Top 5 Clean Beauty Foundations (2024 Photo Lookbook)

September 22, 2023 (updated April 11, 2024) — Written by

Need a little help choosing a foundation? We did the dirty work and tried a gazillion clean beauty foundations so you don’t have to. Check out our easy-to-browse lookbook that shows before and after of our top 5 foundations (plus all the others we tried). Your perfect foundation coming at you below!

A close up of a woman in a pink sweatshirt.

By: Lisa Fennessy

Foundation is notoriously tough to shop for. We are all on the other side of the internet like—WHAT’S MY SHADE?! But not only that, there are so many options when it comes to type (liquid, cream, stick…), coverage (light, medium, buildable, full…), finish (dewy, matte, satin…), tone (warm, cool, neutral), texture (creamy, oily, stiff, whipped…), ingredients, add-ons, shelf life, packaging and so much more.

I mean, it’s too much. How are you ever supposed to pick and get something you actually love?

Soooo, to help you navigate the world of clean beauty foundations we created this fun photo lookbook with a bunch of foundation looks applied (on my skin). And if you are wondering what me mean by “clean beauty foundations”—it’s formulas that meet the standards of our beauty credo and do not include any of these ingredients.

But don’t fret, we not leaving you hanging in a sea of before and after pics. I’m also highlighting my top 5 foundations picks (with pros and cons) here so you have an easy place to start.  

But before we jump in, here’s a little about my skin, foundation preferences and prep method so you can factor that into your decision too:

  • I tend to wear face oil instead of face cream which can sometimes affect the finish of foundations. 
  • I value a “looks like skin” finish over a full coverage foundation look. 
  • I’m not a makeup artist so don’t come at me with words like beauty blenders or contouring. Give me something that you would find in a book called “Foundations for Dummies”.
  • I don’t like when I can feel makeup on my skin. 
  • I’m 45 with hyperpigmentation / sun damage, normal to combo skin that leans dehydrated.

Lastly, this is a working post so we’ll be continuously updating as we test, try and discover. Is there a foundation you were hoping to see here but didn’t? Comment below so I can add it in!


Over 40 and looking for the best foundation that won’t gather in fine lines? Be sure to also check out our top picks for that here.


RELATED: My Inika Organic Makeup Review

RELATED: ILIA Brand Review

RELATED: The New Knew’s Top Beauty Products of 2021

RELATED: The IT LIST is a list of my top beauty picks

Other foundations we’ve tried:

Have you tried any of these? What other foundations do you want me to add in?

xo, lisa in cursive

TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!


  1. Reply

    Heather Kealamakia

    Thanks for the suggestions! I am really surprised that Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation didn’t make the list. Have you tried it? I would love to know how it compares the the others you have listed here.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Heather! Thanks for reading! I have tried that one BUT I didn’t want to get into the SPFs here. For a comparison on clean beauty tinted SPFs and foundations with SPFs be sure to bookmark this post!

  2. Reply


    I LOVE ilia, but I’m concerned about the EWG rating of a 7. Have you dug into that at all? All I could get from ilia themselves was that they follow EU standards. Thanks!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Kayleen! I see we connected on IG about this (hi!) but for anyone else reading the comments…the EWG is a general tool but it’s not perfect. This is a good example of what I assume to be their algorithm giving skewed results. It rates a 7 yes but if you scroll down, you don’t see any ingredients marked higher than a 5. (So how can it rate a 7?). And then the one ingredient rated a 5, if you click through to actually see it, it’s rated a “1-5”. (So it could also be a 1?). That ingredient is Butyloctyl salicylate and it is NOT mutagenic but is often confused with a different salicylate (methyl salicylate which IS mutagenic). That could be the confusion here. IDK. The next ingredient after that is rated a 3. So I’m okay with using this and I don’t think it merits a 7 on the EWG toxicity scale.

  3. Reply


    Hi! Always love and appreciate your info! Foundation has still been the hardest product to nail down in my collection. Forever searching for the whole package so thank you for sharing all your testing thoughts! Wondering if you have tried/plan to try the RMS ReEvolve Natural Finish Foundation , Zao Foundation Stick, Saint Flawless Foundation, Lily Lolo Cream Foundation, and 14e Aloe Nourish Foundation? Thank you!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Rae! Love this comment and now I’m feeling very unqualified because I haven’t tried any of those BUT this post will be a live document so I will continue to add to it as I try. Thanks for the requests! Whats the closest you’ve come to “the whole package”? Curious!

  4. Reply


    My all time favourite foundation is the Kosas Tinted Face Oil, which I was gutted to see they’ve recently discontinued. I loved the ease of application (so good!), the light coverage, and the way it looked like skin, but better! I was wondering if you have a recommendation for something just as good? Pondering trying the Ilia one, or the Kosas revealer foundation, but very open to others. Thanks!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Anna! I think you would fall in love with the Rituel de Fille 3 Drop Weightless Serum Foundation!

  5. Reply


    Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll check it out.

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