I’ve been wearing foundation since I was 14. My mother let us experiment with makeup and saw it as an extension of self-expression. She also understood that my acne was debilitating, and that any crutch that would help me through the horror of puberty was welcome. I came to rely on a little skin-the-good-mineral” data-ylk=”slk:powder foundation compact” class=”link “>powder foundation compact that made me feel better equipped to handle the complexities of being a teenage girl whose skin was breaking out for the first time.
I didn’t wear foundation all the time, and I still don’t, but adequate coverage remains one of its primary functions for me. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but knowing that I can put on foundation and feel better about myself immediately is incredibly comforting. I also just love the endless possibilities of makeup. So in 10-plus years of experience with the product, I have accumulated a collection over a dozen strong. After plenty of trial and error, I have found my four favorite foundations at every coverage level. (It is possible that I have written about each of these before — but that is a further testament to how integral they are to my routine.)
Light Coverage: Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Skin Tint Serum Foundation
Shop now: $49; sephora.com
I was not expecting to like Rose Inc’s Skin Enhance Tinted Serum as much as I did. In fact, I actually didn’t even like it at first — but it grew on me, especially when I realized I really needed to thoroughly spread it across my face in order to activate the encapsulated pigment. The squalane-packed formula is so light and refreshing that it feels like I’m splashing my face with water. The coverage is enough to tone down some of my redness, breakouts, and imperfections while still keeping my skin looking natural — just a glowier version of itself.
Medium Light Coverage: Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation
Shop now: $29; sephora.com
As cynical and tired as I am of celebrity beauty brands, I can’t deny that Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty is relentless when it comes to churning out quality products. TikTok is rightfully enamored with the Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, but I think the Liquid Touch Foundation deserves the spotlight, too.
I’m not even sure how many bottles I’ve gone through anymore. First of all, there are 48 shades in the collection, which is one of the most expansive and inclusive ranges on the market. Second, it’s hydrating and feels like silk; my sensitive, breakout-prone skin never feels suffocated, my complexion looks enhanced and smooth, and it stays put all day — so much so that I don’t need to use a finishing powder or spray.
Medium Heavy: Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation
Shop now: $58; hourglass.com
This is a recent introduction into my foundation hall of fame, but I have been wearing it ceaselessly since I tried it a few weeks ago after being inspired by Julianne Moore. With Ambient Soft Glow, a little goes a very long way. It’s also extremely buildable, hydrating, and makes me look like I have the Paris Instagram filter on IRL.
Full Coverage: KVD Beauty Good Apple Skin-Perfecting Hydrating Foundation Balm
KVD’s Good Apple Foundation Balm is my failsafe. It’s what I reach for when I need something I know won’t melt off my face or get patchy, while still giving me a perfectly smooth complexion that covers all bumps, redness, dark spots, etc. This is a full coverage foundation, so it’s thick and coats over any signs of your actual skin.
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