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Don’t get us wrong, we love a naturally glowy no-makeup makeup look as much as the next person, but some situations call for products with a bit more concealing power. Maybe we didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or we just noticed a few new zits cropping up—and in these cases, a tinted moisturizer just isn’t gonna cut it. That’s where our hero full-coverage makeup products come into play.
Full-coverage makeup has come a long way over the years. Today, many foundations and concealers offer the same skincare benefits and buzzy ingredients as our favorite creams and serums, and there are plenty of products specially formulated for each skin type, skin concern, and desired finish, and in a range of price points to boot. Still, with so many products out there (and so many reviews to sift through) it’s not easy to know which ones are the real deal and which ones will leave us a dry, cakey mess. Fear not—we did all the homework for you.
The ultimate guide to the very best full-coverage makeup awaits, below.
Becca’s Ultimate Coverage 24 Hour Foundation has great reviews across the board, and for good reason—it really does it all. Formulated to work for all skin types, this long-lasting liquid foundation perfects blemishes, redness, hyperpigmentation, and uneven texture without clogging your pores.
Though it offers full coverage for a full 24 hours, its natural finish is breathable and flexible, so it won’t settle into pores and lines or clump around dry patches by the afternoon. Plus, it’s available in an impressive 42 shades, meaning that everybody gets to enjoy this flawless goodness.
Beloved skin-care brand The Ordinary is best known for its wallet-friendly yet high-quality assortment of serums, oils, and peels, but we’re quite fond of its two foundations, the Serum Foundation and Coverage Foundation, too. When it comes to full-coverage makeup, the Coverage Foundation is a solid choice for a lightweight, heavily-pigmented formula that blends in seamlessly to the skin.
Available in 21 different shades, it effectively conceals dark circles, spots, and blemishes and reduces the appearance of pores. And much like its serum-inspired sister, it still manages to apply delightfully creamy and leaves behind a soft, semi-matte finish with just the right amount of glow. And, seriously, the price just cannot be beaten.
This drugstore foundation from L’Oréal is a godsend for your skin and your wallet. Its medium-to-full buildable coverage seamlessly blends in to conceal any imperfections, leaving you with a refreshed, natural finish that lasts for the entire day. Despite its coverage power, it’s wonderfully breathable and lightweight, and its non-comedogenic oil-absorbing formula makes it suitable for all skin types. And for the price? It’s a no-brainer.
Though we’re wearing this one year-round, we consider it the ultimate summertime foundation. The formula’s three different oil absorbers not only keep you looking fresh and shine-free, but they resist sweat, water, and transfer. And the bonus SPF 25 makes it the perfect choice for a day spent poolside or at the beach.
This luxurious foundation from legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath may be on the pricier side, but we promise, it’s worth every single penny. A favorite of Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould, this long-wear formula provides the most stunning, radiant finish. The formula uses unique polymers that provide lasting lightweight wear with a smooth-to-the-touch feel, and even though it’s coverage is considered sheer to medium, its amino acid-treated pure pigments allow this creamy magic to build to your desire, while the formula’s Diamond Core Powder Technology smoothes and blurs the appearance of fine lines, pores, and imperfections.
We love some bonus skincare, too, and this foundation’s Vita-Serum Complex moisturizes and helps fight the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Available in 30 shades, this product is definitely a worthy investment. You’ll be savoring this one to the very last drop.
Shea butter is a plant lipid that comes from African shea tree nuts and is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It's used to help moisturize, nourish, and soothe the skin.
You can’t Google the word “concealer” without being bombarded by rave reviews of Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer. This cult-favorite full-coverage concealer comes in 30 different shades that cover, smooth, and blur dark circles, fine lines, and other imperfections. The vegan formula is also infused with “tape technology” that instantly brightens, lifts, and firms the skin. It’s essentially an eye lift in a tube—how could we resist?
While it may sound heavy-duty, it provides a silky-smooth finish thanks to shea butter and mango seed butter, which moisturize, condition, and protect the skin against free radical damage. Plus, the addition of licorice root extract helps to color correct and brighten dark spots, making sunspots a thing of the past.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) making them plump.
