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Editor’s Picks: The Best Liquid Foundations for Natural-Looking Coverage

They look like skin.

It's been a while since we've done a reader question—fashion week and TIFF have been hogging all the attention lately! But in the past week, not one but two readers asked about liquid foundations... and when that happens, clearly something is in the air and I'm compelled to address it.

And, well, it's no surprise that peeps are thinking about liquid foundations, now that the weather's cooling down. Fall is all about berry lips, maybe an expertly darkened eye, strong brows... would YOU want to rock such a polished look with a blotchy, uneven complexion? Nein.

Now I should say, before we get into all of this, that not everyone NEEDS to wear foundation. If your skin is in good shape—I'll add my cod liver oil plug here—you can probably get away with just concealer to even out any dark/red areas and then primer to stop shine. That's all the Murale makeup artist used on me when she did my face for this event.

That said, there are other schools of thought, including the David Goveia philosophy, which is that most of us can use a bit of foundation (or tinted moisturizer) all over the face just to warm it up. He's all for erring on the side of darker, not lighter, in your colour selection, which is pretty good advice. Plus, have you ever seen photos of people rocking The Eagle?

Please do not do this. The Eagle happens when your face is too light, from a chalky foundation, and your neck/chest is tanned. Emily Blunt was a recent offender:

So if you DO wear foundation—of any type—just be very, very careful about your colour choice, and make sure you address what's happening on your neck so that there aren't any unfortunate colour clashes. Blotchy, uneven, foundation-less skin is still better than obvious face paint.

Now that that's off my chest (sorry!), let's get to the questions. First up is Dee, who writes:

I really really love your blog. It has helped me in a lot of ways. Anyway, i just read your post about "minimal makeup" and i was wondering if you can recommend a good liquid foundation? I've been trying to achieve the "no makeup look" for a while now but haven't quite achieved it yet. I'm planning to try Face Atelier liquid foundation or Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Enhancer. Do you think these are good foundations? Or maybe you can suggest better ones? I prefer medium coverage and I have combination skin. Oh, btw, do you think spraying facial mist after translucent powder will help give me that dewy, fresh look? Sorry to ask a lot of questions but I know you can help me. Thanks!

First of all, YES! Applying a facial mist after your powder will definitely make your skin look more dewy and give it a natural skin—as opposed to powdery—finish. You can also get a dewier look in general by going with cream or liquid products instead of powders. And don't forget illuminators—applying just a touch along the cheekbones to highlight can give you a nice glow. I'm going to be posting soon about Carmindy's new line, which includes some very cool cream highlighters.

Now, on to foundations! While I have not tried it myself, I think the FACE atelier Ultra Foundation would be an excellent choice.

Why? Because makeup artists love it—including the very talented Miss Andrea Claire, who you'll remember from this Q&A. And when I did a Twitter shout-out today asking for product recos for you, this was the most popular choice! (Glitter Geek and Faces by Farah both recommend.) I suppose I'll need to get around to trying it one of these days, as it sounds QUITE impressive: built-in primer, oil-free, hydrating, non-creasing/flaking...

Unfortunately I haven't tried the Kevyn Aucoin foundation either (bad beauty blogger!) but here are a few more options you might want to consider:

I've gotta say that Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup Oil Free SPF 15 is my current favourite for those times when I really want to do it up with my makeup and get a polished, flawless look:

It is medium coverage, oil-free and works best in tandem with the Hourglass primer–put the two together and your makeup lasts forevah! With no shine. I also love that it doesn't contain parabens, synthetic fragrances or phthalates. There's also an anti-aging ingredient (Matrixyl) to help fight wrinkles!

No post on foundations would be complete without mentioning Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation:

I'm having quite a Giorgio Armani love-fest lately, aren't I? But every beauty editor you will ever meet will attest to this fact: If the GA foundation happens to be on set (when you're shooting models, etc. for a magazine), it WILL walk away. Makeup artists, models, beauty editors—they all love it. The coverage level is sheer-to-medium and what's amazing about it is the weightless texture (the whole "melts into your skin" thing that I've been talking about with the blush).

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

If you care about products being natural, Living Nature Foundation would be a great choice:

I ordered this online a few years ago; I was mainly swayed by the fact that it won the 2008 Natural Beauty Awards and got excellent reviews online. It's medium-coverage, has excellent colours, isn't greasy and contains all-natural ingredients including antibacterial manuka honey. I love how it melts into your skin and you can't even feel it. More info here.

Some of you will also remember my ode to the Physicians Formula Organic Wear Foundation:

It's definitely more on the light-to-medium coverage end of the spectrum, and it was brought to my attention that the colours are also lighter than one would think. (I'm very fair and my shade is called Creamy Beige, which is somewhere in the middle of their spectrum—with most brands, I'm closer to the lightest shades.) What I like about it is the price (just $21.99), the natural ingredients and how quickly it dries down (some might find this happens TOO quickly, but it honestly feels like you're not wearing anything at all).

And last but not least, another Twitter friend recommended Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation:

Again, haven't tried this one, but I have tried the excellent LM tinted moisturizer, so I'm guessing this is equally great. Laura is known for making great skin makeup products, so this is probably a winner! (Quite literally: it's won awards from InStyle and Allure.) Note that it's highly pigmented, but you can build-up coverage without it going cakey.

Now here's the second foundation question, from Melissa:

My mom, who is in her 60s, is looking for a good liquid foundation. I gave her a few I think would work well, but was wondering if you had any suggestions? Looking for something in the mid-level price range. Let me know!

Because I'm a VERY good daughter and supply my mom with every anti-aging product under the sun, I asked her what she uses—I figured she would know!

And her hands-down favourite of ALL TIME (which is saying something) is Lancôme Absolue Teint:

My mom says: "It's got good coverage, the colour suits my skin, and it's easy to apply. It's also not overly greasy. I set with a tiny bit of powder."

Her runner-up foundations are from YSL, Sisley and La Mer—I think I've created a monster with expensive tastes now! But a couple more mid-priced options your mom might want to try are: Clinique Repairwear and Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme. My mom says those are good too.

So now, over to you guys...

What's YOUR fave liquid foundation?

Have you ever tried any of the ones recommended above?

Is there someone in your life who rocks The Eagle? Maybe you should forward them this post...