Searching for the best summer foundations is an essential part of shopping for makeup. Cakey foundation is the downfall of people who wear makeup and can be the undoing of a perfectly painted face. Makeup is art on the most prominent of canvases and the term ‘foundation’ was not applied without forethought.
During the summer every skin type causes even the most talented of makeup artists to have to adjust their application at times. Getting an immaculate, blemish free look is not just about techniques and tools, but also the right product. Everything contributes, but without the right product, your look can end up flawed minutes later, especially in summer.
Smooth, flawless foundation is the dream of every woman and we have ranked the following products as the 20 best lightweight summer foundations (that won’t make you look cakey!).
#1. Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet Foundation SPF 15
With soft focus pigments this foundation creates a soft, smooth and youthful appearance that doesn’t feel heavy at all. One of the most important features is the inclusion of SPF 15. So many people forget to include a good sunscreen when they step outside.
The inclusion of SPF guarantees that not only do you create a softer and more youthful appearance, but that your skin is protected maintaining the youthful look even when your makeup is off.
Available at Nordstrom, Chanel produced a truly lightweight, oil free foundation that provides great coverage without having to layer it on. There is no downfall with this brand, the foundation is as chic and perfect as you would expect from the Chanel brand.
#2. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
When you want a tinted moisturizer to add a healthy color while keeping your skin feeling fresh and clean, this is the best option for you. The SPF 20 works beautifully well with the moisturizer to nourish and protect skin, while still providing light coverage.
If you do not need a heavy foundation, this is the choice for you. SPF can never be underestimated it is essential in the long-term health and appearance of your skin.
Available at Nordstrom, the tint is smooth and adds the healthiest hint of color for a completely natural look. Definitely one of the best summer foundations, the final product is far from cakey, but rather creates the ideal ‘makeup free’ look.
#3. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation
Available at Sephora, this foundation is creamy, oil free and lasts a confirmed 16 hours. The long lasting coverage is due to the famous NARS formula, consisting of treated pigments and flexible polymers unique to their brand.
The coverage is the star of this foundation, allowing for minimal use and a longer lasting product thus saving you money. The way the coverage works keeps the skin on your face looking bright and creating a flawless look that does not appear shiny.
Any redness is neutralized and if any discoloration exists this foundation corrects it. The overall effect is dazzling, giving the skin a resplendent and perfectly sunlit appearance without threatening to overdo it. The smooth and lightweight summer foundation does not need to be layered until cakey.
#4. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
This is the best summer foundation for those looking to quickly apply an incandescent product, even on the go that comes in a variety of shades and works for all skin types. This particular foundation contains extracts of olive and shea butter as well as light diffusers. This means that from any angle you look perfectly lit, with a natural auroral appearance to you skin.
The unaware will not be able to pinpoint the addition of this lightweight foundation because it is designed to be transparent yet simultaneously color correcting. The use of it in stick form makes it easy to apply, versatile when putting it on and creates an even and distinctly personal look.
Even a beginner can utilize Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation Stick perfectly, avoiding the heavy cakey look many beginners fall prey to. For those experienced makeup artists this summer foundation speeds up the process and restores the smoothness so often lost during the sweaty summer months. You can get your perfect shade at Nordstrom.
#5. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
This summer ready foundation boosts your natural glow, provides sheer coverage and lasts all day. Another great point is that this is one of the most lightweight summer foundations that work on all skin types.
Even if you layer the foundation for more coverage the final result will always be a silken, thin feel. The technology incorporated into the formula is designed to eliminate fine lines and soften if not completely hide wrinkles. The comfortable feel starts at application gliding on seamlessly to blend in.
As a liquid foundation, this one is not only summer ready, but also award winning. Unsurprisingly, this is an exquisite product, but it is expectedly expensive available at Nordstrom.
#6. Marc Jacobs Re(Marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate
Imperfection does not exist with this full coverage foundation concentrate. While less is definitely more, this foundation is not heavy and provides a beautiful matte finish, double the pigment and lasts 24 hours. One of the most lightweight summer foundations, this dreamy product covers pores, blemishes and imperfections without building up.
