5 Best Water-Based Foundations

By on December 9, 2013

Water-Based-Featured-2Unless you are an alien that never ages, a Disney character come-to-life, or a women blessed with 100% perfect skin (and we don’t believe you exist), then foundation most likely plays a key part in your daily makeup routine.

And all we can say is, thank goodness for liquid makeup—I know I’d feel like a very different (and perhaps much less confident) women if I didn’t have foundation to cover, smooth, protect and even out my often uncooperative skin tone. And there are so many options to choose from! While this is wonderful in terms of being able to find a formula that’s right for you, it can also be a little overwhelming. So here’s a quick foundation “primer” to help you navigate the basics of foundation makeup.

Liquid foundations are made in a number of difference ways, with a variety of base ingredients. There are oil- and emollient-based foundations (which have been around the longest), silicon-based foundations, alcohol-based foundations, powder-based foundations and water-based foundations.

All formulas have their pros and cons, and really it depends on your own skin’s sensitivity and makeup needs. Oil-based foundations tend to be thicker and work well for faces that need considerable coverage. But obviously, if you have oily skin, they may not be your best option.

Silicon-based makeup is a bit lighter, however it still provides considerable coverage. But because the formula is a little thinner, it blends over the skin smoothly and evenly with less effort than most oil-based liquid makeup.

Alcohol-based foundation, which is usually combined with water, provides very sheer coverage, is extremely light, and won’t clog pores. They are almost more like tinted moisturizers than foundations, so if you’re looking for considerable coverage, this type may not be your best bet.

Powder-based makeup uses talc as its main ingredient. It contains pigment, which is what makes it different than pressed powder (which is usually used to set foundation). It covers like a pro, but it’s very thick, and often noticeable in everyday life. These are best reserved for movie sets and photo shoots.

And now we get to what you really want to know about—water-based foundations. Introduced after World War II, water-based makeup provides medium coverage in a creamy form, and it creates a much more natural look than oil- or powder-based options. Plus, there are a variety of different formulas, which cater to different skin type and their special needs. The most important being oil-free water-based foundations, which make it possible for oily- and acne-prone skin suffers to still use this popular kind of liquid makeup.

So now that you know the differences between the main types of facial makeup, here are our top five picks for the best water-based foundations.

Make Up Forever Face & Body Liquid Makeup, $40

Waterproof and super light, Make Up Forever’s Face & Body Liquid Makeup is actually a water-based gel. It’s an amazing foundation for the face, but it’s also formulated to work on the body, which is perfect for that often easily irritated décolletage area. Although the foundation is light, it still minimizes pores and smoothes out fine lines, leaving your skin with a soft, satiny finish.

CoverGirl Clean Liquid Makeup, $6

CoverGirl’s water-based, Clean Liquid Makeup is infused with a slew of skin nourishing ingredients from Noxzema. The lightweight formula blends beautifully and is sheer enough to let the skin breathe, but still provides coverage where you need it. It’s also available in Sensitive Skin and Oil Control formulas, as well as 12 different shades, from Ivory to Tawny.

Maybelline Dream Liquid Makeup, $8

Maybelline’s water-based, air whipped formula is like a liquid mousse for your face. It covers brilliantly, and while it’s ideal for normal skin, it’s also safe enough to use on sensitive skin, as well. It’s oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic and contains 12 different shades. It blends so easily and gives your face natural coverage with a flawless, airbrushed effect.

Paula Dorf Oil-Free Foundation, $43

Paula Dorf’s super smooth, oil-free foundation is perfect for shiny, acne-prone skin because it keeps excess oil at bay and won’t blog pores. But it’s also an excellent option for normal skin to dry skin, as well, because it contains moisturizing properties that help create a glowing complexion. Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and cruelty-free, your face is left looking and feeling clean, fresh and naturally flawless.

Cover FX Natural Finish Oil-Free Foundation SPF 15, $40

The best thing about Cover FX’s Natural Finish Foundation is that there are so many shades to choose from. And they’re all helpfully grouped by tone — “Pink,” “Neutral,” and “Golden.” No matter what shade works best for you, the formula is fantastic for your skin—it’s enriched with vitamins C and E, which help reduce redness and fight premature aging. Cover FX’s foundation is also highly hydrating, and while it’s relatively sheer, it’s also buildable, so you can experiment and add as much or as little coverage as you need.