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This Sweat-Friendly Makeup Is a Summer Must-Have

CEO Tinh Phung
I came of makeup age in the era of BareMinerals, a brand that revolutionized the concept of loose powder foundation for a generation of millennials. However, despite the popularity of these lightweight formulas, they never...

I came of makeup age in the era of BareMinerals, a brand that revolutionized the concept of loose powder foundation for a generation of millennials. However, despite the popularity of these lightweight formulas, they never quite won me over. That is, until a makeup artist suggested I try powder foundation for my combination skin. Intrigued, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect powder foundation that would provide a natural look while still offering excellent coverage.

Brunette woman wearing lilac dress. Image by Belathée Photography

The Benefits of Powder Foundation

Unlike cream or liquid foundation, powder foundation does not contain any water. Made up of finely milled pigments, emollients, and often talc, powder foundations are ideal for normal, combination, and oily skin types, especially those with oil-controlling ingredients. (Those with dry or mature skin can mix powder foundation with a liquid primer for added hydration.)

If you're seeking light coverage or a way to control shine, powder foundation is an excellent choice, especially during the hot summer months. However, it's important to note that applying too much can result in an overly matte finish or a cakey appearance, leaving the skin feeling dry. The product you choose and how you apply it can make all the difference.

Below, I'll share my thoughts on Sephora's most popular powder foundations, along with a few other recommendations that offer lightweight coverage for every budget.

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder

Best Overall: Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder

This powder foundation completely shattered my reservations about powder foundations. Well, almost. As the knowledgeable staff at Sephora mentioned, this beautiful matte finish can be drying, especially for combination skin. However, a good liquid primer or a few drops of your favorite face oil can help balance it out.

The coverage is wonderfully buildable, and when properly moisturized before application, my skin felt like silk. The superfine particles create a lovely blurring effect, while still allowing natural features like freckles to shine through. It did require a bit more effort to ensure the powder was evenly distributed compared to other brands.

What's to Love: The silky texture and natural finish. What's Not to Love: The price, but the quality justifies it, including the compact and sponge.

Blonde Asian woman applying makeup in mirror. Makeup-Free

Wearing Laura Mercier's Powder Foundation Wearing Laura Mercier's Powder Foundation

BeautyTok Favorite: Make Up For Ever HD Skin Matte Velvet Blurring Powder Foundation

Although I was less familiar with Make Up For Ever, I decided to give it a try after hearing positive reviews on BeautyTok. While I didn't love it quite as much as Laura Mercier's powder foundation, I was impressed with how smoothly the powder applied, considering the extremely fine particles. (I must also acknowledge the sturdy compact, which survived my clumsy hands dropping it onto a cold hard floor.)

Make Up For Ever's powder felt more hydrating than Laura Mercier, although both foundations can eventually leave the skin feeling dry without the application of a liquid primer.

What's to Love: It's nearly impossible to mess up the application of Make Up For Ever, as it glides on incredibly smoothly. What's Not to Love: While it provided lighter coverage than Laura Mercier, it didn't offer the same blurring effect. Additionally, it didn't leave my skin feeling as silky.

No makeup. No makeup.

Wearing Make Up For Ever Velvet Blur Powder Foundation (and inexplicably smiling) Wearing Make Up For Ever Velvet Blur Powder Foundation (and inexplicably smiling)

Best for Buildable Coverage: Wander Beauty Wanderlust Powder Foundation

This foundation has left me in awe. As someone who loves a dewy, high-shine look, I was hesitant to try a foundation that would give me a more matte, poreless complexion. However, after dealing with breakouts and bug bites on my décolletage, I decided to take the plunge. I adore how it feels like a second skin. This foundation covers up blemishes and red spots while evening out my complexion. It also excels at absorbing oil in areas prone to shine, like my T-zone. As someone with a busy lifestyle filled with workouts, meetings, and more, I'm delighted to have a reliable foundation that I can reapply throughout the day for customizable coverage whenever I need it.

What's to Love: This foundation is available in 12 shades, offering an unmatched color match. I also appreciate the Rubicell applicator, which makes subsequent applications a breeze and pairs well with my tinted liquid moisturizer.

What's Not to Love: While I love its lightweight formula, I wore this foundation to a particularly humid June wedding. After an hour in the relentless humidity, I must admit that it didn't hold up as well as I had hoped. But to be fair, it's hard to find a foundation that can withstand such conditions.

Please note that every product recommendation is carefully curated by our editors, and we always provide honest opinions, whether the products are gifted or purchased by ourselves. If you make a purchase through our links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

This Sweat-Friendly Makeup Is a Summer Must-Have Image by Michelle Nash

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