The Best Second-Skin Foundation and Concealer to Nail The ‘Effortless Summer Beauty’ Look

The Best Second-Skin Foundation and Concealer to Nail The ‘Effortless Summer Beauty’ Look featured image
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The “skinification” of makeup has been an explosive trend following the pandemic. With more people working from home and embracing a “less is more” look, makeup preferences have shifted. We’re also investing more in our skin-care routines, and when our skin is bright and clear, we don’t need as much makeup. More of us are reaching for skin tints, skin enhancers and second-skin foundation and concealer rather than their heavier, full-coverage counterparts. Even the lightest-weight products can lend a little necessary skin tone–evening or a healthy glow. Here, experts weigh in on the second-skin makeup trend and we share our favorite product picks.

Featured Experts

The Second-Skin Makeup Trend

Gloria Ryu, chief product officer for Haus Labs, considers the skinification of makeup the new benchmark of high performance for complexion products. “Today it is possible to achieve full coverage without a heavy, occlusive feel, so why should we have to compromise?” she says. “The technology now exists to have breathable, lightweight makeup with buildable coverage that also considers the health of the skin.” It’s not an easy feat for R&D, but it is possible. “To create our award-winning Triclone Skin Tech Foundation and Concealer, we spent more than two years and 1,800 hours conducting 50-plus formula trials in our Korean lab,” Ryu adds.

Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg is also a fan of the second-skin foundation trend. “I love using foundations and concealers that blend comfortably onto the face and melt into your skin,” she says. People care more these days about the way makeup affects their skin. “Social media has been great for teaching everyone about the importance of skin care, so now we’re seeing that pay off. Our faces are happy about this.”

Cosmetic chemist Rachel Johnson agrees, saying consumers are learning the benefits of layering their makeup on top of skin care. “People are gravitating toward makeup formulations that have skin-nurturing benefits. Better skin is definitely a reason to ‘wear less and go out more.’ However, heavy foundations, better known as ‘Full Glam’ looks, still have their place with pro makeup artists who serve the entertainment and fashion industries.”

Johnson also has insight on the color-matching processes for second-skin formulations. “They are done in a way that the undertones are a perfect match and the overtone complements or enhances the overall complexion,” she says. “This is another reason why these products feel like a second-skin. Imperfections appear to be buffed away while giving a smooth application that moves with your skin.”

What to Look For

“Look for foundations and concealers that say they offer sheer coverage,” says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson. “That means there is less pigment, and they will provide a lighter feel on the skin. Another thing to look for is a serum-like texture. Serum-based makeup products are thinner formulas and will feel much lighter than heavier liquids.”

Johnson adds that “functional ingredients” are the superstars for this trend. “Some common ingredients that help formulations perform this way are silica, crosspolymers, copolymers and boron nitride. Additionally, lightweight and silky yet effective film formers and emollients with great skin affinity that provide a breathable finish. Trending ‘skin enhancers’ also fall into this second-skin category.”

How to Get the Look

Greenberg says the way you apply your products is important to achieving this look. “Always start with a little, and then slowly and carefully build.” You can also create a sheer finish using a heavier foundation you already have. (No need to waste product!) “Apply it using a wet Beautyblender,” says Greenberg. “This is a great way to make your existing products look like second skin.”

Our Favorite Second-Skin Makeup Products

1 / 9

Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Triclone Skin Tech Hydrating + De-Puffing Concealer ($32)

A favorite from Lady Gaga’s brand, this concealer also won a 2024 NewBeauty Award. “It was formulated in Korea to create a breathable, second-skin look and feel, despite its medium coverage,” says Ryu. It features 20-plus skin-care ingredients, including the brand’s patent-pending fermented arnica to de-puff.



Award Photo: Triclone Skin Tech Concealer
2 / 9

Makeup by Mario SurrealSkin Foundation ($42)

Founder and celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic calls this breathable liquid foundation his “complexion masterpiece.” It comes in 30 flexible shades and provides medium coverage, but Dedivanovic says you can easily add more for full coverage or sheer it out. A blend of vegan squalene and grape seed oil gives it a moisturizing factor that lasts on the skin for up to 12 hours.

BUY NOW – $42

Award Photo: Surreal Skin Foundation
3 / 9

Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Balm Serum Boosted Skin Tint ($42)

A BB cream in a stick, this skin tint has a serum base made with hyaluronic acid, peptides and plant-based oils, allowing it to glide on seamlessly. The coverage is sheer-to-light and the second-skin finish is natural. It’s creamy enough to blend with your fingers, or you can use a brush, and it comes in 16 shades.



4 / 9

MAC Strobe Dewy Skin Tint ($38)

New to the U.S. from MAC is this sheer, skincare-makeup hybrid that creates the prettiest glow. We love the lightweight, gel-balm texture and addition of hyaluronic acid, shea butter, squalane and vitamin E that care for your skin as you wear it. It’s available in 14 “super-stretchable” shades, and you can wear it alone or as a radiant base under other makeup.



5 / 9

Fenty Beauty We’re Even Hydrating Longwear Concealer ($30)

If you love Fenty’s full-coverage Pro Filt’r Concealer but want something lighter for summertime, this is the one to try. It gives medium coverage and a second-skin finish, but also lasts up to 12 hours, even in humidity. True to Fenty’s ethos, it comes in a whopping 50 shades, and offers skin-care benefits via prickly pear and sodium hyaluronate. Plus, the doe-foot applicator is flexible, so you can reach all the nooks and crannies around your eyes after a long night. 



6 / 9

Dolce&Gabbana Blueberry Nutri-Tint ($52)

Get 24 hours of skin hydration and a beautiful, healthy glow with this sheer-coverage, buildable formula. This is the perfect pick for the “no makeup makeup” look, and also lends a slight blurring effect to camouflage minor imperfections. It’s infused with blueberry for an extra radiance boost, as well as glyceryl glucoside for hydration.



7 / 9

WYN Beauty by Serena Williams Featuring You Hydrating Skin Enhancing Tint SPF 30 ($29)

Boasting SPF 30 sun protection, hydrating ingredients and enough pigment to even skin tone, this formula is a true multitasker. The gel-cream texture gives it a lightweight feel on the skin and lets skin’s natural beauty shine through, which is something founder and tennis icon Serena Williams said was important to her. It comes in 36 shades, and is also safe for sensitive skin.

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8 / 9

Nakery Beauty Skip the Line Instant Coverage Plumping Velvet Serum-Infused Foundation ($34.50)

Though this oil-free formula only comes in three shades—Light, Medium and Deep—it includes smart color adapt technology that adjusts to your skin tone. It provides full coverage and a matte finish, which sounds like it would be heavy, but the whipped texture feels super light on the skin. The addition of “serum” via niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and squalane lends moisturizing benefits as well.

BUY NOW – $34.50

9 / 9

Lisa Eldridge Seamless Skin Enhancing Tint ($49)

Available in 18 shades, this super lightweight skin tint from celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge is made of 78-percent skin-care ingredients. It feels like nothing on the skin, but somehow tones down redness and delivers an effortlessly fresh glow. Glycerin supplies moisturization and antioxidant-rich prickly pear seed oil hydrates, so skin gets coverage and care simultaneously.

BUY NOW – $49

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