There are many foundations on the market, but it can be hard to find one that looks natural on the skin. If you want to achieve a flawless and minimal look, but you don’t want to cake on a ton of makeup, then water based foundations are for you.
They are lightweight and easy to apply. They also blend into the skin easily without making it feel greasy or heavy like some other types of foundation do.
We’ve rounded up the best water based foundations for combination, dry or oily skin. The best part? They offer good coverage to hide imperfections such as acne scars, dark spots, redness…
From drugstore to high end, these foundations are all oil-free and silicone-free!
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Best Water Based Foundations
Tarte SEA Hydroflex Serum Foundation
The tarte SEA Hydroflex Serum Foundation has a very lightweight formula that gives the skin a natural glow. It offers light to medium coverage without looking cakey or heavy. It goes on smoothly and it looks so natural on the skin.
It contains many beneficial ingredients such as hyaluronic acid which helps to hydrate the skin and niacinamide which offers protection against environmental damage.
If you are a busy woman and you don’t have a lot of time to spend in front of the mirror, this foundation can be a great option! It looks so natural so that you can wear it without even realizing that you are wearing makeup.
To get a nice and even look, shake the bottle very well and apply two to four drops to your skin. Blend it with your fingers or a brush and set it with a pressed or loose powder for a long lasting finish.
Iconic London Radiance Complexion Booster
If you want to get this ‘lit from within’ glow, try the Iconic London Radiance Complexion Booster. This foundation provides buildable sheer to medium coverage with a lightweight feel. The formula contains glycerin and squalane to provide skin hydration.
It applies easily into the skin and blends beautifully leaving a natural skin-like finish. You could use it on days when you want to achieve a quick makeup look and you can also mix it with your favorite matte foundation to get a glowy look.
It’s free of parabens, formaldehyde, and mineral oil. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. The only downside is that it’s available in 10 shades so I wish they could extend the shade range to include more skin tones.
Tip: Make sure to select your perfect shade that suits your skin tone and undertone. If you have warm undertones, using a cool toned foundation might cause your makeup to look pink.
Make Up for ever WATERTONE SKIN-PERFECTING TINT
This 78% water-based foundation is one of the best water-based foundations for combination skin. It has a unique lightweight texture that looks natural on the skin. It applies easily with fingers and it blends beautifully into the skin.
It gives a very sheer coverage and it’s very comfortable to wear. It sets into a satin finish and it’s also long-lasting.
It might not be the best option for someone who wants a lot of coverage because it looks very sheer on the skin.
This foundation is the perfect go-to makeup base for every day and it can be worn by itself. It doesn’t look heavy on the skin and it’s also water-proof which makes it a great choice for the summer months.
Dior Airflash Spray Foundation
Infused with light-diffusing pigments, this foundation provides a soft velvety look that can last all day. It has a lightweight formula that blends easily into the skin without looking cakey or heavy.
It provides medium coverage and is also buildable. I found that the best way to apply it is to spray the product on the back of my hand and use a brush or a sponge to blend it into the skin. It can be sprayed directly into the face but I’ve found that this other way gives the complexion a flawless finish. Be sure to shake the can for at least five seconds before using it.
Yes, it’s pricey but it’s worth it because it doesn’t transfer and it lasts for at least 12 hours. This foundation comes in 25 shades and you can use the Sephora shade finder to find your perfect match.
Best For Dry Skin: Cover Fx natural finish foundation
This water-based foundation is infused with vitamins C, E, and F to moisturize the complexion. It contains squalane which helps to lock in moisture. It has a lightweight formula that is easy to blend with a brush or a sponge depending on how much coverage you need.
It’s the perfect go-to foundation for every day because it gives great coverage while still feeling light on the skin. It’s available in 40 shades to match many skin tones. It’s also vegan & cruelty-free.
This foundation has good staying power but it does settle a little bit into fine lines. Be sure to hydrate your skin very well before application and use a smoothing primer if you have mature skin.
Choose a water based primer and avoid using a silicone based primer with a water-based foundation. If it’s matched incorrectly, primer can make the foundation look worse and it can cause the makeup to separate.
Maybelline DREAM FRESH BB CREAM
This water-based foundation from Maybelline provides sheer coverage and a natural finish. The formula is very lightweight and hydrating. It glides on easily and applies smoothly to the skin. You can blend it with your fingers or with a brush for an added coverage.
