The Best New Foundations You Haven’t Tried Yet

By Roberta Lister

Go ahead: Quiz me on the hydration benefits of hyaluronic acid, the correct way to combine glycolic acid and retinol without enraging your skin barrier, or the very best liquid eyeliner for recreating a graphic eye (it’s Eyeko Black Magic, no contest), and I’ll happily ramble on for hours. Ask me about foundation, on the other hand, and I won’t even know where to begin.

The skin-perfecting stuff has always left me perplexed, but that’s not to say that I don’t know what I like. In fact, this is the root of the problem — I want it all. Light in weight but heavy in coverage, dewy yet compatible with my incessantly oily T-zone, and housed inside a bottle that will look chic on my dresser but not smash or spill in my bag…

Thankfully, this season brings a host of new launches that just might put an end to such compromises. As we become all the more demanding in our search for selfie-perfect skin, beauty brands are thinking outside the box to produce new formulas, textures and finishes that promise to finally perfect your base. Click through for a roundup of the finest new foundation launches to help you find your perfect match this fall.

The Cushion: Laneige BB Cushion

Laneige takes the cushion foundation firmly out of fad territory with its two excellent BB Cushion compacts. Pore Blur and Hydra Radiance both feature an air cushion containing over 800,000 cells in a diamond formation to ensure an ultra-fine and even layer of coverage. Essentially, it’s a soft, spongy version of a classic compact.

Pore Blur is infused with powder to control oil production throughout the day, and extracts of pine needle and mint water to keep the complexion fresh. It’s lovely on oilier skin (again, those with pore paranoia, pay attention), but can be a little too powdery for drier skin types. For the latter, there’s Hydra Radiance. This one contains color pigments encapsulated within moisturizing agents to impart a hydrated, luminous glow that won’t highlight any flaky patches over the nose (speaking from experience here).

The final win? Broad-spectrum SPF 50 is high enough to provide proper protection from both UVA and UVB rays — a considered, beneficial inclusion, rather than a marketing-led afterthought. While these aren’t strictly new, they were tricky to get ahold of until Sephora picked up the brand internationally. And considering a BB Cushion compact is sold globally every 3.8 seconds, it’s clear to see why they did.

Laneige BB Cushion Pore Blur, $38 including one refill, available in 6 shades at Sephora.

The Powder: Glossier Wowder

If there’s one brand that can rekindle my love for powder foundation, it’s Glossier. After all, Emily Weiss’ revolutionary beauty brand has already cemented the return of clear lipgloss, saccharine bubblegum scents, and pastel-hued cheek stains.

This signature blend of 1990s nostalgia and millennial edge makes Glossier’s perfectly titled Wowder instantly covetable, but it’s the formulation that lends lasting appeal. This fine, talc-free powder contains kaolin clay to absorb oil without clogging the skin, vitamin E for nourishment, and light-reflecting “diamond” particles to create that soft-focus blur. The result is beautifully glowy — far cry from the mattifying powders of the past. It comes in three generic shades, but the pigment is so fine they’ll adapt to most skin types, and there’s a coordinating brush with the softest bristles around.

Glossier Wowder, $22 (or $35 with brush), available at Glossier.

The Stick: NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick

For the latter half of my teenage years, a solid foundation stick was the one true constant in my makeup bag — and thinking back to the heavy, caky coverage that effectively erased all traces of my bone structure is enough to make me shudder. Thankfully, times have changed, and this season, the foundation stick returns to the spotlight thanks to NARS and its new Velvet Matte Foundation Stick.

The formulation is as impressive as you should expect from the brand, with a dense and creamy texture that melts into the skin with a satiny finish. A removable and replaceable Touch-Up Blender sits at the other end, making both full-face application and on-the-go correction an effortless feat — use it like a blending sponge for a lighter result, or stipple it for full-on coverage.

NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick, $45, available at NARS Cosmetics.

The Contour: Smashbox Skin Shaping Foundation Stick

While the age of precision contouring may have finally reached its peak, Smashbox presents a softer, gentler take on the trend with the launch of the clever Skin Shaping Foundation Stick.

This two-in-one design contains a solid foundation on one end and a deeper contour shade on the other. The former is beautifully creamy, so it’s a cinch to blend with fingertips or a sponge, while the latter has a slightly translucent finish that allows your natural skin to shine through. The result is believably sculpted cheekbones with none of the muddy lines associated with heavier contour products. A clear winner.

Smashbox Skin Shaping Foundation Stick, $42, available at Smashbox.

The Distance Run: Yves Saint Laurent All-Hours Foundation

I have so many questions for the wearers of 24-hour foundations. Who are these elusive night owls, applying their flawless face of makeup and then, 24 long hours later, finally removing it before hitting the pillow? While the very thought of wearing a full base, uninterrupted, for an entire day and night breaks me out in a rash, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to test the claim and live, for a whole day and night, like one of YSL’s sleepless party girls.

If you require such extreme staying power from your foundation, listen up. Applied with a damp blending sponge, one lightly-applied layer of this oil-free formula really can see you from a sweaty morning commute right through to a late-night espresso martini. The key is in the specially formulated long-wear polymers derived from volcanic rock, which can absorb up to 3.5 times their weight in water. Additionally, there’s kombucha extract to enhance luminosity and SPF 20 for moderate protection.

Are you one of these 24-hour makeup-wearing party animals? If so, buy this foundation. And invite me to the next party.

Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Foundation, $58, available at YSL Beauté.

The Full Coverage: Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation

Unsurprisingly, the winner of the most Gen-Z foundation branding goes to Instagram megastar Huda Kattan. #FauxFilter is the beauty blogger’s first foray into complexion products, and fans of her fully made-up look will not be disappointed.

When perfecting the formulation, which comes in 30 shade with solutions for different undertones, Huda herself took to the streets of Dubai, testing the product on willing participants with a range of skin types and tones to ensure all bases were covered. The coverage promises to be seriously full (Huda claims it covers acne, pigmentation, and redness with ease), and the reflective pigments will disguise even the deepest under-eye bags, leaving little need for concealer — or, indeed, a filter.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation, $40, available at Sephora.

The Mineral: Bare Minerals BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation

Despite proving perfect for sensitive skin, mineral foundations have always been somewhat of an outlier, as mineral pigments are trickier to work with. BareMinerals is undoubtedly the queen of this small corner of the foundation universe, and its latest release is likely to have remaining skeptics converted.

BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation is formulated with technology inspired by skin care to help improve skin texture over time. The mineral particles mimic the natural lipids in your skin to ensure long-lasting wear, while papaya enzymes act as a gentle chemical exfoliator. You can apply it with your fingers for a satiny finish, or use a dense brush for buildable coverage.

Bare Minerals BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation, $34, available at Sephora.

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