Makeup foundations

The 10 Best Makeup Foundations of 2019

Makeup Foundation: The Best of 2019

Just as the name implies, makeup foundation is the basis of many modern looks.

The basic concept of makeup foundation is about as old as the written language. Centuries ago, though, it was common for people to paint their faces or apply heavy powder in order to decorate their skin. Over the years makeup foundation evolved into a more subtle art. Now, many foundations are designed to not only cover blemishes but to enhance the natural look of your skin.

With modern solutions come modern problems, though. Specifically, there’s the problem of which makeup foundation to choose for your skin tone or skin type. There are more options than ever on the market, and nearly all of them promise to help you look your best. The question soon becomes “Which makeup foundations are worthy of being the basis of your modern look?”

As is usually the case with many makeup products, some experimentation may be required in order to find the makeup foundation that is right for you. However, when it comes to finding the best makeup foundations that are worth a look in the first place, we've rounded up a shortlist of top-tiered candidates to help you narrow your search.

While some argue that foundations that promise to offer multiple functions usually fail to really do any of them that well, this 4-in-1 foundation from PUR may just be the counter to that popular argument.

This makeup foundation promises to function as a powder, concealer, foundation, and SPF 15 sun blocker. For the most part, it lives up to its promises. While this foundation is a little weak as a concealer, the fact that it’s a powder does mean that you can always go a little heavier on the application in order to address blemishes.

The formula that this makeup foundation from PUR utilizes is also designed to be cruelty free and vegan friendly. It’s a clean formula which not only makes it ideal for sensitive skins prone to breakout, but it also means that it works especially well for oily skins.

Even if PUR isn’t at its best as a concealer, the natural look that you get from this foundation helps to ensure that all but the most blemished faces look cleaner and more lively. The added protection offered by the SPF 15 feature also helps the foundation retain its natural look under otherwise stressful conditions.

One potential downside worth noting about this foundation is the quantity you receive. It’s quite possible to go through this makeup foundation quite quickly if you tend to apply your powder foundations a little more heavily. Even if you don’t, the foundation can be a little cakey.

As an all-around option, though, this is an all-around great makeup foundation.

Key Features
  • 4-in-1 formula
  • SPF 15
  • Vegan friendly
  • Coverage: Full
  • Formulation: Mineral
  • Consistency: Powder
  • Sun Protection: SPF 15
  • Brand: PÜR
  • Works well with oily skin
  • Easy to apply
  • Clean formula helps with breakouts
  • Weak as a concealer
  • Runs dry quickly
  • Powder can be a bit cakey

Different foundations address different needs, and some people need a foundation that is designed to properly target blemishes. On paper, this 3-1 foundation option from Covergirl seems to do just that.

The “3” in the three-in-one brand refers to the three beneficial features of this foundation. It’s designed to reduce wrinkles, hydrate your skin, and improve your overall skin tone with use.

Mainly, though, the appeal of this foundation lies in the idea that it will help you cover up blemishes and reduce the effects of wrinkles. As far as that goes, it does work pretty well. You can’t really expect a miracle from products like this (meaning heavily blemished faces can’t rely solely on it), but you most certainly get a well above-average blemish concealer that so happens to also work as a foundation.

Well...mostly work, anyway. The truth of the matter is that since this is a liquid foundation designed to target blemishes, it doesn’t really offer the complete coverage that you’ll get with your better powders out there. For anyone who likes a slightly heavier foundation that they use as the basis for other products, this might not be your best options.

However, it is a fantastic option as more of a lotion that doubles as a lighter foundation. Those with minor facial blemishes who like a sturdy and reviving foundation primarily designed to address some problem areas on the face will find a lot to love with this foundation that goes on easy but is more powerful than you might think.

Key Features
  • Offers firming hydration properties
  • 3-in-1 Foundation
  • 12 available shades
  • Coverage: Sheer Coverage
  • Formulation: Liquid
  • Consistency: Thin
  • Sun Protection: None
  • Brand: Covergirl
  • Targets pores and blemishes
  • Natural look
  • Fantastic for wrinkles
  • Questionable coverage as a foundation
  • Stronger scent
  • May work better as a lotion

As one of the top names in the makeup business, it should come as no surprise that Maybelline makes some of the most appealing foundation options on the market. Yet, there is quite a lot that’s surprising about this liquid makeup foundation.

The first thing that you’ll probably notice about this foundation is the sheer number of color options that it’s available in. Indeed, one of the biggest selling points of this product (and the inspiration for its name) is the fact that Maybelline offers so many color options for this makeup foundation that you’re almost guaranteed to find the one that works best for you.

However, that process can certainly take some time. You do have to kind of accept that when you purchase this foundation it means that you’ll also need to spend some time experimenting with the various shades in order to find the one that’s perfect for your skin. It likely exists, but there’s certainly some trial and error involved with the process.

Once you do find the one that works best for you, though, you’ll also find that one of the benefits of so many color options is that this makeup foundation offers truly natural colors and looks. After all, you’ve probably found one that actually matches the color of your skin.

One other thing worth pointing out is that this foundation can work with oily skin but isn’t necessarily specialized for it. That means those who really suffer from oily skin may need to turn towards specialty products.

Key Features
  • Natural looking formula
  • Shades for various skin tones
  • SPF 18
  • Coverage: Medium
  • Formulation: Water-based
  • Consistency: Liquid
  • Sun Protection: SPF 18
  • Blends in easily
  • Great, full coverage
  • Exceptional natural look on various skin types
  • May be difficult to find the right color
  • Can stain clothes and other items
  • Can conflict with oily skin

This foundation from Covergirl is considered to be one of the absolute best for those looking for a simpler powder foundation that’s both effective and affordable.

This Covergirl foundation comes in various colors (with Ivory usually checking in as the consensus favorite) which should allow you to match it with your own skin tone. However, you should be warned that even the lighter toned foundations can show up as a little dark. Those with particularly fair skin may want to look for a foundation specifically designed to address their needs.

Otherwise, you should find that this foundation offers a surprisingly natural look that complements all but the lightest of skin tones. Some users will simply have needs or preferences that go beyond the abilities of the powder foundation format, but those who are comfortable with powders should find that this foundation is light, oil-free, and goes on relatively easily (especially if you wet the applicator a bit).

This foundation’s combination of natural looks and relatively easily application makes it a fantastic option for those who want a simple everyday foundation that you’ll be able to easily replenish without breaking the bank. That isn’t to say that the foundation is a cheap option by any means, but it’s certainly an advantage that you get a solid all-around foundation at a great price.

Covergirl’s Simply Powder foundation is a simply fantastic solution for every day foundation users who want something that’s natural and relatively free of mess and many other common makeup hassles.

Key Features
  • Various colors
  • Oil-free
  • Long-lasting
  • Coverage: Light
  • Formulation: Powder
  • Consistency: Smooth
  • Sun Protection: No
  • Light coverage
  • Natural looking formula
  • Works well alone or with concealer
  • Fragile design makes transportation risky
  • Darker color not great for all skins
  • Powder formulation not for everyone

If you’re looking for a liquid foundation designed to lighten, moisturize, and protect your skin all day, then this foundation from LDREAMAM should certainly be near the top of your wish list.

This foundation is intended for daily use and benefits greatly from some features designed to enhance skin with an illuminating finish while protecting it against outside elements. It also absorbs and dries rather quickly, but there is some debate regarding whether or not it’s quite as fragrance free as the manufacturer claims it is. There does seem to be a slight lingering smell, but it does go away not long after the initial application.

As you may notice from the name of the foundation, the other major selling point of this product is its ability to change the color of your skin. Specifically, it allows you to lighten your skin tone.

In practice, this feature does work as intended. Thanks to a formula that in which shade-sensing beads are pressure activated upon application, this foundation can indeed lighten your skin after use and even with repeated use.

The potential downside of that feature is that the foundation may work too well as a lightener. It’s possible that it can change the color of your skin more than you intend for it too, which also makes it potentially problematic as the base for some other products that you may put on top of this foundation.

As long as you're comfortable with that possibility, though, you’ll find that this is one of the best makeup foundations of its kind.

Key Features
  • Water and sweat proof
  • Concealer
  • Tinted moisturizer
  • Coverage: Sheer
  • Formulation: Liquid
  • Consistency: Medium
  • Sun Protection: SPF 15
  • Moisturizes skin
  • No residue
  • Effective as a concealer
  • May lighten skin tone too much
  • May conflict with other makeups as a base
  • Slightly scented formula

Anyone who has oily skin knows that it can be difficult to find the perfect foundation. More often than not, oily skin users will elect to use a powder makeup foundation thanks to the natural drying effect of powder. However, that comes with its own downsides.

If you’re someone with oily skin who wants to find a better, liquid solution, this makeup foundation from Revlon may just be the answer.

Thanks to its salicylic acid formula, this makeup foundation from Revlon is designed to offer a poreless finish that helps control how much oil your face produces. In practice, it works quite well. There are many oily skin makeup foundation users that swear by the abilities of this product.

