And we take our foundations *very* seriously.
Buying a foundation can be an incredibly frustrating shopping 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 allllll 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've laid out our favorites for you. Don't you worry, there are an array of foundation makeup products—which include lightweight tinted moisturizers, liquid foundations, and BB creams—to choose from at every price point. Now, get to shopping.
"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 haven’t used foundation in maybe a year because of it. 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, Deputy Editor
"First Aid Beauty makes the perfect fool-proof foundation-ish 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 cakey or too made up, and provides 30 SPF coverage." —Sally Holmes, Digital Director
"My sister turned me on to this product when she did my wedding makeup and I won’t wear anything else. It has enough coverage to even out some hyperpigmentation but light enough that it doesn’t look or feel as if I’m wearing anything. It’s the best version of me (well, of my skin at least)." —Joyce Ferrari, Managing Editor
"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, Fashion News Editor
"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
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 right here is the real deal. —My pick
"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
"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
"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. Apparently they have changed their formula recently, and because they have increased their distribution to Target and other chains I was worried that perhaps the quality had been sacrificed along the way. I hope this isn't the case because I am so happy with this foundation. 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, Photo Editor
"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
"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. More on that here.) 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, Assistant Editor
"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, Beauty Assistant
"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
"This foundation stays put for hours upon hours on my extremely oily skin and it photographs very well." —Chelsea Hall, Executive Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director