What’s The Most Natural-Looking Foundation?

There's not just one answer to this question (which is why having a great community is so awesome!). Your skin type, shade, and level of coverage are going to be the most important factors, but we can give you a few good options to start with. Giorgio Armani Face Fabric Foundation is a big crowd pleaser because it's buildable, great for photos, and comes in a better range of tones than most traditional foundations.

For lighter coverage, our office favorite is Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer, because it looks like there's absolutely nothing on your face and makes a great base for concealer and blush.

And for great coverage that stays on all day, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation is a longtime standby that people in the industry swear by.

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  • Lea

    Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation - sheer, unscented, beautiful glow, non-drying but not greasy and comfortable.

    • sara

      this stuff is AH-MAZING

  • Madalyn

    I not only have acne scars but a light dusting of freckles across the bridge of my nose to deal with. I'm always on the lookout for a foundation that gives me that porcelain skin look sans the cake face effect (a girl can dream right?!) .

    Enter: Armani Maestro. It's light but buildable so it still gives good coverage. For bad skin days, I'll mix in some Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB cream. My skin loves it (Maestro on it's own can be a little oily for me) and it kicks up the overall coverage.

  • andee

    Current favorite is Tom Ford Traceless liquid. Lasts, no parabens, good color match for me, not too silky, not too matte.

  • Laura Sanz Arribas

    Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24h is what works perfect for me!

  • Eliza

    I love Kjaer Weiss--it's natural and it matches my skin perfectly (as in, I can put a thick stripe on my face, unblended, and you almost can't see it). It really covers redness, too. Plus the packaging is to die for!

  • jackie

    Estee Lauder Futurist Foundation is my absolute favorite. I know it's random and nobody ever talks about it, but it leaves your skin looking perfectly dewy and natural. I used to have severe acne in college so I have literally tried so many foundations and done a ton of research. I wanted that natural finish, but with actual coverage so bad. Now, having clear skin, I still use it. It's the most underrated foundation out there I'm tellin ya

  • Lea

    Jane Iredale PurePressed Base - it looks like I'm wearing nothing on my skin, exactly how I like it.

  • Nina R.

    Koh Gen Do recently reformulated the Aqua Foundation and expanded the color selection.

    • Rosie

      yes!! thanks for this news

    • TheProcrastinator

      I heard the texture might be a little different -- have you tried it? Thanks!

  • Merrill

    I tend to gravitate towards BB creams for their buildable and very versatile coverage. My current love is a Korean one called Holika Holika Petit BB Cream. It's very light, natural, and virtually undetectable on my skin!

  • kt mo

    It's a BB cream, not foundation, but that's just marketing. Clinique's BB cream gives amazing coverage, you only need like less than half a fingertip's worth to smear over the whole face, and it has SPF 35 - it's seriously a primer+sunscreen+moisturizer+concealer. If it's a good skin day i can just slap some on, but if my acne or acne scars are being terribly aggressive, i buff the tiniest extra over those areas and it airbrushes the texture.

    Could only be improved upon if it came in more than 3 shades, WTF Clinique.

  • allison

    Lancome Miracle Teint. only makeup that matches my fair skin so perfectly.

    • f

      same, and it photographs BEAUTIFULLY (made me look absolutely glowing, that too in pictures at night, in flash, and i have acne scarring/pigmentation) it looked perfectly natural and just so luminescent i was shocked a foundation could do that. i also shy away from foundation/heavy coverage/etc and prefer simple bb creams so i applied it very sparingly, yet it still did a great job. found a perfect shade after trying several differnt foundations, lancome, estee lauder, dior, until i found this aka my HG.

  • SuziL

    My very sensitive skin has been adoring Kiehl's Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream for nearly a year. It's paraben-free, silicone-free (yay!), gluten-free, and has 50 SPF. Since I started using it, I've had lots of compliments on my skin (not the norm, and I'm 52).

  • emily

    Estee Lauder Invisible fluid

  • B

    Nars Tinted Moisturizer - HELLO PHOTOSHOP FACE
    Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - DITTO

    Also, I find that a little touch of Suqqu's Loose Powder really helps set the skin. And I learnt this from Pat McGrath - only apply a tiny bit of loose powder on the forehead & nose - leaving the cheekbones void of any loose powder. Radiance for DAYSSSSSS!!! xo

  • vvv03

    I used to use Face Fabric, but Armani Maestro is even better. It's so light, but makes me look airbrushed.

  • Amanda Albrecht

    For me, the only one is Urban Decay's naked. There are very few light foundations with good coverage for my super fair skin that don't give me a sallow cast.

    • Caitlin

      8 months later, definitely! Do you use the lightest shade as well? I have it for emergencies, but it's literally the only one that I've been able to find that's fair enough for me, and not yellowy or sickly looking. It also lets freckles and (moderate) rosiness show through!

  • Nae

    My all-time favorite as well! Nobody can tell I'm wearing makeup when I use F&B.

  • Laura

    YES. My ride or die

  • Lauren Isbell

    I think all the Armani foundations are amazing. I wear luminous silk and I love it!!! I was hesitant to pay the high price at first but it's worth it-as is the beauty blender sponge!

