best makeup foundations

All The Best Foundations for Every Skin Type

Cosmopolitan called searching for a right foundation “a beauty minefield.” It is truly so because the market is overloaded with options. However, despite many choices, picking the right product for your skin type might be challenging. It is important to find the right formula whether your skin the dry, oily, combination or even rosacea-, or acne-prone. The wrong choice can cause allergy reaction, mismatch with your skin tone, depriving your face of natural, clean looking aesthetic. At the same time, a proper foundation does not only hide blemishes, but also evens skin colour and, in some cases, moisturizes.  

No matter how challenging it might be to select the right product for your face, some obvious sales leaders on the market are preferred by both enthusiasts and professionals. For instance, this MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation is often selected by makeup artists involved in professional photoshoots. While Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation is a favourite among older clientele for its silky coverage.     

In this guide, we covered the most common questions and concerns consumers have when buying makeup foundation. Besides, we also selected the best foundations for every skin type that include hydrating, matte, medium or full coverage from high-end and drugstore brands. 

Our Top Picks

What To Look For

Coverage   

Even before you read the ingredients list (which is important) or look at the price tag, consider the coverage factor. The reason we suggest to begin with coverage is because most likely on a shelve at a store, or even online, foundations will be separate based on this factor. It is a personal choice and completely depends on the look you are hoping for. You might be satisfied with a tinted moisturizer which evens skin tone but does not cover anything, or full-coverage foundation for smooth colour all over your face. Yet, keep in mind that despite the type of coverage you pick, apply it layer by layer starting with sheer one. Such a method helps to create a skin-like finish even with a full-coverage foundation.  

Finish  

The finish of a foundation should be picked based on your skin type. Foundation tends to dry, and the finish indicated what it will look like on the skin after application. Most foundations vary from matte to dewy to natural. Considering your skin type pick a dewy or glowy finish if you have dry skin and a matte finish for oily skin.   

Shade  

This factor is a bit trickier than the previous two. Choosing the right shade depends on your general skin tone and undertone. While undertones vary from warm to cool to neutral, here are a few tips on identifying your own:   

Neutral (N) undertones: skin is more even toned: not too pink or golden.  

Cool (C) undertones: a rosy tone. Skin burns easily in the sun.  

Warm (W) undertones: skin has a golden or olive tone. Tans easily in the sun.  

Ingredients  

We find that the best foundations are those that include hydrating formulas. They can contain ingredients like niacinamide or glycerin which help to boost hydration in the skin. Another one to look for is hyaluronic acid. Such an ingredient creates a barrier that locks in moisture. That is especially important to consider for those with dry skin type.  

Price  

While it is possible to find a decent foundation at a drugstore, luxury brands tend to offer higher quality ingredients that in the end create a seamless makeup layer on your face. That being said, when you decide to choose a more budget-friendly foundation, pay attention to previously discussed factors, including compatibility with your skin tone.   

Application tips  

Prepare your base: to create a smooth layer, and skin-like appearance, make sure to prepare your skin with a hydrating moisturizer or a primer. That will create a smoother skin texture and allow for seamless makeup application.   

Use your fingertips, sponge or a brush to smooth the foundation over the skin. Experts suggest starting at the center of the face and blending outward.   

If necessary, add the second layer or a little bit more to cover up redness. 

The Best Foundation for Oily Skin

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation

The best foundation for oily skin is typically the one that offers a matte finish and long-lasting wear. Avoid foundations with a radiant finish, and instead, pick something like this Estee Lauder Stay-in-Place. Even the name of it offers long-lasting wear and a matte finish. Estee Laurer promises 24-hour wear and flawless coverage.  

The main reason we find this the best working foundation for oily type of skin is sweat-, heat- and humidity-resistance. Customers who continually use this foundation say that even on the hottest day, or toughest gym workout it stays in place. As a satisfied user noted she applied it with setting powder at 6 a.m., walked to the office in a tropical country, worked all day, and got on a flight at midnight. She was even taking selfies to send to friends at 10 p.m. at the airport because her makeup still looked flawless.  

