By Maya Allen published
Buying a foundation can be an incredibly frustrating experience. Will it actually match your skin tone? Will it last more than a few hours? Will it make you look like a cake-y mess? And that's to say nothing of the steep price tag of testing out all the different formulas to find the truly great ones. Le sigh. There's nothing worse than looking at an old photo of yourself, only to find out you were wearing the wrong shade. You don't need that kind of stress in your life, so we at Marie Claire broke down our all-time favorite foundations—and all the reasons why we love them. From drugstore favorites to worth-it investments and different formulas for every skin type, consider these foundations Marie Claire-approved.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
"The Fenty Pro Filter foundation may be hyped, but for good reason—it really is fire! I’m still fighting the long, hard battle with acne scars, so when I wear makeup, I want full coverage that I don’t have to use mad foundation to achieve. The Fenty foundation is lightweight but powerful, covering up any and all discolorations and staying matte even after an extended boozy brunch that turns into a long night out on the town (it be like that). Yes, you may look like an Oompa Loompa for the first five minutes of putting it on, but once this foundation oxidizes? Magic, baby." —Ineye Komonibo, Editorial Fellow
YVES SAINT LAURENT Touche Éclat Le Teint Foundation SPF 22
"I dub this holy grail product “airbrush in a bottle.” I’ve probably tried just about every foundation on the market and I revert to this one every time. The consistency can’t be pigeonholed into matte or dewy...it just looks (and feels) like a second skin. The coverage is fairly light, but on days where I need a bit more help it builds flawlessly and smooths over everything. I actually feel like my own skin improves the more I wear it; the formula is enriched with ruscus extract which stimulates micro-circulation and improves dullness to give a major glow. Plus, it has SPF!" —Hana Hong
Dior Forever Undercover Foundation
"I've been a Diorskin devotee for the longest (since the brand's first ever formulation, actually). It cloaks my skin in a full-coverage veil that's so lightweight I forget it's there. My secret to flawless makeup is an exceptional canvas to work off from. I deal with dark spots year-round, so I rely on heavy-duty coverage that won't clog my pores. This foundation is the real deal." —Maya Allen
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
"First Aid Beauty makes the perfect fool-proof foundation product...and I can attest, because when it comes to foundation, I’m a bit of a fool. The product is technically called a tinted moisturizer, but it provides more coverage than something I would classify as a “tint.” This stuff goes on smoothly (bonus points if you use a makeup sponge, which I will admit I only recently discovered the benefits of), evens out skin tone without appearing cake-y or too made up, and provides 30 SPF coverage." —Sally Holmes
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer
"Love summer, hate to sweat. But unfortunately, my body is predisposed to sweating at the slightest touch of heat or humidity. I love wearing BareMinerals’ tinted moisturizer in the summer because it will never slide down my face like a normal foundation would. It’s a gel moisturizer so it soaks in super quick and doesn’t feel greasy or heavy afterwards. The tint helps even out my skin tone, and is buildable for those more uneven spots. Plus, it has SPF 30 in it, so I’ll do less damage to my skin while sucking up those summer rays!" —Morgan McMullen, Visual Designer
PAT McGRATH LABS Sublime Perfection Foundation
"Dame Pat McGrath never steers us wrong. Her products are well worth the investment for the chic and luxe packaging alone. The versatility of this foundation is a big selling point, with the option of a sheer light coverage or buildable medium coverage in shades that focus on the skin's undertone. This is my go-to for a natural finish that just looks like my skin." —Alexis Gaskin
Shiseido Color-Smart Day Moisturizer
"I stumbled across this color-smart moisturizer—I don’t want to say tinted moisturizer, because it adapts to your skin coloring more than tinted moisturizers tend to—in a beauty closet in an old job, and I’ve been buying it in bulk ever since. I don’t know what this product is, exactly (Color-Smart Day Moisturizer does not exactly roll off the tongue), but I use it as a foundation. It evens out my coloring without being cakey, makes my skin tone brighter and warmer, and is buildable for days my face feels sallow and gray. I’m religious about this product. Whatever it is."—Jenny Hollander
Stellar Beauty Limitless Foundation
"I didn't start using foundation until I was 20 years old, so you could say I'm still pretty new to the utterly transforming world of...face makeup! (Seriously, I had no idea the wonders it could do for my rosacea.) That said, I was clueless when it came to choosing a foundation, which actually led me to using a concealer on my entire face for two years. (It was a dark time...moving on.) My life changed when MC's former beauty editor got me hooked on Stellar's Limitless Foundation and proceeded to teach me that concealer isn't, in fact, the same thing as foundation. At first I was afraid to use it because it's liquid, but I found Stellar's foundation incredibly smooth, there's absolutely no chalkiness, and every person I meet is genuinely shocked when I tell them I have rosacea. Most importantly, it still makes me look like I have no makeup on, which, let's be honest, is always the goal." —Rachel Epstein
ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starrr Turn Up The Base Versatile Powder Foundation
"Every time I use a powder foundation, I'm reminded of the times I’d steal my mom’s CoverGirl compact and smear the beige powder all over my face. ONE/SIZE keeps that aesthetic, but with a focus on creating a smooth complexion with this medium to full coverage powder. I am an oily gal, and without fail any matte foundation that I try begins to separate and flake around my acne, but not with this surprisingly hydrating foundation." —Alexis Gaskin
Maybelline New York Dream Fresh BB Cream
"When I need a foundation-like product for special events—on a day-to-day basis I only wear CeraVE AM lotion on my face—I only buy and use Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream. It’s affordable, goes on smoothly and seamlessly, not cakey at all, whether I use my beauty blender or fingers, and feels lightweight on my skin. I’ve found that the BB cream provides enough coverage without making me look like I am wearing a foundation/tinted moisturizer. The product also doesn’t melt off my face in the heat, though if I do dab at my skin with tissues, the BB cream comes off. That doesn’t bother me because just as easily, I can apply more on and it’ll blend in with the already existing BB cream on my face. As long as this is on the market, I will be a loyal user always." —Marina Liao
FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
“I’ve been wearing less makeup in general lately, but this foundation from Fenty Beauty gives me the perfect amount of coverage. I have super dry, dull skin, and this makes it look way healthier and a lot more radiant. Plus, it wears beautifully throughout the day and doesn’t end up clinging to my dry patches by the time I have to take it off. I already have a backup sitting in my checkout cart!” —Julia Marzovilla
Lancôme UV Expert Mineral CC Cream SPF 50
"After years spent using the delightfully lightweight, tragically discontinued Lancome Bienfait Teinté BB Cream, I've now graduated to Lancome's UV Expert Mineral CC Cream. It's got a little bit of coverage just to even out my skin tone without hiding my freckles or feeling cakey, and it's so moisturizing that it makes me feel like I'm giving my face a treat while I wear it. Plus, at SPF 50, I don't have to worry too much about how my decade-long dependence on high-dose Retinol has made the sun my mortal enemy. Win, win, win." —Cady Drell, Senior Culture & News Editor
HUDA BEAUTY GloWish Multidew Vegan Skin Tint Foundation
"I wasn’t expecting Huda Beauty, queen of the full-glam Instagram makeup look, to create a lightweight foundation, but I am so glad she did. Even though it’s lightweight, it has buildable coverage that doesn’t cake on and covers my acne and redness in one layer. I love to use this on days when I want to embrace my inner glowing goddess and have a long-lasting dewy complexion. It’s also vegan and fragrance-free, so I don’t have to worry about it irritating my sensitive skin." —Alexis Gaskin
Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer
"This Charlotte Tilbury tinted moisturizer has become my go-to no matter the season. I love a good 2-in-1 product so I love the fact that it’s not only the perfect amount of coverage for me, but also hydrates my skin throughout the day. I go some days just applying this as my foundation and others I also use the Mac Studio Fix Powder (I honestly think this is the power couple of foundations for my skin) to complete my look." —Adrienne Faurote, Fashion Editor
CoverGirl TruBlend Matte Made Liquid Foundation
"Looking for a matte, medium-to full coverage that will get you together without breaking the bank? Let me introduce you to the Covergirl Trublend Matte Made Liquid Foundation, friend. This foundation is buildable, has an amazing soft matte finish, and it holds up even in the hottest of weather—trust me, I’m from Houston. Oily-skin gang, you need this." —Ineye Komonibo
W3LL People Narcissist Foundation Stick
"I've have a lot of trouble nailing down a foundation that is made of mostly natural ingredients and lies on my very dry skin nicely. I've been using W3ll People’s Narcissist Stick Foundation for about three years and because the product goes such a very long way, I've only gone through two sticks. The finish is ever-so-slightly dewy and the "fair golden" shade tones down my natural redness nicely. I apply it with a brush or my fingers and it works well with my dry skin. The portability is wonderful even though it stays in my bathroom cabinet most of the time. Many natural foundations, including W3ll People’s Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer tend to cloud up my contact lenses, this one has not!" —Bridget Burns
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