Shopping for makeup online is convenient, but sometimes it’s nerve-wracking. Inside a physical store, you can hold products, swatch different shades and tones, and ask a real person questions that will help you to make a decision. On the other hand, browsing from home or on your phone means you have to depend more heavily on shopper reviews, word of mouth, and your own basic instincts. The stakes are typically low with basics like lip gloss and tinted moisturizer, but when it comes to a great lightweight foundation for summer, the margin for online shopping errors is a bit wider.
There are considerably more factors to think about, including but not limited to: your skin type, how your skin behaves in warm climates, ingredients that won’t clash with your current skincare routine, your skill level for makeup application, price, the brand’s shade range, and foundation texture. For these reasons and more, finding the best lightweight foundations is easier when the search begins with brands that offer expansive ranges in a variety of finishes, so you have lots of choices to consider. In general, longwear formulas fare better in summer too, when humidity can otherwise cause makeup to slide down the face, and worse, onto clothing. A brand gets bonus points if its best light-coverage foundation also includes SPF.
How We Found The Best Lightweight Foundations
Still, even when you narrow down the criteria to a few seasonal must-haves—light or sheer coverage, a longwear formula, and SPF—the choices, especially when shopping online, are enough to leave shoppers overwhelmed. That’s why Rank & Style’s proprietary algorithm is such a lifesaver. After it determines which products are best to buy, it uses a point system to score and rank them based on a spectrum of data, such as shopper reviews, social media buzz, and notable mentions from industry experts.
Ahead are the best lightweight foundations that made the cut, from drugstore brands to skin-type specific formulas and more.
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Chantecaille Future Skin Gel Foundation
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: Gel-based foundations aren’t exactly common, which is why this one is a standout. As you apply it to the skin (a foundation brush is best) its reflective pigments provide coverage while also attracting moisture to the skin, sans oil.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: Other nutrients provided to the skin include hydrating aloe, soothing chamomile, and antioxidant-rich green tea.
L'Oreal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: L’Oreal has many foundations on its budget-friendly roster, but the Fresh Wear Foundation is renowned for its longwear capabilities and oil-absorbing ingredients that help decrease transfer. Since it’s also dermatologist-tested and non-comedogenic, it’s a great all-around choice for all skin types.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: It’s also infused with SPF—no extra layers of sunscreen needed.
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: Shoppers who prefer barely-there, sheer coverage love the second-skin finish of this tint. Application is also easy and time-efficient, requiring only a shake of the bottle and a few drops. For fuller coverage, blend it into the skin with your fingers.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: The second-skin effect is propelled by glycerin, which helps to retain moisture, as well as diamond powder, which gives the skin a blurring effect, drawing attention away from blemishes and large-looking pores.
Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: The amount of thought put into every Fenty Beauty product is always evident. This skin tint was formulated to be layered with skincare and a makeup primer, so you can achieve full coverage and avoid skin that feels congested. The longwear liquid formula is a bit closer to foundation, so you’ll want to apply it with a sponge or brush instead of your fingers.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: Also included is the brand’s proprietary HydraBlend complex that makes the overall formula sweat-, water-, and transfer-resistant.
It Cosmetics CC+ Nude Glow Lightweight Foundation
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: CC cream, or color-correcting cream, is the low-maintenance little sister of foundation. Whereas most foundations offer full coverage, CC creams provide a sheer finish, can be used alone or underneath foundation, and typically include more skincare-first ingredients. It Cosmetics’s Nude Glow gives you the best of both worlds with a formula that provides medium coverage, brightening benefits, and sun protection. This should be applied like a foundation and blended out with a brush or sponge.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: The formula is 2% niacinamide, a skincare ingredient known to target discoloration and dark spots.
E.l.f. Cosmetics Flawless Finish Foundation
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: While many tend to associate matte finishes with dryness, that’s usually not the case. For example, while this lightweight foundation is oil-free and delivers medium to full coverage, it’s infused with glycerin, an ingredient known for soothing dryness and retaining moisture.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: If you’re still concerned about dryness but want to retain that matte finish, this is safe to blend with a moisturizer before application.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: Even with upgraded packaging, Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer has maintained its status as a cult-favorite, award-winning summer staple. Unlike foundation, this is basically a moisturizer with light coverage and sun protection thrown in the mix. Those with acne-prone or dry skin will especially love the formula, as it’s infused with plant seed oils that promote moisture and environmental protection.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: Layer this with a makeup primer for even longer wear.
BareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: Powder foundations aren’t the most popular summer makeup products, unless they’re from BareMinerals, a brand known for its minimal formulas. This loose powder is completely vegan and talc-free, which gives it that lightweight feel and natural finish, minus a gray or white cast.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: When applying, be sure to tap your brush beforehand to get rid of excess powder—this will ensure a more even application.
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: Those prone to sun spots and dullness know that sometimes, even the most promising foundation can fail to brighten the complexion. Nars’s Sheer Glow foundation, on the other hand, is powered by vitamin C and turmeric, whose combined powers gradually decrease discoloration, even out tone, and turn up the brightness.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: Rub the bottle between your hands before opening and applying, as warming up the formula creates a more natural finish, even more so if you apply with your fingers.
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
WHY SHOPPERS LOVE IT: Shoppers want transparency more than ever, which would explain why Ilia’s fragrance-free, gluten-free, vegan, and recyclable serum tint is on this list. The formula is plant-based with actives that improve a menu of common skincare issues, including loss of elasticity, dullness, dryness, and rough texture. There’s also mineral-based SPF to protect against excessive natural sunlight and blue light from screens. Plus, the shade range is wide compared to most other skin-improving coverage products.
SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW: One of the cooler aspects is that this can be applied like a skincare product. Pour a couple drops into your hand, rub together, and blend into the face. Heads up: the foundation will need to dry down for about a minute before its true shade appears.