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The best foundation for your skin type, tone and budget

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From luxury brands with celebrity followings to bargain high street steals, we’ve found the best foundation for every skin type.

Finding the best foundation for your skin type can be tricky – but it doesn’t have to be. Let us guide you through the saturated world of foundation.

First things first, think about what texture and finish you prefer. The best powder foundations will give you a matte finish and are great for oily skin types. Liquid formulas, on the other hand, can create a matte or dewy finish, while creams and mousses will literally make light bounce off your skin. Hello glow.

Once you’’ve browsed the options and found a texture you like, find the right colour match by visiting a make-up counter; an expert will be able to find your ideal fit. But, if you can’t find an expert to help you find your shade, test it yourself. Instead of swiping the foundation on the back of your hand, find a mirror and apply a strip of the product to your jawline. This is the perfect area to see if the colour will blend seamlessly with your skin tone. Make sure it blends with the tone on your neck too.

Still not sure? Zoe Taylor, make-up Artist for Chanel, told us: ‘The foundation formula you choose must be compatible with your skin type. For example, on dry skin I apply a thick mask or oil an hour before I apply the foundation, this creates a beautifully dewy base for flawless application, or if the skin is super oily I use it alone and buff it well into the skin.

‘Choosing the right colour might mean mixing colours if you are going for something with full coverage, and a more sheer coverage is best tested on your jawline. Always match your face to your chest colour for a fresh healthy and CORRECT colour.’

To achieve a flawless, long-lasting finish, invest in a good foundation primer to wear underneath. This should be applied after you moisturise and before foundation. If the foundation you choose doesn’’t contain SPF, choose a primer with sun protection to prevent premature ageing and fine lines. Or apply an SPF before your foundation if it doesn’t contain one.

And remember, the tools you use to apply foundation will impact the finish you achieve, so choose the best make-up brushes. For a natural finish use a large, soft brush or fingertips. For a more even, flawless look, try a round or flat make-up sponge or a smaller flat foundation brush.

Best foundation for oily skin

bareMinerals Original Foundation SPF 15, £27, Fabled

best foundaton for oily skin bareMinerals Original Foundation

If you suffer from oily skin, combat the shine with mattifying foundations that work to absorb the excess oil and stop shininess in its tracks. Powder foundations, like bareMinerals’ Original formula, are a particularly effective at this. It’s always worth looking for oil-free foundations so as not to exacerbate the oil problem, but the key is the term ‘non-comedogenic’, or non pore-clogging.

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Want to browse more of the oily-skin hero formulas? See our round up of the best foundation for oily skin is worth taking a look at too.

Best foundation for dry skin

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, £33, Fabled

best foundation Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

Powders absorb excess oil, so it’s best to avoid these if you have dry skin as they can enhance rather than disguise its appearance. Always prep your skin with your best moisturiser for dry skin to ensure it gets a boost of hydration before you apply your make-up.

Instead, opt for a liquid foundation or one that contains hydrating agents such as hyaluronic acid, which holds 1,000 times its own weight in water. And if you like the matte look, try a liquid foundation that dries with a powder effect so as not to emphasise the appearance of dryness.

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Read our round up of the best foundation for dry skin for more hero formulas for your skin type.

Best foundation for full coverage

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup, £32.50, Fabled

best foundation with full coverage Estee Lauder Double Wear

A strong contender for the world’s most famous foundation, Estée Lauder’s Double Wear is renowned for its full coverage and longevity, as well as offering a broad range of shades. It’s a fairly thick formula, but don’t let that put you off – it doesn’t feel heavy or go cakey on skin, and its staying power lasts for hours.

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Best foundation with lightweight coverage

Skin Base Foundation, £33, Illamasqua

best foundation

Besides boasting a whopping 26 shades, this lightweight foundation from Illamasqua is one you’ll be reaching for daily. There’s a reason it’s racked up a bunch of awards and it’s mainly down to its flawless photo-ready finish (without all the heaviness of a concealer, foundation and whatever nuclear strength gadget you’ve got in your make-up bag).

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Best foundation for acne-prone skin

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation, £54.59, Amazon

best foundation for acne prone skin Oxygenetix

This foundation by Oxygenetix is famous among acne-prone make-up lovers, because it not only covers up your acne well, it treats it too.

If you have problematic skin, another option is to opt for mineral make-up. These foundations are non-comodegenic, so they won’t clog your pores. Plus, if you have oily skin, the minerals will absorb any excess oil, giving you a fresh-faced look.

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Read our round up of the best foundation for acne prone skin to see more options for your skin type.

Best foundation for combination skin

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, £31, Fabled

best foundation for combination skin Bobbi Brown

The Skin Foundation Stick launched 25 years ago in 1992 and, since then, it’s gone on to become one of the best-selling foundations on the market. The reason it’s so good for combination skin in particular is that it adapts to your skin’s needs, with oil-absorbing minerals for shiny days and hydrating properties for when your skin is more on the dry side. Balancing combination skin problems is a thing of the past.

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Best foundation for mature skin

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, £30, charlottetilbury.com

best foundation for mature skin Charlotte Tilbury

Ever the perfectionist, Charlotte Tilbury spent five years perfecting her magic formula so that it catered for every skin type out there – it’s a one-size-fits-all foundation, hence the name ‘Magic’. What makes it so good on mature skin is its collagen-boosting properties, which help plump and even out skin’s texture, mushroom extract to tighten the skin and Vitamin C and hyaluronic spheres, which reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

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For more tips and tricks on caring for mature skin, see our round up of the anti-ageing beauty products your regime needs.

Best foundation for dark skin

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r, £26, Harvey Nichols

best foundation for dark skin Fenty Beauty

Rhianna almost broke the entire internet when she released her eponymous make-up line – and boy, did it live up to the hype. The Pro Filt-r foundation spans an impressive range of 40 shades, with great options for dark skin tones, and its fluid formula with a soft matte finish caters to the foundation tastes of modern women everywhere. Rhi Rhi, we take our hats off to you.

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Best foundation for pale skin

Make-up Forever Ultra HD Foundation, £30, Debenhams

best foundation for pale skin Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation

Known as one of the go-to artists for make-up artists who make up faces for the camera, this foundation is the ultimate complexion perfector with a number of great shades for fairer complexions. It’s got medium, buildable coverage and light-reflecting properties, making it the ultimate in creating a flawless base whatever the occasion. For other excellent options for the best foundation for pale skin, read our round up of the fairest shades.

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Best foundation for dewy skin

best foundation Armani

We guarantee as soon as you try this foundation, you’ll fall head over heels in love with it. It’s so lightweight, that you’re able to see your skin’s natural texture and appearance (like if you have freckles, which is probably why Meghan Markle loves it so much. She reportedly wore it at her wedding to Prince Harry.), but it can be built up if you want more coverage. It has a slight powdery finish to it, so those with combination skin or slightly oily skin will love it just as much as those with drier skin wanting a dewy look. It’s such a beautiful formulation that Armani rarely touch it – the expression ‘If it ain’t broke…’ comes to mind.

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Browse through our round-up of the best foundation on the market and find your perfect match.

Once you’ve found it, you’ll never look back.

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