Makeup That WON’T Break You Out – Part 1

Makeup products are ubiquitous and with a gazillion choices, it can be mind-boggling. But how do we know which ones to use that won’t cause your skin to break out? Everyone’s skin type is different, but a common acne-causing culprit is the ingredients.

Our advisor, Rennie Chi, who loves cosmetics, skincare, health and wellness was inspired to create this blog from her experience with ‘pore clogging’ and ‘unclean’ makeup.

Here are some makeup options (in varying price range for your budget) that do not include pore-clogging ingredients that your skin will be happy with.   


1. e.l.f. Power Grip Primer ($10)

This primer is a gel-based primer that will leave your face smooth and hydrated while gripping your makeup. Additionally, this primer will leave a dewy finish on your face with a translucent finish. All e.l.f. products are free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenols, ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable and are often called plasticizers. Phthalates are in hundreds of products, including personal care and cosmetics. Phthalates have been shown to be detrimental to the reproductive, neurological, and developmental systems of humans. Parabens are also another ingredient that will not be found in e.l.f. products. Parabens commonly cause skin sensitivities and allergies. Additionally, studies found that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and also increase the risk of cancer.

2. e.l.f. Liquid Poreless Putty Primer ($10)

This is a lightweight, liquid primer that is built for long-lasting wear. Like its title, this primer will provide you with a poreless-looking complexion. This primer will also grip your makeup and minimize the appearance of pores. All e.l.f. products are free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenols, ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone. Studies have reported that exposure to nonylphenols can cause neurotoxicity, behavioral changes, and have an effect on memory and learning. Ethoxylates are known for their weak skin irritant effect. This can cause drying, defatting, and dermatitis. Symptoms may also include redness, oedema, drying, defatting, and cracking of the skin.

3. ONE/SIZE Secure the Sweat Primer ($34)

This primer is not only sweat-proof, but also waterproof and shine-proof. It can last up to 12 hours, mattifying your skin and controlling the additional shine and oil on your face. It provides a long-lasting matte finish and ensures your makeup stays locked in place. This primer is aluminum free. Aluminum is harmful towards your skin, as it will cause many risk factors, from irritation to your skin to nerve damage. Aluminum is often used in makeup primarily for its reflective properties to create a shimmering or shiny effect. Usage of inorganic ingredients like aluminum salts in cosmetics has been a concern due to its role in skin irritation, cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease.

4. HOURGLASS Airbrush Primer ($24-$75)

This is a translucent, skin-perfecting primer that smooths your skin and controls shine, while providing an airbrushed, blurred finish to your face. This blurs imperfections, minimizes pores and fine lines, and absorbs excess oil on your face. The HOURGLASS primer is formulated without parabens, sulfates, alcohol, phthalates, talc, gluten, and mineral oils. Additionally, it is also a cruelty-free brand (not tested on animals). Sulfates often dry out the skin, washing off the skin’s protective barrier, causing redness and dry, itchy skin. And sulfates are known irritants especially with long-term exposure. If you have sensitive or sensitized skin, avoid sulfates as your skin barrier function will be weakened. Talc is a mineral substance that is used to absorb moisture, oils, and odors. However, studies have linked talc to cause cancer


1. MAYBELLINE Fit Me Foundation ($9.99)

This lightweight foundation mattifies your face while refining your pores, leaving a natural and seamless finish. This is best for normal to oily skin, as it is formulated to control shine and blur pores. This is a medium-coverage foundation. This foundation is free from fragrance and oil. With sensitive skin, fragrances are known to be an irritant, causing redness, itchiness, and hives to your skin. 

2. L’Oréal True Match Super-Blendable Foundation ($13.99)

This foundation offers a skin-like finish with medium coverage. It hydrates your skin while giving you a natural finish. It locks in moisture and is suitable for all skin types. This is a vegan formula, free from any fragrances, alcohol, and oil. Vegan formulas refer to products that do not contain animal-derived ingredients or products. Instead, they are often made with plant-based substitutes and are also cruelty free.

3. saie serum foundation ($40)

This foundation consists of a high concentration of the skincare serum (85%). This is a lightweight serum foundation that can help your skin look plumper, more hydrated, and brighter. It offers a buildable medium coverage. This saie serum foundation includes sugar-derived squalane, known to absorb quickly while locking in hydration. Squalane improves your skin barrier, with moisturizing effects, anti-aging properties, while soothing and calming the skin. The Indian Gooseberry extract in the foundation is rich in antioxidants to help brighten the skin. Additionally, the saie serum foundation stays away from BHA, chemical sunscreens, mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, polybutene, hydrogenated polyisobutene, GMOs, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances/flavors, and talc.

4. DIOR Forever Skin Glow Foundation ($57)

This foundation provides a 24-hour wear time, providing a natural, glowy, radiant finish to your skin. It has medium-to-full coverage with SPF 15 and added hydration. This is formulated with iris, wild pansy, hibiscus, and nasturtium extracts – all plant extracts, which are known to intensely hydrate the skin over time.


1. MAYBELLINE Fit Me Concealer ($7.49)

This concealer leaves a flawless, natural coverage. This covers redness, flaws, and blemishes. It will provide an oil-free, lightweight feeling on your face, with up to 12 hours of wear time. These concealers are oil-free and fragrance free. Additionally, this concealer is formulated with chamomile, which helps the skin regenerate while tightening pores.  

2. L’Oréal Infallible Full Wear Concealer ($14.99)

This pigmented concealer will provide you with full coverage. Additionally, it has a matte finish and lasts up to 24 hours. This is a waterproof formula that is crease-proof, transfer-proof, and doesn’t fade. It does not clog your pores.

3. MERIT Perfecting Complexion Stick ($38)

This complexion stick is very portable and can be used as both a concealer and foundation, and has light-to-medium coverage that allows your skin to stay breathable all day. It has fatty acids that help condition the skin and lock in moisture. The formula also includes sea daffodil extract, which helps diminish the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots.

4. MILK Future Fluid Concealer ($29)

This is a multi-use concealer that covers, sculpts, and hydrates your skin for a lightweight, natural finish. It has medium-to-full coverage and is said to have a second skin finish. This concealer is formulated with Hyaluronic Plant Complex, which is a plant-powering combination of six hydrating, soothing, and barrier-restoring ingredients that improve the look of redness, breakouts, and fine lines. This concealer is free of paraben, fragrance, silicone, alcohol, and gluten.

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