This best-selling color-correcting cream from IT Cosmetics truly does it all, and has Gould’s approval to back it up. This full-coverage formulation creates a natural, semi-dewy finish that color corrects, conceals dark spots, and blurs the appearance of pores for all skin types. It’s also infused with skin-care greats such as collagen, peptides, and hyaluronic acid to provide smoother, firmer, and more hydrated skin. Plus, it provides powerful SPF 50 protection against UVA and UVB rays.
The only caveat? This product could definitely benefit from a shade range expansion. It’s currently only offered in 12 different shades, and when so many other brands are now offering 30+, we hope to see IT Cosmetics do the same.
Oily- and combo-skinned folks, rejoice. This oil-free long-wear foundation from Revlon is made just for you, specifically designed to keep oil and shine at bay. With lightweight medium-to-full buildable coverage, it provides a smooth, natural matte finish. What makes this a real winner, though, is the addition of salicylic acid, which helps control oil production and reduces the appearance of pores.
Said to be “life-proof,” it boasts a full 24 hours of wear that lasts through anything. Plus, it’s formulated in 43 different shades and offers SPF 15 protection against UVA and UVB rays.
The world collectively cried tears of joy when Tarte launched a foundation version of its beloved Shape Tape Concealer, the Face Tape Foundation, back in 2019. Another favorite from Gould, this long-wear, full-coverage liquid foundation is an absolute must for dry skin, packed with nourishing and hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, snow mushroom extract, and antioxidant-rich apple fruit extract. It provides a natural matte finish that never leaves the skin looking dry and effectively covers and blurs the appearance of redness, dark spots, pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that this formula is also waterproof, sweatproof, transfer-proof, and vegan. Not to mention, the shade range is unbeatable, available in a whopping 50 different shades with five undertones.
If you have sensitive skin, finding a foundation that won’t cause a reaction or breakout can take a lot of trial and error. However, Dermablend’s Smooth Liquid Foundation with SPF 25 is a solid choice if you’re looking for buildable coverage with a matte finish.
A favorite of Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue, this liquid formula is non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and sensitive skin-tested and approved. Thanks to the brand’s Camo-Pigment Technology, it provides 16 hours of fade- and transfer-proof wear while weightlessly masking redness, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, acne, acne scars, and even birthmarks. To top it all off, it provides SPF 25 protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Years since its initial launch, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation continues to hold its status as a cult favorite, and rightfully so. One of Gould’s picks, this full-coverage formula offers a matte finish that smoothes texture, diffuses pores, and fights shine like a pro, but still feels lightweight and breathable. Because it’s oil-free, those with acne-prone will benefit from its ability to cover blemishes without irritation, and its climate-adaptive technology makes it sweat- and humidity-proof, so it won’t clog your pores no matter how gross it is outside.
Of course, we can’t fail to mention that it’s available in a total of 50 shades—one of the first foundations to do so—so there’s a shade for everyone.
Believe us when we say Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation is, truly, magic. Loved by Xue, this buildable coverage liquid foundation provides a gorgeous demi-matte finish and boasts plenty of skincare benefits. Formulated with buzzy ingredients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, it creates a lit-from-within effect and helps to reduce the look of discoloration, spots, and lines over time, while concentrated mushroom extract works to hydrate, improve firmness, and tighten pores.
This formula is fit for all skin types, but its ability to effortlessly camouflage tougher-to-conceal skin concerns make it a solid choice for those dealing with acne-scarring—in fact, it promises to reduce the appearance of acne in as little as nine weeks.
If the matte-est of matte skin is what you’re looking for, look no further than Milk Makeup’s Blur Liquid Matte Foundation. Free of oil and silicone, this water-based formula packs serious pigment in just one swipe, yet still manages to capture a lightweight serum-like feel. Available in 24 different shades, it instantly blurs and covers pores and other imperfections, leaving behind an ultra-matte soft-focus finish—ideal if you’re expecting to be photographed. Just keep in mind, this might not be suitable for drier skin types.
