8 Foundations That Don’t Feel Like Foundation

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Finding the perfect foundation can be tricky. You want the coverage, but the not the cakey look, and you want the SPF protection, but not the dry feeling. We want all those things too, so we set out to find the ultimate mix of foundations that don’t actually feel like their traditional counterparts. Whether they’re mixed with gel, water, cream or balm, these seven formulas will have you looking at your skin in a whole new way. 

You May Also Like: Foundations That Dermatologists Love (and Actually Use!)

1 / 8

Lancôme Miracle Cushion ($47)

This cushion compact (if you haven’t tried this Korean beauty trend yet, you should!) houses light-as-air foundation in it’s pre-soaked sponge. It goes on so smooth and even—it feels like you have nothing on at all, but you still get good coverage.

2 / 8

Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow ($64)

The brand calls this one “nourishing fusion makeup” and we couldn’t have named it better ourselves. The effective yet lightweight combination of SPF, color pigments and moisturizing properties gives you the glowy, youthful look that Giorgio Armani Beauty is known for. 

3 / 8

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF 30 ($42)

As the name suggests, this unique BB cream is “watered down” to create a second skin–like formula that goes on easily and blends in well. It gives just the right amount of coverage to hide minor imperfections and discoloration without ever looking or feeling cakey.

4 / 8

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation ($39)

A little goes a long way with this innovative, oil-free formula (this one is a must-try for foundation-phobes). It gives you the full coverage you need—enough to cover redness, dark spots, large pores and blemishes—with a cooling effect that makes skin feel so comfortable. Buff it onto your skin with an angled brush for a smooth, flawless look.

5 / 8

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue ($30)

Whether your skin is light or dark, this formula gets it right. Not necessarily a foundation (but we like to wear it as one), we’d describe it as a BB/CC cream mixed with a tinted moisturizer and the perfect amount of color to even out your skin and make you look refreshed. A big perk with this one, too, is the addition of mineral-based SPF 30, which gives you the dermatologist-recommended amount of sun protection, but you can’t feel it or see it on your skin. 

6 / 8

Natura Bissé The Cure Sheer Cream ($185)

If your favorite skin care cream and foundation had a baby, this would be it. It’s rich and creamy, but not drying (it won’t settle into fine lines), and gives you allover coverage with a super dewy finish. Plus, you get the anti-aging benefits of green tea extract and essential oils, as well as SPF 20.

7 / 8

Stila Aqua Glow Serum Foundation ($54)

If you’re looking for something with a little more coverage, this one gives you medium to full without feeling heavy in the least bit. It’s also a great pick for those with dry skin, as it’s packed with water and hyaluronic acid to give your skin a hydrated feel. We like to apply it with a sponge for a luminous, airbrushed effect.

8 / 8

The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder Skin Glowing Balm Makeup with Pink Peony ($36)

Almost like a tinted moisturizer of sorts (a really good one!), this balm-like formula is creamy and blends seamlessly into skin without leaving behind an oily residue or making you look super shiny come midday. Plus, the shade range gets props for being completely natural-looking so you get sheer coverage, but still enough to make you look glowy and pretty.

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