Beauty Secrets

A collage with beauty editor Carly Cardellino and her favorite foundations

I've Tried Hundreds Of Foundations — These Are The 10 Best

In my 18 years of experience as a beauty editor, these are my favorites — hands down.

by Carly Cardellino
Originally Published: 
Resting Mom Face
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I’ve worked in the beauty industry as an editor and writer for over 18 years, which means that makeup and skincare brands will often send me products for free. This isn’t me bragging, but it is me explaining that I have tried nearly every foundation that’s on the market. So if I recommend a product to buy, you can trust that I know it works better than anything else.

When the Romper team asked me to write about the best foundations for moms, I knew right away which 10 products I’d recommend to any mother (or person) who needs to fake a glowy, eight-hours-of-sleep effect. These are the formulas I keep coming back to, time and again, after two decades of testing every foundation under the sun.

It’s also important to note that I have super-sensitive, acne-prone skin, so you can rest easy knowing that these formulas won’t trigger additional breakouts (or at least that’s my experience of using them).

Behold, the best — my top 10, holy grail — foundations worth buying for every budget.

Best Drugstore Foundation

I remember when the Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation dropped years ago because I was instantly a fan, and still am to this very day. (The concealer is also an incredibly great drugstore gem — think NARS Creamy Concealer-level good.) Think of it like yoga pants for your face: The formula slips on easily, makes your skin look so smooth, is so comfortable to wear, and moves with you easily until you take it off. Bonus: Your skin also will look radiant and dewy the entire time it’s on.

Available in 24 shades.

Best CC Cream

The Honest Beauty CCC Clean Corrective with Vitamin C Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 is a new launch from Jessica Alba’s brand Honest Beauty, and it really impressed me when I tried it. A little goes a long way, but I love the finish — it’s dewy, makes your skin look bouncy and well-rested, and includes blurring spheres to even out any imperfections and vitamin C to aid in skin brightening.

Available in nine shades.

Best Hydrating Foundation

The Urban Decay Hydromaniac Glowy Tinted Hydrator Foundation hydrates your skin with marula oil and visibly brightens it with antioxidant-rich kombucha filtrate. I love it because it goes on super smooth and leaves your skin glowing (30% more hydrated!) without looking greasy. Hot tip: You only need a tiny bit for your entire face because it’s super concentrated, yet doesn’t feel thick on your skin.

Available in 12 shades.

Best Foundation For Acne-Prone Skin

NUDESTIX Tinder Cover Foundation is unique in that it was originally created to be an innovative skin care product with tinted pigments to give a more even complexion, but it blew up as a cult-favorite foundation that also wicks away water for a long-wearing effect. The reason I personally still use this formula (I oscillate between a couple of foundations — all of which I’m writing about in this very story!) is because it gives my skin a natural finish and doesn’t crease up. Plus, it has tea tree, which helps to fight breakouts, and skin-brightening minerals that leave my skin looking its best.

Available in 15 shades.

Best Full Coverage Foundation

I still remember the first time I met with founder Jamie Kern Lima about the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, her brand’s cult-favorite product. I was hooked with a capital H after using it once and became an immediate evangelist for the formula. I know it is my job to spread the good beauty word, but I was intentional about telling people about this formula when it launched. It was, and still is, incredible. It’s full coverage and does not pretend to be anything else. That said, it leaves you with this low-key glow that makes your skin look healthy. Years after its launch, I still can’t say enough good things about it.

Available in 12 shades.

Best Filter-Effect Foundation

In my opinion, Charlotte Tilbury never fails when it comes to makeup. So many of my favorite products from her line (like the Pillowtalk Lip Liner and lipsticks, to name a few) are spot-on amazing — and she didn’t disappoint with her new Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation, which Kate Moss is the face of. It’s definitely worth trying because the formula wears so nicely on your skin, making it look like a filter effect, IRL. It’s a light-medium coverage that’s perfect for everyday.

Available in 30 shades.

Best Foundation With SPF

The Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation is a staple in my makeup bag. I love how it has extra SPF protection (though it is important to apply an actual sunscreen before layering on any makeup product). I also love the way it feels as you apply it to your skin, like you’re put ting on a silky serum, thanks to the hydrating squalane and skin-brightening niacinamide. And as far as the wearability, it has never pilled on me, gives a believable why-yes-this-is-my-perfectly-clear-skin finish, and it leaves the skin with a dewy sheen. All that said, I do suggest getting shade matched somewhere near you, since I found the shades to be tricky to nail down online. I personally mix two shades together during the summer and use another for all the other months of the year.

Available in 30 shades.

Best Medium Coverage Foundation

A tried and true, long-standing beauty editor favorite, NARS Natural Radiant Lightweight Foundation glides on as if you’re using skincare — close your eyes and you could actually mistake it for slathering on your favorite moisturizer. It also leaves you with a medium-to-full coverage and a glow that’ll last you all day and all night. Oh, and you won’t even need to touch it up, it’s that good.

Available in 33 shades.

Best Long-Lasting Foundation

Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation SPF 15 is legit one of the greatest out there. It won’t let you down in terms of coverage — it’s medium-to-full and long-lasting — and it offers up to 24 hours of hydration, thanks to wild pansy extract. (But please wash your face at the end of the night and don’t sleep in your foundation!)

Available in 42 shades.

Best Everyday Foundation

The first time I used Chanel’s latest, the No. 1 Revitalizing Foundation, it left me speechless. It gives a second-skin finish, leaving a buildable, light-to-medium coverage. It also contains moisturizing red camellia oil that leaves you with a youthful glow that implies you got eight hours of sleep last night — maybe even nine. It’s currently the foundation I’ve been using every day, so when you see me in real life or in any picture or video on social media, that’s why my skin looks so healthy and fresh.

Available in 20 shades.

Resting Mom Face is a bi-monthly column from Romper’s beauty contributor, Carly Cardellino.

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