Best Longwear Foundations

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
345 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best longwear foundations

Last Updated September 2019

Foundation can be a lifesaver for anyone who wants to even out skin tone, cover up acne and other discolorations, or soften the look of fine lines. But there’s nothing worse than taking the time to apply foundation only to find that it’s faded or melted off by mid-day. With a longwear foundation, you can trust your makeup to stay on from day through night.

Longwear foundation is designed to hold up no matter how your skin behaves during the day. Traditional foundations can start to fade or melt when the natural oils in your skin break down the formula over the course of the day. If you have dry spots, a regular foundation may cling to those areas while fading everywhere else, giving you a patchy look. A longwear foundation holds up to oil, dehydration, sweat, and other factors to stay in place all day.

Our shopping guide has all the information you need to find the best longwear foundation. We’ve also included our five favorite products in the matrix above to simplify shopping even further.

Even if a longwear foundation promises 24-hour wear, you shouldn’t wear it for that long. It’s important to allow your skin to breathe, so you should always wash off your makeup before you go to sleep.

Key considerations

Skin type

Most longwear foundations are designed with oily skin in mind. That’s because it’s typically more challenging to keep makeup on the skin when there’s an excess of oil on the surface that can break down makeup. For oily skin, opt for an oil-free longwear foundation so you don’t have to worry about any additional oil being added to your skin that can affect the makeup or cause breakouts. Some longwear foundations that are suited for oily skin also contain ingredients that absorb oil or prevent it from breaking through. Silicone-based formulas with added ingredients like salicylic acid and rice powder are ideal options.

If you have dry skin, you may still have an issue with your makeup not lasting through the day. That’s because as your skin loses hydration, dry patches become more apparent, causing your foundation to cling to those areas and fade in other spots. To maintain a flawless complexion all day, choose a longwear foundation that contains hydrating or moisturizing ingredients. Formulas with squalane, hyaluronic acid, and natural oils like argan, sesame, and avocado usually work well.

Formula

Most longwear foundations are either a liquid or powder formula. Cream and stick foundations are usually too emollient to last that long on the skin. Both liquid and powder foundations can hold up well, but you may prefer one over the other depending on your skin type and how you plan to use the foundation.

Liquid longwear foundation is suitable for most skin types. If you have dry skin, though, you should definitely choose a liquid formula because powder foundations usually don’t offer any hydration. Many people prefer the finish of a liquid foundation over a powder foundation as well.

Powder longwear foundations can be extremely effective at soaking up excess oil, which makes them an ideal match for oily skin. Powder foundation is usually easier to carry with you in your bag for travel, too. Liquid foundation can open and spill inside a suitcase or bag.

Wear time

Many longwear foundations make specific claims about how long you can expect the makeup to last on your skin, usually ranging from 15 to 24 hours. For most people, 12 hours of wear time is enough to get through the average work or school day, so any longwear foundation should work well. If you’re out of the house for extremely long periods, though, you may prefer a foundation that promises 24-hour wear.

All-day wear in over 55 shades

If you’re looking for a foundation that can last through even your longest days, Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation is the perfect option. Not only is it oil-free and oil-controlling, but it’s also waterproof and transfer-resistant, so it can last even through the hottest days. We also love that it’s available in more than 55 shades, which makes it very easy to find your perfect color match.

Features

Coverage

Most longwear foundations offer full coverage, which usually means they can cover acne, dark circles, hyperpigmentation, redness, freckles, and birthmarks without needing any concealer. Full-coverage foundation can be an ideal option if you have a lot of imperfections you want to cover, but it can have a heavy look and feel on the skin. Many people prefer to save full-coverage longwear foundation for special occasions.

You can also find some longwear foundations that offer light to medium coverage. Foundations with light coverage usually can’t cover particularly dark acne spots or hyperpigmentation, so you need to follow up with a concealer. They feel lighter on the skin, though, and provide a more natural makeup look. Medium-coverage longwear foundations can cover most redness and spots but still allow your freckles and skin to show through. Light- and medium-coverage longwear foundations are best for everyday use.

Shade range

Choosing a foundation color that matches your skin tone for a seamless look is a challenge for most people. In addition to getting the shade right, you also have to find the right undertone. Warm-toned skin looks best in foundation with yellow undertones, while cool-toned skin looks best in foundation with pink undertones. Neutral-toned skin falls in between.

To make sure you find a shade that matches your skin tone, consider longwear foundations that offer a large shade range. Some brands only offer four or five shades, which can make it extremely difficult to find a match, especially if you are very fair or dark. Other brands offer over 40 different shades, which makes it much easier to find the ideal shade and undertone for your particular skin tone.

