Found: 11 Clean, Gentle Foundations That Will Coddle Your Sensitive Skin
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Finding a clean foundation used to be quite tricky, and especially for those with sensitive, easily. irritated skin.
But, alas, there are still a few ingredients to watch out for if your skin runs super-sensitive: "Fragrance is one of the most common ingredients to cause sensitivity, puffiness, itch, and rash," board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., FAAD, told us about hypoallergenic makeup products.
Additionally, common preservatives like parabens, phenoxyethanol (the safer cousin to parabens, although it can still lead to irritation in hypersensitive skin), and formaldehyde can trigger sensitive skin reactions.
Sounds like a tall order, but we took on all the legwork. Ahead, find 11 foundations fit for sensitive skin, from full, matte coverage to barely there sheer.
LAWLESS Woke Up Like This Flawless Finish Foundation
This lightweight, buildable confection features shea butter—a hero ingredient for sensitive skin. It seals moisture into the skin and protects the skin barrier1, and one study even found it has similar topical effects to ceramides2. That said, it keeps your face dewy and supple all day long.
Woke Up Like This Flawless Finish Foundation, LAWLESS ($23)
Vapour Beauty Soft Focus Foundation
This medium- to full-coverage liquid foundation features a botanical blend to soothe and calm easily irritated skin, like frankincense, tulsi, and lotus extracts. With sweet almond, camellia, and castor oils to provide moisture, it feels as soft as butter.
Soft Focus Foundation, Vapour Beauty ($48)
Burt's Bees Goodness Glows Full Coverage Liquid Makeup
Another shea butter number, yet it also includes meadowfoam, jojoba, sunflower seed, and soybean oil for an extra-velvety finish. It's full-coverage, but it's so lightweight—it'll never sit caky.
Goodness Glows Full Coverage Liquid Makeup, Burt's Bees ($16.99)
Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation
This serum-foundation hybrid truly melts into your skin's natural texture for a your-skin-but-better sort of finish. It's incredibly buildable and lightweight, and it features aloe leaf, rosehip, jojoba, and marula oils to soothe skin.
True Skin Serum Foundation, Ilia ($54)
Exa High Fidelity Foundation
This liquid foundation screams skin-care-meets-makeup. Just take one look at the ingredient list—it's jam-packed with moisturizing players like aloe, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, as well as antioxidants (think algae actives, coffee seed extract, maqui berry, peach extract, and more) to help protect against environmental aggressors.
High Fidelity Foundation, Exa ($38)
Tarte Clay Stick Foundation
This easy-to-apply stick foundation sits comfortably on the skin with medium matte coverage. Simply swipe directly onto your skin and blend outward for a natural-looking finish.
Clay Stick Foundation, Tarte ($29)
bareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15
If sensitive skin had a starter pack, chances are this classic mineral powder would make the list. It's lightweight yet buildable, and it has a mere five ingredients—including titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for added sun protection.
Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15, bareMinerals ($33)
Honest Beauty Cream Foundation
The brand calls it a demi-matte formula, meaning it stays dewy wherever you want the most shine. It contains jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, and castor seed oil to nourish the skin barrier.
Cream Foundation, Honest Beauty ($21.99)
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Youth Cream Compact Foundation
This creamy foundation is housed in an airless compact for easy, no-fuss application. One pump offers a veil of sheer coverage, and it's laced with grapeseed oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E.
Phyto-Pigments Youth Cream Compact Foundation, Juice Beauty ($45)
Alima Pure Pressed Foundation With Rosehip Antioxidant Complex
A pressed mineral powder for a velvet matte finish. The texture is soft and finely milled (thanks to rice powder), and the formula is extra moisturizing—argan oil, evening primrose oil, and aloe extract make it feel like silk. It's also refillable, which is always a plus: Simply pop out the magnetic pan and slip a new one right into place.
Pressed Foundation With Rosehip Antioxidant Complex, Alima Pure ($38)
Heal Your Skin.
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Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.