Dewy foundations have a reputation for being lighter in coverage, but not this top-rated favorite from Maybelline. The Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation provides exactly what the name implies: a dewy (yet not overly dewy) finish and smooth skin. Fit for normal to dry skin types, the formula hydrates rough patches with vitamin E while evening out the skin tone and concealing spots and dark circles with long-lasting, buildable coverage.
Aloe vera is a naturally derived ingredient known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. The aloe plant's inner gel mucilage (the part that's used in skin care products) is made up of 99.5% water.
Now, it’s not uncommon for a foundation to be infused with skin-loving ingredients, but IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare is the ultimate fusion of makeup and skincare. A favorite of Byrdie associate editor Holly Rhue, this buildable coverage foundation will even out skin tone and cover imperfections while its skin-loving ingredients get to work. Hyaluronic acid and aloe vera instantly hydrate and smooth out the skin, while hepes acid provides gentle exfoliation to brighten the complexion. Vitamins E and B5 further moisturize and support the skin barrier while fighting free radicals.
So, not only does this foundation give you an instant radiant glow, but it works to boost the overall health of your skin over time, too. We also love that it comes in 40 shades, which is a much more inclusive range than the brand’s beloved CC cream.
These foundation sticks from Juvia’s Place don’t mess around: They glide on creamy, leaving behind a weightless, skin-like texture, but are highly-pigmented to seamlessly cover dark spots, blemishes, and other imperfections. Because they’re infused with shea butter, they’re lusciously blendable and won’t ever leave you dry or cakey, but they’re also formulated with oil-controlling ingredients to keep you shine-free all day long. And for the price? You can certainly afford to snag a few of the 30 available shades for highlighting and contouring purposes, too.
This foundation from Kevyn Aucoin may technically be considered a balm, but don’t be fooled—it has some serious coverage power. This dreamy formula applies as a silky balm, as its name intends, but delivers a natural matte finish with buildable, full coverage. You can rely on it to neutralize redness and cover blemishes without even a hint of cakiness, and it boasts skin-protecting hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and avocado oil to keep skin hydrated and protected, rather than dry you out like many of the full-coverage foundations out there.
Bonus? It comes with its own specially-designed brush—a pretty awesome one, at that—to ensure an effortless application. A little goes a long way, too, so you can justify the higher price point knowing this pot will last you for quite some time.
Pressed powder can be full-coverage, too, and this velvety smooth version from Make Up For Ever certainly does the trick. Suitable for all skin types and available in 30 different shades, this sleek compact instantly blurs pores and smoothes imperfections while providing a natural matte finish that bends and breathes with your skin. And even though we love the fact that it can easily be tossed in your bag to reapply whenever needed, it’s not necessary—this stuff keeps you fresh-faced for up to 12 hours.
It’s not easy to find a serum-like foundation that offers adequate coverage, but this formula from Ilia just does that. While it’s considered medium coverage, it can easily be built up to fuller coverage to blur away imperfections and minimize the look of pores. It certainly doesn’t hurt that its clean formulation is packed with plenty of hydrating ingredients like aloe, squalane, rosehip, jojoba, and marula oils that melt into the skin to soothe irritation and even out the complexion.
Clean beauty doesn’t necessarily have to come with a hefty price tag, and this foundation from drugstore favorite Pacifica proves it. This medium-to-full coverage formula will leave you with a flawless finish, providing a natural, radiant glow and effectively masking the appearance of pores. It’s also packed with good for you ingredients like moisturizing hyaluronic acid, balancing coconut water, and antioxidant-rich rose leaf extract—a major plus.
What this Byrdie-approved clean formula doesn’t contain is a long list of ingredients that aren’t so kind to your skin: silicone, parabens, phthalates, talc, BHA, BHT, petroleum, and drying alcohols, and it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. But what we love most of all? The fact that we can attain healthy, beautiful skin and not break the bank.