The Best Foundations for Every Skin Concern
Dry and oily complexions need different base makeup than acne-prone and sensitive skin types do. Find a foundation formula that works for you here.
There are a lot of foundations on the market today, and the best ones are usually a mix of makeup and skincare. They're the best of both worlds, providing both immediate skin-perfecting benefits and skin-friendly long-term benefits. But, of course, not every foundation works for every person. It likely goes without saying that those with dry complexions need hydrating formulas, since flaky skin and matte makeup don't mix well together. (In fact, they don't mix at all: Try to apply foundation over patches of dry skin and it will pill or crumble, instead of buffing in smoothly.)
Those with oily skin, on the other hand, have the opposite problem: Foundation formulas with dewy finishes can make oily complexions look even shinier after just an hour or two of wear. That dreaded T-zone is often an issue by noon; add overly hydrating makeup to the mix, and, beyond that oil overload, the foundation often oxidizes (which means it lifts and even changes colors). But don't confuse formulas made for oily skin with those best-suited for acne-prone faces. Acneic skin—which can be different from oily skin, since not everyone who has oily skin is breakout-prone, and vice versa—needs to look for gentle, non-comedogenic formulations that won't clog pores. There are even formulas that contain acne-fighting ingredients (like salicylic acid) to treat and prevent blemishes.
And if you're prone to redness, have over-reactive, sensitive skin, or rosacea? Choosing soothing foundations that are fragrance-free and made especially for delicate complexions is a must. After all, you don't want the foundation you wear every day to aggravate your skin barrier.
Ahead, we've rounded up the best foundations for each aforementioned skin type to help you find your perfect match.
Dry Skin: RMS Beauty
We used RMS Beauty's cult-favorite concealer as foundation right up until the brand actually created a foundation—its seamless companion. It sinks right into the skin, no matter how many layers you apply. The cream formula is especially great for dry skin, thanks to ingredients like coconut and buriti oils.
Shop Now: RMS Beauty "Un Cover-Up" Cream Foundation, $52, sephora.com.
Dry Skin: Charlotte Tilbury
Dry Skin: Koh Gen Do
Oily Skin: It Cosmetics
We love this anti-aging, color-correcting cream because it contains just about every ingredient you need for healthy skin, from collagen and peptides to sunscreen and even charcoal—which minimizes pores and helps absorb oil to give you a matte, non-shiny finish all day.
Shop Now: It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40, $15, sephora.com.
Oily Skin: Giorgio Armani
Those with oily skin want to glow, too—you aren't bound to a matte finish. Armani's cult-favorite liquid foundation adds a silky, soft base that's not matte, but won't make your face look overly-dewy or shiny.
Shop Now: Giorgio Armani "Luminous Silk" Foundation, $64, sephora.com.
Oily Skin: Make Up For Ever
The genius of this powder foundation lies in the fact that it not only blends well into your skin, but it also has a blurring effect to perfect your complexion. It's also long-lasting: It provides up to 12 hours of comfortable coverage.
Shop Now: Make Up For Ever "Matte Velvet" Skin Blurring Powder Foundation, $38, sephora.com.
Acneic Skin: Neutrogena
Acneic Skin: Dermablend
Acneic Skin: Bare Minerals
Mineral foundation powder is great for those who suffer from blemishes. This one is especially beneficial: The oil-free and non-comedogenic formula contains salicylic acid and hydrating hyaluronic acid, so it helps to clear breakouts without drying out your skin.
Shop Now: Bare Minerals "Blemish Rescue" Foundation, $29, qvc.com.
Sensitive Skin: Oxygenetix
Gentle enough to use immediately after a facial procedure, Oxygenetix's foundation can be used for all types of skin—even the most sensitive. Plus, the range's color match is predicated on your undertones, making finding the right shade for your skin particularly seamless.
Shop Now: Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation, $66, dermstore.com.
Sensitive Skin: Jane Iredale
Jane Iredale makeup was made for those with sensitive, reactive skin. The brand's loose mineral powder foundation gently evens the skin tone, leaving a pretty velvet finish in its wake. You can layer it throughout the day, too, and it won't look (or feel!) caked on.
Shop Now: Jane Iredale "Amazing Base" Loose Mineral Powder, $46, www.nordstrom.com.
Sensitive Skin: It Cosmetics
This can be your serum, cream, and foundation all in one. It contains a variety of soothing ingredients like aloe and colloidal oatmeal, along with skin-protecting antioxidants, and moisturizing avocado oil. Of course, it expertly color-corrects, too, neutralizing redness and providing a pretty, radiant finish.
Shop Now: It Cosmetics "Bye Bye Redness" Neutralizing Correcting Cream, $32, sephora.com.
Sensitive Skin: Clinique
This redness-reducing makeup uses probiotics to help strengthen and soothe the skin barrier so you'll be less prone to redness now and later.
Shop Now: Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $29.50, ulta.com.