16 Foundations That Hold Strong Even on the Hottest, Sweatiest Days

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I've steadily rotated the same three or four foundations for years. I'm a creature of habit, and after having a tumultuous time finding the formulas that worked on my skin, I stubbornly stuck to what worked for my face. You know that phrase, if it ain't broke, don't fix it?

That being said, over the past year or two, I've found a few of my long-trusted formulas just weren't standing up to my current California-based lifestyle. (Dryness and Heat! Too many 10-hour days to count!) I needed an update. But as anyone who has ever searched for a new foundation can attest, finding the right formula is truly the ask of a lifetime. So when Byrdie senior editor Lindsey Metrus challenged me with the task of finding the best sweat-wicking, heat-proof foundations for summer, you can imagine my mix of intrigue and intimidation. However, Iwas up to the challenge and immediately began reaching out to the beauty lovers and professionals I trust most for crème-de-la-crème recommendations.

Read on for the best sweat-proof foundations.

Best Overall: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • SPF 15

  • Buildable without caking

  • Goes on smoothly

What We Don't Like
  • Not a huge shade range

This foundation lasted through a three-day work stint in Las Vegas where temperatures peaked over 100 degrees each and every day, Plus, not to sound vain, but I've never received so many compliments on my skin in such a small amount of time. This is my new favorite foundation, point-blank.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 8 | Finish: Demi-matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget: Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • A little goes a long way

  • Very inexpensive

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to find a shade match

For this price, you won't find a better matte foundation. The mousse texture is easy to work in and can either deliver either a sheer effect or layered up for heavier coverage. Use less than you think you'll need—just a teensy amount will cover your whole face.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 12 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Drugstore: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Long-wearing

  • Won't aggravate acne-prone skin

  • Inexpensive

  • Wide shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

An all-star recommendation from celebrity MUA Tobi Henney, this drugstore favorite has actually earned a permanent spot on my vanity. Not only is the coverage great, but it's also buildable, long-wearing, and looks like it should be about five times the price when it's sitting on (or rather, pristinely melted into) your face. I've worn it outside and during workouts, and it's stayed on without making me break out—a total success. 

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Waterproof: MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation

MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Buildable without caking

  • Holds up in humidity

  • Easy to apply

What We Don't Like
  • Can transfer

This waterproof formula actually started off as a concealer prototype, with MAC's product development team setting out to create "a new dimensional effect" in the category. Instead, it came up with a base that can be worn both sheer and full coverage, meaning it can take the place of concealer and foundation in your makeup bag.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 24 | Finish: Satin | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Medium-Coverage: Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup

Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Silky feel

  • Helps control oil

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to blend

Key Ingredients

Willow bark extract is derived from the white willow tree and has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces redness, minimizes pore size, and removes dead skin cells.

Another fragrance-free winner, this formula is light and silky (not chalky or difficult to blend), but it still manages to keep your skin matte. It delivers medium coverage and is best-suited to normal and oily skin types. If you have a really oily complexion, you should definitely give it a go—the staying power is impressive. Bonus: It's so absorbent that you won't even need setting powder.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 20 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Natural Finish: Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

4
Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

 Courtesy of Make Up For Ever

What We Like
  • Feels comfortable on the skin

  • Buildable without caking

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish when dry

  • Wide shade range

What We Don't like
  • May accentuate textured or dry, flaky skin

Like all foundations from Make Up For Ever, this shine-zapping formula does what it's supposed to (conceals blemishes and uneven texture), but it still looks believable. The fluid texture is easy to blend, feels light on the skin, and lasts for ages. Want your skin to look perfectly naturally matte? This is the foundation for you.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

Byrdie / Khera Alexander

What Our Testers Say

"Make Up For Ever’s Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation is incredibly comfortable, breathable, oil-controlling, and long-wearing." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

What We Like
  • Keeps shine at bay

  • Dries quickly

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • May accentuate textured or dry, flaky skin

Great for oily, blemish-prone skins, this Hourglass option gets rid of shine without turning your complexion dull. Expect medium to full coverage; it really delivers on that coveted airbrushed effect. If you have dry to normal skin, you can still use it, but moisturize well before application to avoid flaky patches. You'll need to work quickly to blend it in, as the formula sets quickly.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 22 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Oily Skin: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation

Estee Lauder DoubleWear Stay In Place Makeup SPF 10

 Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Has a natural, skin-like finish

  • Impressive shade range

  • Color stays true all day

What We Don't Like
  • A tad drying

I was actually thrilled when Henney credited this classic, long-wearing foundation as one of the best for oil-prone clientele who crave fuller coverage. Why? Well, this foundation is one of my OG four! Not only does it impart a gorgeous finish but it has also taken me from work to the gym to cocktails in one fell swoop. The only reason it doesn't get five stars is that it can feel a little heavy at times—so, if you don't like to feel your foundation on your face whatsoever, this one might not be the best. 

