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16 Best Lightweight Foundations For When You Want To Blur Imperfections

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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.

Our 16 Favorite Lightweight Foundations

1. Best Vegan:

KOSAS Tinted Face Oil Foundation

KOSAS Tinted Face Oil Foundation
Courtesy of KOSAS

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.

2. Best Wide Shade Range Formula:

UOMA BEAUTY Say What?! Foundation

UOMA BEAUTY Say What?! Foundation
Courtesy of UOMA BEAUTY

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.

3. Best For On-The-Go:

WANDER BEAUTY Nude Illusion Liquid Foundation

WANDER BEAUTY Nude Illusion Liquid Foundation
Courtesy of WANDER BEAUTY

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.

4. Best Skin Conditioning:

EDDIE FUNKHOUSER® COSMETICS Luxlight® Revitalizing Foundation

EDDIE FUNKHOUSER® COSMETICS Luxlight® Revitalizing Foundation
Courtesy of EDDIE FUNKHOUSER® COSMETICS

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.

5. Best BB Cream Formula:

PURLISSE BEAUTY Radiant Glow Illuminating BB Cream SPF 30

PURLISSE BEAUTY Radiant Glow Illuminating BB Cream SPF 30
Courtesy of PURLISSE BEAUTY

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.

6. Best For Buildable Coverage:

M·A·C COSMETICS Studio Radiance Face and Body Radiant Foundation

M·A·C COSMETICS Studio Radiance Face and Body Radiant Foundation
Courtesy of M·A·C COSMETICS

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.

7. Best For Oily Skin:

BOBBI BROWN Skin Weightless Powder Foundation

BOBBI BROWN Skin Weightless Powder Foundation
Courtesy of BOBBI BROWN

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.

8. Best With Built-In Applicator:

TRÈSTIQUE Tinted Face Stick

TRÈSTIQUE Tinted Face Stick
Courtesy of TRÈSTIQUE

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.

9. Best Cream Formula:

THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Tinted Beauty Cream

THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Tinted Beauty Cream
Courtesy of THE ORGANIC PHARMACY

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.

10. Best With Primer Built-In:

ILLAMASQUA Skin Base Foundation

ILLAMASQUA Skin Base Foundation
Courtesy of ILLAMASQUA

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.

11. Best With SPF:

GLO SKIN BEAUTY Luminous Liquid Foundation With SPF 18

GLO SKIN BEAUTY Luminous Liquid Foundation With SPF 18
Courtesy of GLO SKIN BEAUTY

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.

12. Best Anti-Aging Formula:

IT COSMETICS Bye Bye Lines™ Liquid Foundation

IT COSMETICS Bye Bye Lines™ Liquid Foundation
Courtesy of IT COSMETICS

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.

13. Best CC Cream Formula:

THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Buildable Blur CC Cream™ Broad Spectrum SPF 35

THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Buildable Blur CC Cream™ Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Courtesy of THRIVE CAUSEMETICS

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.

14. Best For A Dewy Finish:

GLOSSIER Perfecting Skin Tint

GLOSSIER Perfecting Skin Tint
Courtesy of GLOSSIER

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.

15. Best With Skin-Plumping Ingredients:

BEAUTYCOUNTER Skin Twin Featherweight Foundation

BEAUTYCOUNTER Skin Twin Featherweight Foundation
Courtesy of BEAUTYCOUNTER

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.

16. Best Stick-Formula:

MENTED COSMETICS Skin by Mented Duo

MENTED COSMETICS Skin by Mented Duo
Courtesy of MENTED COSMETICS

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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About the author
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Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated September 10, 2021 12:00 AM