June 25, 2024
#Foundations Primers

These 20 Foundations Hold Strong Even on the Hottest, Sweatiest Days

While there is nothing better than feeling the warm sun on your skin, we absolutely despise the fact that it can make foundation slide, drip, and melt off of your face. We love the warm weather just as much as the next person but prefer to do so without sacrificing the look of our makeup. 

To help you narrow down foundations designed to withstand triple-digit temperatures, heat waves, and humidity, we scoured reviews and tried a few top-rated options for ourselves, taking into account finish, coverage level, and shade ranges. Then, we tapped experts to get their honest thoughts about performance and lasting power. Keep reading to find the best sweat-proof foundations for every skin type.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:

Best Budget:

Best Drugstore:

Best Waterproof:

Best Full-Coverage:

Best Medium Coverage:

Best Light Coverage:

Best for Acne-Prone Skin:

Best for Oily Skin:

Best for Dry Skin:

In This Article

Best Overall

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

Sephora

$49

$49

$49

What We Like

  • Wide range of shades

  • Protects against pollution 

  • Lasts all day

What We Don’t Like

  • Might not work so well with mature skin

Along with iced coffee and air-conditioning, this foundation makes it onto our list of summer essentials. Formulated with a  proprietary ingredient called Aircool™, Airbrush Flawless Foundation will keep your makeup intact no matter what sweat-inducing scenario you find yourself in. Even if you start feeling the heat, you can rest assured that your makeup will remain in place and keep its velvet matte finish all day long. 

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 44 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

  • Person with dollops of Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation on the back of their hand

    Byrdie / Jessica Juliao

  • Reflection in mirror of person applying Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation with makeup sponge

    Byrdie / Jessica Juliao

  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation on counter near product packaging and makeup sponge

    Byrdie / Jessica Juliao

Best Budget

Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

Walmart

$6

$5

What We Like

  • A little goes a long way

  • Very inexpensive

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be difficult to find a shade match

For this price, you won’t find a better matte foundation. The mousse texture is easy to work in and can either deliver either a sheer effect or layered up for heavier coverage. Use less than you think you’ll need—just a teensy amount will cover your whole face.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 12 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Drugstore

Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Ulta

$10

$8

$8

What We Like

  • Long-wearing

  • Won’t aggravate acne-prone skin

  • Inexpensive

  • Wide shade range

What We Don’t Like

  • Contains parabens

Both professional makeup artists and beauty fans alike love this drugstore foundation for its ability to reduce the appearance of pores and keep redness under control.  What’s more the oil-free formula makes it perfect for hot weather and sweaty situations. If you struggle to control your shine, you’ll love that this foundation keeps skin looking soft and matte all day long.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Waterproof

MAC Pro Longwear Foundation

MAC-pro-longwear-nourishing-waterproof-foundation

Nordstrom

$29

$27

What We Like

  • Buildable without caking

  • Holds up in humidity

  • Easy to apply

What We Don’t Like

  • Can transfer

This waterproof formula actually started off as a concealer prototype, with MAC’s product development team setting out to create “a new dimensional effect” in the category. Instead, it came up with a base that can be worn both sheer and full coverage, meaning it can take the place of concealer and foundation in your makeup bag.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 24 | Finish: Satin | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Full-Coverage

Armani Beauty Power Fabric + Foundation

Armani Beauty Power Fabric Full Coverage Liquid Foundation with SPF 25

Armani

$70

$69

What We Like

  • SPF 25

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish

  • Goes on silky and smooth

What We Don’t Like

  • Can settle into fine lines

Any foundation by Giorgio Armani has, and will probably always have, a legacy as one of the best foundations you can slather on your face for a red carpet–approved glow. Usually, it’s this foundation’s sister formula, Luminous Silk ($64), that tends to get all the love, but if you’re looking for play-hard endurance, this one’s the better bet. Commerce writer Caitlyn Martyn swears by this one for warmer summer days, especially if you’re attending an outdoor wedding or riding a hot subway.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 30 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Medium Coverage

Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup

Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup

Sephora

$35

$35

$35

What We Like

  • Lightweight

  • Silky feel

  • Helps control oil

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be difficult to blend

Another fragrance-free winner, this formula is light and silky (not chalky or difficult to blend), but it still manages to keep your skin matte. It delivers medium coverage and is best suited to normal and oily skin types. The formula contains willow bark extract, which is derived from the white willow tree, and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces redness, minimizes pore size, and removes dead skin cells. If you have a really oily complexion, you should definitely give it a go—the staying power is impressive. Bonus: It’s so absorbent that you won’t even need setting powder.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 20 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Light Coverage

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Foundation

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

Sephora

$40


$40

What We Like

  • Feels comfortable on the skin

  • Buildable without caking

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish when dry

  • Wide shade range

What We Don’t like

  • May accentuate textured or dry, flaky skin

Read Full Review: This Full-Coverage, Matte Foundation Made My Skin Look Photoshopped

Like all foundations from Make Up For Ever, this shine-zapping formula does what it’s supposed to (conceals blemishes and uneven texture), but it still looks believable. The fluid texture is easy to blend, feels light on the skin, and lasts for ages. Want your skin to look perfectly naturally matte? This is the foundation for you.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

  • Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation on a woman's face

    Byrdie / Khera Alexander

  • Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation on the back of a hand

    Byrdie / Khera Alexander

  • Hand holding a tube of Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

    Byrdie / Khera Alexander

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation

Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation

Sephora

$58

$58

$58

What We Like

  • Wide range of shades

  • Paraben, fragrance and phthalate free

  • Easy to blend

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don’t Like

  • Not the most mattifying

If you often fall victim to breakouts, rising temperatures can especially aggravate skin if you’re wearing a comedogenic foundation. Keep your base feeling light and breathable with this foundation from Hourglass. The medium-coverage formula comes in 40 shades and leaves behind a gorgeous soft-focus finish that blurs and smooths the look of texture.  The formula also gets bonus points for being humidity- and sweat-resistant. 

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Soft Glow | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Oily Skin

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Liquid Foundation

Nordstrom

$30

$52

$52

What We Like

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish

  • Impressive shade range

  • Color stays true all day

What We Don’t Like

  • A tad drying

Possibly one of the most popular foundations ever created, the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Liquid Foundation stands true to its name—once it’s applied, it’s not going anywhere. Whether you wear it dancing all night, riding the subway in triple-digit temperatures, or sitting in the beating sun for hours, this foundation will stay with you through the day without ever smudging or feeling cakey.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 56 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Dry Skin

Chantecaille Future Skin Gel Foundation

Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Gel Foundation

Saks Fifth Avenue

$89

$89

$89

What We Like

  • Creamy, rich feel

  • Lightweight

  • Soothing formula

What We Don’t Like

  • Expensive

This luxurious, gel-based foundation actively hydrates skin while providing unbeatable coverage, preventing moisture loss with its oil-free, non-drying formula.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 15 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Matte Finish

Smashbox Studio Skin Oil-Free Hydra Foundation

Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Oil-free Hydra Foundation

Sephora


$55

What We Like

  • Sweat-, humidity-, and transfer-resistant

  • Inclusive shade range

  • Controls oil and shine

What We Don’t Like

  • Relatively expensive

When you want a matte finish that won’t settle into creases or crack, reach for this formula from Smashbox. The breathable formula delivers a natural-looking matte finish with medium coverage and works to help to control oil and shine. In addition to lasting you through a sweaty workout, it’s also transfer- and humidity-resistant. Not to mention, its 40-shade offering is pretty impressive.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 40 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Natural Formula

Rituel de Fille The Ethereal Veil Conceal And Cover

Rituel de Fille The Ethereal Veil Conceal And Cover

Credo


$34

What We Like

  • Feels weightless

  • Silky texture

  • Has a natural, skin-like finish

  • Byrdie Clean

What We Don’t Like

  • Shade range could be expanded

Handcrafted by artisans in Los Angeles, this foundation balm is a stunning option for summertime—or any time of year for that matter. It boasts a natural silky finish and because it’s infused with the aroma of frankincense, it has a spellbinding quality. We also love that it comes in a compact that’s easy to carry and bring with you on all of your adventures.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 12 | Finish: Natural | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Buildable

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

Nordstrom

$29

$49

What We Like

  • Color stays true all day

  • Blends into skin seamlessly

  • Applies smoothly and evenly

What We Don’t Like

  • Packaging could be improved

A forever favorite for anyone who loves the minimalist look, Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation is makeup for everyday life. If you are looking for a high-performing base to wear day to day, this stunning formula is designed to be sweat, humidity, water, and transfer-resistant.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 10 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Tinted Moisturizer

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

Amazon


$46

$46

What We Like

  • SPF 30

  • Gives skin a glow

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Shade range could be expanded

This multi-purpose tinted moisturizer has all the bases covered, not only will it help even out your skin tone with its featherweight colored formula, but it also protects against the sun, hydrates skin, and provides a subtle glow. The oil-free formula offers great coverage for a tinted moisturizer and is infused with mineral-rich seawater to reveal a smoother skin  texture.

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 16 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 1.9 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Powder

Wander Beauty Powder Foundation

Sephora Wander Beauty Wanderlust Powder Foundation

Sephora

$42

$40

$20

What We Like

  • Soaks up oil

  • Blurs pores

  • Hydrating formula

  • Byrdie Clean

What We Don’t Like

  • Shades could be improved

Wander has reinvented one of the all-time classic makeup bag essentials by creating a talc and oil-free pressed powder compact. It works to absorb excess oil—thanks to its Rubicell applicator—and gives your skin a soft matte finish in one dab. It is also formulated with aloe leaves, honeysuckle flowers, jojoba esters, and hyaluronic acid to reduce redness and keep skin plumped.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 11 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Liquid

Dermablend Flawless Creator Lightweight Foundation

Dermablend Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Pigments

Dermablend

$42

What We Like

  • Drops let you customize coverage

  • Color stays true all day

  • Long-wearing

What We Don’t Like

  • Can feel a little heavy

Suitable for all skin types, this foundation is smudge- and transfer-resistant, so you can count on it to last all day. The super blendable weightless texture means you can customize the amount of coverage to whatever you need, making it a great makeup bag staple.

