Our makeup philosophy: get the foundation right, and everything else falls into place. But finding your holy grail foundation isn’t always easy. There are so many factors that come into play when choosing a base: finish (matte or dewy), coverage (sheer, medium, or full), texture (liquid or powder), price point (drugstore or luxe) and more. To help guide you into finding the foundation of your dreams, we called on 15 seasoned makeup artists to share the ones they count on to keep their clients’ skin looking fly and flawless day in and day out.
Another perk of asking makeup artists for their recs? They know what foundations work for glowing skin in real-life and on camera. Whether you’re headed to a wedding or just taking selfies on a regular Thursday night out, choosing a foundation that ticks all the boxes lays the base for an overall flawless makeup look.
Here are the best foundations for all skin types, according to top celebrity makeup artists.
Nyssa Green: Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer
"The coverage of this is amazing, but it's also easy to sheer it down if you need less coverage. This foundation can work for any skin type—I've used it on all types and all tones of clients," says pro makeup artist Nyssa Green. She recommends applying the foundation with a Beautyblender or, if you just need to spot conceal or are looking for less coverage, use a brush. One caveat? A little goes a long way. "It's probably one of the most economical beauty purchases you'll make. I tell everyone to start with a dot... that may be all you need. The range of colors is also great. The colors are rich and true, and they have beautiful colors for darker skin."
Kierra Lanice Wray: Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation
The best thing about this foundation according to pro makeup artist Kierra Lanice Wray? The technology and ingredients are so innovative that you can apply it as if it were an extension to your skincare routine. "It's a sheer to medium coverage and the hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin, adding a stunning, naturally radiant finish. It also blurs texture and is self-setting so you technically don't have to add a powder on top. It's perfect for all skin types but I use it primarily on dry to normal skin types that could use a little extra luminosity."
MiMi Johnson: Becca Foundation Skin Love
"I’m all about skin and a beautiful complexion. Skin Love is natural-looking and beautifully lays on your skin. It has medium coverage, can be applied on all skin types, and is great for that natural glow or a 'no makeup' makeup look." Here's how she says to apply: "After using moisturizer and foundation primer on clean skin, I like to 'under paint' by concealing, highlighting, and contouring. Then I apply the foundation on top with a stippling brush in small circles for even and flawless coverage."
Lavonne: Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless
"My personal everyday drugstore foundation is this one from Maybelline. Color 360 is a perfect shade and I always get compliments on my skin. It has an excellent shade range, flawless coverage, longevity, and looks like skin when applied properly," she says. If you're a fiend for highlighting and contouring, you'll find that the diverse shade range makes it easy to find your match. Lavonne recommends applying foundation with a damp beauty sponge or a fluffy blush brush.
Tim MacKay: Dior Diorshow Backstage Face & Body Foundation
This fan-favorite by Dior is well-loved for a reason: It comes in 40 waterproof shades and is multi-use. Pro makeup artist Tim MacKay touts it as looking flawless on video, in photos, and in person. "[The shades] aren’t just yellow or pink—they have some olive, neutral, beige, and more," he says. "For a face and body foundation I love that it’s not too watery. It gives beautiful coverage that has a natural finish. It gives a subtle glow that never looks greasy or too wet. It’s fantastic!"
Tricia Turner: RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up Foundation
NakedPoppy makeup artist Tricia Turner is a fan of this creamy, lightweight pick from RMS Beauty. "It offers medium to full coverage with a flawless natural finish. Plus the shade range for deeper skin tones is fantastic, which is huge for people of color," she raves. "Cream foundations are generally best for normal to dry skin types. However, I personally have oily skin and it works for me. I just make sure to add additional powder to my T-zone and cheek area. It's also packed with beneficial ingredients such as organic coconut and wildcrafted Buriti oils that naturally hydrate skin and provide antioxidant protection."
