The Best Foundations of All Time

The Best Foundations of All Time

Hands up if you use a foundation? Is there anyone left with their hands still down? It is such a makeup staple and there is a foundation out there for everyone. However, finding which one is right for you isn’t always the easiest task, so we are sharing everything there is to know about the best foundations of all time; find your perfect match.

What To Look For in a Foundation

With over 200 foundations available to buy on lookfantastic alone, it can be hard to know which one to choose, but don’t worry, that’s where we can help.

The best foundation for you is always going to be the one that works with your skin, your routine and the look you want to achieve. If you’re on the hunt for a new foundation, then there are a few tricks that can help you work out what is going to be best for you:

1. Look at your Skin Type

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your skin type can have a huge impact on how foundation looks and wears throughout the day.

For example, dry skin types tend to work best with liquid foundations whilst powders and creams cling to patches, whereas oily skin types might find a liquid foundation just slides off after an hour or two.

This means your first step should always be to find out your skin type. There are clear characteristics for each:

  • Dry Skin usually has small pores and a rougher texture.
  • Oily Skin usually has large pores and often blemishes.
  • Normal Skin is usually the most even in texture and appearance.

To find out more about your skin type, just read our in-depth articles on dry, oily and normal skin; they’ll tell you everything you need. .

2. Find out your Skin’s Undertone

Everyone knows whether their skin is pale or dark, but finding the perfect shade is about more than just that. The undertones in your skin are what can really make sure your foundation is the perfect fit.

You might have heard people talking about warm, cool or neutral undertones; when you consider foundations along these lines, you can see that 3 people all with very pale skin could all need totally different shades depending on what their undertones are.

So how do you know what undertones you have? The easiest trick is to take a look at the veins on the inside of your wrist.

  • If your veins look green or olive, then you have a warm undertone.
  • If they look purple or blue, then you have a cool undertone.
  • If they are in between, then you have a neutral undertone.

Then you can work out what kind of shades of foundation will be the best for you. Warm undertones suit peach or yellow based shades, cool undertones work best with pink based shades and neutral undertones are most flattered by yellow shades.


3. Consider What Coverage you Want

Foundations are not all the same and the look they give can differ hugely depending on what coverage they offer.

  • A light coverage will just help to even out skin tone, without covering things like freckles.
  • A medium coverage will even out your complexion and help cover things like pigmentation, blemishes and freckles.
  • A full coverage will give you a more airbrushed appearance, with all marks and blemishes concealed.

It might be that everyday you prefer a sheer foundation but then go for a heavier coverage for special nights out where you want that flawless finish.

4. What Extra Needs do you Have?

Makeup isn’t just about covering your face. More and more makeup is becoming ‘clever’, with secondary benefits for your whole complexion; Zelens makeup is the perfect example. Their foundations are designed to help to help hydrate and protect your skin at the same time as giving a gorgeous finish.

So, if you’re looking for a foundation, why not look to see what else it can do for your skin? Check out the ingredients lists for things like SPFs for sun protection, pollution-fighting Antioxidants for protection and brightness, Salicylic Acid to help fight breakouts and Hyaluronic Acid for extra hydration.

Types of Foundation

There are all sorts of different types of foundations out on the market, each with different benefits and finishes. It can feel a bit overwhelming to decide between them so here is our quick glossary of their differences:

  • Liquid. With a runny, fluid formula, these are easy to apply with your fingers, a makeup brush or a cosmetic sponge. Generally, the more fluid a foundation, the sheerer the coverage is.
  • Cream. Cream foundations tend to come in a compact, and have a solid formula that can blend and buff into the skin. They tend to be medium to full coverage.
  • Stick. The thickest of all formulas, these tend to be a little more difficult to blend and work with but give the highest coverage of all.
  • Powder. Found either loose or pressed, powder foundations are simple to buff onto the skin with a brush. Often they have a light to medium coverage.
  • Mineral. Most commonly in powder formulas but becoming more common as liquids, mineral foundation is known for its light reflecting, natural finish. It is also buildable from light to medium coverage.
  • Cushion. Hailing from Korea, these compacts have sponge-like cushions soaked in liquid foundation that allows you to pat on your foundation for a seamless finish

The Top 10 Foundations

Want to quickly shop our pick of the best foundations? Look no further than these bestselling foundations for every skin type and need.

