Many of us choose to skip foundation or pretty much swear off all summer makeup in order to avoid looking like a melting contour palette in the heat. We get that. But let's be honest: We don't always have the best skin days, and sometimes a little foundation can save everything. Whether you favor a lightweight CC cream or prefer a little more coverage via a traditional foundation, choosing the right formula is the difference between a makeup mishap and an I-woke-up-like-this complexion. Seriously, the last thing you need when you're trying to beat the heat outdoors is hot-mess summer makeup.
So naturally, we've enlisted the help of makeup artists, who are pretty much the most knowledgeable people to consult when it comes to finding the best summer foundation formulas. They all shared their picks for heat-proof, lightweight, and long-lasting foundations, so you're bound to find a recommendation that's right for you. Heat and humidity may challenge your makeup, but they've got nothing on the best of the best summer foundations these pros swear by. Keep scrolling!
"For summer makeup, I love AmorePacific's Color Control cushion compact! It provides light to medium coverage and is supernatural and dewy looking while providing a broad spectrum SPF 50. I use a wet Beautyblender to apply it. It's really hydrating and leaves your skin looking quite flawless and very luminous." — Jenn Streicher
"I am totally obsessed with Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation as one of the best summer foundations you can use. It's great because you can build on it, and it's light but long-wearing. The colors are spot-on super flattering. It just works, and it's not fussy; it's super easy." — Tracy Murphy
"Depending on how you apply this awesome foundation, the coverage is adjustable from light to heavier coverage. It gives a skin beautiful finish and has long-lasting staying power even during summer weather." — Kathy Jeung
"I love the consistency and color choices of Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation. I was sent the product when I worked with Olivia Wilde, so I applied it on myself first and realized I liked how natural it looked on the skin. It has light to medium coverage with a satin finish to give the skin a luminous and flawless look without feeling heavy." — Julie Harris
"I would have to pick two. Usually, during the summer, I would use less foundation, so Nars's tinted moisturizer is perfect. It has a great color selection and SPF 30 because sunblock is a must."
"…But for someone who needs more coverage with a foundation that can go on sheer and build to complete coverage, Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation ($47) is breathable and will look like skin instead of layers of makeup. It is great for summer makeup since it holds up through water or sweat and won't clog pores." — Tracey Levy
"This is one of the best summer foundations. It evens out the skin and gives a subtle glow. It's also perfect for summer days; it's light and has an SPF of 15." — Azra Red
"My favorite foundation for skin types for outdoors and warm weather is BareMinerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation. This is the lightest foundation I've yet to discover. It feels like water on your skin but offers an incredible amount of pigment, so just a few drops will give your complexion a flawless, radiant finish. It's free of oil, parabens, fragrance, and silicone, making it healthier for your skin and giving it better staying power in warm and hot weather because of it. I LOVE the chemical-free SPF 20 in it. I wear a few drops of this foundation when I train, and it stays put through my sweat, keeping my skin looking fresh, and never breaks me out." — Roxanne Saffaie
"I love this stuff because it's quite buildable, and it's practically concealer and foundation built in one. Great for full coverage or touch-ups, it can be used anywhere and anytime with either brushes or fingertips." — Daniel Martin
"One of my favorite foundations year-round happens to be the absolute best for the summer months especially. IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream has wonderful, flawless coverage. It is absolutely a dream. Not too light, not too heavy—that sweet spot that can be sheared down for less coverage or built up for more. And most importantly for summer, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB non-chemical sunscreen. The SPF 50 is paraben-free and has anti-aging skincare properties. I have used it on so many red carpets, and it never flashes back in the camera, which some products with SPF can do.
"It's also so great because it works on clients of all age ranges. It creates a flawless canvas on younger clients, but even on my mature ladies, it is the perfect formula for coverage but still looks like skin and never settles into lines and wrinkles. And it really stands up through those long, hot summer days." — Toby Fleischman
"I love it because it covers all imperfections (scarring, melasma, blemishes) by using a very small quantity yet leaving the skin looking flawless and radiant. A little goes a long, long, long way! It's suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive, and it's very long-lasting. It's hypoallergenic, free of parabens, and extremely easy for travel. And have I mentioned it's SPF 30?" — Daniela Gozlan
"I love Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer for summer months. It's lightweight, has buildable coverage, and is known to be great for sensitive skin or skin that's prone to breakouts. I add it to my tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone while still looking natural, sometimes going up a half shade to give my pale skin a little help." — Amy Strozzi
"My favorite drugstore foundation is the Maybelline BB cream. I joined Maybelline's New York Fashion Week team a few seasons ago and was introduced to this product then. Once I started using this product backstage on all the models, I fell in love with it. Now I use it on a lot of my shoots and clients, and everyone is surprised how much they end up loving it. It's such a no-fuss product. Once it goes on, you don't have to worry about it for the entire day. I've used it on several Self magazine shoots where the models are running and jumping in 90-degree weather, and this product did not move an inch. The number one way I like to apply it is with my fingers. It goes on really smooth and blends easily under the eye area. I also like to apply with a damp Beautyblender if I want a little bit more coverage. The Beautyblender helps the product build on top of itself easily." — Joy Fennell
"If I had to pick just one foundation as the best summer foundation, I would recommend Diorskin Forever. It's a liquid foundation that is lightweight, long-wearing, and blends effortlessly onto the skin. I like using a round foundation brush to apply the foundation all over and then use a wet Beautyblender sponge to blend and sheer it down a bit. I love that this foundation works on all skin types. You can always blend a little moisturizer or a dab of liquid highlighter into it for a more dewy look.
"The texture is ultra-smooth, and it dries down to a beautiful luminous matte finish, which gives you the effect of natural-looking summer skin, because the last thing you want when wearing foundation in the summer is for it to look obvious or visible. You want your skin to look real and natural but perfected, and this foundation will help you achieve both goals." — Kristee Liu
(This item is no longer available—we would recommend Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion for something similar.)
"I love the coverage that this delivers, and it has built-in SPF for protection which makes it a great option for summer makeup. A little goes a long way. (So use it sparingly!) I tend to use this when I need a sheer coat of coverage. I like to add some luster with an illuminator to give an extra punch of glow to the skin's appearance." — Aidan Keogh
Next up: Makeup artists say these are the best foundations to wear for wedding season.