The Best Foundations For Medium Skin Tones That Work For My Acne-Prone Complexion


As much as I hate to admit it, I use a foundation at least five times a week. Thanks to impossible-to-get-rid-of acne scars, and my uneven postpartum skin, foundation is my hero beauty product. Finding the best foundation for my medium skin tone with a seamless match and just enough coverage is a quest that I'm constantly embarking on. I've tried to keep my foundation usage to a minimum so as not to perpetuate my cystic and hormonal adult acne. And while my complexion is definitely clearing up, I can't shake my need for that filter-like finish.

My skin is in between so many medium and neutral shades, so finding the correct undertone in an age where there are literally hundreds of options takes so much effort. So far, I've found that medium shades with neutral or warm undertones work best for me. Anything with a pink undertone makes me look washed out and well... pink. And anything golden or yellow makes me look I did my makeup in the dark.

I've found that having a variety of foundations in liquid and powder forms can be really helpful in that they serve their purpose for whatever my skin needs at any given moment. Liquids are great for applying with my fingertips and giving me a lightweight, natural finish , and powders help when a breakout rears its ugly head and I need a bit more coverage.

Photo by Taylor Lane

And in terms of drugstore versus prestige, I'm pretty flexible. If I have meetings, events, or a date, I'll reach for a luxury formula that's rich and creamy. If it's a regular day filled with work and mom duties, I like something more fluid. Even though it might seem like I probably have thousands of formulas in my vanity, I've whittled my go-tos down to a reasonable list of 10. See them ahead.

Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40


It Cosmetics

Even though this is a CC cream, the coverage that this provides is just as good as a foundation — and it saves you a step by already having added SPF. I use the neutral medium shade.

Super Stay Full Coverage Foundation



I accidentally wore this makeup for 16 hours straight (long story)... but at day's end, my skin was still dewy and intact. It felt so lightweight that I almost forgot it was on.

Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation



I love this foundation. It's incredible at a reasonable price. A few drops on a beauty sponge does the job, and boom: runway-ready coverage.

Forever Undercover Foundation in 021 Linen



The water-based formula is super light, but still gives you the ability to blend like Peter Philips.

Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick



This foundation stick is the easiest to apply, and offers natural-looking coverage. I use this multiple times a week and on date nights with my fiancé. My pores are barely noticeable when I wear it, making my complexion look radiant.

Luminous Silk Foundation


Giorgio Armani

A longtime editor favorite, this foundation works everywhere. I like to wear it in the summertime, especially at outdoor weddings — I end up getting more compliments than the bride.

Radiant Cream to Powder Foundation in Medium Ochre


Clé De Peau Beaute

I like that this foundation works like a cream, but goes on matte — it contains double blotting powder, which helps control my oil levels. I love wearing it when my skin needs a break, and when I have breakouts. My only qualm is the limited shade range, but hopefully it'll be expanded for everyone soon.

Pressed Mineral Foundation


Cover FX

If you're in between shades and struggle with finding a match, this one is for you. The foundation boasts a wide variety of undertones, which is the most important factor for picking a base.

Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate


Marc Jacobs Beauty

In theory, yellow undertones should *not* work for me. But this selection blends seamlessly and gives my complexion a nice lift.

Shape Tape Hydrating Foundation



I've used the Shape Tape concealer for what seems like an eternity, and the coverage that it provides is a dream. Now that it's available in foundation form, I look like a walking Paris filter. The texture is so creamy without being too cake-y.