Super budge-proof makeup might not be something you reach for daily, but it's nice to have when you've got a long day (or night) ahead of you. If you work long shifts, have a special occasion to attend, or simply find that foundations break up on your skin after just a few hours, reaching for a long-wearing formula is the way to go.
"Long-wear foundation typically has fewer oils (which provide slip and dewiness to non-long wear foundations)," explains Emily Amick, New York City-based makeup artist. "Most long-wear formulas have a higher water content, and combined with other fancy scientific polymers, they adhere to the skin for a longer period of time than the more oily foundations, which can break down and wear away much faster, especially on oily or combination skin."
The only problem? Many foundations that fall within the long-wearing category are drying, heavy, and cakey-looking on the skin. So, we spent hours researching the best long-wear options on the market, taking application, finish, wear, and shade range into consideration before compiling this list of our top picks.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Liquid Foundation
Diverse shade range
Provides excellent full-coverage
Can look a bit heavy on the skin
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.
Price at time of publish: $43
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 56 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Maybelline Super Stay Active Wear Foundation
Lasts up to 30 hours
Colors seem to oxidize on the skin
Looking for something more affordable? Maybelline Super Stay offers up to 30 hours of full coverage with this transfer-resistant, water-resistant, and sweat-resistant formula. We also love that it's an oil-free formula, making it a great choice for those with oily skin. One thing to note is that the shades to seem to darken and get slightly warmer in tone once they dry on the skin, so take this into consideration when choosing your color.
Price at time of publish: $13
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 28 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
L'Oréal Paris Infallible 24-Hour Fresh Wear Foundation
Coverage is buildable up to full opacity
Contains synthetic fragrance
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. Compared to several other options in the category, this formula has a slightly more liquid formula, making it really easy to sheer out or build up to achieve your desired level of coverage. Once applied, it lasts all day and night without fading.
Price at time of publish: $16
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: natural | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation SPF 20
Has a strong fragrance
This luxury foundation camouflages blemishes, smooths uneven texture, and provides SPF 20 protection. It also won't melt in humid environments and maintains its airbrushed finish for hours on end. We appreciate that it's a medium coverage option that can be used for an everyday look or layered to create a full-coverage, more glam result. Just note that it does have a strong fragrance, so if you're sensitive to scents in your makeup, keep this in mind.
Price at time of publish: $140
Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 27 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Medium Coverage
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation
Last up to 24 hours
Diverse shade range
Contains synthetic fragrance
An improved version of the brand's iconic Ultra HD Foundation, Make Up Forever HD Skin offers a virtually undetectable natural finish that lasts for up to 24 hours. It's waterproof, contains vegetable-origin glycerol to help keep the skin hydrated, and it maintains a lightweight feel. Not only that, but it's now available in 40 shades to match a more diverse range of skin tones.
Price at time of publish: $43
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation
Good shade range
A little bit goes a long way
Can be slightly heavy on the skin
This incredibly popular foundation won our Best Overall pick in our test of the Best Full-Coverage Foundations, so it's no surprise that we're fans of it. It overs incredible coverage that works to camouflage blemishes and redness, and it lasts all day long on the skin without much transfer or creasing. While some people find it to be a bit heavy-feeling on the skin, this is likely because they're using too much. It's important to use less than you think you'll need and then build slowly from there in order to get the best results. Once applied, it creates a completely even, matte canvas for the rest of your makeup.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 44 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Shiseido Synchro Skin Radiant Lifting Foundation SPF 30
Skin-like, luminous finish
Comfortable feel on skin
Can settle into pores
Luminous foundations don't tend to have the lasting power that matte formulas do—that's the nature of this kind of formula—but this luminous option definitely has impressive wear time. The silky, liquid consistency blends across the face with ease, creating a natural yet blurred veil of coverage that gives the skin a gorgeous, radiant finish. It can be sheered out to achieve medium coverage or build up to cover imperfections almost completely. If you have oily skin or enlarged pores, we recommend priming with a pore-perfecting primer, as this formula can emphasize pores, but the addition of a primer helps to mitigate this. After application, it looks blurred and glowy, and it lasts the entire day.
