The challenge of naming the best foundation of all time is that you’re never going to please everyone. While some people love full-coverage matte foundations that can help blur pores, others can’t get enough of a light-to-medium coverage foundation with a radiant, glowing finish. Depending on the time of year and your skin’s current state, your own idea of the best foundation may change. There may even come a day when you retire your go-to foundation upon realizing it’s just not working for you like it used to. It’s not the foundation that’s changed—it’s you.
Looking for your new holy grail foundation? Be prepared to kiss a lot of frogs in your search for The One: the soft, blendable foundation that glides onto your skin perfectly with your makeup brush, like Cinderella’s glass slipper. To help you on this journey, we’ve narrowed the field of options down to the very cream of the crop—25 top-rated foundations that are expert-approved for a variety of skin types and skin tones. This comprehensive list spans the full spectrum of foundation types and coverage, from lightweight tinted moisturizers to full-coverage foundation sticks. We even enlisted the help of celebrity makeup artist Christine Cherbonnier to let us in on her favorite formulas and share her top tips and tricks for finding the best foundation for your skin.
What to Look For in a Foundation
Foundation is aptly named, since it’s the foundation of your entire makeup look, so it’s really important to find one that you really love and that matches your skin tone. Most brand websites have a shade finder tool or consultation that can guess your best foundation match. If it doesn’t match now, it may be wise to keep it for the winter or summer months when your skin changes in tone. Or, you can use it as a spot concealer or more natural contour shade.
When it comes to finding the perfect foundation, you want to consider the texture as well as the finish. “With foundation, it’s all about viscosity—how it feels on the skin, not necessarily how it looks,” says Cherbonnier. “If you have dry skin, pick a more wet foundation. For more oily skin, reach for something more magnifying and less liquid-based, like a cream or a powder.”
If you’re still searching for The One, allow us to expedite the process with our top picks ranging from CC creams and skin-care-makeup hybrids to mattifying high-pigment liquid foundations and everything in between. We broke it down below by best liquid foundations and best stick foundations.
Best Liquid Foundations
Best Stick Foundations