Updated 9 March 2022
We have tested several different kinds of foundation and name the Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Powder as the best mineral foundation right now. It is a loose mineral foundation offering exceptional sun protection and a long-lasting effect. The product comes available in a wide range of colours too. The best cushion foundation was the Lancôme Miracle Cushion Foundation due to its fantastic natural coverage. Our favourite premium foundation was the Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF15, which is a durable liquid foundation affording a full and natural finish.
Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carried out our reviews in-house and tested all foundations as they are intended to be used. In our tests of foundation, we asked someone who works professionally with makeup to use the products, both in their work and on their own face. An additional two people of different ages with different skin types have also tested them under various conditions. In this test, we have focused on examining the following:
Use: What’s the consistency like? How easy or difficult is it to apply? And how economical is the product? What type of skin does it suit best?
Result: What effect does it produce? How much coverage does it provide, and what’s the finish like? And how long do the results last?
Packaging: What does the product promise? How is the bottle or tube designed, and how easy is it to use?
In addition to this, we have considered how much foundation is contained in the packaging, whether the formulation has any skin-nourishing ingredients or sun protection, and how many colours are available in the range. This has all been considered while considering the price of each foundation. We then designated each foundation an overall review - and picked a winner.
An innovative foundation that cares for your skin and produces an all but perfect finish
Format: Jar Consistency: Powder Quantity: 6 grams Price class: Medium
A powder foundation that melts into a silky cream when you apply it may sound complicated to use, but the fact is that MAKETHEMAKE Squalane Melting Foundation is one of the most user-friendly products we’ve seen in a long time.
You use a powder brush to apply this powder foundation. You dip the brush in the powder, then sweep the brush across your face, working the powder in with circular movements. The powder melts into your skin and the finish is like what you’d get from a soft cream – in other words very different from the dry result you often get with powder foundations.
And just as the name implies, this foundation contains squalane, which is a softening, moisturising ingredient. You really feel it too. Your skin feels soft and flexible, and there’s none of that tight feeling that you often get from a powder foundation.
The result is a natural, glowy finish. There’s no hint of glitter, just a wonderful fresh brightness – and your selfies will be phenomenal with this as your base.
The fact that MAKETHEMAKE Squalane Melting Foundation also provides SPF30 is a nice bonus, and even if you might wish this foundation made your pores look a little smaller on hot days, it lasts really well.
The range of shades could have been a bit wider, but in general MAKETHEMAKE Squalane Melting Foundation leaves nothing to be desired. This is an easy-to-use product that produces a fantastic end result for anyone who doesn’t want a high cover finish.
A high cover foundation that reduces the impression of pores for a very good price
Format: Tube Consistency: Cream Quantity: 30 ml Price class: Budget
A high coverage foundation that promises to blur out pores and last for up to 16 hours? It sounds almost too good to be true. But the fact is that this is a real powerhouse of a foundation – and with a price tag that won’t break the bank.
Lumene is a Finnish brand with products that are impressive in all of our tests, and Lumene Blur Longwear Foundation is no exception. This is a foundation that covers well and effectively conceals small blemises. Nor does it fail to keep its promise of blurring and minimising the pores. When you use Lumene Blur, you end up with evened-out skin and smaller pores. It even works really well on mature skin with fine lines – the product doesn’t collect in the wrinkles, which is otherwise a common problem when the skin starts to show signs of ageing.
Lumene Blur works well even on dry skin, but it’s always best to use a moisturiser before you apply your foundation to reduce the risk of emphasising dry patches.
Whether it lasts for the promised 16 hours, our testers couldn’t say, but it certainly still looked good at bedtime when it was time to remove it. And this says a good deal, as many foundations tend to gradually disappear during the day.
This is a really good foundation for anyone looking for a high-cover, smooth and durable result for a reasonable price.
Loose mineral foundation with high sun protection factor, good range of colours and decent durability
Packaging: Jar Consistency: Powder Quantity: 10.5 g Price class: Premium
This is a loose mineral foundation with soft texture that goes on sheer and naturally conceals flaws. If you require more coverage, this can be built up in layers. The powder can be blended with a cream that you then apply to your face, but we obtained the best results using a dense brush that applies the powder directly from the container.
