From luxury brands with celebrity followings to bargain high street steals, we’ve found the best foundation for every skin type.
Finding the best foundation for your skin type can be tricky.
That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to help you find your perfect formula. From luxury brands with celebrity followings to bargain high street steals, we’ve pulled together a list of the best foundations for oily skin, dry skin, combination skin and more.
First things first, think about what texture and finish you prefer. The best powder foundations will give you a matte finish and are great for oily skin types. Liquid formulas, on the other hand, can create a matte or dewy finish, while creams and mousses will literally make light bounce off your skin.
Once you’ve browsed the options and found a texture you like, find the right colour match by visiting a make-up counter; an expert will be able to find your ideal fit. But, if you can’t find an expert to help you find your shade, test it yourself. Instead of swiping the foundation on the back of your hand, find a mirror and apply a strip of the product to your jawline. This is the perfect area to see if the colour will blend seamlessly with your skin tone. Make sure it blends with the tone on your neck too.
Still not sure? Zoe Taylor, make-up Artist for Chanel, told us: ‘The foundation formula you choose must be compatible with your skin type. For example, on dry skin I apply a thick mask or oil an hour before I apply the foundation, this creates a beautifully dewy base for flawless application, or if the skin is super oily I use it alone and buff it well into the skin.
‘Choosing the right colour might mean mixing colours if you are going for something with full coverage, and a more sheer coverage is best tested on your jawline. Always match your face to your chest colour for a fresh healthy and CORRECT colour.’
To achieve a flawless, long-lasting finish, invest in a good foundation primer to wear underneath. This should be applied after you moisturise and before foundation. If the foundation you choose doesn’t contain SPF, choose a primer with sun protection to prevent premature ageing and fine lines. Or apply an SPF before your foundation if it doesn’t contain one.
And remember, the tools you use to apply foundation will impact the finish you achieve, so choose the best make-up brushes. For a natural finish use a large, soft brush or fingertips. For a more even, flawless look, try a round or flat make-up sponge or a smaller flat foundation brush.
There’s a plethora of foundations for all skin types and a price that will suit every budget – see Marie Claire‘s favourites.
bareMinerals Original Foundation SPF 15, £27, Fabled
If you suffer from oily skin, combat the shine with mattifying foundations that work to absorb the excess oil and stop shininess in its tracks. Powder foundations, like bareMinerals’ Original formula, are a particularly effective at this. It’s always worth looking for oil-free foundations so as not to exacerbate the oil problem, but the key is the term ‘non-comedogenic’, or non pore-clogging.
Want to browse more of the oily-skin hero formulas? See our round up of the best foundation for oily skin is worth taking a look at too.
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, £33, Fabled
Powders absorb excess oil, so it’s best to avoid these if you have dry skin as they can enhance rather than disguise its appearance. Always prep your skin with your best moisturiser for dry skin to ensure it gets a boost of hydration before you apply your make-up.
Instead, opt for a liquid foundation or one that contains hydrating agents such as hyaluronic acid, which holds 1,000 times its own weight in water. And if you like the matte look, try a liquid foundation that dries with a powder effect so as not to emphasise the appearance of dryness.
Read our round up of the best foundation for dry skin for more hero formulas for your skin type.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup, £32.50, Fabled
A strong contender for the world’s most famous foundation, Estée Lauder’s Double Wear is renowned for its full coverage and longevity, as well as offering a broad range of shades. It’s a fairly thick formula, but don’t let that put you off – it doesn’t feel heavy or go cakey on skin, and its staying power lasts for hours.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation, £54.59, Amazon
This foundation by Oxygenetix is famous among acne-prone make-up lovers, because it not only covers up your acne well, it treats it too.
If you have problematic skin, another option is to opt for mineral make-up. These foundations are non-comodegenic, so they won’t clog your pores. Plus, if you have oily skin, the minerals will absorb any excess oil, giving you a fresh-faced look.
Read our round up of the best foundation for acne prone skin to see more options for your skin type.
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, £31, Fabled
The Skin Foundation Stick launched 25 years ago in 1992 and, since then, it’s gone on to become one of the best-selling foundations on the market. The reason it’s so good for combination skin in particular is that it adapts to your skin’s needs, with oil-absorbing minerals for shiny days and hydrating properties for when your skin is more on the dry side. Balancing combination skin problems is a thing of the past.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, £30, charlottetilbury.com
Ever the perfectionist, Charlotte Tilbury spent five years perfecting her magic formula so that it catered for every skin type out there – it’s a one-size-fits-all foundation, hence the name ‘Magic’. What makes it so good on mature skin is its collagen-boosting properties, which help plump and even out skin’s texture, mushroom extract to tighten the skin and Vitamin C and hyaluronic spheres, which reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
For more tips and tricks on caring for mature skin, see our round up of the anti-ageing beauty products your regime needs.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r, £26, Harvey Nichols
Rhianna almost broke the entire internet when she released her eponymous make-up line – and boy, did it live up to the hype. The Pro Filt-r foundation spans an impressive range of 40 shades, with great options for dark skin tones, and its fluid formula with a soft matte finish caters to the foundation tastes of modern women everywhere. Rhi Rhi, we take our hats off to you.
Make-up Forever Ultra HD Foundation, £30, Debenhams
Known as one of the go-to artists for make-up artists who make up faces for the camera, this foundation is the ultimate complexion perfector with a number of great shades for fairer complexions. It’s got medium, buildable coverage and light-reflecting properties, making it the ultimate in creating a flawless base whatever the occasion.
For other excellent options for the best foundation for pale skin, read our round up of the fairest shades.
During the festive season, there are deals on Christmas make up you can bag just in time for the holidays, and you’re bound to find something exciting in our edit of the best beauty advent calendars. A holy grail foundation is always a great Christmas gifts for her territory as well – especially if you’ve got a beauty junkie in your friendship group.
Browse through our round-up of the best foundation on the market and find your perfect match. Once you’ve found it, you’ll never look back.