What we need from our foundation changes seasonally - a little like our skincare. In the winter months, something hydrating and long wearing that will kick dry skin to the curb without irritation is a must. Whereas for summer, a foundation that can withstand warm temperatures, humidity and sweat is essential. And if it's got added SPF, well then that's a bonus!
Typically, in the past, we would have associated long wearing with high coverage, matte formulas. But that needn't be the case any more as so many skin-savvy foundations hitting the mainstream that boast a dewy finish that will last all day long. Not to mention, foundations that will suit your skin type and skin tone, as most are available in a 40-shade range. As well as this, some brands offer try-before-you-buy tools to ensure you get the right product for your skin tone.
From the likes of Fenty Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury and MAC - these are the very best foundations that get top marks for staying power, available to buy now. You'll also find a foundation to suit every need - from full coverage and matte to natural and radiant in a mix of liquid, stick and powder formulations.
Which foundations actually last all day? Which won't have worn off by lunch? Read on to discover our top picks...
The Best Long Lasting Foundations 2021
1. Fenty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £22
Summary: Who needs a Valencia filter when you have Fenty Beauty's Pro Filt'r foundation? The makeup bag staple gives skin an instantly smooth, pore-diffused, shine-free finish. Product Specifications: This foundation comes in 50 different shades and it is a matte formula, with a buildable coverage to give you a medium-to-full coverage.Pros/Cons: It has a range of shades to give you the perfect match to your skin tone, especially if you struggle to find one for a paler complexion.
2. Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation, £34.50
Summary: A firm favourite that is probably used by 85% of your friends at any given one time. This foundation promises to (and definitely does) last all day long. Product Specifications: Over 60 shades to choose from with this product and has 24-hour staying power. It is a lightweight formula to give a matte finish, and a buildable coverage to blur blemishes.Pros/Cons: The foundation is sweat, heat, and humidity resistant and also waterproof so your makeup will not budge.
3. MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, £30
Summary: Not only does this foundation boast 24-hour wear, it's waterproof, sweat-resistance, doesn't crease or crack - making it stellar for selfies. Product Specifications: This foundation works for all skin types and it is available in various shades with neutral, pink, yellow and cool undertones. It has micronised pigments, giving you a smooth application and seamless blending.Pros/Cons: The product can double-up as a concealer to target any cover-ups.
4. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation, £34
Summary: This foundation ticks all of the boxes and then some. Charged with skin-loving ingredients to hydrate, protect and cool skin - this weightless formula grants a natural matte, full coverage finish. Combining skincare with makeup - yes please.Product Specifications: The foundation has ingredients to give younger looking, boosts hydrations, cool the skin, limit exposure to pollution, and reduce the look of pores.Pros/Cons: Using this foundation can reduce the appearance of wrinkles after 8 weeks of use. Flawless skin day-to-day while giving long-term benefits.
5. NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Naturally Radiant foundation, £10
Summary: If you prefer your finish to be glowing, not matte, try this NYX cosmetics foundation. At just £10 it's an absolute steal and loved by many a beauty editor for it's long-lasting, glow-giving results. Product Specifications: Ideal for medium coverage that can be builded on for evening skin tone and reducing the appearance of pores. Even better, it gives you a just-applied glow for 12 hours. Pros/Cons: It is a lightweight foundation making your skin fresh-looking all day.
6. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, £35
Summary: You only need a small amount of this foundation to achieve an even, smooth base. It is complete with 'Tone Technology' which neutralises redness and dullness. Product Specifications: The best of both worlds, being a light foundation with a full coverage. It gives you 16 hours of wear and is available in 20 shades.Pros/Cons: When using this product, a little goes a long way to cover the skin and therefore does not give you a cakey foundation base.