    • shoumi

      Luminous Silk is my choice, it never looks like I'm wearing anything

  • Lindsay

    AmorePacific CC (cushion control) compact. Not only does it have SPF 15, but it feels cooling and delicious when you put it on your skin. Also the most natural I've ever looked with makeup on - and this is coming from a redhead with fair freckles skin! You can see the freckles but it takes away all the redness!

  • T

    I would love to know if anyone knows any from a drugstore!

  • Oui Capitan

    Such an underrated product. The coverage is so beautiful, what I imagine a BB cream should be (high coverage without being thick and heavy).

    • Chelsea van den Berg

      Couldn't agree more!

  • Miss ShaSha

    Ellis Faas also has the best mascara! really lengthens.. who knew??

  • Esra

    Clinique Acne Solutions Foundation is great for people who are acne prone. It has a nice matte finish that works well with my combination skin. Also, it's really affordable at $27!

  • Evita

    Chanel Aqua one

  • C

    Urban Decay's Naked foundation. Super light formula and closest match for my light-medium olive skin.

  • Sophie

    Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Chanel Vitalumiére Aqua!

  • Rachel Baynard

    Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. I have very fair, somewhat acne prone skin with very dark under eye circles. I hate looking like I have makeup on, but covering those problem areas is a must for me. The stuff covers without looking cakey.

  • Annie

    Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation. Looks and feels like baby soft skin and doesn't leave a hole in your wallet. The original Healthy Mix has the same texture but a fuller coverage.

  • celisabeth

    Benefit's 'Oxygen Wow' - this is a good buy as well, at $36. Very light-to-medium coverage.

  • Jody

    Chanel CC cream. I really love the sheer, bare finish. My skin is quite fair and i get some redness and can look a bit washed out. The CC cream corrects this without blurring out freckles and other endearing and display-worthy imperfections. It also stays put all day, come hell or high humidity.

    Insider tip: pairs perfectly with Hourglass cheek stain in Flush and/or a touch of summer sunshine glowing out of your cheeks.

  • Madalyn


  • Deek

    Mac Face and Body is the best best best, it feels so lightweight and looks as if you're wearing nothing - I wear it every day and it always looks as if I'm not wearing much at all!

  • leah

    MAC face and body, and also MUFE HD, its a buildable foundation, I find if you moistorize your skin well and apply the foundation with a beauty blender it looks very natural!

  • rika

    Dior Nude

    • Marcela

      I have it and I think it's not "invisible" at all... although it is sheer-medium coverage. =)) am I crazy? heheheh

  • Sonya

    Agree big time!

  • brokenplain

    if you dont have severe skin problems CHANEL VITALUMIERE AQUA is amazing and you really cant tell if someone is wearing it -but like I said its not for people who need/want heavy coverage

    • shelly

      this used to be my holy grail foundation. i got so many compliments on my skin, and like you said, people could never tell i was wearing foundation! but i've stopped using it bc of the high alcohol content :/ it's not good for my skin in the long run and when i have my mini breakouts, it just gets even worse with foundation slapped on

  • Kate

    I'm a big Bobbi Brown girl - the Skin Foundation mentioned above is great at evening out redness, patchiness, etc, without making you look like you're wearing a mask. You still feel that it's SKIN, you know? Also a pleasure to apply - I just swipe it on with my fingers, and love how it feels. I've often been asked when I'm wearing it what skincare products I'm using, as it just leaves you looking that flawless.

  • Lauren

    I love Eve Lom's new tinted moisturizer - it is pretty much perfect!

  • Amanda Lou de Perquise

    Lately, I've been using Lancôme's Teint Visionnaire, and it's sooooo good! There's a little concealer in the lid, that i apply BEFORE (important) foundation, and then "pouf!", even skintone, no big fat pores, no cake-y areas, i just look wonderful. But it's kinda pricey (64€ in France).

  • Katie

    I LOVE the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation. It's great for young skin as it's a little dewy without too much coverage, and smells good too :)

  • livia

    Chanel Vitalumiere Acqua and Clinique's BB Cream are the best ones!

  • coconut

    Smashbox studio skin! effect :perfect face with makeupnomakeup, dense, creamy - but not heavy, moisturizing but no shine effect, long lasting - I wear it from 6 o clock til 8 pm - face looks radiant, covered

  • Liz K

    Smashbox Liquid Halo. Best texture ever and looks completely natural.

  • Celina

    I mix YSL Touché Eclat Foundation with Nuxe Teint Éclat Prodigieux - it needs to be a nuance darker after a holiday in India - if you just use a drop of each, it does look very natural! And in summer the Nuxe Tinted Moisturizer on it's own...

  • rachel

    1000000%, also looks super natural when layered over the mat velvet foundation for covering bumps or whatever.

  • Juan Jaar

    Mac Face and Body, a CLASSIC. Wearing it now :) Honorable mentions include Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua, the Armani bases are lovely and thin- they give a real impression of 'bare' skin, and something that always works is to conceal only where needed! Most people could do well with using the absolute minimum of product on very targeted areas (under eyes, spots, pimples ect.) and a great trick is using something very full coverage on something like a TEENY eyeliner brush to really cover ONLY what u wanna cover and minimize volume of product on your face (which in turn minimizes the dreaded 'cake face').

  • Bobbi J

    I LOVE Smooth Finish Finish Flawless Fluide from Laura Mercier. Started using it last fall when it came out and it just gives me the best lights coverage…glides on like water…I don't feel like I have foundation on