Lite Foundations Have Convinced Me to Wear Makeup Again

·4 min read

bhg - 14 Available at Ulta

bhg - 45 Available at Sephora

bhg - 30 Available at Sephora

bhg - 52 Available at Monika Blunder Beauty

bhg - 43 Available at Nordstrom

This is part of our weekly series Test Drive, where our team of beauty experts demystify products and tools, and explore new techniques IRL.

I never wore foundation around the house before COVID-19. The idea of a full face of makeup outside of work or a party seemed about as natural as wearing stilettos to bake zucchini muffins with my 4-year-old daughter or changing into a cocktail dress to watch Bravo on the couch. (Although that might have been fun while we were all stuck at home.)

When my work-from-home life required being camera-ready for virtual meetings, mascara and concealer made sense. Foundation still felt fussy. Plus, I learned the best hack for a radiant glow: Set up your computer in front of a window for natural light (and invest in a ring light for cloudy days). But never say never, right? Though recently, my minimalist attitude has shifted. I want to wear blush! And lipstick! And I'm really into foundations that leave my skin feeling and looking fresh and healthy in any light, whether in real life or virtually.

'Lite' foundation is a relaxed approach. "It's all about embracing your skin's natural beauty. You want to still look like you," says Lisa Eldridge, global creative director of LancÔme. You can achieve this in two different ways: applying a medium-to-full coverage formula only where you need to even out your tone or applying a sheer formula all over.

For the first option, cream sticks and pots are versatile (and travel-friendly). "You can sheer them out with a sponge or brush and also dab on like concealer in spots without it becoming cakey," says New York City-based makeup artist Todd Harris.

I'm also a fan of tinted fluids that blend on smoothly and blur away sun spots, tiny veins, and redness. Each shade covers a wide range of skin tones, which is a big plus if you're trying to find your shade online. It's amazing how good your skin looks when it can breathe.

Best Lite Foundation for Affordability

The Revlon Colorstay Foundation is by far my favorite drugstore buy. It's available in 12 shades and has SPF 35. The buildable formula stay on your face for a full 12 hours.

Buy It: Revlon ColorStay Light Cover Liquid Foundation ($14, Ulta)

Best Lite Foundation for Skincare Benefits

This top-rated option, with thousands of 5-star reviews, is like skincare and makeup in one. The formula features vitamin C to brighten your complexion and SPF 30 to protect your skin. It's avialable in 16 shades.

Buy It: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($45, Sephora)

Best Lite Foundation for a Filter Effect

A drop or two of the Fenty Beauty Skin Tint is like an Insta filter. The lightweight foundation humidity, sweat, and transfer-resistant, so it stays in place all day. It comes in 25 shades to match a range of skin tones.

Buy It: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint ($30, Sephora)

Best Lite Foundation That Doubles as Concealer

I love that this product can be a conealer, too. The hard-working product, which comes in 14 colors, features a formula with arnica and chamomile to reduce redness and edelweiss to make skin soft.

Buy It: Monika Blunder Beauty Blunder Cover ($52, Monika Blunder Beauty)

Best Lite Foundation with a Built-In Brush

"As we get back into wearing makeup, it's about convenience and ease," Eldridge says. This creamy, oil-free stick can also sub as concealer (or contour color if you go a few shades darker). I love the built-in Kabuki brush for expert blending.

Buy It: LancÔme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation Stick ($43, Nordstrom)