A Foundation-Free Face

You’ve probably heard of many reasons foundation isn’t good for your skin. It clogs your pores, it causes breakouts, it dries your skin out during the day. If you read my “What’s In My Makeup?” post, you’ll know that it doesn’t exactly contain stuff that’s good for your face.

“But nooo, I still want to have that perfectly smooth, blemish-free complexion that foundation gives me!”

If that sounds like you (and it certainly sounds like me), then this post is for you. Here are a few cheats and tricks to help you get that flawless face without wearing any foundation, as well as some long term habits that will help clear your skin up and help you feel more comfortable going foundation-free.

  • Switch to a BB or CC cream.

Probably the most obvious solution. For those of you who may be confused about the difference:

BB cream = moisturiser + primer + serum + foundation + SPF

CC cream = colour correcting cream + SPF

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Garnier Skin Active BB Cream. Image source: superdrug.com

They may be pricey, but they are a much better investment. Think about it – the money you’d be spending on a foundation, a moisturiser, a primer, a face serum and an under-eye serum could probably get you multiple tubes of your favourite BB or CC cream. They also have a much lighter texture than foundation – think whipped cream rather than cream cheese. This can mean a lighter coverage than foundation, but they give you that dewy glow whilst allowing your pores room to breathe.

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Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream. Image source: bestproducts.com

One tube of CC cream saves you from having to mess around with all the different colours in a colour correcting palette. AND remembering which colour does what. Tell me that isn’t a tempting offer.

If you’re wondering about DD creams, these are essentially “daily defence” creams, and act more like a sunblock.

  • Use concealer and pressed powder in specific locations.

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Stila Perfecting Concealer and Stila Pressed Powder. Image source: futurederm.com

By specific locations, I mean blemishes, spots and general discolourations. After blending the concealer out, set each portion with pressed powder or a translucent setting powder. This way, you get the coverage you need whilst using minimal product.

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OUD Milano Primer Flawless Beauty. Image source: oudmilano.com

If you can’t quite part with that fully matte look that foundation creates, start with a primer all over your face. This blurs your pores and gives you a subtly matte base layer, which helps the concealer and pressed powder stick too. I’m currently loving the Flawless Beauty Primer by OUD Milano – I’ll be posting a review on that soon! Just make sure you blend everything well. Finish with a makeup-setting spray if you’re worried about things coming off during the day.

  • Use a tinted moisturiser.

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Image source: superdrug.com

A great way to look good whilst taking care of your skin. This may not give you the heavy coverage that only foundation can, but there’s no harm in embracing a dewy, natural look – especially in the summer.


Look after your skin for the long term with these easy, very doable habits. Trust me on “easy” – if I can do them, anyone can.

  • Wash your face in the mornings, as soon as you wake up.

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Image source: health.howstuffworks.com

A great way to wake yourself up in the mornings if you aren’t a morning shower person. Lots of oil and sebum tends to build up on your skin whilst you sleep, particularly when the weather gets warm. Start off with warm water, and add your favourite face wash to this morning routine. Once you’ve finished rinsing, give your face a quick splash with cold water. Hot water opens pores, cold water closes them. This helps keep your face clean for that bit longer.

  • Wash your face before you go to bed.

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Image source: newhealthadvisor.com

Exactly the same principle here – clogged pores after a long day can’t be a good thing. Maybe save the cold water for the next morning though, getting enough sleep is hard enough as it is.

  • Use a toner after washing your face.

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Simple “Kind To Skin” Soothing Facial Toner. Image source: simple.co.uk

Toner makes a world of difference to those of us who are more prone to oily skin. However, overdo it and you get dry patches and breakouts. I usually use this once a day – any more is too much for my sensitive skin. Toner essentially breaks down the oils in your skin – perfect for getting rid of the excess. We do need some oils to keep our skin healthy and supple, so tread lightly with this one. Find a gentle formula that’s designed for sensitive skin, and always finish with a moisturiser.

  • Moisturise regularly.

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Simple Spotless Skin Anti-Blemish Moisturiser. Image source: simple.co.uk

Your skin will thank you for it. Twice a day is a good place to start – once after washing your face in the morning, and once at night before bed. This locks in moisture, which is crucial for your skin to maintain a healthy appearance. Personally, I love Simple’s Spotless Skin Anti-Blemish Moisturiser – it’s a wonderfully light formulation that does the job without being too greasy on my skin, which tends to fluctuate unpredictably between greasy and very dry. I know, lucky me.

