Serums, anti-aging treatments, sunscreens, cleansers, toners, foundations—your skincare routine has more layers than a Pinterest-worthy wedding cake (but really). Of course, this might feel perfectly fine during the doldrums of wintertime when we have nothing better to do than apply coat after coat of our favorite skin elixirs, but when it's summer, not so much. (The enchanting sun and lush warm temperatures just beckon us!) Plus, all that extra poundage just feels miserable on top of our complexions—especially if you're one of the lucky ones with zero or horridly circulating AC. Alas, it's a conundrum: How does one begin to choose which skincare and makeup products take priority? Especially when it comes to our favorite must-haves like serums and foundations. But wait—we don't have to. Enter serum foundation. Ever heard of it?
For a long time, neither had we, but if you strategically switch to a foundation serum, you can have a minimalist routine with maximal benefits. Serum foundations hydrate, protect, and repair skin while providing flawless coverage. (Most of them are forgivingly buildable—a true godsend for summer.) So if you're one who loves BB cream but simultaneously craves some multitasking, skin-perfecting oomph, then serum foundation just might be exactly what the dermatologist ordered this season (or perhaps your favorite Byrdie editor). Keep scrolling for 10 of the best serum foundations we've vetted ourselves.
1. L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation
As one of L’Oréal Paris' newest releases, this drugstore serum foundation lives up to the hype. The lightweight formula is specifically made for those with mature skin, providing natural coverage that won't settle into fine lines and wrinkles. Not to mention the foundation contains SPF 50, vitamin B3, and a hydrating serum all wrapped in one.
2. Dior Diorskin Nude Air Serum Foundation
Prefer something a little more high-end? Look no further than this foundation serum from Dior. The smooth formula feels weightless on your skin while providing sheer coverage to enhance your natural beauty. Consider it "your skin but better" in a bottle.
3. Lancôme Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint
If you haven't hopped on the hyaluronic acid bandwagon already, we highly suggest you do so ASAP. And what easier way to give it a try than by using a serum foundation formulated with the ingredient in question? This product pick feels like a moisturizer—it's that hydrating—while giving smooth, radiant coverage. Oh, and did we mention it also contains SPF 23?
4. Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation
Although you'll only have three shades to choose from (Fair/Light, Light/Medium, and Medium/Dark), the genius behind this argan iteration from Josie Maran is its fairytale-esque chameleon abilities. Simply choose which of the three is closest to your skin, and then the adaptive formula will take it from there! You're left with light coverage that feels 100% naked on top of the skin.
5. Perricone MD No Makeup Foundation Serum
This serum-foundation formula is one of the best in the business when it comes to minimal coverage with maximum complexion perks. The foundation serum has a cream-to-tint formula that will glide onto your skin for a perfected, but not perfect, complexion.
6. Estée Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 25
Boasting instantaneous radiance, wrinkle-reducing technology, and a sleek yet slick-free finish (bring it with you everywhere this summer!), this serum foundation from Estée Lauder is one of the all-time best. There are 14 shades to choose from (again, we're doing better, at least), and the shades, according to users, seem to offer the perfect ratio of pigment.
This one tends to build to medium or full, so if you're looking for something really sheer, we recommend picking another. But for all the full-coverage lovers out there looking for a just a bit more breathability, may you two be forever happy together.
7. No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum Foundation SPF 15
For all you anti-aging product lovers (and really, who isn't?), this one's for you. This serum foundation helps to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, blur imperfections, and improve firmness. The result? Radiant, healthy-looking skin.
8. Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation
As we learned from our rigorous testing of natural foundation formulas, this ingenious, featherlight, serum-infused potion from all-natural brand Ilia is a perennial favorite among Byrdie readers. And even though it's lightweight, it still provides medium coverage, making it perfect for those days you want to conceal a bit more than usual.
9. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
Like a cool drink of water for your skin, this silky serum foundation imparts a radiant, dewy glow while adjacently diffusing the look of imperfections. Plus, the non-comedogenic formula contains hyaluronic acid for hydration boost your skin will thank you for.
10. Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation
This natural alternative from Juice Beauty is not only plant-based in ideation, but it's also enriched with effective anti-aging technology (and so much more) to kill (at least) two birds with one stone while sitting atop your complexion. Need we say more?