So we've navigated the busy beauty market for you, put the best brands to the test.
Oily, dry, ageing or acne-prone complexions? You need a product that performs; concealing imperfections and waking up your skin when you're at your most bleary eyed.
And some do at first, but they don't go the distance and by lunchtime, they've congregated in undesirable creases or slid down-south completely.
Then, there's finding the perfect shade, fit and finish: are you looking for a dewy or super matt look? Do you need high SPF protection?
One size won't fit all, so we've tried and tested both budget and luxury beauty brands to find those foundations that tick the boxes:
Long lasting, luminous, and infused with most incredible aromas – there's a reason this is YSL's best selling foundation.
Striking the right balance between creamy and chalky, this lightweight formula provides excellent coverage (even for spots) and dries to a miraculous matt but dewy finish that keeps skin looking hydrated and radiant all day long.
How? It's all down to the magic touch of those light reflecting particles, the same ones found in the brand's iconic YSL Touche Éclat highlighter.
- Touche Éclat Le Teint foundation, £35 from YSL Beauty – buy here
Best stick foundation
Stick foundations are seriously underrated. This dreamy invention brings an end to spillages, stained handbags and premature breakages (always heartbreaking) and, believe it or not, makes makeup application on your morning commute a breeze.
NARS velvet matt version twist up to expose a concealer-like solid (spoiler alert: it doubles up as a great concealer) and has a nifty sponge on the other side so you can touch up your face while on-the-go. You can also detach the sponge to make sure you get to all those hard-to-reach areas.
This formula is surprisingly creamy but needs an exfoliated base because it can stick to dry patches. When set with powder, though, the staying powder and coverage is superb.
- NARS velvet matte foundation, £30 from Look Fantastic – buy here
Cheaper, but nearly as good, is Max Factor's pan stik – we're serious, this foundation does NOT get enough airtime.
Don't be fooled by how solid the formula is, it's super creamy to touch and applies very easily.
The coverage is considerable, but not heavy at all (great for acne) and it doesn't catch on dry patches as you might expect.
- Max Factor Pan Stik foundation, £3.52 (promotion) from Amazon – buy here
Best mineral foundation
The OG mineral foundation, bareMinerals is lighter and less cakey than liquid options. It's formulated with spf 15 protection too.
Milled into a featherweight powder, dusted over skin with a large brush it gives a sheer to medium, buildable coverage. It's super easy to buff into the jawline, too.
But won't a powder settle into my wrinkles? No, is the short answer – we've tested it on both oily and ageing skin, and this product minimises the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores.
- Bareminerals original spf foundation, £27 from Look Fantastic – buy here
Best foundation for combination skin
This one really is a winner in our eyes, it made it the Payday Splurge shortlist in the Fabulous Beauty Awards.
And no wonder: it's the perfect balance between matt and dewy, covering imperfections and preventing shine while creating an incredibly luminous finish.
The best news is, you can make this foundation fit you – use a few pumps for full (but not cakey) coverage or one drop for a lighter look.
- Nars Longwear Radiant Foundation, £35 from Look Fantastic – buy here
Best foundations for dry skin/dewy finish
For a 'your skin, but better' look, bareMineral's Complexion Rescue cream is the best mix of both CC and BB products, and a tinted moisturiser.
Perfect for hot days and holidays, the silky formula creates a natural, dewy finish that can't be achieved with foundation (for stronger coverage on imperfection or spots, simply touch-up areas with concealer).
Made with SPF 30 protection, it works to keep skin hydrated not just for the day, but for good – after just two weeks, you'll see the difference.
- bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream, £28 from Boots – buy here
This one is a great option for summer. It feels like silk and smells like heaven (seriously), hydrating and refreshing skin to create a radiant and dewy complexion (it's not called 'anti-fatigue' for nothing).
A single pump will do your whole face – one bottle will last you a long time – but the coverage is buildable.
- Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, £9.99 from Boots – buy here
Best foundations for oily skin/matt coverage
The best of both worlds, Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk foundation creates a look similar to mineral powders but somehow still lets a luminous glow shine through – we can see why it's loved by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Meghan Markle.
Don't be fooled by the liquidy formula – it glides onto the skin like silk but mattifies within a minute or two to create a flawless finish which stays matt all day long (no more post-lunchtime shine spots).
We like the easy-to-use pumps dispenser and fresh (rather than fragrant) aroma.
- Luminous silk foundation, £42 from Giorgio Armani – buy here
When The Ordinary first released its serum foundation there was a 25,000 person waiting list – and no, it wasn't just because of the price tag.
This formula comes packaged in a small plastic bottle (no cracks, no spillage) with a click-lock pump (handy, prevent leakage) that dispenses just the right amount but you can keep on building for more coverage.
Don't be put off by the greasy texture, it glides onto the skin like silk and looks like it too – it dries to a finish that is neither matt nor dewy, but rather something perfectly in between.
Stocks are selling fast due to claims by Deciem founder Brandon Truaxe that The Ordinary is allegedly shutting down so you better get in there, fast.
- The Ordinary Serum Foundation, £6 from Feel Unique – buy here
Rimmel's long lasting foundation gives infallible, matt coverage for a porcelain skin finish.
It comes in 14 colours (with a very good range in particular for pale skin tones) and also has SPF 20 protection.
The word breathable is a hint: this is lighter than the brand's 25 hour version, but you can keep on building coverage by dotting product on desired areas using the in-built precision sponge.
- Rimmel Long Lasting Breathable Foundation, £8.99 from Boots – buy here
Best foundation for luminous skin
Yes, another Giorgio Armani one: Maestro Fusion is very similar to Luminous Silk but the finish is slightly less matt, and the luminosity is off the scale.
Dispensed from a pipette, this glowy formula has a liquid consistency which makes for lightweight coverage – blemishes will still need concealer.
This foundation creates a natural-looking, lit-from-within radiance that is quite hard to achieve with highlighter and has the most addictive smell.
- Maestro Fusion foundation, £42 from Giorgio Armani Beauty – buy here
Best foundation for acne-prone skin
The most reliable foundation out there, Maybelline's Total Cover isn't called infallible for nothing, it covers everything from enlarged pores and inflamed spots, to acne scars and tattoos.
Don't get us wrong, the consistency is thick to give heavy coverage, but it is hydrating at the same time – so it doesn't feel cakey.
- L'Oreal Total Cover Infallible Foundation, £9.99 from Boots – buy here
Best foundation for ageing skin
Before we list all the benefits of this No7 Triple Action foundation, let us just say that it really does what it says on the tin: illuminate, illuminate, illuminate.
Upon application, skin feel hydrated and looks dewy – which is probably why it will make you look younger, not to mention the fact that it's formulated with optical blurrers to deflect light away from fine lines and wrinkles.
And, as for preventing the actual ageing process, this product has SPF15 protection, which we all know works a treat.
- No7 Lift & Luminate serum foundation, £18 from Boots – buy here
Best SPF foundation
If you want longer in bed, IT's colour correcting serum will simplify your morning routine with its hybrid properties – plus, the subtle peppermint aroma is a wake up call in itself.
It provides a higher protection than most foundations, but still feels like a second skin.
And, despite being a CC cream rather than a foundation, the consistency is surprisingly robust – so it'll cover acne, enlarged pores and dark spots too.
- IT Cosmetics CC Cream, £30 from Boots – buy here
In other news…the beauty calendars for Christmas 2018 are finally here and they start from as little as £12.50.
Looking for a new mascara? We've founded up the best budget and luxury mascaras out there.
Or, check out Basics 101 fashion feature – we show you how to find the perfect white T-shirt.
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