Let me preface this by saying that I have a very turbulent relationship with foundation. Any product that works to cover up all of the things that make skin look like yours is a big no-no if you ask me. And all too often, I find that so many foundations do just that. They leave skin looking flat, dull and void of life. Given the fact that every single aspect of my beauty routine is dedicated to bringing out my inner glow, trying to find the perfect natural-looking base that works to smooth and blur without totally repainting my complexion has proven tricky over the years. In fact, I’ve tried just about every foundation that’s ever come my way in a bid to find the most glowing, second-skin formula.
It’s safe to say that it’s been a rough ride. Naturally, I have come across a bunch of heavy-duty, mattifying and pore-clogging bases that have made me want to bury them and run far, far away. Mostly, however, the foundations I have tried have been, quite frankly, so-so. These are the sorts of foundations that remain in your makeup bag for many months, but you gradually find yourself reaching for them less and less as you grow tired of trying to find a way to make them work. I discovered that, actually, most foundations fall into this category.
Occasionally, though, I come across a foundation so glow-boosting, dewy and healthy-looking (you know, the kind that gives off mega clean-girl vibes) that I find myself reaching for it day in and day out. Because, yes, glowing but natural-looking foundations are out there; they’re just a little harder to find. Luckily, years of trial and error on my behalf means that you can skip the hassle and just keep scrolling to shop my edit of the most glowing, dewiest foundations around for natural-looking radiance. You can thank me later.
Beauty editors are obsessed with this glowing foundation. Just a couple of drops of this foundation offer impressive coverage that is pretty much undetectable on the skin—you just look incredibly dewy and radiant. It’s also packed with glow-boosting niacinamide and hydrating squalene, so it leaves your skin looking plump and dewy day-long. While it’s on the pricier side, you don’t need very much, so it will last for a long time.
This foundation is so beautifully silky that is really melts into the skin with buildable coverage, making your complexion still look like your skin, but better. And fear not, it doesn’t slip and slide like some glow foundations, in fact, it somehow manages to look better as the day goes on.
Without a doubt one of favourite makeup launches of recent years, this foundation is summer skin in a tube. It’s juicy, hydrating and jam-packed with natural-looking radiance. It packs some impressive coverage, too. On top of all that, though, it’s also very affordable. I’m in love.
Some say this is the best foundation ever made, and I’m not going to disagree. Luminous Silk is basically the gold standard of glow-giving bases. It’s full-coverage and radiance-boosting without leaving behind even a hint of oily residue.
This is potentially one of the very best foundations ever created. With a medium-coverage, natural-looking finish, it’s a go-to for industry insiders and beauty editors far and wide. It has a long-lasting luminosity to it that doesn’t appear glittery or artificial—more like you’re glowing from the inside out.
Another cult classic, this foundation is one of my longest-standing makeup-bag essentials. Unlike so many other luminous foundations, this stuff sticks around, and it requires hardly any powdering. Its slightly fuller coverage makes it my evening go-to.
For your-skin-but-better coverage, look no further than this super-easy-to-use, easily blendable and buildable foundation. To achieve a super-dewy finish, apply with a damp blending sponge, but if you find yourself in a bit of a rush, it applies like a dream with fingers too.
This stuff is like liquid silk. It merges with skin in seconds and delivers a blurring but convincing veil. Infused with 70% skincare ingredients, it’s lightweight, refreshing and won’t cause skin upset. It also contains SPF20, which helps give my morning SPF a bit of a top-up. Oh, and unlike so many other skin tints, this stuff lasts. In fact, it has a 12-hour wear time.
A new addition to the Nars foundation family, Sheer Glow Foundation is here. The brand has been known for its elite base products for many years, and this new launch cranks things up a notch. Formulated with an impressive amount of skincare ingredients (70%), it leaves skin looking dewy and natural but expertly blurred. Most impressively, it contains a special light-reflecting complex containing powders to ensure skin stays glowing without risking glare in photos. I have a big feeling this will be a major bride favourite this wedding season.
It might not be as luxe as so many others on this list, but don’t let that put you off. This affordable foundation is a favourite among beauty editors thanks to its impressive shade range, lightweight but buildable formula and its naturally radiant finish. Trust me when I say this just might be the best £10 you’ll ever spend on a beauty product.
