fluid by Josie Maran
Vibrancy Foundation Fluid from Josie Maran is an excellent skin-care foundation formulated with nourishing argan oil. This foundation is designed to provide medium-to-full coverage with delicate fluidity. As a result, a vibrant, smooth, supple, baby-skin finish blooms with energy and color.
Vibrancy is formulated with a revolutionary cold-pressed process to preserve all goodies from the hand-selected ingredients. It does more than just covering; it feeds and energizes your skin with many essential nutrients it craves.
The 100% Pure Argan Oil hydrates and nourishes your delicate complexion with essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin E. At the same time, blueberry extract, willowherb, ginger root, and white bird of paradise extract work together to soothe and recapture skin’s natural radiance.
This foundation will improve your skin’s hydration, minimize the irritations, and bring out more even, smooth, silky appeal.
The Vibrancy line is vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, phthalate-free, synthetic fragrance-free, mineral oil-free, formaldehyde-free, and PEG-free.
Related: check our article about best cruelty-free foundations!
6. BareMinerals Original Foundation
This skin-loving, vegan formula is one of the long-time cult favorites. It’s one of the first clean, mineral formulas that worked, providing a flawless finish while promoting clearer, healthier-looking skin over time.
It’s easily buildable so that you can customize your coverage from sheer to full, effortlessly. The lightweight mineral formula wears all day without clogging pores, causing breakouts or settling into fine lines looking cakey.
The mineral-based, non-chemical blend of natural sun-protective ingredients provide broad Spectrum SPF 15, shielding from both damaging UVA/UVB rays. Unlike chemical sunscreens that absorb UV rays, this kind of formula works by immediately blocking rays from absorbing.
Active components are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, proven to provide physical protection from the sun.
Bare Minerals’ signature SWIRL, TAP, and BUFF application methods allow you to control the type and coverage level. These methods work by warming up the pigments, to transform from powder to a silky cream that blends seamlessly onto your skin.
7. PÜR 4-in-1 Love Your Selfie Longwear Foundation & Concealer
This is a two in one product. It means that this product is not only a foundation but also a concealer. It gives you a buildable foundation that covers any skin imperfections such as fines lines, hyperpigmentation, and large pores.
The key ingredients of this foundation are Vitamin B that boosts the metabolism of skin cells and helps to rejuvenate. Lingonberry extract helps to protect your skin from blue light that comes from screens and can cause premature aging. While Polysaccahride Film protects your skin from pollution and Ceretin Complex nourishes and smooths your skin.
Nevertheless, this foundation is infused with great skincare ingredients such as antioxidants that help to fight premature aging. Also, this foundation contains powerful nutrients such as Green tea and Ginseng, all of these ingredients are well known for its wonders when it comes to skincare.
This foundation is also vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free.
8. LAURA GELLER NEW YORK Quench-N-Tint Hydrating Foundation
It is a great hydrating foundation that gives a healthy and radiant finish look. Also, this foundation does not irritate your skin and creates a smooth and silky skin surface.
This is a long-wearing and lasting foundation and gives you a buildable light to a medium foundation.
This foundation contains a powerful moisturizing agent hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid locks moisture into the skin.
The application is easy, you can use your fingers, a foundation brush, or a damp beauty blender.
The only problem when it comes to this foundation is a lack of colors.
9. ISDIN Skin Drops
This is a great full coverage foundation with a lightweight formula that does not look cakey or masky. If you want a more sheer coverage you can use a moisturize and mix these two products.
This product can conceal blemishes, scars, discoloration, and even tattoos. Also, it gives you a matte finish that lasts for 12 hours.
Also, this product contains high-performance pigments. Key ingredients of this product are jojoba, sunflower oils, and mimosa natural wax that softens the skin. This foundation contains great moisturizing agents that give a moisturizing feel and do not dry out your skin.
The formula is oil-free and does not clog pores.
10. Fresh Nude Foundation by The Body Shop
Fresh Nude Foundation is enriched with English rose water and aloe vera extract. This hydrating formula leaves skin feeling comfortably fresh all day. With a semi-matte finish, each of the 16 available shades mimics the look of naturally flawless skin with a nude glow.
This foundation provides light to medium coverage. Fresh Nude is described as a semi-matte finish by the producer, but the “semi” leans to the dewy side. It shares a lot of qualities with the luxury products of the same kind while being quite affordable.
Related: check our article about best dewy foundations!
Fresh Nude truly justifies its name. It gives a beautiful fresh, lit glow to the face. The coverage appears natural, with skin feeling soft, bouncy, and hydrated. This formula is very lightweight but buildable and able to cover the imperfections and blur your pores. Also, it will stay out of the fine lines and not feel cakey, drying, or greasy.
It’s very much a ‘your skin but better’ kind of foundation, suitable for sensitive skin, dermatologically tested, and shielded with SPF 15.
11. Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick by Hourglass
This weightless, waterproof foundation provides long-wearing, concentrated coverage in a custom, triangular stick for fast and easy touch-up on the go.
