The best long-lasting foundations

long lasting foundations

by Even Miller |
Updated on

We don't need to tell you that being a parent means getting yourself ready takes backseat, but of course, you deserve to feel your best with the limited time you have to get ready. With that in mind, we want our beauty regime to be a once-a-day, streamlined event that won't need constant touch-ups. Introducing long-lasting foundations which promise not to budge all day.

For most of us who wear makeup, foundation is the start of our base, and even with setting spray, you want your foundation itself to stay in place, without crease or rubbing off. Long-lasting foundations give you that longevity with a flawless finish that's easy to build the rest of your makeup on.

Foundation can feel like a personal choice - everyone requires a different shade, finish, and coverage - but it can feel like a never-ending task finding the right one for you and your skin. A long-lasting but lightweight foundation that makes you feel fabulous. No need to worry though, we've put together a list of our ride-or-die, favourite long-lasting foundations.

Editor's Choice

 Best overall long-lasting foundation: Estee Lauder Double wear foundation
 Best luxury long-lasting foundation: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
 Best affordable long-lasting foundation: e.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation

We've taken into consideration price, quality, ingredients, and formulas when picking out our picks of the best long-lasting foundations. These beauty buys will even last until it's time to read a bedtime story to a stroppy two-year-old...

The best long-lasting foundations 2023

Best overall long-lasting foundation

The Estee Lauder Double wear foundation a cult-favourite for a reason. It won't budge all day and it's matte-finish means it's perfect for those with oily and combination skin. It's one of those high-end foundations that you just know will look glorious and take care of your skin while you wear it (especially with the SPF included).

One reviewer said: "Bought this to wear for my wedding and it withstood the test of a long, windy, and sweaty day!"

Another reviewer said: "I've been using double wear for 10 years and would never go to another foundation. Its the absolute best stay in place foundation, i love it! Had a few people ask me over the years what foundation I use, as my skin looks flawless. Hands down the best foundation I've ever used!"


  • 24-hour wear
  • Waterproof formula


  • Bottle doesn't have a pump
Shade Range:Over 55 shades

Best lightweight long-lasting foundation

Formulated with brightening Vitamin C, the L'Oreal Paris Infallible 32H Freshwear Foundation gives you a full coverage base without feeling too heavy on the skin. It's transfer-proof and buildable, plus we love that a little goes a long way when it comes to the application. Who says a beautiful foundation has to break the bank?

One reviewer said: "I loved this foundation, it went on very smoothly and felt amazing, it looked natural and I had a few compliments from friends."

Another reviewer said: "I'm impressed by this foundation, It goes on evenly with good coverage and looks great all day. It has not irritated my skin which can be super sensitive and dry in patches I would definitely recommend that you give this one a try."


  • SPF 25 formula
  • Feels like a second skin


  • Not the best for oily skin
Shade Range:26 shades

Best luxury long-lasting foundation

Alternative retailers
Macy's$45.00View offer
Saks Fifth Avenue$45.00View offer
Bloomingdale's$48.00View offer
Sephora$48.00View offer

No wonder this is many a celeb's go-to base. The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation really sinks into the skin and conceals any blemishes and dark circles expertly. The foundation feels surprisingly light on your skin, despite it being full coverage. Win win! If you're worried about going full-thwack glamour for the nursery run, mix a few drops with your favourite moisteriser.

One reviewer said: "This foundation is flawless and I keep going back to it even even after trying the ones that are much more expensive (including some premium ones). I have a combination skin and use a mattifying primer underneath the foundation. Then after applying foundation I use a translucent powder to set the makeup.
This combination works like a dream with Amrani and nothing else I've ever tried works better or even the same. And given all these steps, my complexion still looks fresh and makeup appears minimal as if it's my own flawless skin.
A tip for summer is to add a bit of a liquid bronzer to make the shade darker. Or just replace translucent powder with a finely milled Bronzer. I'd buy this foundation again and again even if it goes up in price, it's so worth it."


  • Silky, hydrating formula
  • Seamless application


  • Not the most affordable
Shade Range:40 shades

Best blurring long-lasting foundation

The NARS Light Reflecting Foundation is the perfect glowy base for hotter days. Formulated with advanced skincare ingredients, this feels breathable and super comfortable on the skin, plus it looks super natural while still giving you coverage. You'll feel like a naturally glowing goddess wearing this one.

One reviewer said: "Love this product - I'm extremely fussy with foundation and I find it hard to get one that sits right on my skin. This is glowy and buildable. It's so easy to do a 'no make up look' with this.


  • Skin-like finish
  • Blurs imperfections


  • Shade range could be expanded further
Shade Range:36 shades

Best sheer long-lasting foundation

This is ideal for parents who don't want to slather on lots of makeup and prefer looking a little more fresh-faced. The Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint is really light-weight, sheer and definitely won't cover your gorgeous freckles, leaving a stunning, dewy look. We love how this leaves your skin looking super smooth.

One reviewer said: "Searching for this my whole life - I have tried nearly every foundation, light and full coverage, tinted serums….etc. All make me look older, settle into fine lines. and just look masky…YUCK. I picked the perfect shade and this stuff is amazing. Sits lightly on the skin, looks glowy, and evens out skin tone. LOVE THIS PRODUCT!"