For those with oily skin, like mine, you might need some powder for this one because the glow is basically out of this world. The coverage is full, but the formula itself is hydrating and dewy, making it ideal for those with drier skin who are desperate to up the luminosity.
Any beauty product that comes jam-packed with water-retaining hyaluronic acid is going to up that glow, and this super-hydrating foundation is no exception. If you prefer a more matte finish but don’t want to sacrifice natural-looking radiance, this one’s worth your time.
If I had to tally up every single time I’ve applied a different foundation, this one would probably come out on top as my most-used. Branded a CC Cream, this is a foundation in disguise. Sure, it does a stellar job at evening out skin tone and discolouration, but it also does so much more. It’s perfecting, blurring, radiance-boosting and brightening all at once. For such a great (and best-selling) product, it’s seriously disappointing that the shade range is so limited. If you ask me, It Cosmetics could (and should) do a lot better with this one.
When I first tested this product, I really didn’t get it. The coverage is seriously lightweight and at first appears almost invisible on the skin. However, the more I used it, the more my love for it grew. Sitting somewhere between a skin tint and a foundation, it’s non-oily, semi-matte and subtly perfecting. It’s my secret weapon for no-makeup days.
Another affordable option. When this stuff launched last year, I wasn’t sold. I like my makeup to feel luxe, and as shallow as it sounds, I didn’t love the packaging. But from the minute I swatched it, I was totally head over heels. For days when your complexion is looking a little drab and tired, one layer of this stuff leaves you looking more alive than ever before.
A more full-coverage version of the aforementioned tint, Shiseido’s Synchro Skin foundation is beloved by beauty editors thanks to its intensely hydrating formula that actually binds moisture to the skin for up to 24 hours. The result? Genuinely plump, dewy, naturally glowy skin that looks good from the minute you apply it to the moment you take it off.
The newest foundation launch from the queen of glow herself, Charlotte Tilbury, really delivers when it comes to healthy, glowy skin—and it’s been making waves in the beauty community since it launched at the start of the year. The thing I love most about it is the way it walks the line between decent coverage and still letting your natural skin shine through.
Initially, the name of this foundation made me think that this glow-boosting formula would be more of a skin tint or tinted moisturiser than a full-on foundation. However, while it feels as hydrating and lightweight as the aforementioned formulations, this is a medium-coverage foundation that delivers glow aplenty. I find it works best when applied with fingers for a natural finish.
Merging skincare benefits with a beautifully luminous finish, this luxurious foundation not only leaves skin looking velvety-soft and fresh, but it actually improves your skin’s hydration levels over time.
I was first introduced to this foundation when researching a celebrity makeup story. I read somewhere that Margot Robbie and Miranda Kerr are big fans of Suqqu’s foundation offering, so I thought I’d give it a go. Every foundation product that this Japanese brand creates is exquisite, but this one is by far my favourite. It is luxurious, buildable and full of moisture, delivering one of the best finishes I have ever come across.
I really didn’t think I was going to like this foundation, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. First of all, it smells lovely and fresh, which makes it a treat to apply first thing. It also feels cooling and plumping from first swipe, only adding to the freshness. In terms of the finish, it’s medium-coverage and blends into skin seamlessly for a true second-skin finish. I genuinely can’t get over the glow.
Trust me. I didn’t think Huda Beauty was a brand that would make it onto a glowing-foundation list, but here we are. With this dewy skin tint, Huda threw its usual “cake face” aesthetic out of the window and delivered skin-blurring radiance in a tube. A thick layer of this gives a complexion so healthy-looking, people will be asking if you’ve just got back from holiday.
Since it’s lightweight in texture and deeply hydrating, this guarantees a glowy finish for any skin type, tone, and texture. The coverage is sheer but helps to instantly tone down redness, blur imperfections, and even out skin tone without feeling heavy or looking cakey.
Infused with refreshing botanicals like white water lily, lotus and gardenia, this lightweight foundation feels beautiful on the skin and offers impressive coverage despite its weightless texture. It feels much more like a serum, than a classic liquid foundation, and can be worn sheer or layered up. The best thing about it though? That dewy finish that makes skin look plump and juicy.
Glossier’s new foundation is a gel-cream formula that feels lightweight on the skin and offers light to medium coverage. It gives the most gorgeous, glowy finish without being too dewy, which makes it an ideal choice for both dry and oily skin types.
This article was previously published at an earlier date and has since been updated.