Best Foundation for 2022 | The Sun UK
Foundation is the magical key to magnificent makeup – when it's right, everything else pops.
But sometimes it can be difficult to find the best one for your skin type, lifestyle and needs because there's so much choice.
From soft mattes to full coverage, skin tints to high street heroes, there's a plethora of options out there.
The key to a perfect base is understanding your skin type. If your skin flakes then steer clear of powder formulas and very matte foundation sticks because the product will catch and break the flawless illusion.
On the flip side of that, if foundation seems to slide off your face as the day goes on, you have oily skin. Avoid anything dewy or illuminating and reach for something matte to control shine.
Once you've determined your skin type, it's time to think about coverage and the shade: do you want something lightweight or more durable? Is your skin tone cool or warm? The more criteria you're armed with, the easier it will be to find something that's perfectly suited to you.
To help sort through the noise, we've tried and tested a range of foundations to determine which are the best for different skin types and these are our favourites.
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- Best overall: Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Foundation, £36 from Charlotte Tilbury – buy here
- Best for full coverage: MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation, £26.98 from Amazon – buy here
- Best budget: Maybelline New York Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation, £6.77 from Amazon – buy here
- Best for oily skin: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick SPF 25, £30 from Cult Beauty – buy here
- Best for natural finish: Estée Lauder Double Wear Sheer Long-Wear Foundation, £35.50 from Feelunique – buy here
- Best for light coverage: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, £27.20 from LookFantastic – buy here
- Best for dewy skin: Sculpted By Aimee Connolly Second Skin Foundation Dewy Finish, £25 from Boots – buy here
- Best for acne-prone skin: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £35.60 from Lookfantastic – buy here
- Best longlasting: Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation SPF 20, £24.65 from John Lewis – buy here
- Best luxury: Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, £36 from Boots – buy here
- Best for dry skin: Chanel No 1 De Chanel Red Camellia Revitalizing Foundation, £49.50 from Boots – buy here
- Best for sensitive skin: it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare, £32.50 from Boots – buy here
- Best shade range: Lisa Eldridge The Foundation, £44 from Lisa Eldridge – buy here
Best overall foundation: Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Foundation
- Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Foundation, £36 from Charlotte Tilbury – buy here
Pros: Hydrating, lightweight, buildable coverage. Cons: needs time to dry down, small tube.
Since launching at the beginning of this year, Beautiful Skin has become something of megastar in the beauty world.
Unlike the brand's previous matte bestseller Airbrush Flawless Foundation, Beautiful Skin is medium coverage, mega dewy and a true skin enhancer.
Formulated with hyaluronic acid for an extra boost of hydration and rose complex for a brighter finish, this foundation is the perfect starting place for healthy looking skin.
You only need one or two small pumps onto the back of your hand and then we'd recommend using a damp beauty blender (use setting spray for a longer lasting finish) to press this liquid foundation all over your face. Give it a minute to dry down before applying the rest of your makeup to avoid product sliding around.
The tube itself looks like a normal size but we did find, even with only needing a couple of pumps, we got through the tube faster than we'd have liked for the price.
However, there are an impressive 30 shades to choose from and the brand has created an online foundation finder, so you can match your perfect shade without having to take a step in a bricks and mortar store.
This list is full of excellent foundations but this one take the cake as the best overall. We love it.
Best full coverage foundation: MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation
- MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation, £26.98 from Amazon – buy here
Pros: Soft matte finish, works well with powder products, long-lasting. Cons: No pump, unusual smell, quite thick.
There's a reason this foundation is used to create beauty looks for some of the biggest catwalks in the world.
It makes skin look the best version of itself but not by boosting the dewiness; instead, it's a soft matte.
This is the type of foundation that wouldn't be out of place on the set of a 1700s period drama (think The Great or Versailles), where it's all about romantic skin.
The Studio Fix Fluid doesn't have a pump to dispense it so just carefully shake a little on to the back of your hand. You won't need much because it's quite thick and expect a slightly odd coconut-like smell when it first comes out of the bottle.
We'd recommend applying this one with a brush first and then going over with a beauty blender dampened with setting spray to give a seamless finish.
It's full coverage, but that doesn't mean it's cakey or thick. And even with a matte finish, it still looks completely natural.
Once this is on, it's on so you'll have softly flawless skin all day, no touch-ups necessary.
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Best budget foundation: Maybelline New York Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation
- Maybelline New York Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation, £6.77 from Amazon – buy here
Pros: Under £10, removes shine, flawless finish. Cons: Streaky when applied with a brush, wet consistency, feels heavy when first applied.