  • Includes moisturising glycerin
  • Brightening


  • A smaller shade range
Shade Range:12 shades

Best soft matte long-lasting foundation

Yep, it's definitely full coverage and ideal for anyone wanting to achieve the 'filter' effect. Unlike a lot of heavy foundations, the Fenty Beauty PRO FILT'R Soft Matte Longwear Foundation won't doesn't leave your skin looking cakey and it looks surprisingly natural. It's also available in a mighty 50 shades, which has made Rihanna's beauty collection a favourite within the industry.

One reviewer said: "I usually struggle to find a good shade match for my fair neutral skin tone but it was easy with Fenty. Went on smoothly with a brush and stayed in place all day."

Another reviewer said: "I love that it looks like skin and super lightweight, great shade match too."


  • Climate-adaptive technology
  • Super lightweight


  • Some reviewers with dry skin didn't enjoy this product
Shade Range:50 shades (and counting)


Best long-lasting foundation for an even skintone

If you are a fan of a full coverage, the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Full Coverage Liquid Foundation is definitely for you. It blurs all of your imperfections (it really is like a filter for your face) without feeling really heavy on your skin. We love that it's waterproof and transfer-proof, perfect for long days out and about.

One reviewer said: "Great coverage - I was very scared before buying this foundation but after purchasing I love it. I have some hyperpigmentation on my cheeks and it covers every flaw on my face, no caky, no dryness, just love it."


  • Transfer, fade, sweat and humidity-proof
  • Up to 24 hours of wear


  • May be too full coverage for some
Shade Range:39 shades

Best affordable long-lasting foundation

Not only is the e.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation affordable, it looks gorgeous on the skin too. It gives you coverage without being too heavy, plus it includes UVA/UVB SPF 15 sun protection, so you skin looks and feels its best. If you have oily skin but don't want to go completely matte, this is a great choice for you.

One reviewer said: "Really happy with this purchase! I've been looking for a light, smoothing foundation for a while and have really enjoyed using elf so far. It's liquid enough for me to put on easily, and covers my whole face with some leftover. I've found that it smoothes away my pores which is so satisfying, leaving my skin so soft and, well, smooth!! It is definitely light coverage but that's all I'm after. It also blends really well with my concealer instead of leaving patchy marks and doesn't go "chalky" on my forehead - something that more expensive foundations have done for me in the past which I found frustrating."


  • Oil-free formula
  • Protects the skin


  • At that price, it's hard to complain
Shade Range:40 shades (but not all in stock)

What should you consider when choosing a long-lasting foundation?

Coverage: Some will want a flawless full coverage look, whereas others will prefer a more 'natural' skin tint look. You may want both for different occasions - not every day will be a full coverage day. It's all down to personal preference.

Finish: This will probably depend on your skin type. Those with dry skin may want a more sheer, luminous foundation, whereas those with oily skin may benefit from a matte formula, giving them flattering oil-control.

Budget: Some foundations can be a little pricey, and some are able to make that investment, but foundation are also something you'll have to buy frequently, so whatever budget you have, stick to it as there are lots of options out there.

Formula: As well as coverage and finish, foundation formulas can offer you and your skin a lot more. Is the formula hydrating or smoothing? Does it include SPF protection? Is it waterproof or sweat-proof?

How should you apply foundation?

Everyone, experienced beauty guru or average makeup lover, has their own method of applying their foundation. There isn't specifically 'right or wrong' way, it's whatever works for you - which may require some trial or error.

We would recommend priming your skin beforehand to make a smoother, longer-lasting finish, but when it comes to the application itself, there are three popular ways to you can possibly work from.

 Blending Sponge - Also known as a beauty blender, a blending sponge helps you to get the most from your foundation, bouncing it across you skin and effortlessly blending the product in. We love this method for medium and full coverage foundations.
 Makeup Brush - Whether you pick a classic foundation brush or stippling brush, this can help you to seamlessly buff the product onto your skin, giving you a lot of control. This can also be helpful with blending over cream products like concealer and certain blushes.
• Your Hands - Before makeup became a viral sensation, a lot of people just applied their makeup with their hands. It's not our top choice, but the warmth of your hands can help with blending. Just make sure your hands are super clean before application.

What shade of foundation should you wear?

It can be hard to pick your foundation shade, making sure you take your undertones and complexion into account etc. As shade ranges get more inclusive and expand, which is definitely a positive, there's a perfect shade out there for you, it's just finding it that can feel overwhelming.

You can take a guess online, reading the description, but it may be easier to go in-store and either swatch a few of the shades you think could work for you, or ask the staff to shade-match you. That will take away some of the stress, and stop you from buying the wrong shade - no one wants to go back to those orange teen years.

We'd also recommend revaluating your go-to foundation in the summer. You may naturally tan and need a slightly darker shade for that time of year, or you may want a lighter coverage, so you can show off your freckles.

Eve Miller is a Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby, working for Bauer Media for over two years. She is passionate about beauty, creative writing, and women’s healthcare.

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