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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
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.
Best Budget: Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation
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.
Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
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.
Best Waterproof: MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
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.
Best Medium-Coverage: Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup
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.
Best Natural Finish: Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation
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.
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
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.
Best for Oily Skin: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
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.
Best Hydrating: Chantecaille Future Skin
This luxurious, gel-based foundation actively hydrates skin while providing unbeatable coverage, preventing moisture loss with its oil-free, non-drying formula.
Best Matte Finish: BECCA Cosmetics Ever-Matte Shine Proof Foundation
For day-to-night coverage, this creamy foundation promises to last all day, delivering a shine-free, matte finish to combat oily skin and summer sweat.
Best Long-Wearing: Armani Beauty Power Fabric Foundation SPF 25
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.
Best Tinted Moisturizer: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
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.)
Best Natural Formula: Rituel de Fille The Ethereal Veil Conceal And Cover
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.
Best Water-Based: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation
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.
Best Powder: Wander Beauty Wanderlust Powder Foundation
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.
Best Liquid: Dermablend Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Pigments
"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.