More importantly, this liquid foundation from Revlon is designed to remain effective for up to 24 hours. It’s incredible enough that this formula works as well as it does on oily and blemished skin, but the fact that it genuinely offers 24-hour protection will surely be a minor miracle to those who are in need of such benefits.

Factor in the fact that this is a very natural looking liquid foundation that spreads easily on your skin, and it’s easy enough to see why this is considered to be one of the best liquid makeup foundations on the market.

That said, this formula can be a little harsh on the most sensitive skins, and some argue that it’s also a little light for some users. If the benefits fit your needs, though, it’s a tremendous option.

Key Features
  • Spf 15
  • Lasts up to 24 hours
  • Salicylic acid formula
  • Coverage: Medium
  • Formulation: Liquid
  • Consistency: Medium
  • Sun Protection: SPF 15
  • Smooth application
  • Works great as a concealer
  • Incredible for oily skin
  • May cause some breakouts
  • Can be messy
  • Formula may be too light for some skins

Everyone changes as they grow older. Your tastes change, your preferences change, and (most importantly) your body changes. In the case of makeup foundations, your changing body may mean that as you get older, you’ll have to look for a foundation that targets wrinkles and reduces their impact on your face. If that is what you’re looking for, then you’re probably also looking at this anti-wrinkle foundation from Covergirl & Olay.

The long and short of this foundation is that it excels as a foundation for anyone looking to cover their wrinkles. Cover is the operative word here as this foundation manages to sit atop your wrinkles rather than settle into them and accentuate them.

The effect is quite amazing. While there are other foundations on the market that promise to target blemishes that include wrinkles, anyone who suffers from quite a few wrinkles knows that you sometimes need a product that is especially designed to cover them. This is that product, and it’s really one of your best options if what you’re looking for most in your makeup foundation is its ability to conceal wrinkles.

At the same time, you do need to accept that this product is what it is. As more of a specialty formula, it doesn’t necessarily do as well when it comes to hiding other blemishes or managing oily skin. It can also tend to dry out in the packaging a little quicker than some other products if it isn’t sealed properly.

Key Features
  • Hydrates over time
  • Wrinkle defying foundation
  • Vitamin B3 formula
  • Coverage: Full
  • Formulation: Cream
  • Consistency: Thick
  • Sun Protection: SPF 22
  • Excellent for wrinkles
  • Long lasting
  • Goes on easy
  • Product may crack and dry
  • Not a complete concealer
  • Can dry out your skin

The right makeup foundation (especially the right liquid makeup foundation) isn’t always the one that is going to blow your mind. Sometimes, the right makeup foundation is the one that simply works and doesn’t really make you have to think about it after your morning application.

If that’s the kind of foundation that you’re looking for, then you should certainly think about giving this longwear makeup foundation from L'Oréal a shot.

Just as it says in the name, this is a longwear solution for makeup foundation wears that don’t want to stress about keeping their foundation pure or (even worse) having to reapply it just because of a little wear and tear. This is a true all-day makeup foundation solution that is easily applied and won’t start breaking down just because you’re having a slightly more active day. Even the most active of days tend to do little to diminish the natural looks of this incredible liquid makeup foundation solution.

This is also yet another excellent makeup solution for anyone who suffers from oily skin. This foundation works surprisingly well as a concealer, which is really just an added benefit when you consider everything else that it does so well and the fact it goes on so easily.

The biggest problem with this foundation is that it even lighter shades may be too dark for certain skins. It’s also possible that this can dry out your skin just a bit, but that again can vary based on your personal skin sensitivity.

Key Features
  • Pro-matte foundation
  • Light finish
  • 24-hour effectiveness
  • Coverage: Full
  • Formulation: Liquid
  • Consistency: Matte
  • Sun Protection: None
  • Natural look
  • True all-day coverage
  • Excellent oily skin solution
  • May be a little dark for light skins
  • Can highlight pores
  • May dry out your skin

It’s honestly hard to justify a foundation that really works best for one type of user, but this foundation does what it does so well that anyone who can maximize its benefits really should know about it.

Simply put, this makeup foundation from MISSHA is a minor miracle worker if you’re someone who is looking for the perfect foundation for light skin. The reason why that’s especially valuable is rather simple. Too often, light skin can show too much of the foundation you’re trying to use. It’s an understandable problem, but a frustrating one nonetheless.

However, this makeup foundation from MISSHA is designed with light-skinned users in mind. Its formula helps ensure that it naturally matches the shades of most light color skins even if you’ve had difficulty with other products before. While it’s possible that this makeup foundation might still be too dark for certain skin tones, it’s much more likely that this is the foundation that you’re looking for if you find other foundations too simply be too dark.

