I'm frequently asked for my opinion on what I think are the best foundations or concealers out there. I've tried quite a bit since I've been allowed to wear makeup (hehe)! Over the years, formulations have become more sophisticated and now caters to many more different skin tones. Now, granted there are a few more amazing-sounding foundation currently in the market that I'd like to try but a gal can only use so much of it! But these are the best I’ve used, so far.
This post has been on my mind since late last year and I feel I am ready to write about what I've used that's worked best on me. I've also included a "Holy Grail" product that I not only use on myself, but my makeup clients as well. As hard as it was, I've narrowed my options down to my BEST 5 foundations due to the fact I've bought them multiple times when I'd run out.
Tools of Choice
I am a bit fickle with foundation...some days I want to look more natural (ala the 5-minute face) and other days I want to go "full coverage" for a glam makeup look. I apply with any of these 3 tools: my fingers, domed synthetic foundation brush, or a beauty blender (or something similar to it) depending on what type of coverage I want.
Read on for my best 5 foundations (in no particular order):
#1: Maybelline FIT ME Foundation Matte & Poreless
Normal to Oily, 1 oz/30 ml, retails at $5.50 - $8.00
PRO: This drugstore find is the best I've tried as far as performance compared to others in its category. When applied, it minimizes pores and works to control shine. There are 40 shades to choose from so most won't find it an issue to find their match. For a quick application, I use about half a dime-size and apply by patting throughout my face then smoothing with my fingertips. Coverage is build-able and its ability to even out skin is truly impressive for its price point.
CON: This formula doesn't last as long - possibly because it's a drugstore brand, so, use a bit of loose powder to extend its wear. This also doesn't have SPF so make sure to apply some before using this foundation.
#2: M.A.C. Pro Longwear Foundation
All skin types (but best for Oily), 1 oz/30 ml, retails at $35
PRO: Marketed to wear 15 hours long, I believe it! About 6 hours of wearing it, I appear to have a dewy glow as opposed to looking like an oil slick! This foundation is medium - full coverage and has lasted me through many hot summer days as well as special events (i.e. wedding, concert, dancing, etc.) A little over 20 shades to choose from, there's bound to be a match for most people. You only need about a dime-sized (or less) drop for your face and application is best with a dome brush or beauty blender. This formula lends an airbrushed look by minimizing pores and evening out your complexion.
CON: Like the Maybelline Fit, this also doesn't contain SPF so be sure to wear a face-friendly sunscreen underneath this base. Be cautious of applying too much...since it's thicker in consistency, you run the risk of looking "cakey" and, although it's marketed for all skin types, it may be a little drying for those with dryer skin so use a good moisturizer.
#3: NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation
All skin types, 1 oz/30 ml, retails at $49
PRO: Available in 20 shades this, too, is marketed as a long-wearing foundation (approximately 16 hours). A little goes a long way...and I mean a LOOONG way. I don't use much of the product but the coverage is amazing and your skin immediately looks flawless. I find this product applies well with all the tools I have - beauty blender, dome brush, and my fingers. I will say, though, that I might use just a little more foundation when applying with a beauty blender. I feel it absorbs the product a bit more since the liquid is thinner in viscosity.
CON: On the more watery side so watch when you pump it onto your hand. Also, if you apply too much on your face (more than a dime-sized drop), then it tends to "slide" around. If this happens, set with a good powder and spray.
#4: Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation
All skin types, 0.31 oz/9 g, retails at $46
PRO: Easy to travel with or bring along for touch-ups, this foundation provides that natural finish I strive to achieve. I use this on days where I want a clean, no-fuss application and the appearance of perfect skin that's not too "done." There are other high end stick foundations out there that have full coverage but later appears to melt off my face. This particular formula (marketed to give you medium to full coverage) has not broken down or separated on my skin after a few hours in. It stays put. I apply several "stripes", focusing more on the center of my face and blend by blotting outwards with a damp beauty blender. The range of colors aren't bad (30 shades available) so, again, this caters to many skin tones.
CON: I feel like I'd run out of product faster because it's a stick and it appears I have to apply more to get the desired coverage I need whereas a liquid would essentially require me one pump. Also, I sometimes get dry patches on my face depending on the weather and my dry areas seem to get a little exacerbated with this foundation on. And, again, this does not contain SPF.
#5: Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation
Made for Normal to Combination but great for ALL skin types, 1 oz/30 ml, retails at $43
PRO: Available in 40 shades, this was specifically made for the film and TV industries (hence the HD tagline). It provides a natural to medium coverage and, I feel, it's best applied with a dome brush. You may be able to achieve fuller coverage by applying just a little bit more. This foundation has been one of my "holy grail" products for brides and special event clients as it photographs and shows up on screen beautifully. Most clients I use this on love that it doesn't feel heavy on the skin yet gives them an even skin tone. And, although it's not marketed as a long-wearing foundation, it stays on for hours when applying a long-wearing concealer over areas that need correction and then set with powder OR misting setting spray over the face.
CON: Once again, no SPF. Also, I use a little more product (3-4 pumps) when I want full coverage, which, means I waste product faster.
All these foundations I have been impressed with as far as performance and coverage. You'll notice that these all don't have SPF and that's probably a good thing. I've found that foundation with SPF tend to have "flashback" when you're taking a photo. This term refers to that white, ghostly face you see and, although, it looks great in reality, it's obvious in the photo that your face doesn't match your neck - YIKES!
I am not being sponsored by any of these brands and are of my honest opinion. When I get a chance to try other amazing undiscovered brands out there, believe me, I'll let you know!
I have a separate entry on concealers so stay tuned for my 5 Best in that category (coming to you in a few hours as a follow up to this article). I could've included it here but it would just get waaay too lengthy. Anyway, CHEERS, and see ya on my next post!
~ XOXO, Mari