Finding the right foundation is one of the most important parts of any makeup routine. Foundation covers flaws and imperfections while providing an even base for the rest of your makeup. However, no foundation is one-size-fits-all. Your skin type is a huge factor in the foundation you choose, and choosing the wrong foundation can result in a makeup meltdown.
Most people’s skin can be classified into one of three categories: oily, dry, or combination. Oily skin tends to be characterized by large pores and a shiny complexion. This type of skin also tends to be prone to breakouts. Dry skin typically has small pores but is prone to rough red patches and a dull complexion. Combination skin, as the name suggests, is a combination of the two skin types. Combination skin tends to be oily in some areas, such as the T-zone, and dry in others.
Once you have identified your skin type, you will have a good idea of what to look for in a foundation. If your skin is oily, you will want to look for an oil-free formula that doesn’t clog pores. For dry skin, a hydrating formula is essential. And for combination skin, you need to find something that balances oil control without drying.
Best Foundations for Oily Skin
L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation
Price: $12.99 for 1 fl oz.
A top choice for drugstore divas everywhere, L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte is a liquid foundation specially formulated to control oil all day. Its finish is truly demi-matte, adding dimension to the face while controlling oil.
This foundation is said to provide 24-hour coverage. The coverage is lightweight and natural-looking, but can be built up for fuller coverage if desired.
Most users reported that it stayed in place for a full 8 hours with minimal touch-ups. If you know that you tend to get extremely oily, carry oil blotting tissues and a pressed powder for touch-ups as needed. L’Oreal also makes an Infallible Pro-Matte powder and setting spray for bulletproof matte makeup all day.
With 12 available shades, it’s versatile enough for a range of skin tones. And at only $12.99 for a full-sized bottle, it’s a no-brainer for budget beauty gurus.
Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup
Price: $28 for 1 fl oz.
Since oily skin tends to be prone to breakouts, it only makes sense to include acne-fighting ingredients in a foundation specially formulated for oily skin. Clinique’s anti-blemish foundation does just that. Salicylic acid, a common ingredient in topical acne solutions, is a primary ingredient in this formula.
This foundation is a full-coverage foundation made to completely cover imperfections. Despite being a fairly thick formula, it leaves a natural finish for up to 12 hours of flawless wear. The non-greasy formula is made without oil and contains ingredients that keep your skin’s oil at bay.
Available in 9 different shades, it’s not the most versatile on our list. Some users have reported needing to buy two different shades to mix for their perfect color. The shades do tend to run a bit dark, so if you’re unsure it’s a good idea to visit a store to test it before you buy.
At $28 for 1 oz., it’s definitely on the pricier side, but many users report such incredible results that they would never switch back to another formula. Luckily, a little goes a long way, so you won’t need to restock too often.
Best Foundation for Dry Skin
Maybelline Fit Me Dewy and Smooth
Price: $7.99 for 1 fl oz.
Dry skin will benefit from hydrating ingredients like the glycerin included in Maybelline’s Dewy and Smooth foundation. Its finish is truly dewy and luminous, giving dry skin the illusion of healthy moisture.
This medium-coverage foundation is buildable and sits well on the skin for up to 8 hours. It feels lightweight and natural while infusing moisture into dry skin. If your skin is extremely dry, it is recommended to start out with a moisturizing primer to add even more moisture to the skin.
With 24 colors to choose from, this is one of the most versatile foundations on the market today.
A 1 oz. bottle will only cost you $7.99, so you won’t have to worry about any buyer’s guilt if you’re on a budget.
Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation
Price: $43 for 1.6 fl oz.
Make Up For Ever is a leading name in mid-high end cosmetics. Their Water Blend foundation uses a unique water-gel texture to provide long-lasting moisture to even the driest skin.
The coverage is lightweight but buildable. Those who enjoy very full coverage will probably want something a bit heavier, but it is easy to achieve medium coverage with this foundation.
Skin is left with a natural-looking satin finish, and many users raved that it looked like they truly had no foundation on their skin. Many hydrating foundations make the skin look too shiny, but MUFE has created the perfect balance with this subtly dewy finish. Best of all, it is incredibly long-lasting.
20 different shades are available, including different undertones so you can find your perfect match.
Perfection comes at a price; at $43 per bottle, this foundation is the most expensive on our list. But professional and amateur makeup lovers alike swear by this formula for perfect dewy coverage, even for the driest skin.
Best Foundation for Combination Skin
Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Combo/Oily Skin
Price: $12.99 for 1 fl oz.
For combination skin, we love Revlon’s ColorStay makeup. This foundation, specially formulated for combo/oily skin, provides all-day matte coverage while controlling shine.
It provides surprisingly full coverage given the lightweight formula, and is buildable in areas that need extra coverage. Users found that it controlled shine in their T-zone while not caking or drying out their dry patches.
Blending is easy with this lightweight formula, whether you prefer a brush or blending sponge. It sits well on the skin for a natural-looking finish.
Revlon has accounted for virtually every shade and skin tone with 35 shades to choose from.
For only $12.99, this foundation delivers a surprising amount of benefits to those of us with fickle combination skin.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
Price: $39.50 for 1 fl oz.
Touted by several users as “the most perfect foundation,” Estée Lauder’s Double Wear foundation is a cult favorite of beauty gurus everywhere. It’s oil-free for those oily zones but won’t dry out the skin.
It’s a medium-full coverage foundation that can easily be built for tough skin problems. For full coverage that looks believable and natural on the skin, many users swear this is the Holy Grail of foundations. It covers tough blemishes while remaining surprisingly natural-looking.
True to its name, this foundation stays in place through rain, shine, heat and humidity for 15-hour flawless coverage. It won’t cake, smudge or melt even in the most extreme conditions.
If your skin tone is tricky to match, you’ll love that this formula comes in a whopping 44 different shades. There truly is something for everyone, whether your undertone is cool, warm or neutral.
At $39.50, some people might shy away from the price. However, this foundation’s reputation as a versatile and truly long-wearing foundation has persuaded many budget buyers to splurge.