The Best Full-Coverage Foundations That Look Like Skin

In the age of dewy skin and no-makeup makeup, full-coverage foundation can seem a little outdated. Namely, because the heaviest formulas from the past tend to look like just that: heavy makeup. Luckily, a lot has changed over the past few years with new formulas covering everything from acne scars to melasma in one layer or less. Of course, there’s a secret to getting a gorgeous finish.

Rather than piling on thick layers, makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes prefers to build up coverage just where she needs it — and blend, blend, blend. “Consider where you need coverage and apply extra product in just those areas,” she explains. She also sticks to duo-fiber brushes (she likes this one) to ensure the product goes on smooth and even. “You want something that will apply it lightly,” she says. “If you were to use a flat, buffing brush, it will make the product look very heavy.”

To balance the foundation, Hughes recommends tapping on a dewy, natural-looking highlighter on the high points of the face over your base. “A cream formula that looks dewy will make the skin look more real,” she adds. That being said, these tips are only as good as the formula you use. Ahead, check out our favorite full-coverage foundations that look like skin, not heavy makeup.

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Estée Lauder’s original Double Wear is a classic for a reason: The liquid, full-coverage formula will cling to your skin for hours, whether you’re sitting at a desk at work or on vacation in 80% humidity (we tested). In fact, it’s so long-wearing, you might be able to skip powder all together.

Pro tip: Layer a rich moisturizer or hydrating primer under your full-coverage foundation for a more life-like finish. “It won’t dry as matte and will slightly sheer out the formula,” Hughes notes.

Estée Lauder, $42, available at Ulta Beauty

There are a few reasons every blogger and editor gushes about Revlon’s Colorstay. It’s ridiculously affordable, has buildable coverage, and manages to keep an oily T-zone matte for hours.

Revlon, $7.79, available at Target

If you’re on the hunt for a foundation that’ll see you through a hot summer day and a dip in the ocean, this one is it. The creamy formula leaves a matte (but not flat) finish on the skin and comes in 30 shades. Plus, it covers so well you can skip concealer.

Kat Von D, $35, available at Sephora

Rihanna hit it out of the park with her Fenty Beauty foundations. Not only does the full-coverage formula feel weightless on the skin, but it manages to cover imperfections in just a few brush strokes.

Pro tip: Some of our testers noticed the formula sets a little darker than it goes on, so make sure you get color matched.

Fenty, $34, available at Sephora

This foundation is ideal for both dry and oily skin types because it leaves a natural-looking, satin finish — rather than a matte or dewy one. A little goes a long way, too, so be sure to build coverage slowly.

Becca, $49, available at Sephora

This foundation claims to give the skin a “filter-like finish,” and dare we say, it actually does. One pump of the liquid formula makes our skin look smooth and airbrushed all day. It also mixes well with moisturizers and primers if you’re looking to sheer it out.

Huda Beauty, $40, available at Sephora

If foundation and concealer had a baby, it’d be this bottle. Apply one layer to your entire face to mask redness and discoloration, then tap over problem areas to conceal just about anything.

Milani, $9.99, available at Ulta Beauty

This stick foundation’s triangle shape makes it easy to get into all the nooks and crannies of your face (think: the corners of your nose and under-eyes). Plus, unlike many high-coverage formulas, this one leaves a radiant finish behind.

Hourglass, $46, available at Sephora

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