16 Best Foundations 2023 – Top Foundations for Your Face
Everyone has their “can’t-live-with0ut” makeup product. However, many can agree that foundation is perhaps the most important of them all. The best foundation makes subtle enhancements but still allows you to look and feel like yourself. Consider foundation the quarterback of your cosmetic bag; you can probably get by without it (try a tinted moisturizer or BB cream instead), but everything goes (err, blends) a lot better when it’s added to the mix.
“When you build up your foundation, you’re creating a clean base for the rest of your glam. Without a base, powders may go on patchy or won’t last as long. To me, the foundation creates an even skin tone that helps the rest of your products look even better,” celebrity makeup artist Judi Gabbay tells ELLE.com. Our Beauty Director, Danielle James, looks to brands with an extensive shade range: “Foundation is so personable. There’s nothing worse than finding the right formula for you, only to discover it comes in only seven shades.”
Ask ELLE editors what their top foundation picks are, and they’ll spend a lifetime explaining why they prefer skin tints over full-coverage formulas, which base blurs their most stubborn skin concerns, or which formula provides the best long-lasting coverage for jam-packed vacations. ELLE editors keep the foundation market running, “no-makeup” makeup trends be damned.
However, we know you are busy and don’t have time to go on an endless hunt for the best foundations on the market, so we narrowed it down to 16. Whether you want a filter-like finish or a no-blemishes-left-behind full coverage option, shop ELLE’s favorite foundations below. Thank us later!
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Best Shade Range
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna
Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Best For Blurring
Say What?! Foundation
Best For Hydration
Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Giorgio Armani Beauty
Luminous Silk Foundation
Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation SPF 35
Best For Radiance
Beautiful Skin Foundation
Best For Color-Correcting
Backstage Face & Body Foundation
Best For Skin-Like Finish
Tower 28 Beauty
SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Foundation
ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starrr
Turn Up the Base Beauty Blur Balm Hybrid Foundation
Best For Longwear
Soft Matte Complete Foundation
Best For Skin-Loving Ingredients
Even Better™ Makeup Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Best For Multi-Tasking
Intensive Serum Foundation SPF 40
Best Natural Finish
Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15
Best For Weightlessness
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez
Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation
Best Affordable Foundation
Maybelline New York
Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
BAREPRO Longwear Powder Foundation
What should you look for in a foundation?
Knowing your skin well is key to finding the perfect foundation, as certain formulas can make or break your entire routine. Here’s what you should consider when shopping for your next foundation.
Shade Range – An extensive shade range makes it easier to find a shade close enough to your complexion. Understanding your undertone is especially important when looking at the shades because a good undertone match will provide a seamless makeup look. You can always ask a sales associate to help you match your undertone or refer to our guide.
Coverage – Depending on your preference, most foundations are broken into three coverage categories: light, medium, and full. Lighter consistencies are similar to skin tints and BB/CC creams; they are sheer and lightweight and enhance your skin, but don’t necessarily conceal blemishes or dark spots as well as fuller coverage foundations. Medium and full coverage formulas cover most (if not all) spots and hyperpigmentation.
Finish: There are many foundation finishes you can choose from, including matte, natural, or dewy. Dry skin should favor foundations with a natural or dewy finish, while oily skin should typically reach for matte/soft-matte formulas.
What is the best way to apply foundation?
To avoid a mess-free application, it’s always best to apply foundation with a brush. But certain formulas call for other tools. Light foundations can be applied with your fingers if you’re looking to subtly enhance your natural skin. For the thicker formulas, brushes and makeup sponges help to evenly coat your skin, and can be used to build up the coverage to your desired look.
Nerisha Penrose is the Beauty Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Since joining ELLE.com in 2017, she has interviewed countless beauty professionals and has personally tested the latest and greatest foundations.
For this piece, she interviewed celebrity makeup artist Judi Gabbay and ELLE Editors for their favorite foundation picks.
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