The 9 Best Natural and Clean Foundations (2022)

Foundation can be so tricky. But with the right application and the right product you can have a flawless look in no time. Check out my full guide to the Best Natural & Clean Foundations!

 

A foundation can make or break your entire makeup routine. It sets the base for everything that comes after. If you don’t choose the correct color for your skin tone or the best option for your skin type you aren’t going to love how it looks. No worries, I am here to help! I am sharing the best of the best clean foundations after trying numerous brands over the past nearly 10 years and I have narrowed it down to just 9 foundations. Since we know application is key, I am also giving all the tips and tricks for prepping your skin and applying it to have the most natural look.

*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company.  I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly.  If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.

Why is choosing a clean foundation so important?

Other than your actual skin care products, your foundation is going to cover the most amount of your actual skin allowing for more absorption of potential toxins. You also have to consider that you will wear it for 8-12 hours of the day for many days throughout the week for most of us. And then add in that you may not even know what is in the ingredient list of your beloved foundation…yikes!

Lowering your toxic load by choosing more natural and organic skincare and makeup products is so important!

And if you take a look at the actual ingredients found in conventional foundations, you may realize that a natural brand is the way to go. And with all beauty products, a brand claiming to be ‘natural, green or clean’ isn’t enough. I recommend actually reading the label of your products.

Here are some of the big hitters for toxic ingredients that can be found in foundation:

While looking at this list may seem overwhelming (and this isn’t even an all inclusive list of the toxic ingredients to look out for), it is actually meant to help you feel empowered. When you know better, you can do better. You can always start with one product at a time to switch out. And using my Top 9 Natural and Clean Foundations, you will have one less toxic cosmetic product in your home!

Natural Foundation Application Tips

You can get just the right foundation for your skin but then end up hating it because you’re applying it all wrong and with the wrong tools. Believe it or not tools make a huge difference when applying foundation and getting the desired result.

Besides tools, prepping your skin before foundation application is essential as well. No matter how great the formula, foundation isn’t going to look great if your skin is dry, or flaky.

How To Prep Your Skin For Your Foundation

Exfoliate skin– you don’t need to exfoliate every time before foundation application (that can irritate skin) but 1-2 times a week is ideal. Exfoliating your skin gets rid of the dead skin and leaves you with the newest and smoothest skin. No more weird dry patches where your foundation globs up in an area. Exfoliating creates a smooth canvas for your foundation to adhere too. A couple of my favorite exfoliants are, Josh Rosebrook’s Active Enzyme Exfoliator, Tata Harper Radiance Mask, and Pai Virtuous Circle Eco-Bead Exfoliator

 Apply an oil or serum– Once your skin is smooth I always recommend applying an oil or lotion before foundation. This helps the foundation glide on and look natural and flawless. Have you ever tried applying foundation to dry skin? Not pretty huh?! It doesn’t glide on and ends up looking splotchy. After you apply an oil or lotion, wait a couple  minutes for it to absorb.  I like to brush my teeth during the wait time.  

Apply a primer-  A primer is a great additive to your makeup routine. It really can help create a seamless canvas.  Even after moisturizing with an oil or a facial lotion a primer can be the little extra that takes your foundation look to the next level.  I recommend primers because they can really help to seal pores.  As you probably know, no matter how big or small your pores are, if you wear a liquid foundation it usually can sink into the pores.  Not the look we want.  That’s not all primers shield, they also help to make your makeup last longer by blocking the dust/debris from the day.  They help fill in fine lines and wrinkles by creating a smooth canvas for your whole complexion.  I heard one makeup artist say it acts like drywall for your face, filling in the gaps where needed and creating an even canvas.  Especially if you get one with silicone in it.  I know there has been some controversy over silicone being a mask and causing breakouts but I disagree.  I think it really depends on your skin and how you tolerate silicone.   A couple of my fave primers in clean beauty are Beautycounter’s Glow First Primer, Exa Just Start Smoothing Primer and Vapour’s Essential Day Primer.

Using the correct tool to apply your foundation is essential for getting the most natural look!

