Which is the best foundation finish for me?

Which is the best foundation finish for me?

Beautiful makeup always starts with gorgeous skin and finding your dream foundation finish is the perfect first step.

Different occasions and skin days call for different foundation finishes. Although we may have one favourite formula, we often have different foundations on hand for if we want a lighter, glowing finish or a full matte glam look.

To help you find your perfect finishes and build out your foundation wardrobe, we have curated a list of our top foundations by finishes so you can discover what makes them so special.

How to find the best foundation finish for you…

Sheer coverage

If you’re always on the go and want to simply enhance your complexion in one simple step, a sheer coverage base such as a tinted moisturiser is is perfect for you. Applied either with your fingers or a sponge, sheer coverage bases give an effortlessly perfected look with minimal coverage.

Sheer coverage bases are also often very hydrating and lightweight on the skin making them perfect for those with slightly more dry skin. Perfect for summer, sheer bases simply provide a little coverage to the skin, evening out skin tones and adding subtle radiance without masking the complexion.

Our favourite: Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser

Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser blends effortlessly into the skin and hydrates, provides beautiful sheer coverage and even protects the skin with SPF15. The velvety smooth formula glides onto the complexion and can be layered to add additional coverage where needed.

Enriched with a unique blend of antioxidant-rich Thyme and Butterfly Bush, Just Skin works to protect your complexion to keep skin clear while an addition of Sodium Hyaluronate seals in moisture for a plump, luminous finish. Perfect for city skin.

Natural coverage

Perfect for everyday wear, foundations with soft natural coverage conceal imperfections and even out skin tone while still looking just like skin. With the ultimate no-makeup makeup finish, natural coverage formulas are virtually imperceptible on the skin.

If you don’t like the feeling of traditional foundation formulas, natural coverage bases are perfect for you as they feel so lightweight and are often very thin in formulation meaning they blend into the skin beautifully.

Our favourite: Burberry Fresh Glow Foundation

Burberry Fresh Glow Foundation is one of the best natural coverage foundations for every day wear. Infused with the brand’s signature blend of Lavender, Rosehip and Tea, the lightweight base glides effortlessly over the skin and leaves a dreamy, skin-like finish.

With a blend of reflective pearls and colour pigments, Fresh Glow creates an ultra-radiant, natural looking base which lasts beautifully. Skin is left looking and feeling hydrated and healthy.

Buildable coverage

If you suffer from the occasional breakout but don’t like to use full coverage foundations, a foundation with buildable coverage could be the perfect choice for you. Completely customisable and thin enough to be layered up to your desired finish, buildable coverage bases can take you seamlessly from a good skin day to a slightly more tricky one.

As some areas of the complexion need a little more coverage than others, a buildable foundation can be blended out for a sheer finish then layered gradually on top of redness, imperfections or breakouts to create a flawless base which does not mask the skin.

Our favourite: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation is one of our favourite buildable base products and is loved by makeup artists for how beautifully it layers and how natural it looks on the skin.

With an ultra-creamy texture, the foundation buffs beautifully into the skin and can be built up from a sheer, skin-like finish to full, concealing coverage without becoming cakey or looking at all heavy. Its formula is also enriched with skin-loving ingredients such as Vitamin C and E for a hydrated, radiant look.

Dewy finish

Glowing skin is always in and ultra-dewy foundation finishes are going nowhere any time soon. Perfect for spring and summer, dewy foundations counteract any dryness and dullness to leave your complexion with a beautiful glow.

Unlike sheer and natural finishes, dewy foundations often offer a little more coverage making them perfect for a night out. They also photograph beautifully, giving the illusion of a juicy, radiant complexion.

Our favourite: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Le Teint Foundation

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Le Teint Foundation is a best-seller for a reason. With gorgeous coverage and an ultra-dewy, glowing finish, the foundation glides onto the skin and stays in place all day.

Formulated with colour pigments for enhanced coverage and luminosity, the foundation offers medium to full coverage, concealing all imperfections and any uneven skin tone while still creating a divine glow.

Luminous finish

If you want to mimic a lit-from-within radiance, luminous finish foundations make the perfect base. Perfect for day time wear, luminous foundations softly enhance the skin, adding a subtle glow for a fresh, healthy-looking finish.

Unlike dewy finish foundations which are more suited to normal to dry skin, bases with a luminous finish are perfect for all skin types do not draw attention to skin texture like many other formulations. Your complexion will be left with a soft radiance which simply enhances the skin.

Our favourite: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

An industry favourite, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation gives a subtle glow to the skin, instantly transforming lack-lustre complexions making it the perfect choice for wearing during the day. Infused with tone-correcting Tumeric, the formula works to even out skin tone and conceal imperfections without looking at all heavy on the skin.

With a smooth texture which blends beautifully, Sheer Glow glides on to the skin and imparts a soft veil of natural-looking coverage. It can also be built up to provide more coverage to areas which need it but still looks so luminous.

Matte finish

If you want to create a flawless, ultra-glam look, a matte base which offers full coverage makes the perfect canvas. Concealing all imperfections, blemishes and uneven tone, matte finish foundations create an airbrushed effect on the skin.

As a mattifying formulas keep oils at bay, they stay in place all day and look perfect for a full night out. If you have a slightly oily complexion, they can also make the perfect long-wear base as their formulas are often infused with powder pigments which balance and softly mattify the complexion.

Our favourite: NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop 24 Hour Foundation

Available in over 40 skin-matching shades, NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop 24 Hour Foundation has quickly become one of our favourites. Richly pigmented, the formula glides onto the skin and offers flawless coverage with minimal effort,

Without feeling heavy on the skin, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop offers comfortable coverage which stays in place for twenty-four hours – all day and all night long without the need for touch ups. Keeping oils at bay and controlling shine, the waterproof formula creates a smooth and even complexion with a photo-ready matte finish.

Enjoy this? Try our best water based foundation or best dewy foundation guides.

Team LF

Team LF

Writer and expert

Our team of beauty experts cover everything from makeup to skincare, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the LOOKFANTASTIC blog, and find all your essentials in one place.