1. For Oily Skin

On oily skin, makeup can tend to slide. Banish midday shine by looking for oil free, long wear formulas.

The standout foundation for oily skin has to be the classic Double Wear Foundation from Estée Lauder. It has a cult following who swear by its ability to last all day long.

The liquid foundation delivers incredible coverage for shine-free finish that lasts all day. Its keeps your skin perfectly radiant and matte through heat and humidity without fading, plus it features SPF10 to protect your skin from the sun and other environmental aggressors as well.

2. For Dry Skin

Dry skin works best with liquid formulas but whatever foundation you go for, priming and hydrating the skin before your makeup is the best thing you can do.

The NARS Sheer Glow has to be one of our favourites for dry skin. Its hydrating properties guarantee long-lasting softness and smoothness and the silky formula glides over the skin and the satin finish adds radiance to your complexion.

3. For Acne Prone Skin

The number one rule if you suffer from breakouts is to make sure your foundation is non-comedogenic; that it won’t block your pores. However we also have a soft spot for foundations that pack an extra spot-fighting punch.

The Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfecting Makeup is ideal, with added Salicylic Acid to help fight and repair blemishes as well as improving the texture of your skin over time. On top of all that, it gives a beautiful soft, natural and matte finish.

4. For Mature Skin

The main concerns for mature skin are hydration and radiance; look for nourishing formulations that help the skin glow without sitting heavily.

The Zelens Youth Glow Foundation is a must-try for mature skins. Developed by dermatologist Dr Marko Lens, it contains photo-luminescent diamond spheres that add radiance whilst also working to protect the skin and boost elasticity.

5. For Full Coverage

The Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation is our go-to for high coverage, especially on special occasions.

The vitamin-rich, buildable formula softens your skin and conceals imperfections at the same time. Its creamy texture is easy to work with and delivers a natural-looking and smooth finish. It also contains no SPF, so you’ll have a picture-perfect makeup base without any flashback.

6. For Camouflage Makeup

If you’re looking for foundation that can cover scars, redness, blemishes and tattoos, then Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation is the one for you.

We love its long-wearing, high coverage with “barely there” feel that lasts up to 16 hours. Enriched with Vichy Thermal Spa Water, Glycerin and plant oils, and doesn’t contain any parabens, making it perfect for sensitive skins too.

7. For a Wide Shade Range

Finding formulas that offer shades across the whole spectrum from porcelain pale to rich cocoa brown can be a nightmare.

Lancôme have always been a great brand for catering to a wide range of skin tones but they are always expanding their offerings. Try the Lancôme Teint Miracle Foundation for beautiful hydration, soft focus finish and 18 different shades to choose from.

8. For a Dewy Finish

If you are after that fresh, dewy and radiant finish to your foundation, look no further than the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream.

It has a silky gel texture that is enriched with marine botanicals and leaves your skin looking beautiful luminous. The coverage is buildable too but looks incredible fresh and natural.

9. For a Matte Finish

Mattifying foundations have come a long way from the chalky, difficult textures of the 90s and 00s. The Maybelline Fit Me! Matte And Poreless Foundation is one of our favourites.

Ideal for normal to oily skin types, it gives you an absolutely smooth complexion with a natural finish. The formula features micro-powders that work to control shine and effectively blur pores throughout the day. Say yes to matte complexion!

10. Vegan & Cruelty Free

More and more of us are becoming involved in choosing Vegan and Cruelty-Free alternatives to our usual purchases.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (or OCC) were created as a fully Vegan and Cruelty-Free brand, with all of their products free from any animal products like Beeswax and made without any animal testing. Their Tinted Moisturizer gives a gorgeous sheer coverage that can be built up, whilst the Skin Concealer is perfect for a fuller coverage look.

The Top 10 Makeup Brands for Foundation

If you’re still looking for your ideal complexion perfecting foundation after all of that then don’t worry. We’re still here to help. There are a whole host of makeup brands that excel at foundations in particular and we guarantee that these are the names that are sure to have the best foundations you can find.


Everyone talks about NARS and their amazing foundations. They are one of the most searched for products they stock and with formulas covering everything from lightweight and luminous to powerful and flawless, it is no surprise.

