Foundation is the base we all use to build on. That’s why it’s called foundation. Duh. It’s so important to choose one that works best for your individual skin tone, pesky issues and the overall look you’re trying to achieve. We’d like to just get this out of the way – we’re not makeup artists and we aren’t pro enough to do tutorials for you BUT we do know an exorbitant amount about what we’re putting on our faces, why we chose those products, and what looks best no matter what you’re working with.
We wanted to share our favorite foundation(s) with you because there’s just a crap ton to choose from and it can become overwhelming pretty quick, especially if you aren’t sure which one you should be using to best suit your needs. We both have different approaches and requirements when it comes to choosing and hopefully you can relate.
Right off the bat there are some basic guidelines that you can follow in choosing the formula that’s appropriate for you.
- SWATCH whatever you’re perusing on your chest – not your forearm (it’s darker than the skin on your face). The color doesn’t have to match perfectly because foundation will blend with your natural oils and whatever makeup you’re wearing which will make it appear darker – so if it’s lighter on your chest – you good.
- KNOW your skin type before you shop. Dry or oily parallels to matte or dewy. Knowing your skin type narrows the selection down instantly. Anything with a matte finish is better for oilier skin & anything with a dewier sheen is preferred for normal to dry skin types. It’s almost common sense – you really don’t want a foundation with a dewy finish when your skin already has that covered right?
- KNOW the undertone of your skin. Colors are usually concentrated around either pink or yellow (light and warm) so if you have a warmer complexion, a foundation with a yellow undertone should work & if you have a cooler complexion, pink toned foundations are your best bet.
- PICK what kind of coverage you’re looking for. If you have blemishes and discoloration etc that you want to suppress then you probably want a full coverage foundation. If your skin is generally pretty good (giiiirl) and you don’t want anything heavy then opt for a sheer formula or one that provides light to medium coverage that you can build on.
- COVID is really putting us in a pickle in terms of trying out makeup and using testers at most establishments but make use of samples (if they’ll provide you with them) or say, Sephora’s generous exchange/ return policy. Foundation can cost a pretty penny so instead of picking one you feel you have to be stuck with, try it out first.
We picked our favorite foundations to share that we’re either currently using, or have used and loved in the past. These are formulas that work best for us and our skin & we’re hoping they resonate with you as well. If you want us to do a separate post on which foundations work best for certain skin types and concerns let us know!
TOO FACED BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION – (key ingredients: coconut water, alpine rose & hyaluronic acid) 30 ml/$52
I’ve been using this specific formula for the last 5 years or so. I found it when I was trying to select a formula that wasn’t cakey feeling but had good coverage that still looked natural. Born This Way. No – brainer. *I use the shade Natural Beige.
It comes in about 40 shades which I love because you can really hone in on which shade matches you the best. The coverage is categorized as medium but I’ll add a bit more in places that I need and it’s perfect. It’s a great foundation that you can build on as much as you need to AND it still won’t feel heavy or caked on. It also doesn’t budge ALL DAY – it’s workout proof therefore – it’s sweat proof.
It’s also a foundation that suits most skin types because it’s medium coverage with a lighter feel. Whether you have normal, dry or oily skin I feel that it’ll do the trick. My skin falls within the “normal” category although I will get dry spots from time to time, especially during the Winter but even then it doesn’t enhance any blemishes. I find this formula to be hydrating and honestly – it doesn’t even feel like I’m wearing foundation (especially if you’re using a primer or moisturizer beforehand). For those of us who want to get that no-makeup look you can definitely opt for something like this – but most foundations are going to look like foundation hunny – this is just one that looks much more natural. It’s a Holy Grail for those who don’t want major cake face or to feel like they’re wearing a lot of skin makeup.
MAKEUP FOREVER ULTRA HD INVISIBLE COVER FOUNDATION – (key ingredients: silica powders, Sericite & hyaluronic spheres) 30ml/$55
This is another foundation I love (always need a backup FAV) that is fairly similar to the one above. It’s also categorized as medium coverage with a natural finish. I tend to lean towards these because I cannot stand feeling like I’m wearing cake face even though I just might be wearing cake face. The formula is breathable & feels light on the skin & it’s so comfortable and long lasting that you really don’t need to worry about it after application.
The shade range is just as wide with this one – fairly confident that you’ll be able to find a perfect color match. This particular foundation is suitable for an array of skin types and really won’t dry you out or make you feel like it’s sliding all over the place. Honestly, it’s picture perfect and it’s the ideal foundation for someone whose either starting out or a seasoned pro.
