The Best Foundation for Every Skin Tone
There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to foundation. We can help you find your just-right shade.
Best foundation for fair complexionsMatthew Cohen/rd.com
CoverGirl TruBlend Matte Made Foundation is the brand’s most inclusive foundation ever—there are 40 shades to choose from that range from fair porcelain to espresso. It has a matte finish that isn’t drying or cakey, and the formula is developed with flexi-hold technology that creates a flexible film on the skin for all-day comfort. To ensure a smooth base (cakey foundation is never cute), make sure to exfoliate before you apply your primer and foundation.
Best foundation for fair complexions with neutral undertonesMatthew Cohen/rd.com
Look at the veins on the underside of your wrists. If they’re mostly blue or purple, you have cool undertones; if they’re more of a greenish yellow, you have warm undertones. If your veins look like a mix of green, blue, yellow, and purple, your undertones are neutral. Recognizing the undertones of your skin play a huge role in determining how natural a foundation looks on you. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation is a light-to-full-coverage formula with a natural-looking appearance that you can build up if you need more coverage. You can apply it directly to your skin (the sleek applicator makes it easy to take on the road for midday touch-ups) or use a damp sponge or stippling brush. The formula, which comes in 30 different shades, will counteract any redness on the surface of your skin. Plus, it’s made without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
Best foundation for fair complexions with yellow undertonesMatthew Cohen/rd.com
Formulated with a built-in primer, FACE Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro is one of the best foundation options because it has an 18-shade line that’s age- and race-neutral; their “color adjusters” (Zero Minus, Zero Plus, Zero Plus Plus, Heat, and Blaze), which you purchase separately, will automatically lighten or darken a shade to match your complexion. The silicone-based formula gives a soft-focus finish, but if you need more coverage, you can easily build it up. It’s also moisture, heat, and oil resistant. These are the 10 makeup mistakes pros wish you’d stop making.
Best foundation for fair to light complexions with red undertonesMatthew Cohen/rd.com
If you have red or pinkish undertones that you are trying to balance out, the best choice is a formula that provides seamless coverage but is zero percent noticeable. MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation is one of the best foundations for light complexions because it has 40 different shades to choose from (one of the most inclusive foundation ranges we’ve seen) and is designed to look good on camera. Your complexion will look flawless even through the most high-definition lenses.
Best foundation for medium complexions with gold or yellow undertonesMatthew Cohen/rd.com
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup is a medium coverage foundation that’s ideal for medium complexions with combination skin. The demi-matte finish gives you a soft, natural luminosity without looking greasy. (If you have oily skin, here are the beauty secrets women with oily skin should memorize.) Best of all, this pick has an array of medium shades—from color 4 to color 7.5—that cater to medium complexions with gold or yellow undertones.
Best foundation for medium to olive complexionsMatthew Cohen/rd.com
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H has fully 20 medium hues—from yellow to pink undertones—in this oil-free, long-lasting foundation. It’s one of the best foundations for medium to olive complexions as its unique formula contains specially coated pigments that maintain a consistent pH level on your skin to ensure that color stays true all day. Plus, it’s got 40 shades in its impressive lineup.
Best foundation for medium complexions with beige or rosy undertonesMatthew Cohen/rd.com
If you have a medium complexion with beige or rosy undertones, the MAC Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation will be the best foundation for you. We love this formula because it has translucent pigments that will give you a personalized finish. It’s priced at $39, which proves that you don’t have to break the bank to find an awesome product. The SPF makes this product a great multitasker. If you like a minimal makeup routine, you’re going to love these 10 lazy girl-approved beauty tricks.
Best foundation for deep complexionsMatthew Cohen/rd.com
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 has a perfect mix of red and yellow undertones, which makes it a favorite for women of color. The weightless formula glides on and gives the appearance of flawless airbrushed skin. It has all of the anti-aging benefits of a luxury skin cream, and it’s packed with concentrated ingredients like mushroom extract to moisturize and firm the skin. You can choose from 14 different shades. If you prefer a matte finish, Meet Your Matte Velvet Foundation from COL-LAB is a great affordable option. It blurs imperfections without settling into fine lines, leaving your skin looking matte, but not flat.
Best foundation for deep-dark complexionsMatthew Cohen/rd.com
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer Foundation has shades that complement both red and yellow undertones, and it never leaves a chalky finish. “The sensual skin enhancer comes in 16 shades that can be used alone or mixed with other sensual skin enhancer colors to create your own personal shade,” says Viviana Martin, professional makeup artist and director of pro-artist relations and global artistry for Kevyn Aucoin. “The sensual skin enhancer covers, conceals, and corrects any imperfections and has jojoba oil, honey, and minerals to hydrate and create a dewy complexion.” Here are more beauty secrets that you’ll want to try ASAP.
Best foundation for very deep to dark complexionsMatthew Cohen/rd.com
It would be hard to do a foundation roundup without mentioning Fenty Beauty. Fenty Beauty was created by pop star Rihanna to be a more diverse, inclusive line than what was on the market at the time. After years of “obsessive research,” Fenty Beauty was born. The Fenty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation has 10 spot-on dark shades, ranging from warm to cool, making it one of the best foundations for very deep to dark complexions. The warmer shades (400 and 450) have golden undertones to add depth and warmth, while the neutral and cooler shades (410, 420, 430, 440, 460, 470, 480, and 490) will suit the darkest complexions. Don’t miss these foundations that actually improve you complexion.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Reader’s Digest editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of revenue from our partners, such as Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected].