Makeup Routine for Acne Prone Skin: Non-Comedogenic Products for a Clear Complexion

Makeup Routine for Acne Prone Skin

Not everyone has smooth, flawless skin, and acne is the most common skin condition in America. Having acne-prone skin can be a challenge, especially when it comes to applying tons of makeup products daily. Many people with acne don't realize what their products contain and most companies still use pore-clogging ingredients in their products. Just because a makeup artist swears by an amazing product does not mean it is suitable to apply that makeup on acne prone skin.

This makes it especially difficult when it comes to finding and wearing makeup that won't clog pores. Clean makeup is amazing, but it often contains ingredients that rank high on the comedogenic scale. Companies will substitute things, like replacing mineral oil with coconut oil, which is safer for your health but more pore clogging for your skin.

If you struggle with your skin, you may feel frustrated and overwhelmed when it comes to finding the right makeup for acne prone skin. However, there is hope. In this article, I will share a makeup routine in 8 simple steps that is safe and effective for those with acne-prone skin. I will discuss the best makeup products to use, how to apply them, and tips for achieving a flawless finish. With this information, you can feel confident in your ability to apply makeup without worsening your acne.

Best Makeup Routine for Acne Prone Skin

Step 1: Prep Your Skin

Before you apply makeup, it's essential to prep your skin properly, especially if you have acne-prone skin. The first step is to check all of your skincare products for pore-clogging ingredients. Healthy skin is crucial, and using skincare that clogs your pores will continue to cause breakouts even if your makeup routine is perfect.

Once you've ensured that your skincare products are free of pore-clogging ingredients, start your makeup routine by cleansing your face thoroughly. After cleansing, apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that won't clog your pores. Moisturizing is essential, even if you have oily skin, as it helps to balance your skin's natural oils and prevent excess oil production.

By prepping your skin correctly, you can create the perfect base for your makeup and help to keep your skin clear and healthy. Remember to always use products that are suitable for your skin type. And avoid anything that could clog your pores.

Also, keeping your makeup applicators clean and not sharing them with others is essential when it comes to protecting your skin. Dirty, oily makeup brushes spread dead skin cells and impurities that will lead to clogged pores. Just make sure to use a gentle cleanser (with no pore clogging ingredients of course) when cleaning your brushes. 

For amazing non-comedogenic skincare and how to get rid of adult acne, check out my recent blog post all about healing from the inside out.

Step 2: Primer

After cleansing the skin, the next step in a makeup routine for acne-prone skin is applying a primer. A good primer helps to create a smooth base for makeup application. And can also help to control oil and shine throughout the day.

The Elf Power Grip Primer is a great affordable choice for acne-prone skin due to its skin-friendly formulation. Enriched with niacinamide, it helps to reduce redness and inflammation, providing a soothing effect on troubled skin. Additionally, the primer's lightweight texture allows for smooth application, without clogging pores or exacerbating acne. Its gripping effect ensures that makeup stays in place for longer periods, without causing any additional irritation to sensitive skin. Overall, the Elf Power Grip Primer is a reliable option for those with acne-prone skin, offering both skincare benefits and makeup longevity.

Another excellent mattifying primer for acne-prone skin is the Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Primer. Its lightweight, breathable formula helps to smooth the skin's texture while blurring imperfections, providing a flawless canvas for makeup application. This primer is free of pore-clogging ingredients, reducing the risk of exacerbating acne. Additionally, it contains hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin without adding excess oil, and it is also free of fragrance and other potential irritants, making it gentle on sensitive, acne-prone skin. 

Step 3: Foundation or Skin Tint

When it comes to makeup for acne-prone skin, finding a foundation or tinted moisturizer that won't clog pores can be a daunting task. Many products on the market contain pore-clogging ingredients that can exacerbate acne breakouts. Additionally, sunscreens that are often included in these products can also be a major culprit for clogged pores.

However, there are some foundations and tinted moisturizers that are safe for acne-prone skin. One option is the Hourglass Ambient foundation, which provides a natural, luminous finish while also being free of pore-clogging ingredients. Another option is the It Cosmetics Oil free CC+ cream, which offers full coverage and contains acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid.

For those who prefer a lighter coverage, tinted moisturizers and skin tints can be a great option. The YSL Nu Bare Look Tint is a popular choice, as it provides a sheer, natural-looking coverage while also being free of pore-cloggers. Another option is the Tower 38 SunnyDays tinted sunscreen, which not only provides lightweight coverage but also offers broad-spectrum sun protection.

While it can be challenging to find a foundation or tinted moisturizer that won't exacerbate acne breakouts, there are products available that are safe for acne-prone skin. By choosing products that are free of pore-clogging ingredients and sunscreens, individuals with acne-prone skin can achieve a flawless, natural-looking complexion.

Step 4: Concealer

Concealer is an essential step in any makeup routine, especially for those with acne-prone skin. However, it is important to be cautious when choosing a concealer. Many people tend to flock to the latest viral TikTok product without checking the ingredients, which could be detrimental to their skin. While some products may work for those who are not acne-prone, they may not be suitable for those who are.

