Choosing the correct foundation can be tricky—there's texture, shade, coverage, and application to think about. To help make decisions, we're always talking to celebrity makeup artists about what they use on their clients. But, what about the formulas they use on themselves?
We uncovered nine foundations that are so good, celebrity makeup artists have been reaching for them for as long as they've been on shelves. And we even found out the one foundation they all agree on. Keep scrolling to find out which products made the cut and why they're paramount to achieving flawless skin.
"I call it my kitchen sink foundation because it works on every skin tone and type. It has buildable coverage—it starts off super sheer, and it can be layered to an almost full-coverage appearance. I even put it on legs in lieu of pantyhose." — Kelli J. Bartlett, Glamsquad's director of artistry and education
"My all-time favorite drugstore foundation is the L'Oréal True Match. I discovered it way back when I was in college and had a bad breakout from stressing over all those midterm papers. Now I use it on clients whenever I need a product with great coverage that doesn't get cakey. True Match is not only a buildable foundation, but it's also oil-free, which is great for anyone with trouble-prone skin. It leaves a nice, even, and airy finish comparable to more costly foundations, and it's got great wear for clients headed to events. For the best finish and coverage manageability, I use a damp sponge. It's definitely my drugstore secret!" — Kelly Hunt, celebrity makeup artist.
"I love the consistency and color choices of Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation. I was sent the product when I worked with Olivia Wilde, so I applied it on myself first and realized I liked how natural it looked on the skin. It has light to medium coverage with a satin finish to give the skin a luminous and flawless look without feeling heavy. I like to apply it with a damp Beautyblender sponge for light coverage, without looking cakey." — Julie Harris, celebrity makeup artist
"My favorite foundation is BareMinerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation. This is the lightest foundation I've yet to discover. It feels like water on your skin, but it offers an incredible amount of pigment, so just a few drops will give your complexion a flawless, radiant finish. It's free of oil, parabens, fragrance and silicone, making it healthier for your skin and giving it better staying power in warm and hot weather because of it. I LOVE the chemical-free SPF 20 in it. I wear a few drops of this foundation when I train, and it stays put through my sweat, keeping my skin looking fresh, and it never breaks me out." — Roxanne Saffaie, celebrity makeup artist
"I love Tarte's Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer for summer months. It's lightweight, has buildable coverage, and is known to be great for sensitive skin or skin that's prone to breakouts. I add it to my tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone while still looking natural, sometimes going up a half shade to give my pale skin a little help." — Amy Strozzi, celebrity makeup artist
"It brings life to your face, transforms it, and makes the skin glow in the most natural, flawless way. For me, skin is what defines age, and radiant skin will always make one look youthful—and this is exactly what this foundation does." — Carola Gonzalez, celebrity makeup artist
"My holy grail foundations are the Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation ($62), and the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation ($62). When it comes to foundation, Koh Gen Do can do no wrong! I have never met a foundation that enhances skin as perfectly as these gems. Not only do I use them on my clients, but I also use them on myself. Both are luminous without being shiny, and they have enough pigment to conceal without blanketing the skin in makeup. I usually don't need to use any additional concealer when I use these—they do it all! They're also great if you want to just spot conceal—they're great alone under the eyes, around the nose, etc. The Moisture formula is a bit creamier in consistency, while the Aqua is more of a traditional liquid formula. I usually apply them with a soft brush, but they are easily applied with fingers or a sponge as well. A little goes a long way, so start small; a mini squeeze or one or two pumps usually do the trick." — Tamah, celebrity makeup artist
"I am totally obsessed with Koh Gen Do foundation. It's great because you can build on it, and it's light but long-wearing. The colors are spot-on and super-flattering. It just works, and it's not fussy; it's super easy." — Tracy Murphy, celebrity makeup artist.
"The most natural-looking foundation is Koh Gen Do's Aqua Foundation ($62), I love that it's sheer and lightweight, but gives a really pretty dewy glow. With just one layer, you even out your skin, and it looks fresh, even at the end of the day." — Kira Nasrat, celebrity makeup artist
"I love Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation. It's a medium coverage, but you can thin it down by using [a] damp Beautyblender, or you can layer it for more coverage. It really looks like skin, because it has a luminosity to it, thanks to what they call 'water glow,' that mimics skin's natural radiance—nothing too shimmery or shiny looking, [it] just looks like skin. I find it even wears well on oily skin, too … even though it has the water glow in it, it doesn't add shine." — Nick Barose, celebrity makeup artist