ESTEE LAUDER DOUBLE WEAR STAY-IN-PLACE FOUNDATION – (Allure beauty winner) 30 ml/$52 – Optional Pump $13
I am a true foundation junkie. As much as I love lipstick, I will take a foundation over it any day! My skin has gone through many phases, most of them problematic. I’ve gone from being an oily skinned gal to having a damaged skin barrier which means there are days I’m dry like the Sahara. After all my experimenting I have found my ride or die in the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation, I have been using it for 4 years with ZERO complaints. This is a 24 hour foundation, a buildable matte, full coverage and comes in cool, neutral and warm undertones. There are over 55 shades available so it really covers the color spectrum. Personally, I am the shade Tawny 3W1. I tend to be NC 30-35 in the Mac Studio Fix Fluid for color comparison. Like anything out there, it’s not for everyone and I’m more than happy to share the pros and cons so you don’t have to waste your hard earned pennies.
This is a foundation that can really be full coverage. I would say it definitely looks like you are wearing makeup especially when it’s been built up. You would need to use a very light hand and ½ a pump to avoid that. I’m all about that full coverage but you do you. As someone who has a tendency to have redness and discoloration along with a myriad of other problems I won’t bore you with, this foundation takes care of ALL of that. Unless I’m going full glam, I can skip the concealer and sleep an extra 5 minutes. Thank you Estee, this girl is all about getting those zzz’s.
Like most matte foundations it dries very quickly. It’s best to apply on one area at a time rather than smearing it all over your face and trying to blend! Oily skin girls will love this. Us drier skin types do have to prep our skin to avoid accentuating dry skin because it will cling, so moisturize, moisturize and moisturize. Skin prep is a must! If you are about a luminous glow then this is not the foundation for you. It is semi-matte so there’s some life to it but it can be a little flat when you go full coverage. I love to add some blush and highlighter to give myself a glow.
The claims are that it is transfer resistant, but really? Is anything truly transfer resistant? It’s pretty good though, I can wear my mask (yay Covid) and not have all the foundation on my nose rub off….which is a HUGE plus IMO. Rudolph is not the look I’m going for most days.
Setting powders really lock this guy in place. Laura Mercier is a little too drying for me with any foundation, but especially a matte formula. I’ve been pretty obsessed with Hourglass Veil Translucent powder and for my daytime SPF I use the Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder SPF 20.
24 hour wear time is a lofty claim made by many, achieved by none. I would say this looks pretty amazing for a good 10-12 hours before it does break down a little in the usual areas, like around the nose. Oilier skin types will probably need to do a quick powder retouch halfway through the day, since oils tend to break down the foundation.
One major thing that I dislike about this foundation is that it does not come with a pump. I want to maximize every last drop out of that bottle so this frustrates me. I do buy the pump but it takes the price point up higher than some other foundations because it is an additional $13 if you can find it. I’ve heard the Mac pump also fits, let us know if this is true!
LANCOME TIENT IDOLE LONGWEAR FOUNDATION (key ingredients: Eternalsoft Polymers, Perlite & Silica) 30ml/$60
Another great option is the Lancome Tient Idole Longwear Foundation. This also makes those lofty claims about lasting 24 hours. Once again, yes it lasts most of the day, it will need a powder touch up and don’t expect to look snatched 24 hours later, but you will easily make it through a full 12 hour day. Most of us are in bed by 9pm these days so 24 hours isn’t really necessary is it?
There are over 50 shades available so I’m confident many of you could find a shade that works for you. My shade is 320 Bisque W. This is not quite as full coverage as the Double Wear and it is a bit less matte – a semi matte but it’s not as flat or full coverage as the Double Wear. It has SPF 15, & is buildable and oil free.
Why is it not my favorite? I feel like it wears down just a little quicker on me and I really do like to get a good amount of coverage without having to use too much foundation for when I’m just at work. Once I start my workday there are no touch-ups needed. Also, after continued use I tend to get some small breakouts so my skin doesn’t always love it. Oilier skin types may find it breaks down quicker than the Double Wear. It is a great foundation though and a good alternative to try if you are looking for something a little lighter than the Double Wear.
Question : I was not a fan of the original formulation of the Huda Faux Filter Foundation. Let us know if you think the reformulation warrants a second try!