How to Choose the Best Makeup for Acne Prone Skin

Oh makeup, why do I have such a love hate relationship with you!? I mean for what feels like my entire life my one goal was to be ABLE to go makeup free.

You see, not coving my acne was never an option obviously. I mean it actually was. But I legit never ever saw it that way because if people saw my acne I would be unlovable obviously.

I never cared about the consequences of wearing makeup all the time. My priority was covering up my skin so I could show my face in public without being embarrassed. And I tell you what, even with the makeup I STILL felt everyone staring at my skin all the time.

I have literally always seen not wearing makeup and still being (really FEELING) pretty as the ultimate goal and privilege. That's why the second my skin got clear enough I stopped wearing foundation everyday. I did also have a pretty sweet tan at the time that helped reduce the redness because the scars are real.

Even these days the texture of my skin is far from perfect. There are some deep scars in the tissue of my skin, but I'm working on some PRETTY exciting stuff for you guy on that so we will talk more about scarring later. At least these days hyper-pigmentation is a thing of the past! I can't tell you how FREEING it is to stop wearing foundation as a choice.

Your skin is never going to look like a porcelain doll. It's never going to be 100% perfect because human skin just isn't that perfect and that's okay. You're human! You can still do the best for your skin and have clear, healthy, GLOWING skin from the inside out that makes you feel like you could conquer the world! The rest is all an illusion.

The good news is that you can still have beautiful skin that makes you feel confident and flawless with or without makeup!

This blog post isn't about you clearing your skin though - it's about makeup and especially makeup for acne prone skin!

Needless to say I have worn A LOT OF MAKEUP from Maybelline to Bare Minerals, to Clinique. And specifically I'm referring to foundation, concealer, mineral powders etc etc. I'll tell ya'll some of my favorite brands for your skin below but first let's talk about how you can go forward educated and be able to pick out safer makeup from a lineup in a pinch. 

Hint: it's NOT easy!

The regulations in the makeup industry are practically non existInt especially here in the US. Did you know that there are only 11 ingredients banned for cosmetic use in America versus over 1,400 in the European Union. 


On top of the fact that the cosmetics industry is  barely regulated, there are a ton of sneaky sneaky things that the industry does to trick you into thinking that you're buying a "healthier" alternative when it's actually still packed with hormone disrupting, pore clogging, toxic ingredients.

Did you know that your makeup can actually contribute to hormonal imbalance?

Well it can, and I think it's really freaking scary. The fact is, our skin is our largest organ and it's often faster access to your bloodstream even compared to taking supplements. Just think about the fact that a PATCH on your skin can prevent pregnancy, or help you quit smoking... Pretty crazy ya'll I mean seriously! 

Let's just talk really quickly about the list of ingredients you should avoid at all costs. I got this list from the Beautycounter Website, they're leaders and pioneers in the world of trying to make cosmetics safer here in the US. They even went to DC in order to talk to some senators about getting new laws passed. They're doing big and important things in the world of cosmetics and safer skincare which is just part of why I trust them!

Ingredients to AVOID at all costs AKA The Never List:

  • Benzalkonium chloride: a disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers
  • BHA and BHT: synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.
  • Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients: a byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.
  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): a chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.
  • Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.
  • Formaldehyde: used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
  • Hydroquinone: a skin-lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. Found in: skin-lightening creams.
  • Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers, and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.
  • Oxybenzone: sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.
  • Parabens  (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.
  • Phthalates  (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.
  • Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): a nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
  • Synthetic flavor or fragrance: an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.
  • Toluene: a volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects. Found in: nail polish.
  • Triclosan and Triclocarban: antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.

    Sources: National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, CosIng, Health Canada, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

OKAY - now that you've hopefully at least glanced through that list here's a PDF of it:

The Makeup 'Never' List

Have you ever wondered what ingredients you should avoid when buying your cosmetics? Here's the perfect printable list from you straight from Beautycounter!

Add To Cart


I'm going to ask you to print it and carry it with you in your purse. You'll see why you need it shortly. Let's get onto the bulk of this post that I know you've all been waiting for:

How to Choose the Best Makeup for Acne Prone Skin

Read the Ingredients

Incase you couldn't tell from that whole montage above, there are a ton of shitty ingredients in our cosmetics. This is beyond important because theres no need for you to be harming with your body & breaking yourself out more with your makeup when there are fantastic alternative out there that will keep your skin clear. But I also know how it goes, sometimes you run out and you're in a pinch and you just need some makeup.

This is why you've gotta learn what to look for when you're reading said ingredients. That's why I wanted you to carry that list above around with you! Plus remember the whole 'only 11 ingredients banned' thing. You HAVE to start reading the ingredients of what you're putting on your body ya'll! Just like you read food labels - read your cosmetics labels.

Companies change their "formulas" all the time so be wary and guard yourself against it!

Find a Reputable Brand

SO this is important because once you've found a brand you know and trust it makes the whole process of buying non scary makeup so much easier. There are literally only a handful of brands I'm willing to order from and I have different brands that I like for different cosmetic things. As I mentioned above companies change the ingredients of their cosmetics all the time.

