We love a glam makeup moment probably more than most, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity of a natural look. And when it comes to trimming down our makeup routine, there’s no better product than sheer foundation for a perfect dewy look. Unlike full-coverage foundations (which we still love, don’t get us wrong), lightweight foundations let your natural complexion shine through and have just enough coverage to even out your skin tone for a smooth canvas.
And, thanks to the buildable nature of sheer foundation, there’s no risk of accidentally looking cakey. Whether you’re on the hunt for a matte finish or you’re searching for the perfect dewy foundation, we’ve got a hero beauty product that will work for you. Scroll on to get the scoop on our favorite light-coverage foundations.
This velvety (and vegan!) skin tint has a serum-like consistency that melts into skin, rather than sitting on top of it. Your skin will love the moisturizing ingredients like avocado oil, jojoba oil, and rosehip seed oil that feel ultra-nourishing—especially for dry skin—and you’ll love the perfectly dewy finish and 16 blendable shades.
First off, this foundation comes in a whopping 51 shades, so you can be certain you’ll find your perfect match (the pigments literally mimic the skin!). But it’s not just the epic shade range that we’re obsessed with: The breathable, buildable formula almost has a serum foundation consistency, allowing you to control your coverage. The finish is on the matte side, but thanks to hydrating ingredients like glycerin it won’t get cakey or settle into fine lines.
At first glance, this is just like any other foundation, but it’s really three makeup products in one. The doe-foot applicator is handy for perfecting your makeup anytime, anywhere, so you can use it as a concealer for surprise blemishes, or even as a contour product. The coverage is a bit heavier than some of the more super-sheer formulas on this list, but the seamless, natural finish makes it worth checking out.
If you’ve been trying to manifest the “lit-from-within” skin look for years and end up just looking, well, glittery, try this foundation. Its light coverage doesn’t hide your skin, and the glowy formula imparts a natural-looking radiance that looks fantastic on all skin types, including mature skin. Plus, it’s longwear and contains vitamin E for added skin conditioning.
BB creams tend to be a good choice if you want lighter coverage, because they accomplish everything foundation does and also have added skincare benefits like sunscreen. This formula instantly evens out uneven skin tone and texture for a flawless finish, and it also contains jasmine to hydrate and hawthorn berry to help brighten for a healthy glow.
What we love about M·A·C COSMETICS’ Studio Face and Body Foundation is how adjustable it is for any look. Running out the door and looking for a quick spot treatment? Tap this sheer foundation on for more coverage than you might get from your tinted moisturizer. Feeling super glam? The buildable coverage means that it can transform from sheer to full with just a touch more product.
If you’ve got oily skin that can’t seem to hold onto makeup, a pressed powder is your best bet. BOBBI BROWN Skin Weightless Powder Foundation is an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula that starts as a powder, but goes on as a cream. If you’re looking for sheer coverage, you’ll want to dust this over your face with a powder brush. Save your makeup sponges for days when you’re looking to upgrade this foundation to medium coverage, or even full coverage. Best of all, it comes packed into a tiny compact that you can sneak into every purse or coat pocket.
Something about TRÈSTIQUE’s Tinted Face Stick takes us back to our elementary school art days, but this is no ordinary crayon. With two products in one, this foundation stick gives you the power of tinted moisturizer, paired with a cream-gel formula that delivers sheer, dewy skin. Thanks to the built-in face blender, you won’t need to tote around any extra brushes or sponges. To apply this product to your face, just dab with the attached sponge and blend away. The brilliant packaging makes this the best foundation to have tucked away in your desk drawer or gym locker.
We’ve raved about witch hazel’s incredible healing properties for all skin types, and we’re always hunting for ways to incorporate this wonder ingredient in our skincare routine. THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Tinted Beauty Cream has heard our wishes and created a lightweight foundation that packs in witch hazel and hyaluronic acid. The two power players will give your skin an extra boost of hydration, and make this an especially great pick for those with sensitive skin.
Has your skin gotten your antioxidants today? It’ll always be a yes when you’re wearing ILLAMASQUA Skin Base Foundation. Vitamin C and vitamin E are major power players in this lightweight formula, which will smooth and soften your skin. With an impressive shade range of 26 colors to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect match for your skin tone.
Depending on the type of brush you use to apply it, you can wear it as a sheer or medium-coverage foundation, plus you’ll get the added protection of SPF to boot. For medium coverage, use a flat-top face brush, for lightweight coverage use a loose, dual fiber face brush.
With the inclusion of vitamins A, B1, B2 B3, C, E, and more plus hyaluronic acid and hydrolyzed collagen, you’ll get all the benefits of a skincare serum while getting the lightweight, buildable coverage you’re after for daytime wear.
Treat, moisturize, and protect skin all at the same time with this buildable formula that’s available in 18 shades. Since it’s paraben-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free, you can feel good about putting only natural ingredients on your skin, which is great for those with sensitive skin.
GLOSSIER’S entire philosophy is to start your makeup routine with better skin. That means taking care of your skin without makeup first and getting into a moisturizing and hydrating routine that will keep skin protected. This ultra-thin formula gives the appearance of smaller pores, blurred imperfections, and super hydrated skin.
This light-as-a-feather formula (yup, it’s literally in the name) plumps the skin with hyaluronic acid and helps skin tone look more even and smooth after just two weeks of use. It’s also cruelty-free and totally buildable so you can use as little or as much as you wish.
Decide your shade online with the MENTED quiz that guarantees the perfect match for this foundation stick formula. Since it lists caprylic/capric triglyceride as the first ingredient, you can bet this formula is ultra-hydrating and lightweight.
Want more foundations for a flawless complexion? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.
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