How To Apply Your Foundation

Use the right tool for application– Depending on the type of foundation you choose, it’s important to use the right brush or tool. Oftentimes people get the wrong finish from a foundation because they are using the wrong tool.

Here’s a cheat sheet for using the right tool for the desired finish:

Mineral Powder Foundations

  • If you want a lighter finish use a Flat Top Brush for application. Tap some mineral powder into the cap and swirl your brush into the product. Then tap off excess on the cap and apply.
  • If you want an airbrushed look with medium coverage use a damp Makeup Sponge for application. Tap some mineral powder into the cap of the mineral foundation. Then just dip a damp beauty blender into the powder and blot/glide on.
  • If you want a heavy/full coverage, use a Makeup Sponge and mix your mineral foundation with a little water. First tap some mineral powder into the cap and then using your fingers add some water until you reach a nice consistency that isn’t too dry or wet. It should re- semble a liquid consistency. Then use the beauty blender to apply.

Liquid Foundations

  • If you want a medium coverage use a Flat Thin Foundation Brush.  I put some liquid foundation on the back of my hand and then dab the foundation brush in and use a light stippling motion(also known as a tapping motion) all over the face. Rubbing too hard will irritate the skin.
  • For a lighter coverage use a Makeup Sponge. The beauty blender is going to soak up some of the foundation and so the effect is not going to be as intense. I just add some to the back of my hand and then dip my beauty blender into the product and apply with stippling motions across my face.
  • For a heavy coverage use a Flat Top Foundation Brush. This brush is going to get more product on the bristles and give you a full coverage look. Apply some product to the back of your hand and dip brush in. Apply with a stippling motion across your face and using downward strokes.

Cream Compact Foundations

  • I’ve found the best application for cream compact foundations when wanting a medium to full coverage is a Flat Thin Foundation Brush. It helps to seamlessly blend the foundation into the skin. I use a stippling motion and downward strokes.
  • I also love using the RMS Skin to Skin Foundation Brush. It effortlessly deposits the right amount of color and creates a flawless finish. Works especially great with RMS “Un” Cover Up.
  • For a lighter coverage, you can use a Makeup Sponge and a stippling motion.

Stick Foundations

  • These are easy to apply. Just take the stick and swipe it across sections of your face. From your forehead, cheeks, chin and nose. Then take a Makeup Sponge to blend in.
  • You can also use a Flat Top Foundation Brush to blend in too.
  • If you want a lighter more natural finish use your fingers. But make sure you wash your hands before application.
  • If you want a lighter more natural finish use your fingers. But make sure you wash your hands before application.

BB Creams/Tinted Moisturizers

These are a lot simpler when it comes to application. Since they aren’t that heavy, it’s easier to apply and a lot more forgiving. You can apply with your fingers but always wash your hands before application. I also like using a Beauty Blender and Flat Top Foundation Brush too. Makeup Sponge for a lighter application and Flat Top for a heavier application. If using your fingers apply around the t-zone and out.

Tips and Tricks For Making Foundation Look More Natural

  • Always start in the t-zone and blend out. That’s generally where people have redness and discoloration. It also helps to make the foundation look more natural because as you’re blending out the product gets thinner and blends better.
  • A stick foundation is a great option when you just want to spot coverage certain areas on your face and achieve a more natural look.
  • Use a liquid foundation which can look more natural overall.  It blends easier into the skin and can create a second skin effect.
  • Hydrate skin!  Making sure skin is hydrated can give you a dewy, natural look overall instead of a cakey, pasty look.  Hydrated skin always looks more supple and youthful.
  • Less is more.  Always start with less product and then gradually work your way up.  You can always add more, but it’s harder to take it away. 

9 Best Natural & Clean Foundations 2022

*I wanted to share that all the photos are in the same light, maybe slightly different due to weather that day but same window, same lighting and same time in the morning.  I also am very pregnant, 37-38 weeks in the photos so if my face looks puffy or I look tired that’s why! 🙂

I am wearing shade 22 in RMS Beauty “UN” Cover Up Cream Foundation.