EXPERT TIP

A light-coverage longwear foundation is often the most versatile because you can add layers to get fuller coverage when necessary.


Staff  | BestReviews

Finish

In the past, nearly all longwear foundations had a matte finish because they were targeted mainly to oily skin. A matte finish means the foundation has no shine, so it counteracts the shine from the skin’s natural oils. Some users find that matte-finish foundation can look a little too flat on the skin, though, particularly if you have normal or dry skin.

Some longwear foundations offer a natural or natural matte finish, which doesn’t appear as dry as a classic matte finish. Instead, it more closely resembles natural skin. A natural finish can be a good option for slightly oily or normal skin.

You can also find some longwear foundations that provide a radiant, luminous, or dewy finish, which adds a subtle glow or shine to the skin. This type of finish is ideal if you have dry skin that normally looks a little dull on its own.

Packaging

If you’re purchasing a liquid longwear foundation, take a moment to consider the packaging. Most liquid foundations come in a bottle, but only some formulas offer a pump dispenser, which makes it much easier to get out the precise amount of foundation you need. If the bottle doesn’t have a pump, you have to pour out the foundation, which often comes out quickly and can lead to a mess and wasting product.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many longwear foundation formulas are cruelty-free. You can even find some vegan options.

Longwear foundation prices

Longwear foundations vary in price based on the quality of the ingredients and the coverage. Most foundations range from $6 to $65.

The most affordable longwear foundations usually have lower-quality ingredients and offer light to medium coverage. These drugstore foundations typically cost between $6 and $15.

Mid-range longwear foundations may be full-coverage formulas with lower-quality ingredients. These usually range from $15 to $20 and can be found at the drugstore. You can also find longwear foundations with high-quality ingredients that offer light to medium coverage and cost between $20 and $36. These foundations are sold at higher-end makeup retailers.

The most expensive longwear foundations are usually full-coverage options with high-quality ingredients. They typically range from $36 to $65 and are found at higher-end makeup retailers like Sephora.

EXPERT TIP

Matte longwear foundation usually dries very quickly, so it’s best to apply it to your face in sections to make sure you can blend it out fully.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Even if you’re using a longwear foundation, you should always apply a primer first to help the makeup last longer. Oily skin should use a mattifying or oil-absorbing primer, while dry skin should opt for a hydrating or moisturizing primer.
  • Use as thin a layer of longwear foundation as possible to get the coverage you want. Applying the makeup too thickly will lead to an unflattering cakey look.
  • If you have oily skin, set your longwear foundation with powder to help it last even longer.
  • Consider applying a setting spray after you’ve applied your longwear foundation, which helps lock your makeup in place so it lasts even longer.

Lightweight feel and look

Fenty’s longwear foundation is ideal for anyone who wants a more natural longwear look. While the formula offers medium coverage that’s sweat- and humidity-resistant, the soft matte finish looks more like natural skin than heavier formulas. It feels lightweight on the skin, so it’s comfortable to wear, too. We also love that it can work for oily, combination, and normal skin. You’re sure to find one of the 50 shades that works for you.

Other products we considered

There are plenty of longwear foundations on the market, so you should have no trouble finding an option that works for your skin type. The bareMinerals barePRO Performance Wear Liquid Foundation is an ideal choice for normal, oily, or combination skin because it’s oil-free and helps blur the look of pores and other skin texture issues. It also offers up to 24 hours of wear and is transfer-resistant so you don’t have to worry about it rubbing off on your clothes. We also love the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation because it’s hydrating enough for dry skin while still providing up to 24-hour wear. It’s also sweat-, water-, and transfer-resistant and offers medium to full coverage to cover nearly all imperfections.

It’s best to wait at least five to 10 minutes after you apply your moisturizer before putting on longwear foundation. Excess moisture on the skin can prevent the foundation from adhering properly.

FAQ

Q. Is longwear foundation bad for the skin?
A.
In most cases, longwear foundation doesn’t affect the skin any differently than regular foundation. However, oil-free, mattifying formulas can be drying, so they aren’t the best choice for normal to dry skin.

Q. How do I remove longwear foundation?
A.
Most longwear foundations can be washed off with water and your usual facial cleanser. You may have an easier time if you use a two-step cleansing process, though. Start with a product designed specifically for makeup removal, and then follow up with your regular facial cleanser to make sure you remove all of the foundation.

Q. Does longwear foundation work well for photos?
A.
For casual, candid photos, longwear foundation can work just fine. However, if you’re taking studio photos or snapping pictures in a setting with bright lights, longwear formulas have a tendency to look heavy and unnatural on the skin.

The team that worked on this review
  • Amber
    Amber
    Writer
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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