How to Choose Your Perfect Foundation

It’s all about that base: the best products, tools and techniques.

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Pro Application Tips

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Celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles shares her tips for a beautifully blended base.

  • Test products along your jawline, not your wrist. It’s best to try foundation on the area where you’ll actually be wearing it.
  • Just two steps to a streak-free canvas: Dab on liquid foundation with a brush, then spread it across skin with a makeup sponge.
  • Set your base with a translucent loose powder for extra-long wear.
  • Give your brushes a monthly deep clean. Mild dishwashing liquid helps remove oily residue. 

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Tool Time: Brushes

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E.l.f. Beautifully Precise Airbrush Blender, $10. Contoured bristles let you swirl, tap and sweep powder to even outskin tone like a pro.

It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Flat Top Buffing Foundation Brush #6, $48. Apply this flat-top brush in a circular motion for an airbrushed finish.

Sonia Kashuk Large Foundation Brush, $11. Use with liquid, cream or gel formulations for seamless coverage.

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Tool Time: Low- and High-Tech

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The Original beautyblender, $20. The cult classic sponge reaches even the tiniest corners. Try it damp for a dewier finish.

Smooth in seconds: The Color Me Automatic Foundation Applicator, $54, uses sonic technology to create a flawless face.

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Anti-Aging Foundations


Makeup meets skin care. Full-coverage color and wrinkle-fighting ingredients give a youthful and bright complexion.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, $44.

Laura Geller Double Take Baked Versatile Powder Foundation, $36.


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Luminous Foundations


Glow get ’em with products that impart subtle radiance. The sheer finish creates a lit-from-within look.

Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation, $44. 

Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup, $39.50.

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Add a few droplets of pigment to your daily moisturizer to customize your color and shorten your beauty routine.

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, $44.

Smashbox Cosmetics Camera Ready BB Water, $42. 

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Thanks to 12-hour staying power, these blendable bases won’t crease. The cooling formula minimizes redness while maximizing hydration.

Maybelline New York Dream Velvet Foundation, $11.

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation, $36.

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Blurring Foundations


Smooth imperfections with just one swipe. Added light-diffusing pigments provide the ideal #selfie opp.

Flower E.E. Erase Everything Ultimate Foundation, $13.

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot All Day Liquid to Powder Foundation, $19.

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Cushion Foundations


Light-as-air complexion correctors housed in convenient compacts are ideal for touch-ups on the go.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation, $17.

Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Cushion Foundation, $40.

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Don’t be deceived by the light texture. These formulas pack a powerful (and moisturizing) punch in a sheer and breathable liquid.

Physicians Formula Youthful Wear Spotless Foundation, $15.

Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation Fluid, $45.


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Stick Foundations


Do yourself a solid with these easy-to-use and perfectly portable pieces. The design is prime for midday touch-ups.

Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Makeup, $14.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick, $46.