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 30 | Finish: Luminous | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Shade Range
Juvia's Place I Am Magic Foundation
Easy to blend
Diverse shade range
Shades appear to oxidize on the skin
Juvia's Place created 42 globally inspired shades to match all skin tones, ranging from the deepest dark to caramel, golden and the fairest of fair. It's worth noting that while the shade range is fantastic, some online reviewers have shared that the colors oxidize once they dry down on the skin. Keep this in mind as your make your color selection. As for the formula, it's creamy, super easy to blend, buildable, and, most importantly, long-lasting.
Price at time of publish: $22
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 42 | Finish: Velvet matte | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear 5-In-1 Foundation Stick
Lightweight on the skin
Fast and easy to blend
Can cling to dry patches
This stick foundation has been popular for a long time for good reason. It provides buildable coverage that can completely cover imperfections with just one or two layers, it maintains a natural finish on the skin, it's quick and easy to use, and most importantly, it really lasts. It's an excellent choice for everyday wear or special occasions, making it extremely versatile and valuable to have in your makeup collection. It can cling to dry patches just slightly, so we recommend exfoliating and moisturizing before applying this formula.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 22 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 9.5 grams | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Skin Tint
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
Sheer, buildable coverage
Natural, matte finish
Excellent shade range
Can cling to dryness
Skin tints, by nature, are not the most long-wearing formulas, but this one has a surprisingly long wear time. The lightweight formula provides sheer coverage that still works to blur imperfections to create an even skin tone, and we love that it's not overly dewy like some skin tints are. The shade range is practically unbeatable, and once applied, it lasts for nearly 10 hours without creasing or fading. Though we think it's a great choice no matter your skin type, it's worth noting that it does have the tendency to cling to dry patches.
Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 25 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1.1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
PÜR 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup
Works as concealer and finishing powder
Inclusive shade range
Powder foundations are great for people who prefer weightless makeup, those with oily skin, and anyone who want's a natural or matte finish. This one is fantastic because it comes in a wide range of shades, is formulated with shea butter and vitamin E to moisturize the skin, and provides buildable coverage. We also appreciate that it's hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. After applying it, it lasts all day without getting patchy or greasy.
Price at time of publish: $30
Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 26 | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.28 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
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.
Meet the Expert
Emily Amick is a New York City based makeup artist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in magazines like Paper, Vogue, Marie-Claire, and Town and Country, and on red carpets for icons like Jenifer Lewis and Venus Williams.
What to Look for in a Long-Wear Foundation
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.
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. If you like a luminous finish, go for the Shiseido Synchro Skin Radiant Lifting Foundation SPF 30. If matte is what works best for you, we recommend the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation.
While a solid chunk of the long-wearing foundations on the market have full coverage, there are absolutely other options. If you do like full coverage, go for the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation or the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear 5-In-1 Foundation Stick. If you prefer more sheer, natural coverage, you can't go wrong with the Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint.
How can I ensure that my long-wearing foundation maintains a skin-like appearance?
Because long-wearing foundations tend to have thicker, more matte formulas, they can look a bit heavier on the skin. However, Amick says that the proper skin prep can help to create a more natural-looking finish. "Because long-wearing foundation is dryer, it's important to lightly exfoliate before applying and moisturize well," she says. "If you tend to get very oily, you can apply a primer designed to combat oil in the areas where you tend to get shiny. If you have textured skin, use a long-wear powder only in the areas where you need a little extra anti-shine and staying powder through the T-zone."
What is a long-wearing foundation?
Unlike foundations that don't claim to be long-wearing, more budge-proof formulas are typically formulated without a high concentration of oils. Because of this, Amick says that long-wearing products "tend to be a bit dryer and more matte, which allows for fewer touch-ups throughout the day."
How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
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.