10 Long-Lasting Foundations That Stay Put All Day Long

NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation won’t budge.

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10 Long-Lasting Foundations That Stay Put All Day Long
Photo: Courtesy/InStyle

When choosing a foundation for everyday use, there's one characteristic that's non-negotiable: Long-lasting. There's no point in swooning over a base formula that will fade, crack, or cake after an hour or two. Thankfully, beauty brands are catching wind that users want (and need) longwear foundations that don't disappoint. These base makeup options won't disappear with sweat and your makeup will look just as fresh at 8 a.m. as it will at 8 p.m. — meaning no more midday mirror checks that show splotchy, worn-off foundation. Can we get an amen?

A good, dependable foundation should be great at covering blemishes, easy to blend, and able to last well past your workday. But the (unfortunate) fact of the matter is, just because a label says long-lasting, doesn't necessarily mean it is. That's where we are here to help. We interviewed several celebrity makeup artists to find the best foundations that truly last. With its buildable coverage, skin-like finish, and wide range of shades, NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation took our top spot.

Here are the best long-lasting foundations that are budge-proof.

Our Picks

Best Overall: NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Ulta and Nordstrom

What We Like: This foundation looks like real skin and lasts for hours.

What We Don't Like: While the label claims full coverage, some say it's more medium and hard to build to full.

This cult-favorite foundation has stood the test of time for a reason. It looks flawless on the skin, blends with ease, and doesn't smudge, budge, or transfer once it's applied. This longwear foundation is a top pick amongst makeup pros and editors alike, often touted for its natural, glowy finish. Instead of a traditional matte or satin-y finish, this foundation dries down to a natural finish with a subtle glow — we're talking about that lit-from-within glow you've always dreamed of. And even though you'll be getting medium to full coverage with this option, it won't feel like you're wearing a face full of makeup because the formula never gets cakey Plus, it offers up to 16 hours of coverage, so you don't have to worry about touch-ups throughout the day.

Coverage: Medium to Full | Finish: Natural | Shade Range: 34

Best Value: L'Oreal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear 24-HourFoundation

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Walmart

What We Like: This drugstore favorite gives you buildable coverage and oil control.

What We Don't Like: Some find the scent to be too strong.

Finding a quality foundation doesn't have to break the bank, and this 24-hour option from L'Oreal Paris proves that. In fact, our editors have swiped on dozens of designer formulas, and this drugstore best-seller remains one of our go-to-picks. Available in 40 shades, this featherlight formula won't clog pores or feel heavy; it literally feels like air on your face. It's formulated with SPF 25 and three oil absorbers that protect your foundation from melting away with sweat and water. The best part, though, is its under-$20 price point.

Coverage: Light | Finish: Natural | Shade Range: 40

Best Splurge: Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Foundation

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Pat McGrath Labs

What We Like: This foundation keeps your skin hydrated and luminous all day long.

What We Don't Like: This luxurious formula comes at a high cost.

If you want your foundation to last all day but aren't a fan of the matte look, go for Pat McGrath's Skin Fetish foundation. Recommended by more than one of the makeup artists we interviewed, this foundation is a worthy investment. "This foundation is easily buildable and has a lightweight finish making it comfortable to wear for up to 12 hours," says celebrity makeup artist Dominique DellaMaggiore. It packs a Vita-Serum Complex to moisturize the skin while diamond core powders enhance your skin's luminosity and blurs imperfections. It's like wearing your favorite Insta filter IRL.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Satin | Shade Range: 36

Best for Sensitive Skin: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Ulta and Laura Mercier

What We Like: This oil-free, fragrance-free foundation won't irritate your skin.

What We Don't Like: We wish there were more deep shade options in this formula.

When a foundation is non-comedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free — like this option from Laura Mercier — you don't have to worry about adverse reactions if you suffer from acne or have sensitive skin. The Flawless Fusion is the brand's longest-wearing foundation and promises to stay put for up to 15 hours (well past your 8-hour work day). The formula is buildable so you can customize your level of coverage, and it even doubles as a concealer for blemishes. And since it's sweat- and water-proof, it'll even stand up to hot, humid summer days. It's available in 27 shades with a variety of undertones.

Coverage: Full | Finish: Matte | Shade Range: 27

Best for Light Coverage: Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Ulta and Nordstrom

What We Like: This buildable formula controls oil.

What We Don't Like: It can look a little more matte than a natural finish.

A tried-and-true foundation that Olivia Palermo has said she's been sporting since high school, this long-lasting Bobbi Brown foundation is hydrating, mattifying, and smudge-proof. With light-reflective optic ingredients, this formula makes your skin look luminous and isn't prone to creasing or cracking midday. Available in 42 shades, it blends into the skin seamlessly.

Coverage: Light | Finish: Natural | Shade Range: 42

Best Full Coverage: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Nordstrom

What We Like: This full coverage foundation looks like an IRL filter.

What We Don't Like: The shades tend to have a warm undertone.