This one's a classic. A lot of us have probably had this in our makeup bag at one point or another.
The beauty of this foundation is the price. Our skin tone changes with the seasons, and because the Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation is only a little over £5 so you can buy multiple shades and still not break the bank.
It's solid, full coverage and mattifies shine which makes it one of only a handful of liquid foundations that are good for oily skin.
Which might come as a surprise because it is a wet consistency when it comes out of the tube and does feel heavy when it first goes on skin so it's best to use a sponge rather than a brush to avoid streaks.
You might feel like you want to powder straight away, but let it dry down so you can see any areas that do need to set and to avoid over-powdering.
With this matte, full coverage base you'll want to go glam so pair with a red lip and feline flick and save the natural makeup for a lighter base.
Best for oily skin: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick
- bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick SPF 25, £30 from Cult Beauty – buy here
Pros: Blendable, easily portable, oil-free. Cons: Needs to be set with powder, limited shade range, expensive.
Foundation sticks can be somewhat divisive with so many being very dry, cakey and difficult to blend. Not the Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick.
It's rich in volcanic seawater, red algae and squalane which makes it moisturising without being overly dewy or greasy.
It may seem counterintuitive to crown a hydrating product as the best foundation for oily skin but it's time to bust the myth once and for all the oily skin shouldn't be moisturised. In fact, the more the skin is stripped, the more oil it will produce.
However, not all hydrating foundations are created equal. This stick formula is oil-free and easy to apply topically so if you'd prefer to use less product on the t-zone that's easy to control.
Having said that, it's still crucial to set with a good mattifying powder to ensure everything stays in place and only looks dewy, not shiny.
For a stick foundation, it is quite pricey at £30 and the shade range isn't the most expansive (but it's nowhere near the worst we've seen either) but it's so difficult to get a foundation stick right and bareMinerals really have.
It blends out so easily, using fingers or a brush and is perfect for popping your handbag for top ups on the go, mess free.
Best foundation for natural finish: Estée Lauder Double Wear Sheer Long-wear Foundation
- Estée Lauder Double Wear Sheer Long-Wear Foundation, £35.50 from Feelunique – buy here
Pros: Quick to apply, looks like natural skin, lightweight but covers redness. Cons: Very thin, doesn't cover blemishes, can crease throughout the day.
You may have heard of the full coverage version of Estée Lauder's Double Wear but let us introduce you to the sheer offering.
It's lightweight and easy to blend in either using a brush or fingers for a quick on-the-go application.
Despite the featherlight formula, it covers areas of redness while still giving skin a hydrated looking finish, keeping it looking natural and healthy.
When it first comes out of the bottle it is very thin, like a serum or moisturising SPF and although it sets quickly, it can crease throughout the day if you don't keep an eye on it.
Because it's so lightweight, it doesn't have the bandwidth to cover blemishes so dab concealer over any areas that you feel need extra coverage. The beauty of this 'pinpoint' concealing is that it keeps skin really fresh without sacrificing the flawless look.
Best foundation for light coverage: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
- NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, £27.20 from LookFantastic – buy here
Pros: Hydrating, can be applied with fingers in seconds, SPF 30. Cons: Limited shade range, comes out of the tube quite thick, takes some time to dry down.
Looking for a base that's not too heavy but still gives some coverage? Enter the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer.
Despite being lightweight, it is quite thick when it comes out of the tube but spreads thinly over skin so be aware that you don't need too much product.
We don't think there's any need to apply with a brush or sponge, simply massage in with your fingers for a natural finish. If you find you've over egged the amount of product, then pick up your clean beauty blender and dab over those areas where the products build up is too much to easily disperse the foundation before it dries down.
This is the perfect option for a warm summer's evening where you still want your skin to breathe, or if you're having a particularly good skin day but you're looking for a boost of brightness.
Whatever the reason, this luxurious tint will blend seamlessly into your skin for a natural, flawless finish.
And it's doing double the work with an SPF30 already built in. Result.
Best foundation for dewy skin: Sculpted by Aimee Second Skin Foundation
- Best for dewy skin: Sculpted By Aimee Connolly Second Skin Foundation Dewy Finish, £25 from Boots – buy here
Pros: Dewy but not shiny, reasonably priced, lightweight, SPF 50. Cons: Powder is a must, doesn't give lots of coverage
Sculpted by Aimee is the work of pro makeup artist Aimee Connolly who decided she wanted to use her years of knowledge to create her own, curated brand.
Everything's about quality over quantity – so forget about using hundreds of products and instead just use a few really good ones for professional level results.