Another fantastic feature is the inclusion of golden mica, which in this formula is patented and wrapped in a very skin similar ingredient called lecithin. This creates an ultra realistic look, so don’t be thrown by the word ‘concentrate’.
With this foundation a soft matte appearance is easy to achieve and radiance is always the result. This great summer foundation is not formulated with Phthalates, Parabens or sulfates. It is available at Sephora.
#7. NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30
NARS is a favorite brand of many and for good reason. For those who burn easily, SPF 30 is a great addition to this skin tint. The natural look that is achieved is both bright and easy. The formula for this foundation is also oil free and creates a soft matte finish that does not look compounded if you choose to layer it.
The tint is designed to enhance one’s complexion rather than coat and cover it. This summer ready foundation is a great lightweight, light to medium coverage product, available at Nordstrom.
#8. CHANEL VITALUMIÈRE AQUA Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Sunscreen Makeup SPF 15
Great coverage is achieved with a small amount of product and is designed to create a refreshed look that lasts on the hottest of days of summer. This Chanel foundation is noncomedogenic, which means it does not clog pores and has been extensively tested and intentionally formulated not to.
Included in the formula is SPF 15, and it is oil free. The easily achieved natural look enhances undertones for a youthful appearance. The SPF included is a summer necessity as we all get a lot of sun, and the intent to improve skin as well as protect it makes this a one of the best summer foundations. You can purchase the most ideal shade for your skin tone from Nordstrom.
#9. bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
Bare Minerals is always a great choice, and this hydrating gel cream tint is a perfect marriage between a tinted moisturizer, a BB and a CC cream. With the goal to keep summer skin looking and feeling great, the company included an SPF 30 that is both broad spectrum and mineral based.
As with any great summer foundation this one can be layered for additional coverage but it contains an antioxidant. The formula is designed with the overall intent to actually improve skin by nourishing and hydrating it with electrolytes and marine botanicals to naturally give it a healthy boost.
Available at Nordstrom, at the most, this foundation provides medium coverage and at the least it provides sheer coverage.
#10. Dior Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation
This is definitely one of the best summer foundations as it comes in a cool spray can! This foundation works and creates the same appearance as airbrushed makeup. The look created is a soft, even complexion while the coverage is not only adjustable but can be affected by the application technique.
Not only can it be applied multiple ways, this foundation is quick and easy to touch up. Brightening and diffusing mother of pearl pigments hide away imperfections and create a youthful lightly dewy glow that appears runway ready even in the toughest of heat. You can get one from Sephora.
#11. MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation SPF 15
MAC is a well-known brand with a lot of loyal followers and this foundation is another reason why. The coverage can range from medium to full as needed, and no matter the heat or humidity, this foundation is long-wear.
The included SPF 15 provides both UVA and UVB protection, which is great since we all get more sun in the summer and have to remember to protect ourselves. A smooth, velvety matte finish is natural and soft. After application there are no visible pores or imperfections. Nordstrom is where you should head to in order to snap up your favorite shade!
#12. Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
Too Faced is a fun brand and the Born This Way foundation is oil free and undetectable, masking imperfections without being obvious. Amazingly, this foundation makes the list of the best foundations for summer through not only the great lightweight coverage, but also the fact that it features coconut water, which boosts and replenishes skins moisture levels naturally.
Also included in the formula is alpine rose, which is added in for improved elasticity and a brighter appearance. Finally hyaluronic acid is included, which creates a smoother skin texture so that skin not only looks amazing, it feels amazing.
Being both cruelty and gluten free, the formula also lacks Parabens, sulfates or phthalates. Get your perfect color at Sephora!
#13. Stila Stay All Day Foundation
This foundation is long-stay as the name implies and provides summer proof flawless coverage and a high definition finish. The formula is designed specifically so it flexes and moves naturally, and even when layered it does not negatively build up.
Available at Nordstrom, the product is easy to dispense thanks to the cool pump feature and is ridiculously easy to apply. Thanks to the design there is no worries for a messy bottle or wasted product.
