Though it’s hard to imagine a time before iPhone selfies were the norm (thanks, Kim K.), we do hold a nostalgia for Polaroids and disposable cameras. Call us vain, but you have to admit those pleasantly fuzzy photos were so much more flattering than our current every-pore-magnified HD situation. Sure, there are plenty of photo-editing apps existing solely to airbrush every inch of our carefully crafted Instagram snaps, but we also want our skin to look that smooth, even, and glowing IRL—is that too much to ask?
With that in mind, we took our high-maintenance demands to some of Hollywood’s top celebrity makeup artists and asked them: What are the most photogenic foundations that also look super natural in person? Let’s just say their answers have definitely expanded our ever-growing makeup wish list. Keep scrolling for the photo-friendliest foundation according to makeup artists!
This cult favorite from Giorgio Armani was by far the number one foundation picked by all of the makeup artists we polled. Kathy Jeung, Rita Ora’s go-to makeup guru, told us she loves it because “it can be sheered down easily and sets up without powder to give a luminous, dewy finish.” She applies it to clients’ faces with broad strokes using Tom Ford’s Cream Foundation Brush ($72), then blends it into their skin with a dampened Beautyblender ($20). Makeup artist Denika Bedrossian (she calls Kelly Osbourne and Hannah Simone clients) agrees, saying, “I love this hydrating and lightweight texture—it's buildable and wears like second skin.”
Makeup artist Carola Gonzalez, who works with Kerry Washington and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, says she’s been using Luminous Silk for 10 years—and still reaches for it every time. “It brings life to your face, transforms it, and makes the skin glow in the most natural, flawless way,” she tells us. “For me skin is what defines age, and radiant skin will always make one look youthful—and this is exactly what this foundation does.” She uses a wet beauty sponge for sheerer coverage, and a round brush, like Hourglass’s Foundation Brush ($58), for a smoother, full-coverage application.
If you’re looking for buildable coverage, this concentrated formula is your go-to. Makeup artist Amber Dreadon, who works with the likes of Lorde and cool-girl Langley Fox, told us she loves its coverage and the light, matte finish. “It still look really great, natural skin on camera, so it’s perfect for the red carpet,” she says. “I apply it sparingly with the Smith Cosmetics Foundation Brush #115 ($28), then blend it out using a damp Beautyblender ($20) for a perfectly natural finish!”
Makeup artist Fabiola, who glams up Jaime King, Vanessa Hudgens, and more for red carpet events, says her favorite foundation is this spray version from Dior. “I love it because it’s got great coverage without being heavy and thick,” she says. “It looks like skin when it goes on and it dries matte, so you don't need to add a lot of powder.” She sprays it on the back of her hand and either feathers it on with a foundation brush or blends it in with a damp beauty sponge for a little-heavier coverage.
This pot of creamy, silky goodness is a makeup artist favorite and frequently used on the sets of editorial shoots, as well as red carpet events. “I love the way it photographs,” makeup artist Carissa Ferreri tells us. “You can control the density of the texture from a complete coverage to a sheer formula by breaking it down with your favorite moisturizer.” She uses a damp beauty sponge to blend and massage the waterproof formula into the skin of clients like Gina Rodriguez, swearing that it leaves no trace of it visible—just gorgeous, photographable skin.
Another pro tip? Ferreri told us sometimes she’ll add a touch of liquid luminizer, like Nars Illuminator ($30) in Orgasm, to “sheer out” the formula.
The proof is in the name—created with HD cameras in mind, Make Up For Ever’s newest rendition of its much-loved HD foundation is even creamier and more moisturizing. “It’s smooth and covers skin well without being cakey,” makeup artist Tina Turnbow tells us (she works with Ivanka Trump, Taylor Schilling, and more). “I like to apply with my fingertips, so it blends into the skin well. Plus, the color range is excellent!”
Though Jeung told us she’s a fan of Luminous Silk, she reaches for this luxe, serum-like formula from Cle de Peau. “I apply it to areas that need more detail—around the nostrils, eyes, and hairline—using a Stilazzi Large Concealer Brush ($15),” she says.
Want more makeup artist picks? Click here for 13 products makeup artists love but you didn’t know existed.