Finally, this liquid foundation offers medium to full coverage that unifies uneven skin tone and easily covers imperfections.   

Pros
  • 24-hour wear. 
  • Waterproof.  
  • Matte finish. 
  • Free of parabens, drying alcohols, mineral oil, and animal-derived ingredients. 
Cons
  • Expensive.  

The Best Foundation for Dry Skin

Dior Forever Skin Glow Hydrating Foundation

Dior Forever Skin Glow is another long-lasting foundation, except this one is made for dry skin. Instead of a matte finish, Dior hydrating foundation provides radiant coverage. It is filled with ingredients that promise flawless skin results such as Iris extract (guards against oxidation), Hibiscus extract (helps renew the look of skin) and wild pansy extract (maintains hydration).   

This foundation also comes in 42 shades, which makes it easier to choose the right one for your skin tone. Although it is filled with hydrating, radiating ingredients, Dior Forever Skin is a heat- and humidity-resistant foundation. Based on various reviews, the foundation stays on the skin for up to 24 hours and reduces the appearance of pores.   

As a satisfied customer noted, the texture is fondant and really easy to apply. It melts into the skin and makes you look fresh and clean. It has a light pleasant smell.   

Another one said that this foundation goes on like silk, has amazing coverage while still looking natural, lasts all day and does not settle into pores or fine lines. 

Pros
  • Hydrating formula.  
  • 24-hour wear.  
  • Reduces appearance of pores. 
Cons
  • Some customer noted that scent is too strong.  
  • Expensive.  

The Best Drugstore Foundation for Dry Skin

L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup

Budget-friendly and illuminating, this L’Oreal Paris True Match foundation is another one for dry skin. It instantly transforms skin from dry to dewy due to its antioxidant-rich, water-based formula. Vitamins C and E are added to improve clarity and skin tone, while Liquid Light Technology is for an instant glow.  

Besides smooth coverage, you get SPF20 for additional skin protection.   

What we love about this foundation is its lightweight texture. As per one reviewer, it feels like wearing no makeup at all.  

As another one noted, she came across this foundation from the beauty gurus on YouTube doing reviews and this is one of the more popular go-to drugstore foundations. L’Oreal Paris True Match felt very light, went on like silk and dried to a beautiful airbrush finish. It has a very light, pleasant scent, she added.   

Pros
  • Hydrating formula.  
  • Enriched with SPF20.  
  • Budget-friendly.  
Cons
  • Not 24-hour wear compared to previously mentioned foundations.  

The Best Drugstore Foundation

NYX Professional Makeup Born-to-Glow Foundation

Another drugstore foundation for an instant glow is this NYX Born-to-Glow product. It offers medium coverage, 45 shades to choose from and seamless blending. Besides, based on a review, this foundation stays. It does not wear off easily, lasts for at least six hours, and makes your skin look smooth and soft, even on those dry skin days.   

What puts this foundation ahead of many others is versatility. Its formula is made to suit all skin types from oily to dry. No matter what skin type you have, NYX Born-to-Glow creates a smooth even-toned look providing a dewy glow. If you have oily skin use a setting powder on top of the foundation to prevent shine. At the same time if your skin is dry, make sure to hydrate it with moisturizer before makeup application. 

Pros
  • Natural glow liquid foundation.  
  • Suitable for all skin types.  
  • Vegan formula. 
Cons
  • Not 24-hour wear.  

The Best Foundation for Mature Skin

Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation

Giorgio Armani Silk foundation was, indeed, inspired by the touch of silk fibers. This award-winning makeup product suits all skin types, especially mature skin. It features a lightweight texture that minimizes the appearance of pores, does not settle into fine lines, easily builds up in case you need more coverage and creates a radiant glow. (All that also makes it one of the best non-comedogenic foundations.)  

