And some don't match up to watch they say on the tin, so we've put them to the test; trying the best budget and luxury beauty brands out there to find the perfect foundation for every type of skin.
Oily, dry, ageing or acne-prone complexions? You need a product that performs; concealing imperfections and waking up your skin when you're at your most bleary eyed.
And some do at first, but they don't go the distance and by lunchtime, they've congregated in undesirable creases or slid down-south completely.
Then, there's finding the perfect shade, fit and finish: are you looking for a dewy or super matt look? Do you need high SPF protection?
One size won't fit all, so we've tried and tested both budget and luxury beauty brands to find those foundations that tick the boxes:
Star buy foundation
This one really is a winner in our eyes, it made it the Payday Splurge shortlist in the Fabulous Beauty Awards.
And no wonder: it's the perfect balance between matt and dewy, covering imperfections and preventing shine while creating an incredibly luminous finish.
The best news is, you can make this foundation fit you – use a few pumps for full (but not cakey) coverage or one drop for a lighter look.
- Nars Longwear Radiant Foundation, £35 from Look Fantastic – buy here
Best foundation for combination skin
Long lasting, luminous, and infused with most incredible aromas – there's a reason this is YSL's best selling foundation.
Striking the right balance between creamy and chalky, this lightweight formula provides excellent coverage (even for spots) and dries to a miraculous matt but dewy finish that keeps skin looking hydrated and radiant all day long.
How? It's all down to the magic touch of those light reflecting particles, the same ones found in the brand's iconic YSL Touche Éclat highlighter.
- Touche Éclat Le Teint foundation, £35 from YSL Beauty – buy here
Best foundation for dry skin/dewy finish
For a 'your skin, but better' look, bareMineral's Complexion Rescue cream is the best mix of both CC and BB products, and a tinted moisturiser.
Perfect for hot days and holidays, the silky formula creates a natural, dewy finish that can't be achieved with foundation (for stronger coverage on imperfection or spots, simply touch-up areas with concealer).
Made with SPF 30 protection, it works to keep skin hydrated not just for the day, but for good – after just two weeks, you'll see the difference.
- bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream, £28 from Boots – buy here
This one is a great option for summer. It feels like silk and smells like heaven (seriously), hydrating and refreshing skin to create a radiant and dewy complexion (it's not called 'anti-fatigue' for nothing).
A single pump will do your whole face – one bottle will last you a long time – but the coverage is buildable.
- Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, £9.99 from Boots – buy here
Best foundation for oily skin/matt coverage
This foundation glides onto the skin like silk but mattifies instantly to create a flawless finish.
It will prevent shine spots from appearing post-lunchtime on oily skin and even-out patches for those with combination skin.
But, the best thing about this one is the incredible smell – fresh rather than fragrant – and how refreshing it feels. The best kind of wake up call!
- Luminous silk foundation, £42 from Giorgio Armani – buy here
Rimmel's long lasting foundation gives infallible, matt coverage for a porcelain skin finish.
It comes in 14 colours (with a very good range in particular for pale skin tones) and also has SPF 20 protection.
The word breathable is a hint: this is lighter than the brand's 25 hour version, but you can keep on building coverage by dotting product on desired areas using the in-built precision sponge.
- Rimmel Long Lasting Breathable Foundation, £8.99 from Boots – buy here
Best foundation for acne-prone skin
The most reliable foundation out there, Maybelline's Total Cover isn't called infallible for nothing, it covers everything from enlarged pores and inflamed spots, to acne scars and tattoos.
Don't get us wrong, the consistency is thick to give heavy coverage, but it is hydrating at the same time – so it doesn't feel cakey.
- L'Oreal Total Cover Infallible Foundation, £9.99 from Boots – buy here
Best foundation for ageing skin
Before we list all the benefits of this No7 Triple Action foundation, let us just say that it really does what it says on the tin: illuminate, illuminate, illuminate.
Upon application, skin feel hydrated and looks dewy – which is probably why it will make you look younger, not to mention the fact that it's formulated with optical blurrers to deflect light away from fine lines and wrinkles.
And, as for preventing the actual ageing process, this product has SPF15 protection, which we all know works a treat.
- No7 Lift & Luminate serum foundation, £18 from Boots – buy here
If you want longer in bed, IT's colour correcting serum will simplify your morning routine with its hybrid properties – plus, the subtle peppermint aroma is a wake up call in itself.
It provides a higher protection than most foundations, but still feels like a second skin.
And, despite being a CC cream rather than a foundation, the consistency is surprisingly robust – so it'll cover acne, enlarged pores and dark spots too.
- IT Cosmetics CC Cream, £30 from Boots – buy here
Soon, we'll be announcing which products have been voted as winners in the Fabulous Beauty Awards.
If you can't wait until then, shop the shortlist here.
Or, check out Basics 101 fashion feature – we show you how to find the perfect white T-shirt.
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