Finding the best
foundation for your budget, skin type, and preferred finish (matte! dewy! luminous!) can sometimes feel like winning the lottery, spotting a needle a haystack, or finding your soul mate in Los Angeles (i.e., chances are low—I say this as a currently single 25-year-old in L.A.). But in reality, and with the right guidance, finding the love of your life in foundation form is actually so much easier than any of the near-impossible scenarios I’ve listed above.
I am ruthless when it comes to foundations, and I don’t hide my goal of having
perfect-looking skin even when I don’t. Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of formulas—the new, the old, and the most buzzed-about. I’ve been wearing the stuff since I was 5. (I was a dancer, and it was required.) Because I’m a product fiend, I closely scour reviews and ratings of all the “best foundations” on a disturbingly routine basis just because I think it’s fun. (It’s also part of the job description as a beauty editor, but I’d do it regardless.) So since my cup currently runneth over with best-of-the-best foundation recs, I’d say it’s high time for some spillage. Plus, summer is a natural time to rethink your current product lineup. Ahead, 15 of the best foundations to try, sorted first by skin type and then by budget (save: $; spend: $$; and splurge: $$$). Keep scrolling! Your perfect skin awaits—no filter required.
This foundation has never not earned me a compliment. It has an amazing range of shades, and while the finish is more matte and great for oily skin types, it’s not too matte and will never leave your skin feeling tight or chapped like some of the other oil-free formulas we’ve tried.
There’s a reason people fawn over this foundation from Fenty. It’s a little bit wondrous. Of course, there are plenty of shades to choose from, so you know you’ll find your perfect match. Plus, the flattering matte finish practically begs for selfies.
Meet my ride-or-die foundation formula. It’s a little bit of an investment, but it’s buildable, stays in place, and makes my skin looked airbrushed even on days when I have breakouts or pigmentation flare-ups. It’s my personal skin savior.
This foundation is a cult classic. Even though it’s been around forever, there’s a reason we still talk about it and recommend it before other newer and flashier formulas. It has a rendition for normal/dry skin as well, but we’re partial to this bottle which is specifically created for those who fall in the combination or oily skin camp.
The beauty industry was abuzz last summer when Beautyblender followed up the iconic status of its namesake makeup sponge with an equally fabulous foundation. Technically, it’s great for dry, normal, or combination skin types, but we find it plays super nicely for those who fall in between dry and oily.
Both Amanda (my fellow beauty editor, friend, and roomie) and I swear by this holy-grail foundation formula from Koh Gen Do. Oh, and so does virtually every celebrity and makeup artist we interview. It’s a must-have on set, lends a luminous (but believable) finish, is buildable, and basically keeps your skin looking like your skin but just about 1000 times better.
This drugstore foundation just so happens to be a makeup-artist favorite for boosting dry skin with a glow-inducing hit of dewy hydration. You can easily customize your coverage thanks to the formula which lends itself easily to layering.
Technically this foundation is categorized as a CC cream, but thanks to its skin perks and ample coverage (although, it’s easy to both thin or build), we consider it one of our favorite foundation staples instead. It’s Ulta’s top-selling foundation formula and is a consistent best seller at Sephora as well. We love it, but if you’re prone to midday greasies, this one probably isn’t your optimal choice. It’s amazing for those who veer drier.
Ultra-hydrating, this versatile concealer-foundation hybrid is the beauty industry’s best-kept secret. It provides max coverage (a little goes a long way, so adjust application accordingly), and we love applying it with a Beautyblender drenched in rose water for the ultimate dewy finish. Seriously, no one will ever know if you’re actually prone to dryness!
I rave about this affordable and natural foundation to anyone who will (or won’t) listen. In my opinion, it’s the second best formula on the market after the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion (which I mentioned above), and it’s not too matte or dewy which those with normal skin types appreciate.
This was actually my favorite go-to foundation for years until I found a few new favorites I preferred better for my slightly more combo/oily skin. That said, I still think this game-changing foundation from Too Faced is one of the best you can buy, and the overwhelming reviews from back up my hypothesis.
Ask any makeup artist or celebrity what their favorite foundation is, and they’ll likely list this iconic formula from Giorgio Armani (or the Koh Gen Do above) as an absolute must. It’s suited for most skin types, but those with normal skin (aka not too oily, sensitive, or dry) will probably hoard it most.
Available in 30 shades and enriched with hydrating and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, coconut water, and rose leaf extract, this brand-new foundation from clean beauty brand Pacifica is derm-approved and noncomedogenic. Thus, it’s a great, glow-enhancing option for those with sensitive skin.
This oil-free foundation from Dermablend is great for anyone but especially for those with mature skin, acne-prone skin, or sensitive skin. It offers a super-flawless finish and is one of the most natural, highly buildable foundations we’ve ever laid our faces on. It’s also lightweight and super silky for ultimate hydration.
Coined by the industry’s best makeup artists as a “miracle in a bottle,” this featherlight foundation—which took five years to make—manages to camouflage any skin woes associated with sensitive, flare-prone skin and ultimately results in an airbrushed-looking finish. It’s like you’re wearing the pretty filter but IRL. It’s great for those with acne, rosacea, or melasma with an impressive roster of skin-improving ingredients like concentrated mushroom extract, hyaluronic acid, SPF 15, and vitamin C for an extra dose of brightening power. Next up: 16 Drugstore Foundations Makeup Artists and Beauty Editors Obsess Over. This story was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.