What Makeup is Good for Oily Acne Skin?

One of the most common questions I get asked has to do with what makeup is good for oily acne skin. This is probably because oily skin is the most prone to acne.  Teens, in particular, tend to have oily skin due to the hormonal changes they are dealing with during puberty.

The most important thing to look for in a makeup for oily skin is staying power. Most foundations and concealers seem to melt off as the day goes on, leaving all those blemishes out there for the world to see. The trick is to find a foundation and concealer that are relatively long lasting, then combine them with a good primer, such as Tarte’s Clean Slate, and a setting powder. The final, essential item is a good blotting powder or blotting sheets to carry with you throughout the day.

bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 FoundationMineral makeup is one great solution for oily skin since it doesn’t have most of the additives that liquids and creams have. My favorite mineral makeup brand for skin that is oily and acne prone is Bare Mineral Matte foundation. It doesn’t have the irritating and shimmery bismuth oxychloride of other formulations, and it helps absorb oil during the day. You will need to use the bareMineral multi-tasking concealer before and after applying the foundation if you have a lot of acne to cover. Finish everything off with some of their Mineral Veil.

Make Up Forever Foundation for Oily SkinAs a liquid foundation for oily acne skin, the overwhelming consensus among reviewers is Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation. It gives full coverage, controls shine, is both oil free and water resistant, and has a wide range of colors. Sound too good to be true? Well, I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it received an average 4 1/2 star out of 5 star rating from over 2,000 user reviews. It is definitely at the top of my list of foundations to try once the summer and hot weather comes around.

If you like a creamy foundation and have a lot of difficulty concealing redness and acne on your oily skin, consider Cover FX makeup as your ultimate concealer and long lasting makeup. Cover FX has a cult following of its own, since it has the widest range of skin tone shades I’ve ever seen. If you can’t find a shade to match your skin from this makeup line, you never will. Their Cover FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation tops the charts with its reviews and there is a great starter kit. It does have sunscreen in it, so if you are sensitive to chemical sunscreen this product is not right for you. However, it also contains calming ingredients to combat redness.

The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 piece)Cover FX has their own line of setting powders to go with your foundation that will make it last all day. You can get a complete kit, The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 piece), to get you started with the whole shebang. The main thing to remember with this foundation is that you must use a primer with it. Otherwise it will be difficult to blend since it is so thick. With such a great range of colors, you could just use it as a concealer on its own.

As a quick recap, here are the top makeup foundations for oily acne skin, based on our own tests and hundreds and hundreds of user reviews:

Mineral Makeup: Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals MATTE SPF 15 Foundation

Liquid Foundation: Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation

Cream Foundation: Cover FX The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 pieces)

MAC Blotting Powder for Oil Control

MAC Blot Powder for Oily Skin

Don’t forget to use a primer to protect your skin and to allow the makeup to go on smoothly and last all day. For extra coverage, you can use the concealers that go with each brand, or mix and match. Just remember that you can’t mix a powdery mineral makeup with a creamy concealer. The result would be a cakey mess.

P.S. I almost forgot the best part! Carry blotting sheets with you during the day to absorb excess oil. Or try the MAC Blot Powder, which we recently reviewed and fell in love with.


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The Best Makeup and Cleansers for Dry Acne Prone Skin

Finding good makeup and cleansers for dry acne prone skin seems to be nearly impossible at times. Products that treat acne tend to be drying, while those for dry skin can easily make you break out further. And yet there are plenty of us who suffer from both dry skin and acne at the same time. Whether it is due to using too much acne cream or just the sun, wind, weather or age wreaking havoc on our skin, we still need a solution. I’ve found a few that have been working well for me this winter, along with some tips to help prevent the dry skin and acne at the same time.

Cleansers that help prevent dryness

Boscia Makeup Break Up Cool Cleansing Oil

Often during the winter we are inside air conditioned or heated rooms, and then we go out into the cold and hope that our skin can cope with the environment. Our lips get chapped, skin becomes raw, and many people get red and itchy. The dryness itself can cause flakiness that blocks our already acne prone pores, causing more breakouts.

To help prevent dryness in the first place, it’s important to use gentle cleansers and moisturizers every day. Stay away from all the strong acne face washes in the winter if you are prone to any dryness.