The finish is nicely matte and is unlike the original bareMinerals foundation which shimmers and can give the impression of shiny skin. Nor does it contain bismuth oxychloride, which can cause skin irritation. It also has an SPF of 20, which gave it more plus points.
The range contains many shades, although the darker ones can be perceived as a little ashy – a common problem with pure mineral foundations. It’s generally a little more expensive than other mineral foundations, but is economical and keeps for ages, so it's clearly worth the price.
Provides natural coverage and is available in many colours
Packaging: Cushion Consistency: Cream Quantity: 15 ml Price class: Premium
This product was one of the very first products in the cushion format on the Western market, and still popular today. The cushion with foundation and the application puff make the job straightforward. It boasts a lightweight and fresh consistency, which gives the skin a nice moisturised feeling and a slight radiant finish. The result is transparent but with a few extra applications, you can build up better coverage.
Durability isn’t great, but still among the best when compared with similar cushion foundations. We had to wait around five hours on normal skin before we had to apply it again. The compact is attractive, and you can buy refills, making it better for the environment and your budget! However, it is still expensive given that you only get 15 ml.
This foundation is available in many colours, including for the very darkest skin tones. This gave more plus points from our testers. What it's missing is sun protection, but Lancôme Miracle Cushion Foundation's many advantages outweigh this, and is therefore our choice for the best cushion foundation.
Durable liquid foundation that gives good coverage, a natural finish, and has a wide range of colours
Packaging: Bottle Consistency: Cream Quantity: 30 ml Price class: Medium
Next we have the premium liquid foundation, which according to the marketing is primarily intended to even out pigment spots, but works well on all sorts of blemishes and uneven skin tones. Only the very driest skin may need more moisturising. Coverage is good, while at the same time the result is incredibly natural and never cakey.
The foundation produces a matte finish, yet with an attractive subtle radiance. It provides a perfect finish for concealing spots and freshening up a grey skin tone. Sun is the biggest cause of pigment patches, and Clinique’s Even Better provides sun protection factor 15. We would have preferred a higher SPF simply because according to the marketing materials, this foundation is aimed at people with pigment problems already.
Consequently, we recommend that you supplement this premium foundation with a protective day cream if you're going to be spending time in the sun. Its durability is phenomenal, and even on greasier skin types it easily lasts for eight hours or more.
Good value foundation which gives a natural matte and smooth result
Packaging: Pump bottle Consistency: Cream Quantity: 30 ml Coverage: Low Price class: Budget
Here we have another liquid foundation with a silky consistency which blends into the skin in a natural manner. The coverage is lightweight and allows the skin to shine through while concealing minor blemishes and redness.
The finish is matte, and this is where the problems arise. For dry skin, the powdery surface can exaggerate dry areas and wrinkles in an unflattering way. If your skin is usually normal or a little oily, this isn’t a problem.
L'Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation, Skincare Infused with Hyaluronic Acid, SPF 17, Available in 40 Shades, 1.W Golden Ivory, 30 ml
L'Oréal Paris True Match Foundation, 1.W Golden Ivory, 30 ml
L'Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation With Spf & Hyaluronic Acid 30Ml 1W Golden Ivory
Foundation that provides good coverage and evens out skin tone. It’s durable and good value for money.
Packaging: Pump bottle Consistency: Cream Quantity: 30 ml Price class: Budget
This foundation has a soft liquid consistency which is easy to apply and obtain an even result. It can be applied relatively transparent but can also be worked to achieve higher levels of coverage. Once applied, it gives a matte finish and lasts the whole day. Not even the oiliest skin types will need to powder their nose before the afternoon. However, it can feel a little dehydrating for dry skin.
It even provides sun protection, which is always gets a nod of approval from us. The only big problem we found was the range of colours. There are too few, particularly in the darker scale, and most shades are pinkish, which is unflattering for the majority of people.