RMS Beauty “UN” Cover Up Cream Foundation

Price: $36 for 1 fl. ounce

Skin Type: Great for Normal/Dry Skin

Color Shades Available: 16

My Shade: 22

This foundation is so creamy and dewy.  It comes in a glass jar and literally lasts forever!  A little goes a long way.  I start in my t-zone and then blend out so I get more of a natural look.  Love how buildable it is and offers great coverage.  You can easily get full coverage with this foundation if you want.  Great for normal skin and dry skin.  If you have oily or acne prone skin I wouldn’t recommend it since it has some comedogenic ingredients in it. Get it here!

My shade in Ilia True Skin Serum varies from SF3 in the winter to SF3.5 to SF4 in the summer.

Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation

Price: $54 for 30mL   

Skin Type: Great for all skin types 

Color Shades Available: 30 

My Shade:  SF3 in the winter and SF3.5 to SF4 in the summer.

I actually prefer this over Ilia’s Vivid Foundation because it doesn’t feel greasy to me and the longevity is great.  It is a liquid but then it sets after a while and you get a great long wearing foundation.  It really feels and acts like your skin, yet I still feel like it gives my skin great coverage. A very lightweight foundation. It provides light to medium coverage, depending on how much you apply.  Comes in a glass pump bottle.  It really melts into your skin so well leaving behind a natural look overall. Get it here!

Check out my Ilia Beauty Review here!

I wear shade 3.5 in the winter and then 4.0 in the summer of the Kosas Tinted Face Oil.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil

Price: $42 for 30mL

Skin Type: Great for dry/mature skin

Color Shades Available: 16

My Shade:  3.5 in the winter and then 4.0 in the summer

I love how dewy this makes my skin feel.  I thought I wouldn’t like it because I didn’t think it would offer enough coverage for me, but it actually gives a good amount of coverage!  It makes my skin glow. It’s true to the name, very much like a face oil in texture but then has tons of pigment to make it a foundation.  I’ve gotten so many compliments since wearing it!  People always say my skin is glowing.  I’ll take it!  Light to medium coverage.  It is very hydrating overall.  Great for those with dry skin.  A very buildable coverage. Get it here!

Check out my detailed review of the Kosas Tinted Face Oil here!

I wear shade 123S in Vapour Beauty Soft Focus.

Vapour Beauty Soft Focus Foundation

Price: $48 for 30mL

Skin Type: Great for dry skin 

Color Shades Available: 19 

My Shade: 123S

Such a great all around foundation!  This feels just like your skin when you apply and doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a heavy foundation at all.  You can definitely build it up if you want.  It’s medium to full coverage.  It gives you a little glow, not a matte finish at all.  Feels really soothing to the skin with some awesome skincare ingredients like frankincense, myrrh and lotus.  Great for dry skin as it feels very hydrating.  Really easy to apply too. No goopy or greasy feeling at all! Get it here!

I wear shade 440/Katey in Exa High Fidelity Foundation.

Exa High Fidelity Foundation

Price: $38 for 1.1 ounce  

Skin Type: All Skin Types

Color Shades Available: 43 

My Shade: Katey/440

This foundation is very buildable and you can really make the coverage light or heavy depending on what type of look you’re going for.  It has a semi-matte finish to it.  Great for those with oilier skin or dry skin.  It’s hydrating but not overly hydrating.  I love that it comes in 47 shades!  Really making it so great for any skin tone to find their exact color match.  It doesn’t feel heavy on but really can provide great coverage overall.  If you feel like you haven’t been able to find your exact color, check out Exa. Get it here! 

Check out Indie Makup Brands Worth Supporting!

I wear shade 2.5 in the Crunchi Foundation.