It’s a full-coverage formula with a natural finish, suitable for normal, dry, combination, and oily skin type. The ingredients list features no mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, and triclosan while containing less than one percent of synthetic fragrances. This product is also cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan.
The Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is waterproof and provides up to 12 hours of stable coverage. It adjusts to your body temperature to smoothly blend into the skin, with double the amount of pigment compared to traditional foundations.
This foundation can effectively mask the redness and skin imperfections. Due to a highly concentrated formula, you need only a small amount to effectively do the job. More is less with this product, so start slowly and build up if necessary.
12. Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation by Tarte
Clay to save the day—this vegan, oil-free, matte liquid foundation will instantly breathe some life back into your skin.
Amazonian Clay Foundation from Tarte provides instant full coverage, cake free and comfortable. With a matte finish and oil control properties, this formula is an excellent choice for oily, breakout-prone skin. The coverage is stable and long-lasting; it won’t become cakey after a while or start creasing or settling inside the fine lines.
Amazonian Clay foundation is formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and gluten.
Since this is a full-coverage makeup, be careful not to use too much. Start by dispensing a dime-size amount to the back of your hand and pick it up with a foundation brush. Using light, circular motions, sweep the foundation onto skin, blending outward.
13. Mineral Sheers Compact Powder Foundation by Neutrogena
This formula lets you create a natural-looking, smooth, and silky finish. Mineral powder foundation provides sheer to medium buildable coverage that blends effortlessly and holds for hours.
This face powder works to even and enhance skin clarity, tone, and texture while reducing the appearance of blemishes and redness. The lightweight foundation is composed of dermatologist-selected pure and gentle minerals, oil-free, and fragrance-free. The formula is also non-comedogenic, it won’t clog pores, so it’s suitable for oily skin.
Mineral Sheers compact is purified and safe for sensitive skin. It is full of antioxidants and skin-essential vitamins like A, C, and E. In addition, it is free of talc, fragrances, and artificial dyes.
14. Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation Makeup by Maybelline
Fit Me! foundation provides natural-looking medium coverage, available in 40 shades to fit every skin tone, from ivory to mocha. It’s non-comedogenic and best to use normal to oily skin as it refines pores with a matte finish.
You can use it as the best foundation for sensitive skin’s full, buildable coverage. It will give you a flawless, “I woke up like this” Maybelline-style finish.
Fit Me! Matte + Poreless from Maybelline uses perfect skin tone matching properties to fix the unique texture issues. From normal to oily skin, this foundation creates the ultimate natural skin fit.
This formula will not exaggerate pores and oily skin. In contrast to many standard foundations, this pore-minimizing formula contains the proprietary blurring micro-powders. This unique bland erases pores and absorbs oil, to deliver a naturally matte and poreless-looking finish.
Related: check our article about best powder foundations for dry skin!
This foundation is dermatologist and allergy-tested.
15. Skin Weightless Powder Foundation by Bobbi Brown
This creamy, cashmere-like powder provides a buffed, polished finish, and long-lasting wear in a convenient compact. It’s available in 20 smooth, natural shades.
Thanks to its pore erasing technology, this foundation is suitable for anyone with normal to oily skin type, looking for a powder with adjustable, smooth, natural coverage.
Inspired by the look and feel of ideally flawless skin, this oil-free powder comes in a soft, creamy texture that feels velvety and comfortable. It blends evenly and seamlessly onto the surface and covers all imperfections. That includes redness, blemishes, fine lines, and pores.
The finish is stable and long-lasting, remaining equally fresh for hours while keeping your skin shine-free.
For medium to full coverage, apply with a puff or dry sponge. For sheer coverage, use a powder brush.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Yes, it is good when it’s appropriately formulated and free of irritating ingredients. The best foundation for sensitive skin will hydrate, nourish, and protect your complexion.
Again, the best formula must be free of harmful ingredients. It is also important to be lightweight and non-comedogenic. The full coverage can be heavy and suffocate the skin.
Tarte Amazonian Clay is a talc-free formula that is also vegan and hypoallergenic, formulated without parabens and phthalates. Although there is no product suitable for every single person and skin problem, we dare to say that this particular foundation will be a good fit for most.
The best foundation for sensitive skin is the one that fits your needs and doesn’t trigger its specific issues. The ideal foundation will provide a lot of calming care, together with SPF, alongside great coverage.
That depends on your skin type. While powder foundation may be perfect for oil-control, a liquid one is usually more hydrating. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the best foundation for sensitive skin is the one that suits your needs.
Joan S. Wilson is a lifelong makeup and skincare enthusiast. She used to work as a makeup artist for 5 years. Joan is always curious and wants to learn more when it comes to makeup and skincare. She tries her best to make other people’s skin health better. This is why Joan is so passionate about writing articles on beauty topics. She always looks for products that are high-quality, dermatologist-tested, and does that it says on the label. In every article, she shares her knowledge to make your life healthier and happier!