My favorite cleansers are two that I alternate, depending on how my skin is feeling. To thoroughly remove makeup and calm my skin, I use Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil. Although it’s an oil, it washes off totally without any oily residue. In fact, I use it all year long. When my skin is a little oily I will sometimes follow it with another face wash or Boscia’s herbal tonic to make sure everything is cleaned off.

Non-foaming cleanser for dry acne prone skin

The other cleanser I love is Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. It is gentle and non-foaming, but gets rid of all makeup and dirt, including eye makeup. What I love about this cleanser is that it actually delivers on the promise of cleaning your skin, but it doesn’t leave the film that most non-foaming face washes do. The only downside, for some, is the fragrance. Since it is for sensitive skin, the soy cleanser doesn’t have a perfume smell. It has a scent that is a little reminiscent of cucumbers. It took a little getting used to at first, but now I actually like it.

Moisturizers that help prevent and treat dryness

The experts always tell people with acne to still use moisturizers. If your skin is oily, you really don’t need much moisturizer at all. If anything, I always stayed away from them. However, when your skin is dry it is a tremendous challenge to find a moisturizer that provides enough hydration without producing more pimples.

Clinique Moisturizer for Dry Acne Prone SkinMy current favorite is a basic drugstore brand called Cerave. It was recommended by my dermatologist and is effective and cheap at the same time, so you can’t go wrong. When I need a little more moisture, I top it off with some of my favorite Clinique Moisture Surge gel, which always feel calm and soothing on my skin.

Foundation makeup for dry skin with acne

My rule of thumb with dry skin and acne is to stay away from any makeup that promises to ‘hydrate’ your skin. Those products have always made me break out. Instead, get your moisture from your moisturizer and use makeup to even out and conceal. That’s not to say that you should use a foundation for acne prone skin. Those tend to be drying. I always aim to find something neutral that won’t stick to any dry flakes.

Clean Slate Natural Face PrimerBefore any foundation, however, always use a primer. This helps keep the makeup go on smoothly and last longer, which is especially important if your skin and a little dry and flaky. My favorite primer for acne prone skin is Tarte’s Clean Slate Natural Face Primer. I’ve written a review of Clean Slate in the past since it is the only primer I have ever used which didn’t make me break out.

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Powder Foundation for Dry Acne Prone SkinFor foundation, there are two that I’ve been using this winter that I love. For a mineral powder foundation, I have fallen in love with the new Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation. It is the only one I have found which doesn’t bunch up in my crease lines or look powdery on my skin. I don’t think I would recommend it for oily skin, but it has been a godsend this winter. I actually use the sponge that it comes with, but some people prefer to use a mineral makeup brush.

I have a new liquid foundation that I have started using recently when I want fuller coverage and a more polished look. It is the new one from Lancome – Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra. When you put it on, this foundation leaves a very smooth finish along with excellent coverage. I haven’t even been using concealer with it since the coverage is so good. The only downside with this foundation is the fragrance. Like all Lancome products, it has a distinctive smell that ultra sensitive people may not like. Luckily, I havent’ had a problem. Great Liquid Foundation for Dry Acne Prone Skin

Last tips for treatment and prevention of dry skin and acne

Getting rid of the dry skin and acne is the biggest challenge. This is where patience is crucial. Many people will tell you to exfoliate to get rid of the flakiness. For my own sensitive acne prone skin, I’ve found that even gentle scrubbing will only make matters worse. It may get rid of some of the dry flakes at first, but the exfoliation itself irritates my pores, which then causes me to break out more. Treat the breakouts and what happens? More dry skin and acne. Just stick with a regimen of gentle cleansing, moisturizer, and protection through primer and foundation. Your skin will eventually balance out. Of course, then the season changes and we have to adjust again!

Have a favorite product or treatment process for your dry skin and acne? Please comment and let us know!

People with acne prone skin are forever searching for the best powder foundation. We want something that will conceal any current acne or old acne scars, but still look natural. Below, I have listed my own favorites plus some other top-rated powder foundations that I’m going to try for myself. I made a note of a couple that made me break out also, even though they are highly rated. Those foundations may work well for some people. They just didn’t work for me.

My personal top picks that I have tried:

Bare Minerals Matte Foundation:

This mineral powder foundation is a consistent winner of beauty awards and is the most popular mineral makeup out there. I like the Matte formula because it doesn’t contain bismuth oxychloride, which can make some people break out and gives a shinier finish. If you need extra coverage, you’ll want to use the bare mineral multi tasking concealer first. You can even use the concealer, then the foundation, then more concealer if you are having a really bad day!