Celebrity makeup artist Alexx Mayo swears by Charlotte Tilbury's products when creating Lizzo's iconic beauty looks. "I absolutely love the longevity and performance of the complexion products from Charlotte Tilbury," Mayo recently told InStyle. One of his favorite products is the Airbrush Flawless Foundation. Not only does the waterproof formula last for hours, but it also packs special ingredients to hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. For those with mature skin, you don't have to worry about the foundation settling into fine lines and enlarged pores. Pair it with the brand's matching setting powder, and you'll be feeling good as hell.

Coverage: Full | Finish: Matte | Shade Range: 44

Related: The Best Foundations for Mature Skin

Best Shade Range: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Ulta and Nordstrom

What We Like: With more than 50 shades, this foundation offers your perfect match in a beautiful formula.

What We Don't Like: It can feel a little drying.

This iconic formula first hit shelves in 1997 and has been a mainstay in the beauty world ever since. Even though there's been a few formula changes throughout the years, the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation still impresses with its long-lasting abilities. The consistency is not thick or thin, but perfectly in the middle, meaning it's easy to blend and lightweight enough that you don't even feel like you're wearing a ton of makeup. And if that doesn't win your heart, the brand promises this base makeup lasts for 24 hours of wear with no fading. Not to mention, the shade range is beyond impressive—offering a whopping 56 shades, there's a perfect fit for everyone.

Coverage: Full | Finish: Matte | Shade Range: 56

Best Clean: Bare Minerals barePRO 24-Hour Full Coverage Liquid Foundation SPF 20

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Macy's

What We Like: The formula has skin-friendly properties to improve your skin over time.

What We Don't Like: It can oxidize and look a bit orange on the skin.

A two-in-one formula that covers blemishes and nourishes the skin, this mineral liquid foundation from Bare Minerals blurs imperfections and helps to improve skin texture over time. It also offers SPF 20 and is free of parabens, sulfates, talc, and mineral oil, so you can feel good about wearing it. Instead, it uses bamboo stem extract and papaya enzymes to improve the skin's look immediately and overtime. This liquid foundation is also self-setting, so transferring onto your little white dress is no concern.

Coverage: Full | Finish: Matte | Shade Range: 35

Best for Oily Skin: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Longwear Foundation SPF 25

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Nordstrom

What We Like: The formula keeps oily skin shine free for hours.

What We Don't Like: This foundation has very warm undertones and could be more dark shade options.

This fan-favorite is for those who find themselves with oil-slick skin before lunchtime. Choosing a foundation that is completely matte will help keep your complexion looking balanced throughout the day — and that's where this designer foundation comes in. The long-lasting formula has a velvety-matte finish that keeps oil at bay for hours at a time, while the inclusion of SPF 25 keeps skin protected. And since it blends effortlessly into your skin, don't be shocked if your friends and co-workers think you woke up like this. If you're worried about a matte finish washing out the natural luminosity of your skin, try adding a light bronzer or highlighter atop your base for a hint of shimmer without any extra oils.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Matte | Shade Range: 30

Best for Face and Body: Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation

Face and Body Foundation
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Also available at Dior

What We Like: This waterproof foundation hides imperfections on both your face and body.

What We Don't Like: We wish it was fragrance-free.

If you're looking for an airbrush effect that blurs out imperfections without looking like you're wearing too much makeup, this is the foundation for you. With a super buildable and lightweight formula, this dependable base makeup can be used on both the face and body. It's waterproof and sweat-resistant, so you can wear it through workouts and long days on-the-go without any fading. What's more, it's the ideal formula to give you that "no makeup" makeup look.

Coverage: Light to Medium | Finish: Natural | Shade Range: 40

What to Keep in Mind

Finish

We know that glow is in, however weigh the pros of long wear versus finish. "I find that the best long lasting foundations tend to be more on the matte side," says Mayo. "Look for ingredients that balance oil, like silica, that also deliver a smooth finish."

In addition to a matte finish, it's best if the foundation is oil-free to prevent the foundation from breaking down and looking shiny on your skin.

Buildability

Celebrity makeup artist Amber Amos says applying foundation in thin layers rather than one thick coat helps it last longer. Look for formulas with buildable coverage that you can layer to achieve your desired look.

Your Questions, Answered

What's the best way to apply foundation to ensure it lasts all day long?

Before applying foundation, Mayo recommends prepping your skin by taking the time to cleanse and exfoliate any dry, rough patches. While facial oils offer many beauty benefits, it's best to avoid using any products with oils in the AM since they can break down your foundation.

Once your skin is ready, Amos suggests starting with a primer, setting with finely milled powders, and using a good setting spray to ensure your foundation lasts all day. And remember, less is more.

"The less foundation you have on, the more likely it will stay in place," says Amos. "So try building up your coverage and application by slowly adding the foundation in layers instead of laying down tons of product and blending it out."

Should I apply foundation with a brush or with my hands?

While it might be tempting to apply your foundation with your hands, if you really want to make it last, it's best to apply it with a clean brush or sponge as the oils from your hands can break down the foundation. And read the emphasis on a clean brush. A dirty brush can harbor as much oils as your hands and lead to a streaky application.

"I always apply foundation with a clean brush and then go over it using a damp beauty blender to really make sure the foundation looks seamless and not cakey," says celebrity makeup artist Jacinta Spencer.

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