How does it fair as a general foundation, though? Well, we wouldn’t say this makeup foundation is necessarily the best in class in any area, but it does work incredibly well as a sweat absorber and moisturizes the skin to boot. Having said that, it’s probably best to think of this as a specialty option that so happens to fill a void in the market incredibly well.

Light skin users will not regret giving this makeup foundation a try.

Key Features
  • SPF 50
  • Long-lasting
  • Sweat absorbent
  • Coverage: Full
  • Formulation: Powder-based
  • Consistency: Powder
  • Sun Protection: SPF 50
  • Excellent moisturizer formula
  • Great coverage
  • Works well with dry skin
  • Doesn't work as well for all skin tones
  • Not the best blemish concealer
  • Can cause some skin breakouts

With a name like Bare Minerals, you probably know what this makeup foundation is going to offer. However, there’s a big difference between claiming to offer a natural, simple makeup foundation formula and actually doing so. Thankfully, Bare Minerals is the real deal when it comes to truly natural powder makeup foundation solutions that won’t irritate sensitive skin and cause undo breakouts.

The key to Bare Minerals success starts with that formula. Bare Minerals promises a makeup foundation that is free from talc, parabens, binders, fillers, oils, waxes, fragrance or preservatives. More importantly, they deliver on that promise. If you’ve struggled in the past with more intense makeup foundations that cause you to break out or otherwise doesn’t gel with your sensitive skin, you should find a lot to love with this simple formula and the benefits it offers.

Speaking of benefits, Bare Minerals is not only a natural looking makeup foundation (which is hardly a surprise given its formula) but a particularly powerful one that does a great job of hiding blemishes. Its lack of more aggressive chemicals means that it struggles a bit when it comes to protecting against oily skin, but that’s a relatively minor knock when you weigh it against what else this makeup foundation can do.

The other potential downside of this foundation is that even its lightest shade options may be too dark for the lightest of skins. That aside, unless you need a particularly strong chemical foundation for whatever reason, this is an incredible natural alternative.

Key Features
  • SPF 15
  • No talc, preservatives, or oils
  • Fragrance free
  • Coverage: Light/Full
  • Formulation: Powder
  • Consistency: Powder
  • Sun Protection: SPF 15
  • Natural look
  • Easy application
  • Perfect for sensitive skin
  • Not specifically made for oily skins
  • Some problems with blending
  • Lightest colors may be dark on light skin

A big part of finding the right foundation for you involves understanding just how many makeup foundation options there are. Here are the major types of makeup foundation out there and what each one basically offers:

Powder Makeup Foundation

As the oldest makeup foundation type, powder makeup foundations are among the most popular, trusted, and well-developed makeup foundation options on the market.

Powder foundations tend to offer fuller coverage and excel at concealing blemishes. They can also excel when it comes to offering a more natural look that truly matches your skin tone.

With powders, though, you do tend to need to be more careful with their application. It's a little easier to apply a powder too heavily. You should also be aware that there are different kinds of powder foundations. For instance, talc-based powders tend to go on heavier than mineral-based powders.

Cream Makeup Foundation

Cream has long been a popular makeup foundation option amongst professionals. In fact, it was the industry standard in Hollywood and the fashion world for years.

Cream-based makeup foundations are one of the best options out there when you're looking for a makeup foundation that will stay in place and target problem areas. It has a remarkable ability to hold pretty much regardless of what you put it through.

Just know that the powerful hold of creams also means that they offer a very heavy foundation solution. Maybe full coverage is exactly what you're looking for, but if you prefer or need something a little lighter and less obvious, you may have to consider other solutions.

Liquid Makeup Foundation

It's becoming more and more apparent that liquid makeup foundation is one of the most popular makeup foundation solutions currently available. It's easy to understand why that's the case.

Much of the appeal of liquid foundation can be attributed to its versatility. Actually, it's somewhat difficult to really label liquid foundation as any one thing. There are so many types of liquid foundation out there that offer their own array of benefits.

There aren't many tremendous downsides to liquid foundations, but you should know that there are certain things that powder and cream foundations simply do better.

Stick Makeup Foundation

Stick foundation isn't exactly one of the most used makeup foundation options on the market, but it certainly does have its uses.

Namely, stick foundations are a great way to target small blemishes and other problematic areas. They also excel at allowing you to perform minor touch-ups to your existing foundation.

At the same time, sticks aren't really a viable option when you're talking about applying daily foundation on your entire face.

Whether you're doing a DIY makeover or looking for a new product to put into rotation for your skin care regimen, we hope we can help you choose the best makeup foundation for your skin.

Resources — Byrdie, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Marie Claire

Share this Buyers Guide