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation
– Brand New!

I was so excited when I heard that Korres was now selling a mineral foundation. I fell in love with their products about a year ago and, while the product selection is limited, they are all natural and high quality. I used their Wild Rose liquid foundation for a while, but it can be a little too shiny for me at times. Their mineral powder foundation is definitely less matte than the Bare Minerals, which is a big plus when your skin is feeling a little dry. I haven’t been using it long enough to give a full review for my own skin, but the Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation is topping the charts everywhere. If you find the Bare Mineral matte foundation too dry looking, then you should definitely try the new Korres one.

Tarte Provocateur Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation

Tarte’s pressed mineral powder is my go-to compact when my skin doesn’t need as much coverage and I just want a very natural look. I put on a little concealer where needed, use the sponge to dab on the powder, and the look is about as natural as you can get. This is an all-natural product, so it’s great for sensitive skin. As with the Korres products, the colors are a little limited. I was lucky that I found one that perfectly matched my skin tone.

Benefit Hello Flawless Compact Powder Foundation

If Tarte is the one I go to for lighter coverage, Benefit’s Hello Flawless is the compact powder foundation I use when my skin is having a tough day. When you use the sponge that comes with it, the coverage is phenomenal. There is also a brush you can use when you want light coverage, but I find it fairly useless. If I want some straight powder on my face, I go with the Tarte pressed powder or the new Korres mineral foundation. Benefit’s Hello Flawless has also been great for me in the summer when my skin is a little more oily.

Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder

Well, by now you guessed that I like Korres makeup.  The Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder gives more moderate coverage, somewhere between Hello Flawless and Tarte’s compact powder. It is another all natural powder foundation and gives a slightly more dewy finish to the ones by Tarte and Benefit. I have only one complaint here. The shades are very limited and I am in between two of them. I love the consistency, but I can only use it in the summer, when I have a little more color.

Also top-rated, but I haven’t tried them all:

Lancome Dual Finish Powder Foundation

I used to use this foundation for years and love the feel of it. The only problem I have now is that I can’t find a color that matches my skin tone. What happened? Either my skin got lighter or they changed the formula. It is not an unscented makeup, but that never bothered me in the past. If only they had a shade that matched my skin, I would buy this again in a second.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

MAC Studio Fix is reported as being good for oily skin. I haven’t tried it myself, but many people love it. They said it is lightweight, but covers well. However, there are a few others who say it was too heavy and chalky and clogged their pores. Go figure! MAC’s Studio Fix powder foundation has very high ratings at most online stores, so if you are a MAC user then it would probably be great for you. Otherwise, make sure you go to a physical store and try it out first. At the minimum, make sure you can return it online.

Laura Mercier Powder Foundation

This one is a little pricey, but a consistent winner among users. It is best for summer months or if you have oily skin year-round. Buildable coverage and no break-outs reported, based on reading about a million reviews on the web! The downside is that it is not an all-natural, fragrance-free makeup. If you have very sensitive skin, you could have a problem.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Duo Mat Powder Foundation

Many people rate this as the best powder foundation ever. I guess I will have to try it next. Make Up Forever has an amazing line of cosmetics, including one of the best eyeliners on the market, so their foundation should be great also. The quick take from reviewers is that it is non-drying, has buildable coverage, and a natural finish. Good for oily skin.

Top rated, but made me break out:

Philosophy: The Supernatural. I tried this foundation after reading some great reviews. What a disaster! My face broke out right away and the makeup went straight back to the store.

Everyday Minerals. I really don’t understand why this mineral makeup didn’t agree with my skin. However, both my daughter and I broke out within a day or two. It just goes to show that just reading the ingredients is not enough. What works well for one person doesn’t necessarily work well for another, even if they have similar skin types.

Anything with chemical sunscreen. I use this as my first rule in picking out foundation. Anything that has a chemical sunscreen in it makes me break out. It is best to use a mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin first, then primer, then concealer and foundation. If you won’t be in the sun much, a mineral powder foundation with sunscreen is fine.

One last parting tip for you. Always use a primer before applying your foundation and it will go on smoother, look more natural, and last longer. As I’ve mentioned before, Tarte’s Clean Slate is my favorite primer that doesn’t make my skin break out.