The final effect is the ideal matte finish. Thanks to the careful formulation this summer foundation oxygenates for healthier feeling and looking skin. It also minimizes fine lines, pores and wrinkles.
One of the drawbacks, however, is that it only works on ‘normal type’ skin.
#14. Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup
Estee Lauder is a well-know and impressive brand, and this lightweight summer foundation is holding up to the expectations that accompany the name. This formula is fragrance free, super light, with defectless long wear. The coverage is sheer but it can easily be layered for medium coverage, while still providing a natural finish either way.
Formulated to be a great foundation that allows skin to breathe, this supreme foundation earns its best summer foundation status because it is designed so that it won’t melt off and is resistant to heat and humidity! It is available at Nordstrom.
#15. Lancôme Absolue Replenishing Radiant Makeup SPF 18
For summer ready coverage that is moderate to full, this is a great option especially if you are a brand loyal Lancome customer. For full coverage just adjust the amount you use, but either way this foundation improves skin tone and is formulated to restore lost moisture.
Dry skin can make any look crumble, so the formula for this replenishing foundation and the inclusion of SPF 18 sunscreen aid in making it a great summer foundation. This particular foundation is best for those with natural or dry skin and as expected of a Lancome product, it is expensive, available at Nordstrom.
#16. Dior Diorskin Forever Perfect Makeup Broad Spectrum 35
While the colors do not extend to include many on the darker end of the spectrum, this is a great foundation for the more sun sensitive, fairer skinned crowd. The established 16-hour coverage is ideal, while including SPF 35, which is good for all day protection especially for those who burn easily.
The effect is a smooth, poreless finish in any weather and it does not build up. Even better, this foundation feels super soft to the touch immaculately riding the imperceptible line between a luminous and matte finish. The product is available at Sephora.
#17. CLINIQUE Even Better Makeup SPF 15
Clinique has LOTS of colors covering a wide range of shades, undertones and skin tones. The formulation is oil free and actually improves the health of the wearer’s skin with continued use.
This foundation is designed to even out overall tone and allow you to use less as you go along. It even resolves age spots! The foundation is long wear so it does not limit your time out.
Results show that improvements in skin are easy to see in 4 weeks to 6 weeks time. Available at Sephora, it easily offers moderate to full coverage and includes antioxidants and SPF 15.
#18. Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte Liquid Foundation
Dolce & Gabbana is expensive. This is not a surprise and the price can be a bit of a problem for some, but the flawless finish is everything you could want. The real accomplishment for this lightweight foundation is that it is rub resistant!
The excellent formula also includes SPF 20 and is definitely a high performance foundation. The final finish is matte, lasts 12 hour and is good for all skin types, though especially good for oily, shine prone and combination skin.
This summer foundation has medium coverage to start, but can be built to full coverage without being obvious. It is available at Nordstrom.
#19. BECCA Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation
This summer foundation provides great color options for those of all skin tones. The formula is designed for the pigments to blur together beautifully, allowing the foundation to be buildable without being heavy.
The foundation features a subtle luminescence, creating a natural styled glow that is not only soft and nearly imperceptible, but creates just enough of brightness that shows a vibrant look without too much shine.
Available at Sephora, this liquid foundation is flawless, making your skin look radiant while it evens out your natural complexion.
#20. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
With a demi matte finish, Urban Decay’s Naked Skin foundation perfectly diffuses light from all directions. The weightless feel is great during the summer and features green tea antioxidants.
Additionally, included are skin brighteners and protectors that keep the youthful glow your skin naturally has protected even while boosting it during wear. Once you take it off, your skin is improved, though as this foundation boosts skin hydration, which in the long run will mean that you will require less product for coverage.
This summer foundation is buildable if you prefer more coverage to start off with. It skillfully masks lines and wrinkles without the foundation sinking into them.
There are so many different foundations available but only certain ones are ideal for summer wear. The design of this foundation’s formula allows it to blur over imperfections without caking on or creating an obviously made up appearance. It is available at Nordstrom.
Photos courtesy of Vogue, Sephora, Nordstrom