The dewy foundation is exactly that. It gives a light glow so skin looks radiant and fresh. However you will need to use powder to set the areas that you'd prefer not to glow, because it does pack a punch.
It's lightweight and glides easily over skin for a medium-light coverage.
It's reasonably priced for the amount of product and the credentials that come with it – it's vegan-friendly, cruelty free and the brand itself is fully committed to sustainability long term.
On top of all of that, it also includes SPF50, so your skin is protected while looking flawless.
Best foundation for acne-prone skin: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
- Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £35.60 from Lookfantastic – buy here
Pros: Versatile, flawless finish, buildable without being cakey. Cons: On the heavier side of medium coverage, expensive.
On the heavier side of medium coverage, this liquid foundation by Giorgio Armani is one you'll find in any beauty fanatic's collection.
As the name suggests, it has a silky finish, making skin look flawless by covering over any redness, blemishes and texture with ease.
This is particularly good for acne-prone skin because it doesn't get cakey the more you build up and isn't so full coverage that it wouldn't work as an everyday option.
But on the other hand, it's also a stunning base for evening makeup because of its staying power and flawless coverage.
But don't just take our word for it, it's backed by celebrities too. This filter in a bottle has been used on the red carpet the world over on A-Listers like Cate Blanchett and Vanessa Kirby.
If it's good enough for them, it's more than good enough for us. Added to basket.
Best long-lasting foundation: Bobbi Brown Powder Fluid Foundation
- Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation SPF 20, £24.65 from John Lewis – buy here
Pros: Lightweight, long-lasting, unique texture. Cons: Looks obvious on skin at first, can dry out skin, completely matte.
Bobbi Brown is well known for its skin makeup so the brand was likely to crop up somewhere on our best of list.
The Fluid Powder foundation is unique. It's liquid but goes on like a powder, self-setting, which is part of what gives it a wear time of 16 hours.
It goes on completely matte and can be a little drying so make sure to use a super hydrating primer or a lot of moisturiser before using, and the non-shiny finish can look a little obvious on skin at first, but once it's sunk it, it gives a smooth, natural finish.
This foundation feels really lightweight which is a bonus for mattes, and blends easily over skin.
It has a pretty good shade range, offering 28 different tones that span from extra light to deep rich.
Plus it protects from UVA and UVB rays and blue light.
Best luxury foundation: Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation
- Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, £36 from Boots – buy here
Pros: Gives a natural glow, lasts 24 hours, buildable coverage. Cons: Bottle size, powder's a must, feels quite heavy on skin.
Whenever we get the chance to try out Dior makeup our expectations are high and the beauty giants are yet to disappoint.
The Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation makes skin glow just like its name suggests for 24 hours.
We apply it with a damp sponge for a light to medium coverage, but for fuller coverage swipe on with a brush.
The liquid dries down quickly, allowing other products to sit comfortably on top without moving around. However, it does still need a swipe of powder to control shine and it does initially feel quite heavy on skin.
However, powder products look smooth and natural, blending easily rather than sitting visibly on the foundation.
The finish isn't too dewy, adding a slight glow just like natural skin.
There are a huge 42 shades to choose from so a variety of undertones are covered whether you're warm, cool, neutral or rosy.
This is certainly a luxury foundation that could be saved for special occasions, however, for the price we would have liked a little more product.
But, whether you're building a glam makeup or a look for everyday, this is a beautiful base.
Best foundation for dry skin: Chanel No 1 De Chanel Red Camellia Revitalizing Foundation
- Chanel No 1 De Chanel Red Camellia Revitalizing Foundation, £49.50 from Boots – buy here
Pros: Hydrating, buildable coverage, a little goes a long way. Cons: Expensive, limited shade range, small bottle.
This foundation carries all the luxury you'd expect from Chanel, and includes the star ingredient of their latest range; camellia oil.
Derived from a beautiful red flower, camellia is one of the fastest absorbing plant oils, protecting the skin barrier and promoting hydration.
So it's no surprise that this chic foundation glides easily over skin without catching on any dry areas.
It's a smooth liquid consistency, so we'd suggest a sponge rather than a brush to avoid any streaks. Just press a small amount over the face for a medium coverage and slowly build up over areas that need a little more.
The bottle is quite small, but you don't need much product to cover your whole face.
It's biggest stumbling blocks are it's limited shade range (something that still seems to be an issue for designer beauty brands) and the price.
But for its hydrating properties and the flawless base it creates, we're sold.
Best foundation for sensitive skin: it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare
- it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare, £32.50 from Boots – buy here
Pros: Illuminating, skincare benefits, easy to blend. Cons: Limited shade range, only good for natural makeup, separates in the bottle.