Crunchi Beautifully Flawless Foundation

Price: $50 for 30mL

Skin Type: Great for all skin types

Color Shades Available: 11

My Shade: 2.5

I had tried Crunchi’s original formula for their foundation several years ago but since then they have reformulated and it’s better than ever!  It has the perfect blend of a satin and semi-matte finish really giving you a flawless look no matter what skin type you have.  It feels hydrating yet, not too wet of a formula.  I love how it glides on the skin and really covers up my redness, but still feels like my skin overall.  A little goes a long way!  You don’t have to use that much to really get awesome coverage.  I’ve had a lot of people with acne say they don’t have flare ups while using this foundation too as well as some with rosacea who get good coverage yet no flare ups. Get it here!

I wear shade 340 with self tanner and 310 if I’m not wearing self tanner in the Beautycounter Skin Twin Foundation.

Beautycounter Skin Twin Foundation

Price: $50 for 30mL 

Skin Type: Great for all skin types 

Color Shades Available: 18

My Shade: 340 with self tanner and 310 if I’m not wearing self tanner

If you have been around for any time at all, you know I LOVE this foundation.  Definitely a favorite liquid foundation in clean beauty.  It has such a great consistency and it feels hydrating but offers the coverage I crave.  A great medium coverage overall which means it looks like your skin but better.  It has a ton of hyaluronic acid in it which really helps to plump up the skin and make it appear smooth.  I also really love the longevity of Skin Twin, it still looks good after a full day wearing it. Check it out here!

I wear shade Atelier III in the Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick.

Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick

Price: $68 for .3oz 

Skin Type: Great for all skin types 

Color Shades Available: 21

My Shade: Atelier III

This was the first Westman Atelier product that I tried and fell hard for.  It is unlike any clean beauty foundation that I’ve used.  It’s creamy, and gives your skin the perfect balance of coverage and glow.  It provides a dewy finish that looks like your skin but enhanced.  The foundation comes housed in a stick form.  You can apply directly on your skin or use a brush to get the product and then apply it to your skin.  I’ve done both and prefer using Westman Atelier’s Foundation brush to get the product and then applying it to my skin.  But I’ve seen Gucci- the founder, do both ways- it’s whatever you prefer.  What is unique about this product is that it’s not only a foundation but also a concealer in one.  So you don’t need an additional product.  Something I’ve come to love about it.  While the foundation stick may seem pricey at $68, you’re also not having to purchase a concealer as well.  It’s a buildable texture foundation, so if you want more coverage you can simply add more product to your skin.  You can also use your fingers to blend as well. This has worked on oily skin and dry skin complexions.  This is the first stick foundation I really have loved!  Get it here!

Check out my full Westman Atelier Review here!

I wear shade Sand in the Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation.

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation

Price: $44 for 30 mL

Skin Type: Great for Dry and Oily Skin

Color Shades Available: 10

My Shade: Sand 

I found this foundation last year and love it!  It feels like a serum and is so nourishing and hydrating on the skin.  It really is almost like a skincare product for the skin with ingredients like Vitamin C and Vitamin E, plus resveratrol rich grapeseed and fruit stem cells.  It is just so soothing on the skin.  It offers great coverage (medium to full) and makes the skin look dewy and youthful.  It also doesn’t settle into fine lines!  My sister who is 43 and has oily skin loves it just as much as I do with my dry skin.  Get it here!

And there it is! After years of trying different clean beauty brands these 9 foundations have really stood above the rest. You are sure to find one that will work for you.

What is your favorite natural and clean foundation?

If you liked this post check out these past posts:

Cheers, Suzi

Suzi

Suzi is a wife, and mama who is passionate about sharing her natural lifestyle with those around her. She created Gurl Gone Green to show how our everyday decisions, from what we use on our face, home and the food we eat affect us more than we know. She loves holding space where people can weed through the marketing clutter to find truth, and ultimately make the best decision for their families.

2 Comments

  1. Julie Corley

    Hi, thanks for the article. I wanted to ask what you think of this ingredient, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, found in Ilia True Skin Serum foundation. I wanted to switch to Ilia because i read that it’s “clean” yet this ingredient,from what i can find, is toxic.

    Reply
    • Suzi

      This is a silicone, not toxic. It’s rated a 1 on the EWG Skin Deep Database. It’s a binder.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.