The best full-coverage foundations that conceal without caking
Want a foundation that blurs imperfections, conceals blemishes and leaves your skin with a picture-perfect finish? You’ve come to the right place.
Full coverage foundations can sometimes get a bit of a bad rap for appearing mask-like and cakey on the skin. But the best full coverage foundation formulas have come a long way since those of the late noughties, when a matte make-up look was key and the only highlighter you owned was the one in your pencil case.
As our make-up preferences have changed over the years, so have the formulations. Nowadays, full coverage doesn’t mean flat. Cakey formulas have been replaced with hydrating ingredients and even matte foundations still give your skin a glow (in all the right places).
In fact, many people are now ditching their barely-there bases and turning back to full coverage foundation formulas. Sheer foundations are great but if you want a long-lasting make-up look, full coverage is the way to go. They’re also perfect for helping to hide blemishes and disguising maskne. But according to TV and celebrity make-up artist Bryony Blake, the key to a flawless full coverage finish is all in the application.
How to apply full coverage foundation
“I find when it comes to a full coverage foundation, people often get scared that it will end up looking very heavy and mask like,” says Bryony.
“My favourite way to apply a full coverage foundation is with a firm bristle brush, I like to really press the product into my skin especially in areas you want more coverage. I then buff it out in the areas that need less coverage. By doing it this way you will get the coverage you want but at the same time it won’t look caked on or too heavy.
Beauty blenders are also a popular tool to apply foundation with as you can use a gentle patting motion to apply the product.”
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17 of the best full coverage foundations
Thanks to its unique mousse-like texture, this 24-hour wearing formula still feels super lightweight on your skin without scrimping on coverage.
Shop Beautyblender Bounce at Cult Beauty, £32
Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation
Enriched with skincare ingredients, this moisturising formula nixes excess oil production meaning you no longer have to worry about that 3pm shine.
Shop Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation at John Lewis, £34
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation
This silky soft formula is a great option for anyone who struggles with acne, melasma or rosacea.
Shop Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation at John Lewis, £34
Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation
An oldie but a goodie, Estee Lauder’s Double Wear is iconically full coverage, without caking.
Shop Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation at Lookfantastic, £34
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation
This award-winning formula smoothes, blurs and mattifies skin, leaving a medium to full coverage finish.
Shop Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation at Harvey Nichols, £27
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
This foundation is great for those who want a full coverage finish, without scrimping on the glow. Light-reflective ingredients leave your complexion dewy, never dull.
Shop Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation at Feel Unique, £43
Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Liquid Foundation
Promising phenomenal payoff, this transfer-proof formula is both matte and dewy in all the right areas.
Shop Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Liquid Foundation at Cult Beauty, £34
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40
We find that this oil-free formula gives slightly more coverage than the original, for a matte, long-lasting finish.
Shop IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40 at Cult Beauty, £32.50
MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
If anyone knows how to nail a full coverage foundation formula, it’s Mac. This one doesn’t budge and leaves your skin looking fresh all day long.
Shop MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation at Lookfantastic, £30
NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation
Another great option for those who don’t want to dull their shine, Nars Radiant Longwear leaves skin glowy while blurring imperfections and concealing redness.
Shop NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation at Cult Beauty, £37
Natasha Denona Foundation X +
Available in 33 shades, this long-lasting foundation delivers a semi-matte finish that’s both natural looking and flawless.
Shop Natasha Denona Foundation X + at Cult Beauty, £39
NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop 24 Hour Foundation
Lightweight, waterproof and ultra pigmented, this foundation won’t budge until you decide to take it off.
Shop NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop 24 Hour Foundation at Cult Beauty, £15
Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation
It might be expensive but if you want an ultra natural-looking, full coverage foundation, Pat McGrath is the way to go. It blurs imperfections while still looking like real skin, which is no mean feat.
Shop Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation at Selfridges, £60
Smashbox Studio Skin Full Coverage 24 Hour Foundation
This formula hydrates your skin throughout the day to avoid looking cakey or claggy post 12pm.
Shop Smashbox Studio Skin Full Coverage 24 Hour Foundation at Feel Unique, £30
Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
Offering medium-to-full coverage, this oil-free formula is enriched with coconut water and hydrating hyaluronic acid, to help nourish skin as it conceals.
Shop Too Faced Born This Way Foundation at Cult Beauty, £29
UOMA Beauty Say What?! Foundation
Available in a whopping 51 shades, this soft matte formula is available in six custom formulas to suit the unique needs and concerns of different complexion tones.
Shop UOMA Beauty Say What?! Foundation at Cult Beauty, £29.50
Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Longwear Liquid Foundation
This light-diffusing formula blurs imperfections and mattifies skin, absorbing excess oil so you can be confident of a shine-free day.
Shop Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Longwear Liquid Foundation at Lookfantastic, £31
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