This one's a multitasker blending our two favourite things; makeup and skincare.
This one's the epitome of a dewy foundation, really catching the light in all the right places.
Just add some powder down the centre of the face to control any extra shine and you're left with a seamless second skin.
So what's the skincare part all about?
Well, it's infused with hyaluronic acid, aloe vera extracts and vitamins E and B5 which work to keep skin hydrated and even out skin tone after you've washed away the foundation itself.
This is by no means a replacement for your normal skincare routine but it's absolutely a bonus element.
It has the consistency of a serum so is easy to blend over the face with a brush or a sponge.
Because it has this consistency, it can separate in the bottle, so make sure to give it a good shake before use.
The perfect base for a natural makeup, this is one we've added to our beauty bag.
Best foundation shade range: Lisa Eldridge The Foundation
- Best shade range: Lisa Eldridge The Foundation, £44 from Lisa Eldridge – buy here
Pros: Shade range and education, flawless natural finish, doesn't crease. Cons: Expensive, not available to buy anywhere else, bottle doesn't stand upright.
It was a toss up between Fenty Beauty's Pro Filt'r Hydrating Foundation, Pat McGrath's Bridgerton approved Skin Fetish or The Foundation by Lisa Eldrige but the latter just pipped the other two to the post, despite their excellent shade ranges and formulas.
Using her knowledge as a top professional makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge created this foundation to be the product she felt was missing in her kit, so the standard was high.
But it hits the mark – it's the Ferrari of foundations. Beautiful, luxurious and high quality.
It's medium coverage, self setting so it doesn't crease throughout the day, creates a soft finish that isn't dewy or matte but instead sits somewhere in between to create a true skin-like finish. Apply it in layers to truly customise the base to suit you.
Something that sets this brand apart from others is the education it offers. The foundation comes in 40 carefully curated shades and each one is placed in a group which you can then order as a sample sheet to test before you purchase a full size bottle. We love this because there's nothing worse than buying foundation in the wrong shade and is fully inclusive.
If it wasn't for the price and the fact you can't buy it from anywhere else if it's out of stock this would have been our pick for the best overall foundation because it's unique in the finish it offers.
The bottle is chic (although it doesn't stand upright) and using it feels like a luxury. We love.
Which Charlotte Tilbury Foundation is best?
Charlotte Tilbury has three foundations that each offer different coverage: Airbrush Flawless Foundation, Light Wonder and Beautiful Skin.
They are all good in their own way, but for overall look, feel and long-wear we have to say Beautiful Skin is our favourite.
What is the best foundation for mature skin?
Generally liquid foundation is the way to go for mature skin because it gives fuller coverage and hydration which means a more even skintone.
Many people think foundation will make them look older, but if you pick the right one and apply it carefully it should have the opposite effect.
For a list of products we've tried and tested read our full review of best foundations for mature skin.
What's the best way to put on foundation?
The best way to apply foundation depends on a few factors – the consistency of the product, the coverage you'd prefer and how blendable it is.
For long-wear, a good tip is to spray a sponge with setting spray and then use that to apply your base. It also thins out foundations for a lighter coverage.
For creamier textures, apply with a flat brush and for fuller coverage use a roundheaded brush.
With tinted moisturisers, or foundations that have a thinner texture, you might get the best finish by applying with your fingers.
How to find the best foundation colour
This is all about your undertone. You'll be one of three – warm, neutral or cool and whichever one you fit in to will guide which foundation colour you should opt for.
How do you figure out your undertone? Flip your wrist over and have a look at your veins. Do they look blue? That means you're cool. If they look green you're warm. Not sure because it looks somewhere in the middle? That probably means you're a neutral.
Brands that offer a range of shades will often have letters next to the shade name that indicates whether it has a cool, neutral or warm undertone which should help you decide.
What to look for in a foundation
That's up to you! It depends on what your skin type is and what you like.
There's no right foundation but on an ingredient level, try to avoid parabens because they could flare up your skin over time.
Where to buy foundations
Foundations are available from all of the usual beauty suspects: Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic, Amazon, Boots, Superdrug, John Lewis, Space NK…if it sells anything beauty related it will probably sell foundation.
And, of course, the beauty brands themselves will sell foundation.
How much do foundations cost?
They can cost anything from a couple of pounds to a couple of hundred – there range is huge. So however much or little you want to spend on foundation, you can.
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Enjoyed our review of the best foundations? Why not check out our review of Foreo?
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And check out our dedicated Sun Selects beauty section for more tips, trends and products.
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