For instance, the Kosas concealer, which has gained popularity on social media, may cover up your acne scars but is known to be very pore-clogging and can worsen acne-prone skin. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to the ingredients list and opt for non-comedogenic products that won't clog pores.

Thankfully, there are excellent options available for those with acne-prone skin. The Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Concealer is a great choice as it provides full coverage without feeling heavy on the skin. It is also formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, making it safe for sensitive skin.

Another fantastic option is the Merit Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Concealer Stick. This concealer stick is easy to apply and blend, and it provides a natural-looking finish. It is also free of harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

Choosing the right concealer is crucial for those with acne-prone skin. By opting for non-comedogenic products and avoiding pore-clogging ingredients, you can achieve flawless-looking skin without aggravating your acne.

Step 5: Bronzer

Bronzer is a great way to add warmth and dimension to the face, but for those with acne-prone skin, it can be tricky to find a product that won't aggravate breakouts. Many bronzers contain pore-clogging ingredients that can lead to further acne, but there are some great options out there that won't cause any issues.

One great option is the Rare Beauty bronzer sticks. These sticks are easy to apply and blend out seamlessly, giving a natural-looking glow without any shimmer or glitter. Plus, they're super easy to apply and contour with. 

Another option to consider is the Well People Superpowder Bronzer. This powder is finely milled and applies smoothly, giving a subtle, buildable glow to the skin. It's also free of any pore-clogging ingredients, making it a great choice for those with acne-prone skin.

When applying bronzer to acne-prone skin, it's important to focus on the areas of the face where the sun would naturally hit, such as the forehead, cheeks, and nose. This will help to create a natural-looking glow without emphasizing any acne or texture on the skin.

Step 6: Blush

Many cream blushes contain ingredients that can clog pores and trigger breakouts. It's important to choose a blush that is specifically formulated for acne-prone skin.

One option to consider is the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blushes, which are designed to be gentle on the skin and non-comedogenic. Another good option are the Charlotte Tilbury Blush Wands, which are formulated with skincare ingredients to nourish the skin while providing a natural flush. I personally love the Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Highlighter Wand in Pinkgasm because it doubles as a non-comedogenic blush and highlighter.

For those who prefer a more affordable blush formula, Benetint is a classic choice that has been around for years. This liquid blush stains the skin for a long-lasting, natural-looking flush.

Another option to consider is the Merit Flush Balm, which is a cream-to-powder formula that provides a sheer wash of color without clogging pores. It's also formulated with clean ingredients that are safe for acne-prone skin.

By choosing the right blush, you can add a pop of color to your complexion without worrying about triggering breakouts.

Step 7: Setting Powders

Setting powders are an essential part of any makeup routine, especially for those with acne-prone skin. They help to set the makeup with a matte finish, making it last longer and preventing it from sliding off the face. However, it is important to choose a setting powder that does not contain talc, as numerous studies have shown it to be possibly carcinogenic and not good for the skin.

For those looking for a good option, the Kosas Cloud Setting Powder is a great choice. It is talc-free and contains nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and squalane to hydrate the skin. The powder is lightweight and gives a natural, soft-focus finish.

Ilia Soft Focus Finishing Powder is also a great choice for those with acne-prone skin. It is talc-free and contains a blend of organic powders and oils to mattify the skin and blur imperfections. The powder is lightweight and gives a natural, radiant finish that lasts all day.

When it comes to setting powders, it is important to choose a product that is talc-free and contains nourishing ingredients to protect and hydrate the skin without including any potential pore cloggers, such as jojoba oil or shea butter.

Step 8: Highlighter

Highlighter is a great way to add some glow to the skin and accentuate the cheekbones, but for those with acne-prone skin, it can be tricky to find the right one that won't cause breakouts. 

It's important to note that not all highlighters are created equal, and some can contain ingredients that are known to cause breakouts. However, after some research and testing, a few options have been found that are safe for acne-prone skin.

For those looking for a liquid or powder highlighter, the Rare Beauty Positive Light liquid highlighters and Silky Touch powder highlighters are great options. They are formulated without any pore-clogging ingredients and provide a natural-looking glow to the skin.

Another great option is the Saie Super Glowy Gel, which is a lightweight gel highlighter that blends seamlessly into the skin without clogging pores. It provides a dewy, natural-looking glow that is perfect for everyday wear by applying on top of your makeup or mixing into your foundation.

Finally, the Rose Inc Solar Radiance highlighter cream is another great option for those with acne-prone skin. It is formulated with nourishing ingredients and provides a subtle, lit-from-within glow to the skin.


All of the products recommended in this acne safe makeup routine have been personally vetted for their non-comedogenic properties. By switching to non-comedogenic options, one can expect to see a positive change in their skin. It may seem daunting to switch all of your products at once, but taking it product by product can be easier and more affordable in the long run.

It is important to be aware of the ingredients in the products you are using on your skin. By using non-comedogenic options, you can help prevent clogged pores and breakouts. This routine has been designed specifically for those with acne prone skin, but it can benefit anyone looking to improve the health of their skin.

Overall, it is important to take care of your skin and be mindful of the products you use. By following this acne safe makeup routine, you can help improve the health of your skin and prevent future breakouts. Hopefully, this routine has provided valuable information and taught you the importance of being aware of what ingredients are used in your makeup products.

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