It is one of the most expensive foundations on our list. Yet, as a satisfied customer noted, she used to think that this foundation was overhyped and overpriced when she would see reviews on YouTube. She recently heard about it again from someone who listed it as their choice if they could only have one foundation for the rest of their life. After so many years, she finally tried it and is equally blown away. She has no idea how this looks so natural but it really looks like a second skin: very silky.  

Another person who loves minimal makeup and light coverage noted that this is absolutely the best foundation she has ever tried. It is lightweight, light-coverage, and gives the impression that you are simply someone with phenomenally perfect skin that glows from within.  

Pros
  • Micro–fil technology. 
  • Medium, flawless coverage.  
  • Ideal for mature skin. 
Cons
  • Expensive.  

The Best Lightweight Foundation

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation with SPF 50

L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Radian is more of a tinted, lightweight serum than a full-coverage foundation. However, despite the lightweight formula, it offers enough coverage to even skin tone. It is formulated with nourishing ingredients (vitamin B3 help strengthen skin), and SPF 50 to protect aging skin from any sun damage.  

A satisfied user noted that she really enjoyed this product. It is so lightweight, but has decent coverage, and lays nicely on sensitive skin (she has eczema). The customer tried many different foundations, some of that cost way more, and this one is on the same level as those other ones from Sephora.  

Hydration is another factor why many people choose this budget-friendly foundation. If you have dry skin and look for illuminating, moisturizing tinted coverage, Age Perfect Radiant creates a natural tone, does not settle into fine lines and provides all-day hydration.   

Pros
  • Lightweight formula.  
  • Hydrating/SPF50 ingredients.  
  • Budget-friendly.  
Cons
  • Not long-lasting wear.  

The Best Powder Foundation

MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation

MAC is known for creating makeup products that are long-wearing, and versatile. After all, this brand is often a choice number one for makeup artists who work at fashion shows and photoshoots. For instance, this Studio Fix Powder foundation is a 12-hour wear product that offers an ultra-matte finish.    

This foundation is not only convenient to use, but also reduces the appearance of pores, and controls oils and shine. But that is not all. This powder-based foundation is suitable for all skin types, particularly oily skin. (Make sure to moisturize your skin before applying this foundation, especially if you have dry skin.)  

Based on many reviews, this Studio Fix foundation is photo-friendly due to its sweat- and humidity-resistant formula. A satisfied user noted this is the best-powdered foundation she has ever used. It does not irritate sensitive skin. It provides great coverage. Being a pressed powder, it is easy to use and easy to carry for touch-ups, she added. 

Pros
  • Long-wearing formula.  
  • For all skin types. 
  • Does not cause acne. 
Cons
  • Not ideal for dry skin unless well-moisturized prior to makeup application.

The Best Stick Foundation

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

Bobbi Brown foundation stick offers full coverage and comes in a compact case that is convenient to take along wherever you go. What packed inside that compact stick foundation is a blend of emollients like olive extract and shea butter which moisturizes any type of skin. The best part, however, is a water-, sweat-, and humidity-resistant formula.  

Based on clinical results provided by Bobbi Brown, in an independent consumer panel on women ages 18–65, after 4 weeks of once-daily application, 96% found it mimicked the look of healthy skin tone, and 94% saw the look of healthy skin texture. Meanwhile, 96% said that it left skin feeling moisturized.   

Another independent user noted that it is definitely her go-to product. She used a lot of foundations in every form but this one is magic. It works perfectly—from everyday wear to party makeup. It feels light and weightless and sets beautifully on skin. 

Pros
  • Compact case.  
  • Long-wear formula.  
  • Moisturizing texture.  
Cons
  • Dry skin has to be well moisturized for this foundation to apply seamlessly.  

The Best Foundation for Combination Skin

Clinique Superbalanced Makeup

Although we have mentioned a few foundations suitable for all skin types, this one was specifically created for combination skin. Clinique Superbalanced foundation is an oil-free liquid product that hydrates the skin on dry portions of the skin and minimizes oil where needed.   