  • Drink more water.

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Image source: istockphoto.com

A good lifestyle tip in general. Every cell in your body needs water to maintain their function. Keep yourself hydrated, and you’ll notice a change in your energy levels and the appearance of your skin – not just on your face.

  • Go makeup free when you can.

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Image source: quickememe.com

This may feel like more of a comfort zone/habit thing. We all love looking our best, but sometimes it’s best to ditch the slap and let our faces breathe for a bit. Our skin goes through a lot – like any normal person, it needs its down time to regenerate and heal itself. Give it the opportunity to do this. My favourite thing about going makeup free? I can rub my eyes without worrying about looking like a panda afterwards.

Hope this helped, let me know in the comments if you have any tips for going foundation-free, or if you’ve recently gone without foundation in a while and what you thought of it! You go girl.

– J

DISCLAIMER: Any advice here is not intended to replace that of a medical professional. If you experience allergic reactions to any of the products mentioned above, please seek medical help immediately.


  1. https://www.superdrug.com/microsite/bb-cream-or-cc-cream


26 Comments on “A Foundation-Free Face”

  1. Thanks! A thoroughly informative article.

    I have a love / hate relationship with foundation due to having terrible skin as a teenager.

    These days I tend to opt for a tinted moisturiser or nothing at all if I can get away with it. I prefer cleanser type washes that you exfoliate off with a cloth such as Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish as I find water dries my skin out.

    My top tips for a clear complexion are:

    To reduce dairy products and sugar in the diet – you would not believe the difference this made for me!

    Plenty of exercise and drinking lots of water.

    A minimum of 8 hours sleep!


  2. I have a love/hate relationship with it too. I’ve worn it ever since I was a teenager to cover up awful acne… and now just problem skin at times (I’m 51, and have suffered with oily blemished skin forever). I did all the drugs as well…antibiotics teemed with anti inflams, roaccutane (nasty, that) etc. Prescribed creams etc.

    I still have trouble, but my skin is getting better as I get older – can’t complain! I try to use a chemical free makeup I buy online, but also dabble in local store bought foundations. I’ve always found any usual sunscreen breaks me out, and no matter what moisturizer or serum I try they seem to do it too, other than one I’ve used for its exfoliation properties with a high level of AHAs in it.

    At the moment I’m simply washing morning and night with a light cleanser, and using Avene toning water on my face… no moisturizer or anything else. I don’t know how I’ve made it thus far with no scarring at all as I’m a full on picker, and have dug craters into my face over the years squeezing!!!! I’m so lucky my skin is robust and heals well in that sense.

    I’ve been meaning to give BB cream a try, but have just assumed it would break me out as most things do. Perhaps I’ll have-a-go! I do notice if I go without makeup for a while my skin is happier, but I dread going out of the house without it on as my massive dark circles and red marks from current flareups always make me self conscious…. and I teach daily, so I have lots of people staring at me day in and out!

  3. Well, because I’m always in a rush on weekdays, I can say that I am freshfaced and makeup free all the time! Haha! But I am grateful for your explanation between BB, CC, and DD cream…I had no idea! Thanks!

  4. I switched to BB creams and the occasional powder foundation a long time ago and my skin has never looked better! x

  5. Thanks for sharing. I am trying to come up with more of a skin care routine. I love the Garnier bb cream. I wear it a lot for work and days I don’t want to wear foundation.

  6. This is a great post and so helpful! I’ve always struggled with foundation as I feel like it does no good for my skin and doesn’t make it look any better anyway! So I will definitely try out a lot of the things you have said!

  7. So… I don’t wear makeup at all. Can’t believe my husband still loves me. Um… Seems like too many steps. However you’ve got a great take on the whole thing. My characters will appreciate my visiting you.

  8. Great tips on how to go foundation free! ?. I have one foundation which I only wear on special occasions (or for blog pictures ?). I like to wear a primer that evens out your skin tone and apply a translucent powder over the top. I like my skin to look like skin ?

  9. “fantastic post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice
    this. You should proceed your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!”

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