From lightweight tints to full-coverage formulas.

Pia Velasco
Dec 18, 2020 @ 9:58 am
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement
best liquid foundations 2021
Credit: Sephora (2), Amazon

Finding the best beauty products has never been easier thanks to Pia’s Picks, our weekly curated list. As the senior beauty editor at HelloGiggles, I test and examine the latest skincare, makeup, hair, and nail products so I can confidently recommend the best ones to you.

After our sunscreen and primer, foundation is the next step to creating a full face of makeup. It's different from tinted moisturizer, of course, seeing as it's more pigmented and typically thicker. There are several types of foundation formulas to choose from, but the most popular are powders and liquid. Powder foundations are typically more full-coverage and mattifying, making them better for people who have oily skin, while liquids typically give off that second-skin look and have a dewier finish than powders.

Liquid foundations can also fill in fine lines and wrinkles (powders typically crease after a while), are buildable, and typically blend into the skin more naturally than powder foundations do, which is why they're so popular. There are light-coverage, medium-coverage, and full-coverage options, each of which has additional perks, like SPF or hydrating skincare ingredients. Here are our 11 favorite liquid foundations on the market.

1. Physicians Formula Organic Wear Silk Foundation Elixir

Physicians Formula Silk Foundation Elixir
$15.99

Infused with jojoba oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera, this liquid foundation moisturizes skin while giving off a dewy finish. 

2. Tarte Babassu Foundcealer Skincare Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20

Tarte Babassu Foundcealer Skincare Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20
$39
SHOP IT
Sephora

This formula is full-coverage but skin-like, which is why we gave this foundation a 2020 Beauty Crush Award. It received a 5/5 score for longevity, so reapplication isn’t necessary. Plus, it has SPF 20, which is always necessary.

3. Exa High Fidelity Foundation

Exa High Fidelity Foundation
$38
SHOP IT
Credo Beauty

If you love clean beauty products but have always been wary of the efficacy of clean makeup, look no further. This Credo-exclusive foundation challenges your all-time favorite pick with its buildable formula and semi-satin finish that looks and feels like a second skin. Plus, we love that it offers 43 shades.

4. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
SHOP IT
Amazon

HG's editorial assistant has been wearing this foundation for years, and even her dermatologist has complimented it. The product is made with an antioxidant blend that works to improve skin's luminosity, tone, and texture, and it's formulated with broad-spectrum SPF 20, too. "Though I've now tried dozens of other foundations, I always come back to this Neutrogena one," our tester said in her full review. "The other foundations I've tried have either dried out my skin or given me a cakey look, but this lightweight and medium-coverage formula feels like I'm putting on a moisturizing serum, and once it's on my face, it makes my skin looks like a better version of itself."

5. Estée Lauder Double Wear Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation

Estée Lauder Double Wear Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
$43
SHOP IT
Sephora

This cult-classic foundation lives up to the hype. The buildable full-coverage foundation is transfer-proof, sweat-proof, and sets itself without the use of a powder, which makes it a favorite amongst people with oily skin.

6. Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation

Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation
$64
SHOP IT
Sephora

This foundation was inspired by charmeuse silk, which has a smooth and shiny finish, and that's exactly how it makes your skin look, too. A few pumps of this medium coverage foundation will give you a healthy glow that'll last all day.

7. L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation
SHOP IT
Amazon

Give your skin some instant glow while sticking to a budget with this drugstore pick. As the product name suggests, it'll give you some serious radiance to make you look like you got eight hours of sleep. It lasts up to 24 hours, has medium coverage, and has SPF 15.

8. ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation

ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
$46
SHOP IT
Sephora

Infused with super-hydrating squalane, hyaluronic acid, and brightening niacinamide, this foundation tint is a skincare-makeup hybrid. A few drops will give your skin a light coverage and glowy finish so that you look like the most radiant version of yourself. Plus, we stan a product with SPF 40.

9. NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation

NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation
$45
SHOP IT
Sephora

This foundation has blown up on TikTok, with many users even calling it "iconic." It's incredibly full-coverage, mattifying, transfer-proof, and water-proof. In fact, we even tested it by applying it to our hands and running them under water—and guess what? The foundation did not budge even a tiny bit.

10. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
$35
SHOP IT
Sephora

Choose from Fenty's 50 shades to find your perfect pick. This long-wear, mattifying, and non-comedogenic formula works for all skin types, but it's especially beneficial to people who have oily or acne-prone skin. It has a buildable medium-coverage finish, so it's perfect for covering up blemishes and under-eye circles.

11. Laura Mercier Flawless Lumière Radiance-Perfecting Foundation

Laura Mercier Flawless Lumière Radiance-Perfecting Foundation
$48
SHOP IT
Sephora

During our 2020 Beauty Crush Award testing, this foundation received a 4.5/5 score for making skin look radiant while providing medium coverage. “The pump on the bottle allows you to control how much product you use,” points out one HG editor. “It’s incredibly easy to blend into my skin, which helps me achieve that I-woke-up-like-this look,” says another.