But if you're buying from a brand that you TRUST and know the standards of, you don't have to worry about any changes because you know their company standard. That is HUGE when it comes to buying your stuff. You need to be able to trust the company & know they have your best interest in mind, not just a bigger paycheck for using cheaper filler ingredients.

Trust is everything when it comes to this stuff since the laws & regulations are the poop.

If it Works, Stick With it.

Let's talk about Sally. Sally has had acne her whole life and wears foundation everyday. Sally always wears the same makeup because it gives her that redness coverage she desperately needs on a daily basis. Then Sally learns about how scary most makeup is and switches to a better brand that doesn't break her out as much.

Now her skin is clearer and shes wearing this healthier foundation. But then she sees a shiny NEW foundation from another brand that looks cool, and she tries it! Then she breaks out like crazy but thinks it's from that cupcake and slice of pizza she had last night and keeps using her shiny new foundation that everyone says is the best!

Moral of this story? The same products aren't going to work the same way for everyone. If you've already switched to a natural or healthier brand that doesn't break you out - don't keep searching for something better. Stick with what works for your skin and call it a day!

If You Avoid it in Food, Avoid it in Makeup

Yes, gluten free makeup is a thing, and yes you should be getting it. Soy free also and dairy free. The dairy one isn't a thing - but I think you get the point here!

My Favorite Brands:

Okie I cannot tell you how many times I day I am asked what kind of foundation I use, what my favorite safe makeup is, or what makeup I recommend to my clients. So I'm going to talk about it here a little bit and I want to be totally transparent.

There are really only a few brands that I can comfortably recommend and really only ONE that I can say with confidence does NOT break me out ever & my clients have had awesome success with across the board. Now I did become a 'consultant' for said company ONLY because I was legit so impressed with their products - and that company is Beautycounter.

Their products work more like conventional makeup products rather than a lot of the natural alternative that just don't really do much in the ways of coverage. I don't wear foundation often so when I do I want to look FLAWLESS!

Now I don't want you to suddenly think I'm just trying to sell you something or promote Beautycounter to just make some money because it's not about that. This blog is my business but at the end of the day my goal is to provide you with quality information that helps you feel empowered to clear your skin naturally. And I believe that this makeup can help you in doing so.

I not only wholeheartedly believe in what this company is all about, but I personally use their makeup and a few other products and I like them. And my clients like them. And that's that. That's why I became a consultant. If for some reason that makes you uncomfortable & you don't want to order with me as your 'consultant' and you'd rather a random person benefits from your purchase then that's okay too. You do you boo!

SO let's talk about these brands! I'm going to start with the most NATURAL option first!

Primal Life Organics

This brand is legit you guys. Everything is beyond crunchy natural and amazing just how I like it! It's at a decent price point and I def trust this brand. However, I do have to say that personally I've never felt the desire to go THIS level of natural clean and crunchy with my makeup - because ACNE & SCARS. Plus the price point was just a bit too far out of my range back when I was looking for a great natural makeup option so I have personally not used this makeup before. Again I'm being as transparent here as possible guys!

I wouldn't hesitate to try this brand though if you're curious about it! They have a ton of adorable eyeshadow shades, blushes, & mineral foundations!


I used CarenMinerals for along ass time ya'll. Like seriously this was THE brand I recommended to people almost exclusively for years until I found something better! I still have some of their BB cream - but again I'm going to be honest with you. The coverage is not the best. And whenever I use it now (again randomly) it makes my skin a tad itchy. Keep in mind that when you use something daily you often don't notice the effects it has on you as easily. I did go through bouts of clear skin while using this makeup, but it did irritate my skin at least a little bit. Still I would say a great and fair option! I used the mineral foundations and the BB cream. The BB cream breaks me out so I use it as infrequently as possible.


I know I've already talked about them a lot at this point but I do want to mention that they aren't 100% natural. They follow strict guidelines and triple test every single product to make sure it's as pure as they say. I used their skin tint foundation for the first time when I competed in that bikini competition in Nashville and I was instantly hooked. The quality works just like conventional cosmetics and gave me insane coverage without breaking me out or using harsh chemicals. That literally like the best combination ever in my book. Because like I said before, if I'm wearing makeup, I want the coverage to be flawless and I don't want to breakout after the fact! I can't rave enough about the skin tint foundation & they have a ton of other amazing things like compressed powder, bronzers, blush, lipstick, eyeshadow,  lipgloss, the list goes on and on!

Okay this became very long so that is it for me today ya'll. Tell me in the comments: what's the most important thing for you when it comes to your makeup? For me it's always been coverage! I've had many a day of CAKEY ass makeup but hey - you couldn't see any redness! #prioroties

I'd love to hear what matters to you most when you're looking at makeup!

And if you want MORE about makeup for acne prone skin - I dish all about it in my ebook & video program Clear Skin Secrets Revealed - so be sure to check that bad bot out by entering your email address below!

Love you guys, have an amazing week!

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