Goodbye cakey foundation – these are the lightweight foundations to buy right now

Goodbye cakey foundation – these are the lightweight foundations to buy right now
For dry, oily or combination skin, these are the best lightweight foundations for creating a natural, dewy finish, from Superdrug, Charlotte Tilbury and more

Gone are the days of thick, heavy foundations that feel like you’re wearing a mask and sit uncomfortably on the skin, slowly creasing throughout the day.

Now there’s a plethora of lightweight, glow-giving formulas for our base make-up, with something to suit every skin type and budget.

Whether you’re opting for a layer of sheer coverage that feels weightless on the skin, or want something buildable for flawless-looking skin that won’t budge beneath a face covering, there’s endless amounts of choice.

Many beauty brands have upped their game and developed lightweight foundations that can control excess oil production, deliver a healthy radiance and hydrate the skin, all without caking or creasing.

We’ve narrowed it down to the top 10, considering coverage, 終了, staying power, blendability and texture to find the most comfortable, long-wearing products across dry, oily and combination skin types.


The best lightweight foundations for 2021 です:

  • 全体的に最高 – NYX Professional Makeup born to glow naturally radiant foundation: £7, Asos.com
  • Best colour correction – It Cosmetics your skin but better CC+ cream original SPF 50+: £32.50, Boots.com
  • Best natural finish – By Terry hyaluronic hydra foundation SPF30: £49, Spacenk.com
  • Best matte to medium full coverage – Bobbi Brown skin long-wear weightless foundation SPF15: £35, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best compact packaging – Revlon photoready candid anti-pollution foundation: £9.99, Superdrug.com
  • Best dewy glow without shine – Charlotte Tilbury light wonder foundation: £34, Johnlewis.com
  • Best long-lasting matte coverage – bareMinerals barepro 24-hour full coverage liquid foundation SPF20: £27.30, Feelunique.com
  • Best long-lasting sheer coverage – Nars sheer glow foundation: £35, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best buildable coverage – Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation: £44, Selfridges.com
  • Best oil-free formula – Shiseido synchro skin self-refreshing foundation: £39, Boots.com

NYX Professional Makeup born to glow naturally radiant foundation

ベスト: 全体

This is one of the best bargain beauty finds we’ve discovered in a long time – it’s not a new launch, but it’s well worth picking up if it’s not already on your radar. It’s weightless on the skin, delivers an instant radiance and a dewy finish. Our tester has oily skin and found it needed a tiny powder touch-up a few hours into wearing, but nothing more than usual. It’s creamy, so light you can easily apply it with your fingers and is the ultimate pick-me-up for lacklustre skin. So good in fact, we stocked up on two bottles so we’ll never be without it.

It Cosmetics your skin but better CC+ cream original SPF 50+

ベスト: For colour correction

A cult favourite among make-up obsessives, It Cosmetics has perfected a CC cream that’s as light as air but still seamlessly evens out skin tone. CC stands for colour correcting, so it conceals redness, hyperpigmentation and dark circles to leave skin looking flawless. A little goes a long way – one pump is enough for a full face – and it blurs imperfections while reducing the look of pores too. The best part of this product is its long-lasting formula that doesn’t budge, crease or cake at all with hours of wear, even with a face covering. It may be more expensive than our best buy pick, but if it suits your skin as much as it did ours, it’s another lightweight foundation that’s worth every penny.

By Terry hyaluronic hydra foundation SPF30

ベスト: For a natural finish

The texture and consistency of this dropper bottle foundation is akin to a serum, and so fluid it can be applied in the same way, with fingers, massaged into skin. Delivering a sheer, natural finish, it gives skin a healthy glow and contains hyaluronic acid, which provides and retains moisture to the skin. If you’re on the drier side and are looking for a lightweight formula that’s easy to touch up, build up for more medium coverage, all without leaving you looking patchy, this is brilliant if you’re shopping with a bigger budget.

