I get asked for foundation recommendations all the time and, first of, it’s absolutely a personal choice what kind of finish you like, what brands you prefer and what works for your skin. I personally prefer a more natural, dewy, “your skin but better” foundation vs something more full coverage so most of the products listed reflect that. Also, it’s a hard task to narrow it down to just 5! But I wanted to try and keep it to the very most used. As with most makeup artists, I carry a lot of different bases, some of which are more pro products, for different skin types but these (in no particular order) I would say are my most used over the years:
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation – this one may be my no1 of the list. It has a water-based, oil-free formula and a light-medium, buildable coverage. Hydrating and long wearing, it looks and feels like second skin and is pretty long wearing. I’ve found it to be great for most skin types too, though because it’s so hydrating, if you are oilier you do need to prep and set your skin well. But that’s my experience for most foundations on oily skin to be honest. Overall, love this.
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation – A slightly misleading name as it’s definitely not sheer but not heavy either. Medium, buildable coverage and a lovely natural, glowy finish which I love. I’ve also never had someone tell me they’ve had any issues with this or any other Nars foundation which is another big plus! Also Nars base products (foundations and concealers) come in a fantastic range of shades and undertones so you can usually find the perfect shade to suit anyone.
MAC Face and Body Foundation – such a staple with so many makeup artists! A lightweight foundation with low-medium coverage. The very moisturising formula and natural/dewy finish means it’s not the best for oily skin but for normal, dry or even combination skin types (with a bit of powder to set) it’s really nice. Also very long wearing and as the name suggests, great for the body too. The only drawback to this foundation is that I’ve had a few models tell me over the years that MAC foundations can break them out. I used to use this foundation myself every day for years and never had this problem personally but as with anything skin related, it completely depends from person to person. Just worth baring in mind.
MAC Full Coverage Foundation – this foundation, while I think you buy it at most MAC counters now, is generally more of a pro product and honestly I wouldn’t recommend for an everyday base. I only really use this on top of a lighter foundation where someone might need more coverage, or as a concealer, and for this it’s brilliant. Emollient based and very blendable. This foundation is heavy duty and on its own can cover severe blemishes, scars, even tattoos. It can also be mixed with moisturiser to make it less full coverage if it’s to be used all over (for example, for stage performers) and then applied directly where more coverage may be needed. Also, from an application point of view, you need to prep the skin very precisely before applying as too much moisture in the skin will make it slip and too little will make it look cakey. But as a pro mua product or for performers it’s a great addition!
Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser – Okay this has been a more recent discovery and what a discovery it’s been!!!! It’s the base I now use on myself I love it so much. It is a sheer, buildable coverage and has a GREAT amount of coverage for a tinted moisturiser. It disappears completely into the skin so looks like you aren’t wearing anything, while still covering any minor redness (you would definitely still need concealer for anything more). As an example I have a bit of acne scarring on my cheeks and I don’t need to use any concealer on top of this to cover it but I would still need concealer for any blemishes. The formula contains Kopara, which hydrates and encourages natural cell renewal and a Vitamin C derivative which claims to help reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation in just four weeks. I can’t vouch for this part but it does get fantastic reviews so if that’s you, could be worth a try!
I’m already thinking of all the others I want to add on but I’ll stop here. Let me know your favourites below!