François Nars said that “Makeup should never hide the complexion. It should reveal who you are.” That is a philosophy that underpins all of the NARS foundations; they improve, they don’t just conceal.

This is probably why the NARS Sheer Glow has such a fan club with it’s silky formula. However, we also adore the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. With a fuller coverage and an incredibly fluid formula, it is ideal for buffing and blending onto the skin for a natural looking finish.

2. Estée Lauder

The classic Double Wear has become such a well known and well loved foundation that it has now inspired a whole collection of Double Wear foundations.

Whilst we still adore the original formula for a full coverage, flawless finish, it is amazing that there are also now options for everything from powders to lightweight coverage. All of them offer the incredible staying power that has made them such a go-to for thousands of busy women.

3. Bourjois

Bourjois are one of the most popular high-street beauty brands and are known for the quality of their foundations. With affordable prices, they still offer beautiful coverage and a great range of finishes.

So far, the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation has gathered legions of fans across the beauty blogging world thanks to its lightweight feel and luminous finish and releases like the City Radiance Foundation are incorporating the latest technology against pollution and sun.

4. Illamasqua

Illamasqua might be known for their bold colours but they have the complexion perfected too. It is no surprise to us that their Skin Base foundation was the product Patricia Bright named as her spotlight saviour back in November.

It offers incredible high coverage, with a thick liquid formula that buffs over the skin into a seamless finish without feeling heavy or cakey. We also love that it comes with a huge shade range too.

5. Max Factor

One of the most iconic makeup brands there are, Max Factor is still very much influenced and inspired by it’s show business beginnings. They are all about that perfect, film-star finish; this is camera ready makeup.

The Facefinity Compact Foundation is the one for you if you love a classic formula; the powder foundation comes in a sleek compact along with a mirror and a sponge to make on the go application a breeze.

6. Benefit

They might be known for their brow makeup first, but don’t ignore their foundation range; there is something for everyone there.

Benefit foundations are all about that effortless, natural look. The Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation works to help brighten, plump and protect your skin, whilst the Big Easy Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector gives a fresh, lightweight finish; who wouldn’t want that?

7. bareMinerals

bareMinerals are the experts at the no makeup makeup look. They have lead the way in the world of mineral makeup, with not only the classic Mineral Veil powder foundation but also the new liquid formulations; the amazing bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation has been flying off the shelves since its launch!

They have shown that minerals can be versatile, with everything from high coverage to sheer coverage, in every formula there is.

8. Lancôme

How can we talk about foundation without mentioning Lancôme? Their Creative Director Lisa Eldridge is known for her ability to give people the most natural, flawless looking complexions so it is no surprise that Lancôme foundations are some of the best around.

Their foundations are always cutting edge, taking inspiration from the latest technologies and trends in Asian beauty; the Lancôme Miracle Cushion is a prime example. Bouncy, light and incredibly effective, it is a new way to do your makeup.

9. Maybelline

“Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline”. The classic tagline sums up what Maybelline is all about; makeup that is playful, fun and effective. They are also one of the best known foundation brands around. Is there a woman in this world who hasn’t tried the Dream Matte Mousse?

The foundation that is really getting the beauty world buzzing though is their Fit Me! Matte And Poreless Foundation. It helps blur imperfections with an almost soft-focus finish and thanks to the addition of oil absorbing powders to the liquid formula, it keeps shine at bay all day.

10. EX1 Cosmetics

The biggest isn’t always the best and EX1 Cosmetics proves this. With only 5 different products in their arsenal, EX1 Cosmetics have still managed to win a worthy place in the world of foundations.

Originally designed to suit skin tones with warm undertones, their Invisiwear Foundation has been worn by everyone from Adele to Kylie Jenner and has legions of fans. With over 14 different shades, the amazingly pigmented formula makes your skin look flawless.

Still in the need of more foundation inspiration? Take a look at all of our complexion products available on site and you’re guaranteed to find your perfect match.



Make Up Specialist

Major fan of scented candles, Make Up brushes and Highlighter. I’m always on the hunt for those Holy Grail products and my dressing table is covered in more beauty products than I like to admit. As an adopted Northerner originally from Brighton, I spend most my days wondering what all this rain is about. My hair isn’t grateful for the move. Currently loving: NIOD Photography Fluid