Packaging: Cushion Consistency: Cream Quantity: 10 ml Price class: Premium
The first thing you notice is the attractive substantial compact with fluffy foundation-filled cushion. The foundation’s consistency is light and mousse-like. Initially it feels a little sticky on the skin, but after a few seconds it dries nicely. The finish is half-matte, which we like among the many cushion foundations giving a radiant finish.
The cushion means that it can be applied evenly in a single stroke. It gives a natural feel, but it’s simultaneously one of the cushion foundations that will suit those who need a little more coverage and have oilier skin. You get an extra refill with the compact, but it only contains eight grams per cushion, which makes it one of the most expensive in the test. After the two cushions are finished you can’t refill it; you must buy a completely new compact.
This foundation is available in four colours, and we like the fact that the darker skin colours have not been forgotten. We also liked that it provides sun protection factor 50, together with a range of skin-nourishing ingredients such as Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and hyaluronic acid. Of course, these are only in small quantities, but we awarded bonus points nonetheless.
An easy-to-apply foundation that goes a long way and gives great coverage
Packaging: Jar Consistency: Powder Quantity: 12 g Price class: Premium
Sensai Total Finish Natural Matte SPF 15 powder foundation from Sensai is so easy to apply that it’s immediately impressive. If you dab the powder over your face with a dense powder brush, you get a matte, even and fine finish. A smaller and more compact brush can be used to cover blemishes, breakouts and even dark circles beneath the eyes.
Sensai Total Finish Matte is a durable powder that, despite falling onto the bathroom floor several times, didn’t suffer any damage. Other, similar powders will crack the first time they're dropped. However, it’s relatively expensive, and Sensai also sells a separate case for the foundation. But you can save money as you can just as easily keep it in the original box.
Sensai’s powder foundation lasts a long time and is specially developed for greasy skin. This means that it covers shine very well, but after a long day at work it may need touching up before you move on to your evening activities. Unfortunately, the powder has a tendency to flake. After doing your makeup at the last minute on the train on a sunny day, you can see obvious traces of the product both on your knees and in the sunshine.
The product is available in five shades and the pack contains 12 grams of powder foundation, which does seem rather stingy. But you only need a very small amount to get a good result, so the fact that Sensai Total Finish Matte goes a long way still makes it good value for money. Other plus points were awarded because it provides SPF 15 sun protection and because the case is classic and stylish.
Sheer foundation with sun protection factor and moisturising properties – and a good range of colours!
Packaging: Bottle Consistency: Cream Quantity: 30 ml Price class: Medium
This is a liquid foundation with watery consistency. It’s easy to spread and get an even application all over the face. The formula is economical and only a few drops are required for your whole face. Coverage is initially sheer but with a little work you can build up the coverage well. It does feel moisturising and has a radiant finish, bordering on shiny for some of our testers.
The fact that the name contains the word “serum” is primarily a marketing tactic. It does contain nourishing ingredients, but absolutely not in the same concentrations as a serum. However, the sun protection is complete, which is an important part of preventative care. The enormous range of colours makes it easy to find a perfect shade. bareMinerals also sell a matching brush but application is just as good with other brushes or a sponge.
Foundation that lasts all day, easy to work and an economical formula that lasts a long time
Packaging: Pump bottle Consistency: Cream Quantity: 30 ml Price class: Premium
The liquid texture in this foundations provides good coverage but is easy to work and it isn’t difficult to get it to blend in for a natural result. The finish is matte but not flat, and we detected a subtle radiance which made the skin smooth and completely perfect. It's economical too. Only one pump press was sufficient for the entire face.
According to the foundation’s marketing department, it should last for up to 18 hours. That’s stretching the truth somewhat, particularly if you have greasy skin, but it certainly lasts for the whole working day. The range of colours is good with at least one dark shade. However, the colours oxidise after a while on the skin, so make sure you try before you buy. The attractive bottle and fresh scent enhance the experience of this foundation further.