A satisfied Clinique customer noted she’s been a devoted Clinique customer for 37 years now, beginning in her adolescence with Pore Minimizer makeup and Advanced Concealer. As her age has advanced, skin has changed, Superbalanced Makeup became the new favourite. The finish is nearly flawless, especially when applied with the Foundation Brush, and she often even skips topping it off with powder as the finish is so natural despite the superior coverage.  

Clinique also suggests the best way to use a Superbalanced foundation. You can start in the center of the face and blend outward for smooth, natural-looking coverage. For a seamless look, dampen your fingertips and blend edges (especially along the jawline).

Pros
  • Designed for combination skin.  
  • Hydrating, oil-minimizing formula.  
Cons
  • Not 24-hour wear.  

The Best Foundation for Rosacea

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation

Rosacea looks like acne, but feels like an allergic reaction, and can cause major inconvenience. Experts go as far as calling it an inflammatory disease which starts with certain skin types that are more susceptible. The appearance of it is shown through redness, red bumps, blood vessels, and swollen skin.  

Typically, it is challenging to find the right product for inflamed skin. It is a complex condition, and one has to be careful when choosing a foundation. You surely can wear makeup if you have rosacea, but keep in mind that such a product as foundation should feel comfortable and provide anti-inflammatory benefits, besides covering and concealing.   

This Fenty Pro Filt’r liquid foundation offers a soft-matte, long-wearing texture that gives skin a visibly smooth, pore-diffused, shine-free finish. As a user with combination skin noted, this is the most perfect shade match she has ever found. It makes her face look perfect and silky smooth despite many imperfections and sensitive skin. 

Pros
  • Matte, silky coverage.  
  • Smooth texture that does not irritate skin.  
  • Long-wearing.  
Cons
  • Not ideal for oily skin.  

Why trust us

Along with most respected cosmetic brands, we believe that the right foundation, which is the base for makeup, can cover up many blemishes and boost the confidence of anyone with skin concerns. That is why researching the best foundations on the market, we based our list on a few factors.  

The first one is the experts’ opinion. We analyzed what makeup artists and dermatologists say about every product we put on the list. Those experts were quoted in such magazines as InStyle, Allure, Glamour and others.  

The second one is based on meticulous research of customers’ reviews. Every foundation was not only clinically tested, but approved by hundreds of users, and earned at least four stars.   

The third factor is variety. We included the best foundations for combination, oily, dry skins from luxury and budget-friendly segments alike. 

Questions and answers about foundations

Concealer vs. Foundation?  

 are two different products. Foundation is meant as the base of makeup, while concealer is for concealing blemishes and other skin imperfections. If you do not have any complaints with your skin, or simply want to cover some minor blemishes, get a concealer and apply it on moisturized skin directly.   

What is a foundation?  

Foundation is a makeup product that comes in liquid, cream or powder textures and can be applied to the face and neck. It creates an even skin colour and covers flaws and blemishes. Many foundations, besides tint, also include moisturizers, sunscreen or hyaluronic acid.   

How to pick the right foundation colour?  

To begin with, identify your skin’s natural undertone. Many makeup experts suggest taking a look at the veins on your wrist. If veins look blue, your skin is cooled toned and you can look for a pink colour based foundation. If your veins look greener, you are warm-toned and need gold or yellow-based foundation.

While you can test the foundation on your wrist, the closest would be to test on your face. Pick a spot towards the center of your face, and blend a drop of foundation towards the hairline. Make sure to match the sides of your cheeks and down the middle of your neck. 

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Updated date

October 27th, 2022

About the author

Maria Kossman

Maria Kossman is an essayist, and content specialist at Rant-it.ca. Her writing appeared in a variety of fashion magazines. When she is not focused on reviewing and writing, she spends time exploring coffee shops, English literature and antique malls.
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