The 14 Best Long-Wear Foundations That Are Good for the Skin

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Extended-wear makeup might not be something you reach for daily. Still, it's nice to have when you've got a long day (or night) ahead of you. And while there's no shortage of long-wear shadows, liners, and concealers out there, it all starts with the right foundation.

"Anyone who wants their makeup to last and may want more coverage would be a great candidate for a long-wear formula," says celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa. "People with oily skin also love long-lasting foundation because it doesn't move as much."

According to beauty expert Lynnette Cole, today's brands are keeping up with consumers' demand for makeup that doesn't break down after a few hours. "We all desire a long-wear foundation that's multitasking, good for the skin, and looks flawless for more than just nine-to-five or special occasions."

Meet the Expert

  • Lynnette Cole is a licensed esthetician and makeup expert specializing in natural-looking, everyday beauty looks. She is also the former Miss USA and the Global Education Director at PÜR Beauty.
  • Nydia Figueroa is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty director at Fashion Gxd Magazine and Miss New Jersey Earth. She has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, as well as in magazines such as Allure and Nylon.

With pointers from these pros in mind, we found the best long-wear foundations currently on the market.

Best Overall: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation

Estee Lauder DoubleWear Stay In Place Makeup SPF 10

 Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Award-winning formula

  • Diverse shade range

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Contains PEGs

A go-to for brides, busy bees, folks with oily skin, and anyone who needs lasting coverage, Estée Lauder's famous Double Wear Foundation reigns in the extended-wear category. The ultra-smooth liquid conceals blemishes, evens out your skin tone, and leaves you with a natural-looking matte finish.

This award-winning, fragrance-free formula is also buildable and easy to blend. It promises up to 24 hours of coverage with minimal caking or creasing. What's more, Double Wear is now available in 56 shades to match a wide range of skin tones.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 56 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Maybelline Super Stay Active Wear Up to 30H Foundation

Maybelline Super Stay Active Wear Up to 30H Foundation

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Oil-free formula

  • Lasts up to 30 hours

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains PEGs

Looking for something more affordable? Maybelline Super Stay offers up to 30 hours of full, natural-looking coverage. And the oil-free formula doesn't leave you with a heavy, cakey feeling.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 28 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore: L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation

L'Oreal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Contains SPF

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

  • Contains PEGs

L'Oreal's Infallible line holds its own against higher-end makeup brands. Available in 40 shades, this buildable foundation is lightweight, breathable, and even offers SPF 25 protection from the sun.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: natural | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation SPF 20

La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation SPF 20

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Contains SPF

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

The Soft Fluid is undoubtedly expensive, but you'll get what you pay for. This top-shelf foundation camouflages blemishes, smooths uneven texture, provides SPF 20 protection, won't melt in humid environments, and maintains its airbrushed finish for hours on end.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 27 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Buildable: NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation

Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Easy to blend

  • Sweat-resistant

  • Excellent shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains PEGs

Nars Natural Radiant offers buildable, blendable coverage and a natural-looking finish. It's also sweat-resistant, unlikely to transfer, and available in 34 shades that match warm, cool, and neutral undertones.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 34 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Medium Coverage: Make Up Forever HD Skin Undetectable Longwear Foundation

Make Up Forever HD Skin Undetectable Longwear Foundation

Sephora

What We Like
  • Last up to 24 hours

  • Diverse shade range

  • Waterproof

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

  • Contains PEGs

An improved version of the brand's iconic Ultra HD Foundation, Make Up Forever HD Skin offers a virtually undetectable natural finish that lasts up to 24 hours. Not only that, but it's now available in 40 shades to match a more diverse range of skin tones.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1.01 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Matte: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

4.9
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

 Courtesy of Harvey Nichols

What We Like
  • Diverse shade range

  • Sweat-resistant

  • Oil-free formula

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

  • Contains PEGs

Fenty Pro Filt'r clocked an impressive 4.9 out of 5 overall score from our at-home tester, who liked the natural-looking matte finish and long-lasting coverage. A little goes a long way, and you can expect the sweat-resistant, oil-free formula to stay put for up to 16 hours.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 50 | Finish: Soft matte | Size: 1.08 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Skin: Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation

Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation

Sephora

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Doesn't feel tight

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Long-wear makeup can feel uncomfortably tight on dry skin—but not if Charlotte Tilbury has anything to say about it. This hydrating and plumping foundation smooths uneven texture, delivers a more radiant complexion, and lasts for up to 16 hours.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 30 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Oily Skin: Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation

Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation

 Courtesy of Urban Decay

What We Like
  • Mattifying

  • Waterproof

  • Oil-free formula

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Contains PEGs

If your complexion is on the oilier side, this one's for you. Urban Decay All Nighter absorbs greasiness, eliminates shine, blurs blemishes, and delivers a mattifying effect. And did we mention it's waterproof?