A high-coverage foundation in pen format
Wet n Wild is a brand you can find in lots of places, including supermarkets. Of course you might wonder whether it’s worth buying a foundation at the same time as a packet of biscuits. But the answer is yes. You actually can get good beauty products at your local grocery shop, and Wet n Wild photofocus Stick Foundation is one of them.
Pen format foundations can often be too thick and difficult to apply. But not Wet n Wild Photo Focus Stick Foundation. This is a creamy pen that’s easy to use and achieve an attractive and even result.
The coverage can vary from average to full depending on how much you use. The cream is easy to blend and tone, and doesn’t produce ugly sharp lines – particularly if you use a BeautyBlender.
Of course you can apply it with your fingers, but you get the best finish if you use a brush or sponge. But whatever you do, don’t draw the product directly onto your face in thick lines. This makes it difficult to get a natural and attractive result.
Pen format foundations tend to make the packaging a bit sticky after a while. So don’t forget to screw the pen back in again properly and dry off the container to keep your make-up fresh and user-friendly for as long as possible.
Affordable and long-lasting foundation that is available in many shades
Packaging: Cushion Consistency: Cream Quantity: 15 ml Price class: Medium
The cushion filled with foundation is fluffy and delivers just the right amount of colour for an even and natural result. The colour is semi-matte and lasts throughout the day, even on those whose skin has a tendency to be oily. There is a wide range of shades, except for the very darkest skin colours. However, the lightest colours are a little yellowish, which can be unflattering.
IsaDora is a budget brand, but its cushion foundation is a little more expensive than normal, which is entirely due to the packaging. This is of high standard and can definitely hold its own against the more expensive variants in the test. The compact contains IsaDora’s liquid Nude Super Fluid Foundation, which is normally sold in bottles of 30 ml. When you buy the compact, you get 15 ml but pay almost four times more per ml. Ouch!
IsaDora doesn’t offer a refill for its Cushion Foundation, but suggests buying Nude Super Fluid Foundation and pouring it onto the cushion in the compact to refill it. However, you have to remove the cushion and wash it thoroughly between each refill to keep everything clean and hygienic. When you have done this several times, the cushion unfortunately loses its elasticity so you will ultimately have to buy a completely new compact.
Creamy foundation which is easy to apply and gives an attractive radiant result
Packaging: Jar Consistency: Powder Quantity: 8 g Coverage: High Price class: Medium
This is a now-iconic foundation that paved the way for the enormous success that the bareMinerals brand has become. The powder is easy to work into the skin with a brush. The finish is shimmering, bordering on glittery, which means it doesn’t suit greasy skin. But nor is it perfect on dry skin either because it feels a little drying and cakes easily.
You can get a good selection of colours, but some skin tones take on an unflattering ashy tone. It does contain bismuth oxychloride, which causes skin irritation to many people. On a brighter note, it also provides sun protection - SPF 15 - but it was difficult to apply enough for the sun protection to be sufficient.
Foundation that provides good coverage and evens out skin tone. Durable and good value for money.
Packaging: Pump bottle Consistency: Cream Quantity: 30 ml Price class: Budget
This foundations offers a soft liquid consistency which is easy to apply and obtain an even result. It can be applied relatively transparent but can be worked to achieve higher levels of coverage. Once applied, it gives a matte finish and lasts the whole day. Not even the oiliest skin types will need to powder their nose before the afternoon.
However, it can feel a little dehydrating on dry skin. The better news is that it provides sun protection, which is always a major advantage for those wanting to protect their skin. The only big problem we found was the range of colours. There are too few darker shades and some shades are pinkish, which is unflattering for most people.
Luxurious foundation that gives a nice finish and can be refilled
Packaging: Cushion Consistency: Cream Price class: Premium
Next up is one of the market’s most expensive cushion foundations, but the price is actually not entirely unjustified as it includes an extra refill pack. You can also buy further refills when the extra cushion has run out. The luxury feel is simply unbeatable. The compact is beautiful and substantial with a fluffy foundation-filled cushion and a puff that gives an even result with a single stroke.
