If you’re prone to breakouts and congested pores, using the right makeup is key. For today’s lesson on acne-friendly makeup, the focus is blush — and according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kristina Kleven, who spoke to Elite Daily for this article, the best blushes for acne-prone skin are non-comedogenic formulas that don’t contain petrolatum–based ingredients, such as mineral oil (which can clog pores), or talc, one of the most common ingredients found in traditional cosmetics, but which can be irritating to sensitive or acneic skin. Dr. Kleven says that mineral makeup is preferred, because it elevates cosmetics by “supporting the skin with soothing, calming, and nutritive ingredients, and allowing the skin to breathe.”
Makeup artist and beauty expert Neil Scibelli says the blush area is one of the most common places people get breakouts, and he’s had clients react to both powders and creams. “It’s possible to get breakouts from the powder blushes if you’re talc or mica sensitive. When it comes to creams, if you’re sensitive to oils, that could be tricky.” He advises purchasing talc-free powders and watching how your skin reacts to any new cosmetic. Though he typically leans towards powder blushes if a client’s skin is on the oily side, creams offer a “lit from within,” dewy finish he also loves, adding, “There’s room for both creams and powders on acne-prone skin.” As always with makeup or skin care products, it all depends on the formula itself — and figuring out what does or does not work for your skin.
To see the best blushes for sensitive, acne-prone skin, including two suggestions from the experts, keep scrolling.
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1. The Dermatologist’s Pick
Dr. Kleven likes jane iredale’s blush sticks and highlighter sticks because of their creamy formulas that contain jojoba seed oil, which is a “natural emollient and soothing ingredient that mimics the skin’s own natural sebum [and] is often used to tackle symptoms associated with acne.” The shimmery blush stick comes in five shades, the highlighter in three, and both can be used on your face or body. These are vegan, cruelty-free, non-comedogenic products, and made without mineral oil, as per the dermatologist’s advice.
- Available shades (blush): 5
- Available shades (highlighter): 3
2. The Makeup Artist’s Pick
Scibelli says he likes RMS blushes “for their clean, cream formulas,” and as the name attests, they’re designed to be used on both your lips and cheeks. The blush comes in eight pretty shades — some that are more pigmented, and some that are on the sheerer side — each made of nourishing ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, propolis extract, cocoa butter, and centella asiatica. All of the brand’s products are free of parabens, petrolatum, and talc, and these blushes come housed in durable, recycled glass pots.
3. The Best Pressed Powder Blush For Acne-Prone Skin
Mineral Fusion, a mineral-based makeup line, makes these pretty, pressed powder blushes, which are made with minerals like mica, and botanicals like white tea, aloe, pomegranate, and sea kelp. Though they’re free of talc and fragrance — two potential irritation triggers — you should obviously steer clear of this one if you have a known sensitivity to mica.
One Amazon reviewer commented, “Really like this. Good pigment and goes on smoothly. Best part is it doesn’t bother my sensitive skin ! (Generally sensitive and acne prone).” Another person wrote, “Very nice blush, lasts all day. Plus it will not break you out with acne at all.”
4. Another Excellent (Albeit More Expensive) Pressed Powder Blush
Here’s another great, mineral-based, pressed powder blush, and though it’s more expensive than the Mineral Fusion one, it’s sold in a few more shades. This, too, contains mica, as well as good-for-skin ingredients like tocopherol (aka vitamin E) and camellia leaf extract. “So, although $30 for blush seems expensive, it is long lasting, absolutely gorgeous and doesn’t clog my pores,” summed up one Amazon shopper, who described their skin as sensitive and acne-prone.
5. The Best Pressed Powder Duo
Sometimes, makeup duos are just the most convenient option, with their complementary colors and travel-friendly packaging. Cover FX’s Monochromatic Blush Duo comes in six color combos, all housed in a sleek, compact case with a built-in mirror, each with a matte and a shimmery blush, which can be used together or solo. Cover FX’s whole line is entirely free of talc, parabens, fragrance, and mineral oil, though note that these do contain mica as well.
6. The Best Loose Powder Blush For Acne-Prone Skin
If you prefer a loose powder blush, try this one from Alima Pure, which is also mineral-based (as well as talc-free and fragrance-free). Again, this contains mica — most mineral makeup does — but keep in mind that most skin types can handle mica just fine; it’s just that some people can be allergic to it. Offered in two finishes — shimmery and matte — and 13 shades, this featherlight powder leaves behind a weightless, natural-looking flush whenever you dust it.
Pro tip: Loose powders tend to be especially ideal for people with oily skin, since they don’t require any oils to bind them together.
7. Best Budget Buy
For a smooth, dewy finish, try Honest’s Crème Cheek Blush, a super-buildable formula that’ll make your skin look naturally flushed, like you just got out of a spin class. Made with castor seed oil and fruit extracts, and without mineral oil, paraffins, petrolatum, or talc, this is an amazing, creamy blush for the price, and it can also be dabbed onto your eyelids and lips.
Dr. Kristina Kleven, board-certified dermatologist practicing at Highlander Dermatology in Waukesha, Wisconsin
Neil Scibelli, makeup artist and beauty expert