Have any favorites not mentioned here? Please leave a comment and let everyone know.

How to Find Makeup for Sensitive Skin


For years I have have been plagued with sensitive skin and have found it extremely difficult to find a good makeup for sensitive skin that doesn’t cause a reaction over time.  Many products claim to be safe for sensitive and acne prone skin, but I still either break out or end up with some itchy rash.  I’ve finally figured out how to pick the best ones and how to test them carefully.  Even so, you may find that trial and error is the only way to go.

When testing out new products on your skin, make sure that you do a patch test first.  Put a small amount in a sensitive but unobtrusive spot, usually behind you ear or on your neck.  Leave it for 24 hours to see if you react.  If you don’t have a reaction, try a small amount on your face for several days.  For me, I don’t know if a makeup or other product is truly safe for my skin until I have used it for at least a week.  This is why I always ask salespeople in cosmetic stores for a large enough sample to last a week.  If they won’t do that, or if it’s just not possible, make sure that you can return it if you have a reaction.  Many online stores have a good return policy and some companies sell trial kits that are perfect for testing out a new line.

The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural ConcealerSome of the best makeup for sensitive skin are those that contain few chemicals or that are all natural or organic.  My favorite lines right now are Tarte and Korres.  Since it is summer as I write this, I have been using a combination of the Tarte Eraser liquid concealer and some of their powder foundation.  Korres powder foundation is a little more moisturizing if you have drier skin.  I also like the cleansing products by Boscia and Fresh, which are very gentle on the skin.  I have never found a drugstore brand, unfortunately, that doesn’t make my skin itchy. I’ll stick with the Tarte Cosmetics Smooth Operator SPF 20 Foundationfor now and see how it goes.

For those who prefer mineral makeup, make sure you use one that doesn’t have bismuth oxychloride.  My favorite is by Bare Minerals, but you have to buy their Matte foundation.  The regular one did have bismuth oxychloride in it the last time I checked, but the matte one is fantastic and doesn’t have the tell-tale sign of the ingredients that irritate your skin – namely a shimmer.  Products with mica in them will also cause itchiness, and many blushes contain this ingredient.

Sunscreen is another culprit of itchiness, rashes or breakouts in sensitive skin.  I can’t use anything with chemicals in it so I stick to mineral sunscreen.  I found one by Elta MD, EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46, which is specifically for sensitive and acne prone skin.   Neutrogena now makes one that is all mineral and is good for sensitive skin.  The problem I had was that it felt a little too greasy and made me break out.  The only real solution?  Stay out of the sun.  I know that you are supposed to wear sunscreen even if you are not in the sun, but with ultra sensitive skin you are best staying out of the sun anyway.

Use a little trial and error, you will be able to find a good makeup for sensitive skin that provides excellent coverage and a natural look.  One other product line that I’m about to try is Afterglow Cosmetics.  They are supposed to be particularly good for sensitive skin.  If anyone has tried them yet, let me know!  I’m going to order them right now.

Meanwhile, go easy on your skin and use as little makeup as possible and as few ingredients as possible.  You’ll look better for it.

– Sharyn

Afterglow Cosmetics, Inc

The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer

There is a great tip for how to cover acne scars that I only just came across recently. After years of practice and experience covering my acne and acne scars, I should have known this.  Better late than never.

Here is the trick:

** Let your concealer set for a few seconds before you blend. **

Sounds so obvious, doesn’t it?  Well, I am always in such a rush that I’ve never done that.  It is amazing the difference it makes.

The next time you put on your makeup, follow these steps to cover your acne scars, pimples, discoloration.  You name it.

  1. Wash your skin
  2. Apply your preferred acne treatment
  3. Apply your preferred moisturizer
  4. Put on a little primer
  5. Dab on a little concealer
  6. Let it set for a few seconds!!!
  7. Blend by dabbing gently or using a concealer brush to blend the edges
  8. Finish off with a little foundation, but don’t rub it in.  Otherwise, all your careful concealer application will be ruined.  If you can, just use a little powder foundation instead of liquid

I would love to hear anyone else’s tips for covering acne scars or covering acne in general.  Comments are always welcome.

– Sharyn

P.S.  My preferred concealer at the moment is Tarte’s
The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer

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