Just like many of the other more expensive cushion variants (Lancôme, Pür and Babor), Dior’s cushion has small pores, unlike cheaper products which have fewer and larger holes. According to the marketing, this should produce a more even and finer application, but in practice the difference is minimal.
However, Dior’s foundation does contain a number of skin nourishing ingredients, together with sun protection factor 50, which significantly improves the product’s score. Sun protection is an expensive ingredient, which also helps explain the high price. Unfortunately, it is only available in three shades - and none for darker skin. To end on a positive, its durability is among the best in test.
Easy to use, economical and good value for money that gives a great result – with SPF!
Packaging: Pump bottle Consistency: Liquid Quantity: 30 ml Price class: Budget
The Ordinary released their foundation to a waiting list of more than 25,000 people. And with a range of 21 shades, two different finishes and an incredibly low price, it’s easy to understand why so many people were interested.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation is a very light foundation, and when you pump out the product into your hand, you’re instantly struck by how free flowing it is. It’s best applied direct and is exceptionally easy to work in. A tiny amount goes a long way and effectively evens out the skin. The product leaves a silky finish. If you want a little more lustre, you can add a drop of face oil, which also overcomes this foundation’s biggest shortcoming – it isn’t great on dry skin. If your skin has the slightest tendency to be dry, this product emphasises every flaky area.
When a product is talked about so much, it’s sometimes easy to forget how cheap it actually is. Given the price, The Ordinary Serum Foundation really is a foundation that’s worth buying. Even more so if you don’t suffer from dry skin.
Nourishing foundation that provides natural coverage and contains SPF
Packaging: Cushion Consistency: Cream Quantity: 15 g Price class: Budget
Compact with liquid foundation in a sponge. The formula is light and easy to work into the skin. The coverage is transparent and there is no risk that it will ever look cakey on the skin. With little work, you can achieve higher levels of coverage, but this isn’t a product for those who want to conceal many flaws.
The foundation is similar to Lancôme’s variant, but the finish is even shinier. Unfortunately, the shiny effect can exaggerate an uneven complexion rather than conceal it. The formula has SPF 29 and the fact that it contains titanium dioxide guarantees good protection. We got it to stay on the skin for around four hours, after which it needed to be reapplied. The compact feels less substantial than IsaDora’s, but it's also cheaper.
However, you can’t buy a refill; you have to buy a whole new pack when it's finished. The pack contains 14.6 grams, which is normal for a cushion foundation but not very much if you compare it with what you get if you buy a bottle of foundation. It's available in many shades, but not for the darkest skin colours.
Packaging: Cushion Consistency: Cream Quantity: 10 ml Price class: Premium
Our penultimate foundation is a liquid compact cushion foundation. The formula is sheer and initially feels a little wet on the skin, but it dries in and the finish is nicely satiny. Babor is primarily a skincare company aimed at salons, so its foundation includes nourishing ingredients such as antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins to protect the skin and counteract premature ageing. However, these ingredients are not present in high levels and should be viewed as a complement to your skincare regime.
Unfortunately, this foundation doesn’t contain complete sun protection, just a filter which primarily provides protection against UVB rays. Given the price, we would have liked better protection and still more skin nourishing properties. The compact is attractive, but only contains 10 ml and is not available as a refill. The consistency is transparent, which means that it looks good on many skin colours, but we would have liked a wider range of shades. Currently, there are currently only three.
Good value for money, matte and thin foundation with many light shades, contains safe minerals
Packaging: Jar Consistency: Powder Quantity: 10 g Price class: Medium
Lily Lolo has developed mineral makeup and made it even “cleaner” than previously by excluding bismuth oxychloride, which many people find gives them a tingling feeling and creates irritation. The loose minerals can be applied easily, and in addition, the container is nicely frosted.
Coverage is very sheer with a matte finish. It’s more like a normal loose powder than a foundation. Many pale women are fans of this product because there is such a wide range of light shades. Unfortunately, the range of darker colours is not so good; you might want to check out the competition listed above. It’s good value for money given that the container holds 10 grams compared with bareMinerals’ eight grams.
