The Best 6 Foundations Out There (And You Need Them All)

3 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

If there is one thing I need in life, it's options! When Chris asks, "What do you want for dinner?" I always reply with, "I don't know—what are my options?" The same thing goes for makeup—except that with foundation, you really do need different options.

Different foundations all do different things, and I don't mean just cover troubled areas. They reflect light; they can give you a dewy or matte look; they can highlight your cheekbones; the list goes on. Especially around the holidays, I am always reaching for a different foundation.

One thing I have learned in playing with makeup is that your foundation makes or breaks you in front of the camera. For example, if you're taking pictures inside with a flash and wearing a high-SPF foundation, you will get that bright white look. Have you had that happen? Or how about when you look in the mirror and think your makeup is on point … and then that camera flashes, and you look like you are wearing nothing? It's the wrong foundation!


This is pretty much my foundation arsenal. It ranges from light to heavy coverage, depending on what I need that day. Let's dive in!

Primer

I cannot say enough about how my life changed (dramatic much?) after I started using a primer under my makeup. It smoothes out your entire face, filling in fine lines and covering pores; it's like a microdermabrasion treatment in a bottle!

I use two different products: MAC Prep + Prime in the summer, and Smashbox Hydrating Primer in the winter, when my skin needs that extra drop of moisture.

Foundation

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer: I have probably been using this the longest. It has the lightest coverage of any foundation product. I use this mainly on preschool mornings, or days when I'm just running errands, but still want a put-together look. It's light and moisturizing, but provides enough coverage to give you that uniform look on your face.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm: I love this stuff! It has a little shimmer to it, so it's great in summer, when you want your face to have that dewy sun-kissed look. But it also works in the winter when you want to look like maybe you just got back from Hawaii, but you totally wore SPF the whole time, you just got a nice glow. Make sense? It is a tiny bit heavier than a tinted moisturizer but not a full coverage by any means. Just a light glow. I use this on those mornings where maybe my insomnia was at a level 3.

YSL Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation: This is the most expensive of the bunch—definitely an investment piece of makeup. It is an illuminating serum, so it picks up properties of light, which I really like for a highlighter. It is still a great full-face foundation; it walks that fine line between light and medium coverage, and could very well be used every day.

I use this for days when we go out to dinner or have a long day of doing whatever with the kids. I also wear it for pictures, if I know they'll be taken outside, since it will pick up light. But I use it most often as a highlighter right above my cheekbones. It is beautiful, and has a sweet smell to it as well.

bareMinerals Bareskin: I love this little bottle of goodness so much I did a whole post on it. I even turned my mom onto this stuff when she came to visit.

I just love that it is such a buildable foundation, meaning that you can easily go from light to heavy coverage. I used this all the time during my first trimester, when my skin was just freaking out. I would be breaking out one day, dry and flaky the next; then, my skin would be blotching and lifeless. This is a great product if you need an everyday foundation. But I will say that, for pictures, it will wash you out, since it has a good amount of SPF. So for holiday events where you know you will be jumping in front of a flash, move on to the next ones.

Makeup For Ever Matte Velvet: Now we are getting into the heavy coverage. By heavy, I don't how it feels on your face; I mean how it looks. If you are going for an "I woke up with this beautiful skin" look, then stick with the first four. This foundation will provide enough coverage to look like you are wearing makeup, but in a good way.

This foundation is gorgeous in pictures. It will not reflect the light, so your makeup stays in place. I have found that it looks best when you apply it with a brush (I use the bareMinerals one) and not a beauty blender. A great date night foundation when you want to look like you put that extra effort in. It does have a matte finish, so it dries almost like a powder. It will not give you a dewy, moisturizing look—so if you have dry skin, make sure you moisturize well before using it.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation: Are you ready for the main event? This foundation is the heavy hitter of the bunch. It's no joke! It will wear all day long, and then some: It doesn't smudge off on your clothing, and makeup stays right where you put it.

It's also one of the most used foundations for photos. This product is what I use in most of my outfit pictures, and what I will most definitely be turning to for all holiday photos. It is amazing, and dries with a flawless powder finish. But it is not for the faint of heart—it packs a real punch. So if you are looking for a foundation to provide a lot of coverage, this is it!

Now you know all about my foundation-hoarding tendencies, but sharing is caring in my book. If you have questions, I can try to answer them. I am no expert, clearly—but I do dabble in makeup far too often!

What are some of your faves? Have you run into the dreaded "makeup vs. no makeup" look in pictures?

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