Bobbi Brown skin long-wear weightless foundation SPF15

ベスト: Matte medium to full coverage

If you’re looking for a matte foundation that doesn’t leave you looking cakey or feel heavy on the skin, this is the perfect match. It’s a medium-to-full coverage formula that concealed our dark circles, discolouration and blemishes well enough that we could skip the concealer. Typically fuller coverage matte foundations can feel thick, but this creamy fluid texture means it’s quick work to blend and doesn’t leave skin looking chalky or flat. It lasts well too, even on drier areas, such as our reviewer’s cheeks.

Revlon photoready candid anti-pollution foundation

ベスト: Compact packaging

On first application, the texture of this foundation is unexpectedly thick, so be careful not to over apply, but it blends out beautifully and feels lightweight on the skin, especially if you use a brush rather than a sponge. We liked how much control the pump gave us and while the tube packaging is what you would expect from a more affordable foundation, it was much more compact in our make-up bag than heavier glass bottles. It delivers ample coverage to smooth out texture, redness and hyperpigmentation, without weighing skin down, but while still keeping excess oil production under control.

Charlotte Tilbury light wonder foundation

ベスト: Dewy glow without shine

A light layer of this is all you need for a radiant boost. It gave our oily skin a dewy finish and we looked glowy in all the right places without any excess shine. It’s perfect if you want a touch of oil control but would prefer a luminous formula rather than matte, which can sometimes leave you looking a bit 2D. We found it also concealed a breakout on our chin well, minimising redness and acne scarring, and while it is possible to built it up for fuller coverage, we found we didn’t need to. The small nozzle on the tube also means it’s easy to control how much product you use, so we didn’t waste a drop.

bareMinerals barepro 24-hour full coverage liquid foundation SPF20

ベスト: Long-lasting matte coverage

The best part of this is its staying power – after a full nine hours of wear it hadn’t budged, nor gathered in crevices around our nose. We’d recommend using this for oily and combination skin types as it can feel a little powdery if you’re naturally quite dry. The finish is matte but not overly so, and while it’s full coverage, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a mask of product; skin is comfortable and it evens out skin tone nicely, leaving a flawless-looking base to layer your other products on top of.

Nars sheer glow foundation

ベスト: Long-lasting sheer coverage

A longstanding favourite among beauty insiders, it’s worth trying this foundation if lockdown has you opting for sheer, lightweight textures rather than a full coverage finish. For a dewy formula it lasts surprisingly well, and we found little came off on our face covering after a few hours spent running errands and queuing up in the post office. Our only gripe is that it doesn’t come with a pump, so pours out quite quickly if you’re not careful. However you can buy a pump separately if you want to, which we’d highly recommend.

Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation

ベスト: Buildable coverage

This blends effortlessly, doesn’t streak or cake and is great if you have dry skin and struggle to find a foundation that gives a glow without leaving you feeling parched. We used two pumps for our whole face, slightly more than the others on our list, but you can also make it more sheer by mixing it with your moisturiser. It’s a great staple for your make-up bag if you want a lightweight foundation that’s easily buildable too.

Shiseido synchro skin self-refreshing foundation

ベスト: Oil-free formula

This oil-free formula is ideal if you’re tired of a shiny T-zone but still want a glowy finish from your make-up without looking sweaty or greasy. It provides medium coverage but we found it layered well for fuller coverage on blemishes on our chin and redness on our cheeks. While it conceals imperfections, it doesn’t feel heavy or cakey, and cream, powder, liquid and gel products applied nicely on top. Throughout the day we saw less shine and build-up in crevices and oilier areas, while it also held up well beneath a face covering, with little transfer.

評決: Lightweight foundations

We can’t fault the long-wearing radiance delivered by the NYX Professional Makeup born to glow naturally radiant foundation – it’s effortless to apply and gives a your-skin-but-better glow. For a tenner you can’t go wrong and it beat out stiff competition from much pricier counterparts.

ザ・ It Cosmetics your skin but better cc+ cream original SPF 50+ also deserves a special mention for its smoothing texture that completely evens out your skin tone and lasts all day, even when wearing a face mask.


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For more barely-there make-up, try our edit of the best BB creams that give glowy, lightweight coverage

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