A powder foundation for the TikTok generation
There’s nothing that helps a make-up product sell out as quickly as going viral. And that’s undoubtedly the case for L’Oréal Infaillible 24 H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder – a foundation that would almost certainly have gone under the radar if it hadn’t been for TikTok.
Powder foundations are far from a new concept. But they often suffer from the same problem year after year. If the base isn’t perfect, the result won’t be either. So what do we mean by a perfect base? Well, smooth skin without the slightest tendency to dryness. Sounds like a dream scenario? Yes, we agree. Few people are fortunate enough to have skin that doesn’t give them problems in terms of dryness, spots, pores or lines of various types. But if you are that person with a perfect base, then L’Oréal Infaillible 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder will suit you perfectly. Well, as long as you have a skin colour at the lightest end of the spectrum, because the range of colours is miserably narrow and exclusive in all the wrong ways.
If you have smooth, flawless skin in a light tone, this powder foundation is fantastically effective. It covers well and is easy to apply. But if you have perfect skin maybe there isn’t much to cover anyway?
On the other hand, if you have dry skin or deeper pores or lies around your eyes – well, then you run into problems. Because this powder picks up all these minor blemishes and magnifies them. Dry skin looks almost crisp, lines look deeper and pores are emphasised still further.
This is a really high coverage foundation for a target group with perfect skin – which is a bit of an oxymoron.
L’Oréal Paris Complexion Make-up Powder Infaillible 24H Fresh Wear Make-up Powder 130 True Beige 9 g
L'Oréal Paris Foundation in a Powder, Longwear Coverage with a Mattifying Finish, Water- and Heat-Resistant, Infallible 24H Fresh Wear, 130 True Beige
L'Oreal Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Powder Foundation 130 True Beige 9 g
For many women, there’s no doubt that foundation is the most important makeup product. We have seen exponential development over the last ten years, with foundation technology being repeatedly refined so that today's products give an extremely natural result for sensitive skin, for mature skin and other skin types. When you choose foundation, you should first decide what effect you are aiming for. Do you want to make your skin matte, enhance it with glow or provide complete coverage? Today the majority of foundations are suitable for all skin types, so it's more important to focus on the results than on skin type. However, for oily skin you may want to choose a matte finish to obtain a more durable result, and dry skin often looks best with a moisturising foundation that produces a radiant finish. It's also sensible to have a number of different foundations for different occasions – such as a light natural makeup for everyday use, whereas you might want more coverage and durability for partying.
Consistency often goes hand in hand with results. If you want a foundation that's barely visible, you should choose a liquid foundation. For greater coverage, you can choose a mousse or powder-based foundation. There's one simple rule if you're unsure about the level of coverage a particular foundation gives. And that is, the thicker the consistency, the more coverage it will provide.
The "cushion" is the latest packaging trend, and a foundation phenomenon that originally comes from South Korea. In recent years, a large number of new products has been launched on the European market. The cushion format is a liquid foundation in compact form. The foundation cream is contained in a sponge, and you apply it with the help of a special puff included in the compact. The advantage of this type of foundation is that the results are naturally sheer, but you can also build up greater coverage. The compact is easy to use with a mirror in the lid, and is easy to grab from your bag to improve your makeup during the day. The prices of this type of foundation are often higher if you compare the millilitre foundations - you pay a lot for the actual packaging technology. However, you don’t always need to buy a completely new compact as the majority of brands offer refills.
You should always choose your foundation according to your skin tone. It’s important that it isn’t too dark or too light. Find the right shade by testing it in the daylight. Apply the foundation to the jawline so you can see the shade against both face and neck. The right shade should be least visible and should blend into the skin without you having to work it in too much. The aim of foundation is to even out the skin tone, not to give it colour. If you want your skin to look sun bronzed, you achieve this using bronzing powder - not foundation. Also remember that your skin tone can change depending on the season, so be careful to test the shade before each new purchase.