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 56 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Hydrating: Chantecaille Future Skin

Chantecaille Future Skin

 Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Creamy, rich feel

  • Lightweight

  • Soothing formula

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This luxurious, gel-based foundation actively hydrates skin while providing unbeatable coverage, preventing moisture loss with its oil-free, non-drying formula.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 15 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Matte Finish: Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Oil-Free Hydra Foundation

Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Oil-Free Hydra Foundation

Ulta

What We Like
  • Sweat-, humidity-, and transfer-resistant

  • Inclusive shade range

  • Controls oil and shine

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively expensive

When you want a matte finish that won’t settle into creases or crack, reach for this formula from Smashbox. The breathable formula delivers a natural-looking matte finish with medium coverage and works to help to control oil and shine. In addition to lasting you through a sweaty workout, it’s also transfer- and humidity-resistant. Not to mention, its 40-shade offering is pretty impressive.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Long-Wearing: Armani Beauty Power Fabric Foundation SPF 25

Armani Power Fabric Longwear High Cover Foundation SPF 25

Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • SPF 25

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish

  • Goes on silky and smooth

What We Don't Like
  • Can settle into fine lines

Any foundation by Giorgio Armani has, and will probably always have, a legacy as one of the best foundations you can slather on your face for a red carpet–approved glow. Usually, it's this foundation's sister formula, Luminous Silk ($64), that tends to get all the love, but if you're looking for play-hard endurance, this one's the better bet. "Armani's Power Fabric has lasted through many nights out and summer days for me," says Sarah Wu, a contributor to Forbes and Teen Vogue. Also, celebrity makeup artist Nikki DeRoest routinely uses it on A-list clientele like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 30 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Tinted Moisturizer: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

4.8
Best Tinted Moisturizer
What We Like
  • SPF 30

  • Gives skin a glow

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Shade range could be expanded

I'm not typically a fan of tinted moisturizers, but if so inclined, this is the only one I'll wear. It recently stood up to a 15-minute walk (followed by an hourlong meeting) outside in 90-plus L.A. heat and sun. The true miracle? The sweatproof (and SPF-infused!) formula still managed to garner me a skin compliment after the fact. (Don't believe me? Just ask our lovely social editor, Aimee Jefferson, who was responsible.)

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 16 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 1.9 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Natural Formula: Rituel de Fille The Ethereal Veil Conceal And Cover

rituel-de-fille
What We Like
  • Feels weightless

  • Silky texture

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish

  • Byrdie Clean

What We Don't Like
  • Shade range could be expanded

I struggle with most natural foundation formulas, but I've finally discovered one that actually overperforms when it comes to staying power—at least, that is, compared to most other natural options. Made with 99% all-natural ingredients, this one is really easy to build, feels weightless on top of the skin, and surprisingly stood its ground during an afternoon hot-yoga session. Impressive, right? You can buff it in with a brush, but I just use my fingertips.

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

Best Water-Based: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

 Courtesy of Laura Mercier

What We Like
  • Color stays true all day

  • Blends into skin seamlessly

  • Applies smoothly and evenly

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging could be improved

I used to live and die by Laura Mercier's foundations in high school, but fast-forward to this one, and I'm obsessed. According to Glamsquad makeup artist Alyna Ajere, its water-based formula promises at least eight hours of wear. When I tested it, lasted even longer, through a busy workday as well as a night out. Plus, I just really love the somehow lightweight full coverage and the way it effortlessly blends and melts into my skin. It's also great if you want a matte but not too matte finish.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 10 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Powder: Wander Beauty Wanderlust Powder Foundation

wanderlust-powder-foundation
What We Like
  • Soaks up oil

  • Blurs pores

  • Hydrating formula

  • Byrdie Clean

What We Don't Like
  • Shades could be improved

This pick is a favorite of Jessica Chia, a contributing beauty editor at Allure. "This formula doesn't look cakey at all, but because it's a powder versus a liquid, it tends to sop up sweat instead of letting it run everywhere," she explained. I'll still favor my liquid formulas, but this is a great alternative if you love powder or are just looking for a sweat-nixing switch-up this summer.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 11 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Liquid: Dermablend Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Pigments

Dermablend liquid foundation
What We Like
  • Drops let you customize coverage

  • Color stays true all day

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel a little heavy

"Dermablend is what Beyoncé uses when she performs," Alyna told me. (Honestly, do you even need to hear more? I didn't.) "Celebrity makeup artist Sir John did a class and said that's what he always uses on her." Thus, I immediately opted to try these multi-use droplets, which, I have to say, are incredibly customizable and ingenious. You can wear the formula on its own or mixed in with your favorite moisturizers or SPF; the tone doesn't change or oxidize as the day wears on, and the weightless, oil- and water-free formulation lasts a full 16 hours.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 20 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What to Look For in a Sweat Proof Foundation

Finish

When searching for a sweat proof foundation, look for a finish that suits your preferred look. For instance, if you want to prevent your makeup from sliding off but still want a dewy, natural, glowing finish, you’ll want to choose a foundation that offers a satin, natural, or sheer finish.  Many sweat proof foundations will come in matte or demi-matte finishes, which can absorb sweat.

Coverage

Regardless of your foundation goals, you will want to look for a product with a coverage level that suits you. Foundations range from minimal to full coverage, and some are buildable. This means you can use your sweat proof foundation to provide sheer, natural coverage, or keep applying to build up and conceal skin concerns like blemishes or discoloration.

Shade

Picking the right shade of foundation is essential for a seamless look. As you go about your day, you’ll want a shade that won’t oxidize, or change color, over time. Some brands provide a wide range of shades for all skin types, making it easier to find a match. Other brands offer less variety, but use tech that allows the foundation to match your skin. These are usually more sheer options that reveal some of your skin’s natural color while providing some coverage and tint. You can also mix shades.

FAQ
  • Which type of foundation is good for sweaty skin?

    Look for a foundation that’s labeled as being long-wearing or matte. If you also have oily skin, look for foundations that are non-comedogenic and oil free, or that have oil control as a feature.

  • How do you sweat proof foundation?

    You can help sweat proof your foundation by using a primer and not using heavy, cakey foundations. Using a sheer or buildable sweat proof foundation can help keep your makeup on.

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