It’s the perfect BB cream for every day and it leaves the skin feeling fresh and hydrated. This product has everything you need in a foundation, it offers SPF 30 protection from the sun, it blends perfectly with your skin, and best of all…it won’t break the bank!
Read More: BB Cream Vs Concealer
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
If you want a product that smooths your skin but doesn’t feel heavy or cakey, the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter is the best choice. It blurs and smooths the face for a flawless glow.
This product can be used in four different ways. It can be worn alone, underneath, mixed with, or on top of your favorite foundation. It has a very light formula that blends so easily into the skin. It provides sheer coverage and a dewy finish that looks like your skin but better.
Yes, it’s pricey but it’s worth it because it blurs and illuminates the skin without looking like makeup. It contains many beneficial ingredients such as glycerin and squalane. It’s available in 12 shades and you can try the Charlotte Tilbury or the Sephora shade finder to find your perfect match.
bareMinerals Hydrating Gel Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This tinted moisturizer acts like a light coverage foundation. It gives the skin a natural look and it helps to hide minor imperfections.
It’s a great option for people who don’t need a lot of coverage but still want to even out their skin tone.
It has hyaluronic acid which helps to hydrate the skin.
The formula is oil-free and it has SPF 30 to protect the skin from the sun.
It’s available in 20 different shades.
I like to apply this foundation with my fingers or a flat foundation brush. It blends easily into the skin and it doesn’t look cakey.
The only downside is that it doesn’t last as long as some of the other foundations on this list. If you have oily skin, you might need to touch it up during the day.
Best Water Based Foundations For Oily Skin
MILK MAKEUP Blur Liquid Matte Foundation
This full-coverage foundation is one of the best water-based foundations for oily skin. Thanks to its blurring microspheres, it helps to minimize the look pores and fine lines. It blends easily and gives the skin a semi-matte finish.
To get a flawless foundation application, shake the tube, then dispense 1-2 drops onto the back of your hand. Shaking the tube is so important because it helps to activate the blurring microspheres. Dip your brush or sponge into the product and apply it to the skin.
The MILK MAKEUP Blur Liquid Matte Foundation is also vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.
If you have very oily skin, use this foundation with a mattifying primer to prevent the makeup from separating on your nose and t-zone. It’s also possible to layer different face primers to address many skin concerns.
Best drugstore water based foundation: L’ORÉAL PARIS SKIN PARADISE WATER-INFUSED TINTED MOISTURIZER
This affordable tinted moisturizer from L’Oréal has a unique formula that is 70 percent water-infused with aloe vera plus witch hazel. Not only is it lightweight and easy to apply, but it also offers sunscreen protection.
Tip: Always remember to wear your sunscreen before applying primer or foundation. A foundation with SPF is not enough to provide sun protection because it doesn’t provide the needed coverage.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to find a water-based foundation that works. Drugstore brands are stepping up their game and they are releasing many great foundations.
This one from L’Oréal is the perfect mix of tinted moisture with coverage. It gives the skin a satin finish that looks beautiful on people with dry, oily, or combination skin. The finish is not overly dewy but it’s not matte.
It is also easy to blend and it doesn’t settle into pores or fine lines. It melts into the skin and it feels like you are not wearing any makeup. This foundation can be the go-to liquid makeup base for every day. It’s available in 12 shades and it’s under 20$!
If you like lightweight makeup, water-based foundations are a great option. They provide sheer to medium coverage and they look natural on the skin. There are many water-based foundations on the market and choosing the right one depends on your skin type.
If you have oily skin, try a foundation with a semi-matte finish like the MILK MAKEUP Blur Liquid Matte Foundation.
For dry skin, the Cover Fx natural finish foundation, the L’ORÉAL PARIS SKIN PARADISE WATER-INFUSED TINTED MOISTURIZER, and the Make Up for ever WATER BLEND FACE AND BODY FOUNDATION are good options.
They can provide a natural finish without looking cakey on the skin and they don’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles.
To prolong the wear of your makeup, set the foundation with a setting powder that provides oil control. If you have very oily skin, use blotting paper to soak up any excess oil during the day, and use a setting spray on humid days!
How Do You Know If A Foundation Is Water Based?
There are many ways to know if a foundation is water-based, oil-based, or silicone-based.
Water-based foundations have a lightweight and liquid formula. They have Water as the main ingredient and they don’t contain any silicones or oils at the top of their ingredient list.
Silicone-based foundations contain one or more of the following ingredients on the top of the list:
Any other ingredients that ends in -cone or -siloxane.