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 24 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With SPF: Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation SPF 20

Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation SPF 20

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Mattifying

  • Sweat-resistant

  • Diverse shade range

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

  • Contains PEGs

Bobbi Brown's take on a long-wear foundation is this brilliant fluid-to-powder formula that eliminates shine, controls oil, and leaves you with a comfy matte finish. It also offers SPF 20 protection, but bear in mind that sun protection won't last as long as your makeup, so don't forget to reapply.

Coverage: Sheer | Shade Range: 28 | Finish: Soft matte | Size: 1.4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Shade Diversity: Juvia's Place I Am Magic Foundation

Juvia’s Place I Am Magic Velvety Matte Foundation

Ulta

What We Like
  • Easy to blend

  • Diverse shade range

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains PEGs

Juvia's Place created 42 globally inspired shades to match all skin tones, ranging from the deepest dark to caramel, golden, and the fairest fair. The creamy formula is also super easy to blend, buildable, and most importantly, long-lasting.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 42 | Finish: Velvet matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Stick: Glamazon Beauty Second Skin Foundation Stick

Glamazon Beauty Second Skin Foundation Stick

Glamazon Beauty

What We Like
  • Portable

  • Easy to blend

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

You'll be glad to have this foundation stick when you're on the go. The supremely creamy formula glides on effortlessly, blends beautifully, and lasts for hours with a natural finish.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 12 | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Cream: AJ Crimson AJC Dual Skin

AJ Crimson AJC Dual Skin

AJ Crimson

What We Like
  • Water-resistant

  • Lasts up to 18 hours

  • Works as concealer and contour

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

This water-resistant cream formula has an all-natural beeswax base, making it blendable, buildable, and comfortable against your skin. It can be used as foundation, concealer, or contour and promises up to 18 hours of wear time.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 12 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Powder: PÜR Cosmetics Classic 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation

PÜR Cosmetics Classic 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation

Amazon

What We Like
  • Contains SPF

  • Expert-recommended

  • Works as concealer and finishing powder

What We Don’t Like
  • Not water-resistant

"My favorite everyday foundation is PÜR's Mineral Makeup, which is an all-in-one foundation, concealer, finishing powder, and SPF," says Cole. "Whether it's just a normal day or a special occasion, it's the perfect foundation for all skin types."

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 26 | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.28 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

The best long-wear formula is Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation. Available in 56 shades and offering up to 24 hours of coverage, it's a go-to for special occasions, long days, and nights out. For something a little easier on your wallet, L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation is your best bet.

What to Look for in a Long-Wear Foundation

Staying Power

Look for product descriptions with keywords such as "long-wearing," "waterproof" or "smudge-proof" when searching for a foundation that'll last all day. You'll want to select a foundation that is specifically formulated to be worn for a multitude of hours. This will typically allow the foundation to last through tough temperatures or weather conditions (like heat or rain) and give you the long-wearing ability that we all crave.

The Finish

Since your foundation is meant to last you through the entire day, make sure you like the way the finish looks. For instance, if you're not typically into the way a matte finish appears on your skin, opt for a dewy one instead—and vice versa. You should also take into account your skin type when selecting a finish as every skin type needs something different.

Coverage

Long-wearing foundations are available in many options, so you have your choice in coverage level. If you typically go for light coverage, choose a buildable foundation. For a full-coverage finish, opt for a heavier formula. This is also about personal preference and based on what you see yourself wearing the most.

FAQ
  • What is longwear foundation?

    Unlike traditional foundations, long-wear foundations are typically made that prolong wear-time.

  • How long should you let your foundation set?

    Before applying other facial makeup, let your complexion products set for three to five minutes. When the time has passed, blot or use powder to set anywhere where your foundation tends to crease (underneath the eyes, forehead, etc.).

  • What is the best way to apply foundation?

    Use a foundation brush, your fingertips, or a sponge to gently tap the foundation into your skin. Avoid any wiping or rubbing motions since this will cause streaks with the application.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer. She has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020, where she covers makeup, hair products, skincare, and fitness gear. For this story, she interviewed two makeup artists who provided product picks and insight into what to look for in a long-wear foundation. From the selected products, she has personally tried Estée Lauder, Maybelline, Nars, Make Up Forever, Fenty, and PÜR. You can find more of Theresa's bylines on The Spruce.

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