7. Givenchy Matissime Velvet Radiant Mat Fluid Foundation, £36.50
Summary: This foundation is a total game-changer. The thin, lightweight texture blends in seamlessly for an even coverage. It dries matte and can be built up easily for more coverage where desired. Plus, it lets the skin breathe so you look radiant and healthy all day long. Product Specifications: The foundation has a matte but velvety formula infused with Black Cumin Oil which refines, protects and evens out skin tones. Pros/Cons: This product is long wearing, giving you the balance of luminous and smooth, but matte finish.
8. No7 HydraLuminous Moisturising Foundation, £15
Summary: Perfect for achieving a natural finish, this foundation feels feels ultra-light on the skin yet will last the entire day.Product Specifications: The foundation is full of a blend of anti-oxidants such as vitamins A, C and E and grapeseed oil to moisturise. Pros/Cons: If you have dry skin, this product is ideal for that because it is full of hydration to keep your skin moisturised, healthier and brighter.
9. Benefit Hello Happy Air Stick Foundation, £28.50
Summary: Medium-coverage, easily buildable and long lasting - this handy foundation stick is the exact sort of product that's good for on-the-go touch ups. Product Specifications: Made from a weightless formula makes the product easy to glide onto the skin. Infused with Chamomile and Botanical extracts soothes the skin, and Shea Butter and Lavender creates a dewy, natural-looking finish.Pros/Cons: The product helps to minimise the visibility of redness and irritation.
10. Bobbi Brown Weightless Powder Foundation, £27.38
Summary: It looks like a powder but feels like a cream and keeps skin shine-free through heat and humidity. Ideal for anyone with normal to oily skin.Product Specifications: This comes with a puff to apply the powder foundation onto the skin for a medium-to-full coverage. Or it can be dusted over the skin for a lighter, sheer finish.Pros/Cons: It is oil-free which helps to combat shine and stays fresh and matt throughout the day.
11. Rimmel Long-lasting Finish 25 Hour foundation, £9.99
Summary: Although, we can't confirm that this foundation lasts 25 hours (we cannot forgot the nightly cleansing for anyone) we can confirm it does last all day and has a nice high-quality finish.Product Specifications: The foundation is a velvety formula, making it bendable for a seamless finish. It is infused with Hyaluronic acid which looks after your skin while wearing the foundation.Pros/Cons: It is a sweat, heat, humidity and transfer-resistant product. What more could you want?
12. Avon True Colour Flawless Liquid Foundation, £10
Summary: A lightweight liquid foundation that won't budge nor leave you blotchy-faced by 4pm. Product Specifications: As well as having SPF15, this foundation is also breathable and still gives a full coverage.Pros/Cons: A cheaper alternative for a foundation that will give you the same finish as the other products.
13. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £44
Summary: A firm favourite with the A-List pack - this wonder product is a must-have in any beauty junkie's arsenal. Not only does it blur imperfections, but it lights up your skin to give you that post-holiday glow.Product Specifications: The 30ml foundation comes in 40 different shades. The formula is infused with glycerin to provide all-day hydration.Pros/Cons: The silky formula helps to give glowing skin while still being oil-free.
14. Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, £8.99
Summary: Blended with apricot extract to boost radiance and melon extract to hydrate – this foundation will improve skin over time as well as provide ample coverage. Double tick. Product Specifications: The foundation has a blend of vitamins C, E and B5 to help with boosting the radiance. The product gives a medium coverage with a semi-matte finish.Pros/Cons: It keeps your skin hydrated for 24 hours.
15. Clarins Everlasting Youth Fluid SPF 15 Liquid Foundation, £35
Summary: A fusion of skincare and makeup, this firming foundation lifts and plumps with oat sugars and chicory leaf. Plus, coated pearls create a luminous reflection that makes skin look radiant for hours. Product Specifications: The formula is infused with chicory leaf, oat sugars and red Jania which provides a lifting effect and gives youthful, glowing skin.Pros/Cons: The product has coated pearls which stops the foundation from setting in fine lines and wrinkles.
