Cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer – you match virtually every skincare product to your skin type, which begs the question: why should your makeup be any different? Foundations these days do so much more than just create a flawless finish, as they blend dermatological science with the latest cosmetic technology to help transform your skin from within.
Whether you have oily, dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin – or if you’re just looking for a makeup formula to help turn back time – you’ll find the best foundations for all skin types in this definitive guide, which just happens to be shoppable.
If you suffer from acne or problem skin, there are foundations that can actually help banish blemishes and promote clearer complexions without irritating or clogging pores. Infused with skin-saving ingredients that you’d expect to find in top treatments, the right foundation won’t only help hide imperfections, but will treat them too.
Top tip: Make sure you thoroughly clean your makeup brush or sponge regularly to avoid spreading bacteria and keep blemishes at bay.
Clinique 'Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup'
There’s no fear of thick, cakey coverage here – this foundation covers blemishes, but still leaves skin looking like skin. Oil-free, non-irritating, and formulated with medicated ingredients such as salicylic acid, it treats existing breakouts, prevents future ones, and reduces redness.
e.l.f. 'Acne Fighting Foundation'
Stop spots in their tracks with this vegan, blemish-busting foundation that harnesses the power of witch hazel, tea tree, camphor, and salicylic acid to even skin tone, promote clear skin, and prevent pimples. It’s super lightweight, so it won’t clog pores, and contains soothing aloe to reduce redness.
bareMinerals ‘Blemish Remedy Foundation’
This mineral-rich powder foundation is brimming with naturally soothing ingredients such as Aspen bark and tea tree oil to help treat acne-prone skin without drying it out. Clinically proven to reduce surface oils and the appearance of pores, it’s non-comedogenic, and therefore won’t cause breakouts or clog pores. It’s also easily buildable and becomes creamy when buffed into the skin to provide sheer to full coverage.
Dry skins need a brightening boost since dryness is one of the leading causes of dull complexions. Look for formulas that help the skin retain moisture without creating flakiness, which – we promise – isn’t as hard as it sounds.
Bobbi Brown 'Skin Foundation SPF 15'
Aptly named ‘Skin’, this offering from Bobbi Brown delivers undetectable coverage and a natural skin-like finish for fresh, hydrated skin. Its lightweight, water-based formula provides continues moisturization while plumping skin, and light-reflective optic ingredients restore its glow.
Laura Mercier 'Silk Crème Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation'
This nourishing foundation hydrates dry skin with a blend of oils (including rosehip and macadamia nut) to help seal in moisture and even the skin tone. Thanks to its high-performance pigments that blend seamlessly into skin, it creates a radiant canvas that lasts up to 12 hours.
MAC 'Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation'
Providing instant and long-term hydration thanks to MAC’s unique “multi-mineral” complex, shea butter, and vitamin E, this cream-gel formula leaves skin feeling and looking revitalized. Optical-blurring pigments diminish the imperfections and fine lines associated with dryness, and even skin with a satin sheer-to-medium finish.
Oily skins are subject to makeup separating and looking greasy, so you need a face-fixing foundation that absorbs excess oils – but without drying out skin in the process. You’ll also need one that doesn’t require blotting or touching up throughout the day. Yes, they really do exist, and these three are our picks.
Hourglass 'Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation'
Excess oils don’t stand a chance against this groundbreaking foundation, which is infused with cashmere kaolinite clay to draw out impurities and control oil levels. It instantly transforms from a liquid to a powder to create a velvety matte finish in order to reduce the appearance of pores, acne scars, blemishes, and – of course – oil.
Becca ‘Matte Skin Shine Proof Foundation’
Featuring unique micro-fine powders and concentrated soft-focus matte pigments, this foundation absorbs oil to keep your complexion shine free, fresh, and matte without looking dull or flat. It also boasts the bonus of vitamins A and E to nourish and protect.
Tarte 'Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation'
This oil-free vegan delight from Tarte combines Amazonian clay, vitamin E, and mineral pigments to help balance the complexion, control oil levels, and provide full matte coverage – all whilst soothing and softening. It also lasts all day without creasing or settling into lines, and boosts skin with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Foundations that restore youthful radiance? Sign us up. Brimming with the latest anti-aging ingredients to treat skin from within while minimizing signs of aging, these high-tech formulas will give your fancy skincare products a run for their money.
Charlotte Tilbury 'Magic Foundation'
Not only will this foundation give skin a gorgeous, youthful glow, but it also will transform it from the inside out thanks to a whole host of anti-aging ingredients. Its collagen-boosting formula reduces the appearance of age spots by 75 percent in just four months, while concentrated mushroom extract moisturizes, vitamin C fights signs of aging, and hyaluronic filling spheres create the appearance of firmer skin. “Magic” is an understatement.
Sisley 'Sisleÿa Le Teint Anti-Aging Foundation'
Forget the expensive anti-aging cream because this savior from Sisley works to boost firmness and fade wrinkles in just four weeks. It’s formulated with Persian acacia extract (a key active ingredient found in Sisley’s anti-aging skin range), chlorella, soy peptides, and red vine to increase cellular energy and plump from within – the radiant finish is just the cherry on top.
Shiseido 'Future Solution LX Total Radiance Foundation'
When it comes to youthful skin, the Japanese know a thing or two – which is why this luxurious foundation is one of the best anti-agers on the market. Packed full of potent Japanese botanicals including Uji green tea, Oshima sakura leaf, and Hokkaido angelica root extracts, it also exclusively contains SkingenecellEnmei – a new active anti-age ingredient – to reduce the signs of aging. Aura Radiance Technology ensures skin looks radiant, smooth, and flawless.
Sensitive skins need to be extra careful when it comes to the ingredients found in their foundations as common culprits (such as alcohol and fragrance) can cause irritation and flare-ups. Of course, you need to find out what triggers your specific sensitivity, but these foundations are a pretty safe place to start.
Ere Perez 'Oat Milk Foundation'
This unique formula is perfect for sensitive skins as it shuns impurities and, instead, uses natural oat milk, peach extracts, and vitamin E to provide medium to full coverage that lasts long, won’t clog pores, and allows skin to breathe.
Physicians Formula 'The Healthy Foundation'
Free from skin-stressing fragrances and parabens, this hypoallergenic and clinically tested foundation is just as its name suggests – healthy for your skin. Enriched with antioxidants and vitamins to soothe sensitive skin, it provides breathable, buildable coverage with a satin finish.
La Roche-Posay 'Toleriane Teint' Foundation
Enriched with thermal spring water and neurosensine to instantly soothe skin, this hypoallergenic foundation has been rigorously tested to ensure it’s suitable for the most sensitive and intolerant skin types. Over time, it works to reduce redness and relieve discomfort while helping hide signs of sensitivity with its natural, semi-matte finish.