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 20 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Serum

ROSE INC Skin Enhance Serum Foundation

ROSE INC Skin Enhance Luminous Skin Tint Serum Foundation

Sephora

$49

$49

What We Like

  • Contains peptides to protect against environmental damage

  • Gentle on the skin 

  • Suitable for all skin types 

What We Don’t Like

  • Some may prefer more coverage

We love it when skincare and makeup combine, so it is no surprise that we can’t get enough of this innovative tinted serum. Best applied by pumping it onto the back of the hand and then using a foundation brush to burst the microencapsulated pigment spheres, a sheer wash of color that will even out your complexion while hydrating your skin without irritation. 

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 14 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Stick

Westman Atelier Vital Skin

VITAL SKIN FOUNDATION STICK

Violet Grey

$68

$68

$19

What We Like

  • Second skin finish 

  • Redness control 

  • Gorgeous packaging 

What We Don’t Like

  • The creamy texture is not the easiest to blend

As much as we love the warmth, it can leave some of us looking red and flushed. Enter this luxuriously packaged foundation stick. We love keeping it on hand to calm redness and provide natural coverage—a win, win. The consistency is super creamy, so you can apply it using just your fingers.

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 21 | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.31 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Cream

Juvia’s Place I Am Magic Foundation

Juvia's Place I Am Magic Foundation

 Amazon

$22

$22

What We Like

  • Wide range of shades 

  • Breathable coverage 

  • Paraben and sulfate free

What We Don’t Like

  • Finish may be too matte if you have very dry skin 

If you struggle to find your perfect shade match, this velvet matte foundation has one of the best selection of shades available. It’s water-proof and sweat-proof, but the magic really lies in the way that this product has the ability to provide a full coverage finish but with a lightweight feel. Best applied using a damp blender sponge or brush, a tiny amount is all you need for your whole face. 

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 42 | Finish: Velvet Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best with SPF

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Matte Foundation

Lancme-teint-idole-ultra-long-wear-foundation

Sephora

$57

$57

$57

What We Like

  • Blends seamlessly 

  • Doesn’t settle into lines

  • Breathable formula 

What We Don’t Like

  • Not cruelty-free

Despite being founded almost 90 years ago, Lancôme continues to reinvent and reformulate their foundations to ensure they provide the best possible coverage (while also refreshing their technology and skin-enriching ingredients). This new and improved formula is suitable for all skin types, and we love how it has all the elements you’ll need in a foundation for a long hot summer—SPF 35 protection, sweat resistance, and long-lasting wear. 

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 50 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Final Verdict

For a high-quality, sweat-resistant formula, look to the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation, a fan-favorite for its wide range of shades and long-wearing capabilities. If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation, a cream-based formula that costs less than $5 and feels lightweight on the skin.

Meet the Expert

  • Clare Holden is a seasoned makeup artist and beauty journalist who has over 15 years of experience working with different products for photoshoots, events, and productions.

What to Look For in a Sweat Proof Foundation

Finish

When searching for a sweat-proof foundation, look for a finish that suits your preferred look. For instance, if you want to prevent your makeup from sliding off but still want a dewy, natural, glowing finish, you’ll want to choose a foundation that offers a satin, natural, or sheer finish, like the Makeup For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation. Many sweat-proof foundations will come in matte finishes, like the Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Oil-Free Hydra Foundation, for example, can offset the look of sweat.

Coverage

In addition to the finish, you’ll want to consider the coverage of each formula. There’s a range from light to full-coverage foundations, but some are buildable, which means it has versatility and can provide sheer, natural coverage, or can be layered to conceal blemishes and discoloration. For a light, buildable formula, the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 is sure to impress, while the Armani Beauty Power Fabric Full Coverage Liquid Foundation with SPF 25 is a solid choice for those seeking fuller coverage. Those looking for more medium coverage (which provides a your-skin-but-better finish), we recommend trying the Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup.

Shade

Picking the right shade of foundation is essential for a seamless look. As you go about your day, you’ll want a shade that won’t oxidize—or change color—over time. Some brands provide a wide range of shades for all skin types, making it easier to find a match. Other brands offer less variety but use technology that allows the foundation to match your skin. These are usually more sheer options that reveal some of your skin’s natural color while providing some coverage and tint. You can also mix shades.

FAQ

  • Which type of foundation is good for sweaty skin?

    Look for a foundation that’s labeled as being long-wearing or matte. If you also have oily skin, look for foundations made for oily skin that are non-comedogenic and oil-free, or that have oil control as a feature.

  • How do you sweat proof foundation?

    You can help sweat proof your foundation by using a primer and not using heavy, cakey foundations. Using a sheer or buildable sweat proof foundation can help keep your makeup on.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Clare Holden is a makeup artist and beauty journalist with over 15 years of experience. Clare is endlessly passionate about finding the best quality products on the market. Whether it is researching cosmetics ingredients and testing out beauty products or checking the seams and fabrics used in clothing, she always ensures that whatever she covers is of the highest quality.

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