How to apply foundation
Start by prepping your skin to give yourself a clean canvas to apply the foundation to. Use a cleanser and moisturiser to prep, and then apply your chosen primer on top. Once the skin is prepped and primed, you can begin the foundation application. Dab the foundation on the key areas of your face - forehead, cheeks, chin - with your fingers. If you're using a foundation brush, use a buffing motion to cover the skin with the foundation. If you chose to use a sponge, quickly dab the foundation dots to blend it out. Start from the centre of your face and work your way out to your hairline and jaw. Continue to tap the foundation under the chin and jaw to blend the edges out.
5 Foolproof Tips To Make Your Foundation Last All Day
Now you have settled for one of Grazia's recommended non-budging foundations, it's time to become acquainted with some tips and tricks to give your make-up the staying power. Tip 1) Use the right foundation for your skin type...
1) Use the right foundation for your skin type
No brainer, right? But you can really maximize your product's lasting-power by being smart about your skin's needs. As a rule of thumb, if your skin is oily opt for a powder/oil-free foundation and if your skin is dry then anything with 'moisturising' in the description is a firm choice.
What's The Best Foundation For My Skin Type?
When choosing a foundation, consider your skin type and the finish you're after.
Best foundation for oily skin:
Oily skin? ‘The most common complaint for oily skin is that makeup disappears,' says Cosmetic Dermatologist, Dr Sam Bunting, ‘so avoid overly dewy foundations, as invariably these formulas end up moving around as oil reaches the surface of the skin.' Something like Milk Makeup's Blur Liquid Matte Foundation, £36, is a great choice as it's blended with powder microspheres that create a soft focus finish. Or, try a foundation stick like MAC's Studio Fix Soft Matte Foundation Stick, £27, which can be swiped on and blended in until you get the coverage you so desire. And if you'd prefer something lightweight yet full coverage, Urban Decay Stay Naked Foundation, £31, will be right up your street with its second-skin feel and matte finish that will last all day. Plus, it comes in an impressive shade range of 50 shades.
Best foundation for combination skin:
Combination is the most common skin-type, and is characterised by ‘visible pores in the centre of the face where there is sheen due to oil production, but by contrast, pores on the cheeks are barely noticeable where skin is normal to dry’, explains Dr Sam Bunting. The secret to perfecting this skin-type is to treat each area differently. ‘Apply face powder down the centre of the face only – where the skin creates oil and leave it free from the cheeks and outer edges, applying just a cream foundation and luminizer here to create shine and moisture’ says Lynsey Alexander. Dr Bunting recommends Armani Luminous Silk foundation, £42, ‘it’s dewy and sheer giving just the right amount of coverage.'
Best foundation for dry skin:
If you're dry skinned and after a foundation that hydrates, look out for key ingredients like hyaluronic acid. L'Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water-Cream, £10.99, is water-based and feels like a tinted moisturiser - lending skin a veil of dewy coverage that will stay put for hours. Or there's Fenty Beauty PRO FILT'R Hydrating Foundation, £27, (available in 50 shades to suit every skin tone) that combines sodium hyaluronate (a derivative of hyaluronic acid) with grape seed oil to really nourish skin while providing great coverage. Steer away from powder and matte formulas, as Dr Bunting explains, ‘matte finish products will make skin look cake-y or cracked as the day wears on.'
And finally, if you're in the market for a new foundation brush that will make application totally seamless, choose from our curated edit here. From stippling brushes to kabuki brushes, we've narrowed down the 10 best foundation brushes to achieve a blended, second-skin finish that will help your base stick around all day/night long. You can thank us later!
How to adapt your foundation
There are a few ways to adapt your foundation shade, the most simple way being to mix it with a lighter or darker foundation. If you don't have a choice of foundations shades at home, a good way to dilute the shade (if needed) is to combine with your moisturiser or a primer.
However, there are also specific products out there to adapt your shade which are super useful for the changing seasons (and hopefully upcoming holidays). For example The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops, £6 or Revolution PRO Foundation Mixer, £7. Simply add the drops to your foundation, mix in and apply as normal.