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You Asked, We’re Answering: What Does Non-Comedogenic Mean?


Navigating the beauty world is all fun and games until you run across a phrase that makes you stop in your tracks. One that easily makes the list is “non-comedogenic,” which is basically dermatologist slang for “won’t cause breakouts.” Though commonly associated with skincare products, there’s also non-comedogenic makeup.

To learn more about what qualifies as non-comedogenic, why you might be getting breakouts from makeup, and how acne and makeup don’t always have to butt heads, keep reading. We’re also sharing some of our favorite non-comedogenic makeup options below to help you get glowing.

What Does Non-Comedogenic Mean?

To better understand what non-comedogenic means, it’s important to know what a “comedone” is in the first place.

“A comedone is simply a clogged pore,” says Dr. Peterson Pierre, a board-certified dermatologist based in Thousand Oaks, CA. “If [the pore] is open then the contents get oxidized and it appears as a blackhead. If it’s closed, it appears as a whitehead.”

When a product or ingredient is labeled as “non-comedogenic,” it means that it won’t cause clogged pores or contribute to acne breakouts.

Why You’re Experiencing Breakouts from Makeup

Acne and makeup have had a somewhat contentious relationship over the years. The reality is that there are a number of ingredients commonly found in cosmetics that contribute to breakouts. This is exacerbated when you already have acne-prone skin.

“There is a long list of ingredients in skincare and makeup that can cause acne, but you should definitely be on the lookout for perfumes, dyes, almond oil, lanolin and palmitates,” notes Dr. Pierre. “The first sign of acne caused by cosmetics is that your pores get clogged. Your skin may also get oily, and you may develop acne and sometimes even cystic acne.”

In addition to keeping an eye out for the pimple-causing ingredients Dr. Pierre mentioned, also be on the lookout for the phrase “non-comedogenic” on your products. It’s typically found on the product box, label, or product description page on the retailer’s website.

Some of Our Best Non-Comedogenic Makeup

Not sure if your makeup is causing your breakouts? Look for a correlation between when you use a certain product, where you apply it, and if you’re breaking out in the days that follow. We recommend not using cosmetics contributing to your breakouts, and to instead swap them out for non-comedogenic makeup products.

“When you apply more of the acne-causing makeup to cover the breakouts, you find yourself in this vicious cycle,” says Dr. Pierre. “If your goal is to maintain clear skin, you should probably avoid those products.”

That said, we’re showcasing some of our favorite non-comedogenic makeup below.

ORIGINAL Loose Mineral Foundation

This loose powder, mineral-based foundation is a true staple in our lineup. It’s a light-as-air formulation with just 5 natural mineral ingredients that you can build to your desired coverage, and it leaves skin looking luminous and naturally beautiful. Dr. Pierre says, “I always recommend using mineral makeup because it’s far less likely to cause any irritation or acne.” Let’s just say there’s a reason this one’s been around for 25 years.

ORIGINAL Liquid Mineral Foundation

If you prefer a liquid foundation but still want a minimal, mineral-based formulation, you’ll be happy to hear that the ORIGINAL Liquid Mineral Foundation delivers the best of both words. This non-comedogenic foundation instantly improves the appearance of your skin’s texture and reduces the look of large pores for a glowing, even complexion.

ORIGINAL Liquid Mineral Concealer

The NEWEST member of our family of skin-improving complexion products with minimal ingredients, ORIGINAL Liquid Mineral Concealer ($25) is vegan, made from 90% naturally derived ingredients, and also inspired by our iconic ORIGINAL Loose Mineral Foundation. This creamy formula comes in 12 shades and instantly brightens under eye circles and covers imperfections.

BAREPRO Glow Highlighter

Give your skin a little glowy boost via this weightless, non-comedogenic highlighter. Available in four shades, it boasts natural ingredients such as green lentil and bamboo extracts, as well as Mineral Lock technology that keeps the product in place for up to 16 hours.


A good makeup primer can help set the stage for the rest of your products. GOOD HYDRATIONS Silky Face Primer is a non-comedogenic makeup primer that’s ideal for dry skin It delivers immediate and long-lasting hydration and visibly smooths dry and flaky skin so your foundation and other products glide on with ease. It also improves the look of fine lines and large pores.