Revealed: These Are the 21 Best Foundations Ever
Your search for the best foundation ends here—from the cult heroes to the buzziest new buys, this is your definitive shopping list. We’ve quizzed makeup artists, rummaged through the cosmetic bags of celebrities, and tried and tested dozens of the best foundations on the planet to come up with a guide to help you find your perfect match.
When it comes to nabbing the best foundation for your skin, there are several things you need to take into consideration. First, you need to find a formula that fits your skin type. If you want the best foundation for oily skin, for example, you’d be better off reaching for a matte foundation with buildable coverage and a powdery element that will absorb excess oil and fight shine.
The best foundations for dry skin will be packed with hydrating moisture boosters to help keep dry, flaky skin at bay. “Work from your skin type—if you are oily, you probably want a foundation that has oil-absorbing and pore-refining properties such as Nars All Day Luminous Weightless foundation (£32),” advises Anna Priadka, lead stylist at Nars. “If you’re prone to dryness, then something with emollient-rich properties in either cream or liquid is best.”
You should also decide what level of coverage you want. If you like a barely there, natural look, opt for a sheer, buildable formula, or if it’s photoshopped full coverage you’re after, a heavier stick foundation may be the best choice for you.
Once you’ve found your dream formula (as a result of reading our guide), how do you find the right hue? “To find the best foundation colour, make sure you swatch at least three shades across your cheek and look for the shade that disappears, as this is your perfect match,” Hannah Martin, a senior pro artist at Bobbi Brown, tells us.
“Double-check your chosen shade on your forehead, as this is often the warmest tone on the face,” Martin continued. “If you’re unsure between two tones, it’s often more flattering to opt for the shade that’s slightly warmer, as a colour slightly too light can make you look tired and washed out. Avoid colour-testing on your neck or back of your hand, as your face is often a different tone.”
We’ve also got some application tips from our pro MUAs (you’re welcome). “Primer is very important,” Priadka says. “I always find it makes a difference, so make sure you use one to even out skin texture and tone. Use your fingers to blend, as it will warm the foundation in to give a second skin–like appearance.” As luck would have it, we’ve got a guide to the best primers for you.
“Whilst it’s fine to apply your foundation with your fingers, I find that I get the most even application when using a brush,” Martin says. “Start applying your foundation through the centre of the face, and blend out. When your foundation has been applied, don’t be afraid to pat it into the skin to help take off any excess makeup and for a more natural look. To lock the foundation in place all day, set the foundation with a little powder through the T-zone.”
In our best foundations guide, we’ve got a couple of cult classics, some celebrity favourites (including the go-to foundation of Jennifer Lawrence) and some editor picks.
Shop our edit of the best foundations, and find your perfect match now.
Revealed: These Are the 21 Best Foundations Ever
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Everyday Perfection Bouncy Makeup (£28)
Despite its popularity, not everyone wants a liquid foundation. This Elizabeth Arden compact houses a bouncy gel texture foundation that's a blend of powder and cream, so it doesn't feel dry. Caffeine, ginseng and peppermint oil wake up the complexion when you're feeling (and looking) knackered.
Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation (£7)
A real makeup artist favourite, this comes in a good array of shades. Matthew Van Leeuwen told Byrdie, "The formula goes on so smooth, and the texture is matte and silky without being dull or chalky-looking. It has a beautiful skin-like glow that I adore! The coverage is buildable, and it hides imperfections like a dream. I usually apply it with a Beautyblender or a Shiseido foundation brush."
Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick (£31)
Available in 31 shades, this versatile skin stick gives a buildable, full-coverage look, but it's also a great choice for an allover flawless full finish. "Use just a little to create a sheer 'tinted moisturiser' finish or build to create a matte full coverage finish," Martin says. "I use it backstage at fashion week and on all photo shoots."
If you suffer from dry, flaky skin, this super-lightweight formula is a great option for you. You can build it to a full, flawless coverage or just give skin a sheer glow without drying out your skin. And it offers protection from the sun too.
Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation (£35)
Laura Mercier foundations always make your skin feel soft. They're never too thick, but they offer enough coverage so you feel like your blemishes are covered. This one, in particular, is especially flattering, as the formula mimics the glow of just-lit candles.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation (£45)
Designed to be "the world’s most breathable foundation" to be used post-aesthetic surgery (and after procedures such as a chemical skin peel), this light and layerable foundation is seriously easy on the skin. It promotes skin healing and collagen production while also giving a light coverage that is easily buildable.
Next up: the nine best foundations for dry skin.
Opening Image: Zara