Danessa Myricks: Danessa Myricks Beauty Vision Cream Cover Foundation
"Vision Cream Cover foundation is an all-in-one, one-and-done complexion multi-tasker. I love that it can create everything from an everyday 'no-makeup makeup' finish to a flawless, natural coverage for textured skin, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea," says makeup artist Danessa Myricks. "Use it alone or mix with your favorite beauty oil, moisturizer, or liquid glow product!"
Jenna Kristina: Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation
Celebrity makeup artist Jenna Kristina, who has painted the faces of Lucy Hale and Ashley Tisdale, is a fan of this pick by Maybelline. “It’s my go-to because it provides buildable coverage that looks and feels like flawless skin," she notes. "Plus, the formula has SPF 50, which ensures my clients are protected from sun damage." For a fuller-coverage foundation like this, she recommends using a flat foundation brush and dabbing the product on. Finish off by using a Beautyblender to help melt the makeup into the skin and take away that visible "makeup" look.
Jose Corella: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
Pro makeup artist Jose Corella touts this pick by Charlotte Tilbury as his favorite glow-inducing foundation. “This foundation is incredible. One of my kit secrets! The formula is loaded with skintone-reflective pigments so you just look glowy and gorgeous. I think of this as ‘supermodel skin’ in a tube," he raves.
Autumn Moultrie: Beautyblender Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation
For full coverage on darker skin tones, celebrity makeup artist Autumn Moultrie likes this offering from Beautyblender. "It offers great color choices and has a realistic skin finish. It doesn't look like clay and it blends seamlessly. I like to use the Beautyblender sponge for the Bounce foundation and pretty much everything else!" she says.
Nina Park: Chanel Vitalumière Moisture-Rich Radiance Fluid Makeup
For celebrity makeup artist Nina Park, foundation testing goes through a rigorous process: How does it wear and dry down? Could it be used for most skin types? Is the coverage buildable? How does it photograph? Does it look like skin? And most importantly, does it feel like skin? “This foundation passes all the criteria I personally look for in a foundation," she says. "One of my favorite ways to apply it is by using a thin synthetic foundation brush. I apply in repetitive small strokes on an area for maximum blending and to achieve that second-skin glow.”
Vincent Oquendo: Maybelline Dream Radiant Liquid Foundation
Skincare meets makeup with this hyaluronic acid and collagen-infused foundation. "I love this foundation because it’s lightweight and I can easily build up the coverage in certain areas that need it, while keeping the rest sheer and radiant," boasts celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo. He recommends using a fluffy blush brush to buff the liquid foundation over the skin—"it gives it a light, whipped effect that covers but still looks natural."
Emily Cheng: Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation SPF 30
Emily Cheng's current fave is by J-Beauty brand Shiseido. "There’s a wide range and the tones are really great. I carry all the minis with me and am never without a shade for any client. The finish is very seamless and any texture becomes minimized. It’s moisturizing and has a beautiful satin finish," she says. She recommends using a Beautyblender to press and blend. Pro tip: Always use the blender wet—Cheng usually soaks it in a soothing spray for extra hydration.
Troy Edwards: Veil Cosmetics Complexion Fix Concealer
"I have a couple of favorite foundations but the one I find the most versatile and flattering to a wide range of skin tones is this product from Veil Cosmetics. It can be used as a corrector, concealer, or highlighter depending on what shade you use, but I use it as a foundation because that is how I was introduced to the product by the founder. It's incredibly versatile, portable, and anyone can use it with incredible results," raves pro makeup artist Troy Edwards.
AJ Crimson: AJ Crimson Dual Skin Creme Foundation
"This is the most skin-like foundation that also has the ability to give you full coverage if you desire. You can use it as concealer, contour color, fill-in brows, or as an eyeshadow base. It’s great for all skin types, but a little goes a long way so if you have oily skin, less is more," says pro makeup artist AJ Crimson, who recommends applying the product with a medium-sized blush brush (or with a fluffy eyeshadow brush if used as a concealer). "This is the foundation that is going to wake up dull skin and reduce the look of fine lines. It really transforms skin without much effort."