My favorite liquid foundations at the moment

One of the easiest (and often overlooked) ways to switch up your makeup look is by changing the finish of your foundation. It might seem like a small thing, but skin finish—the texture and amount of luminosity of your foundation—has a big effect on any look. In fact, many eras of beauty are in part defined by the skin finish that accompanied them, for better or for worse. Where full-coverage, matte foundation accompanied the brown beauty palette of the mid-90s, shimmering skin went hand-in-hand with the lavish application of bronzer in J. Lo’s early-aughts heyday.

Thanks to the new formulaic advances in the cosmetics industry, it's possible to dream of having the perfectly flawless mien with the right foundation. No longer the outdated cakey kinds, foundation bases have evolved from looking thick and fake to natural and lightweight.  But with a slew of foundations to choose from, just what type of finish and foundation coverage does your skin need? If you are completely clueless, you can read all about Types of Foundation Finishes, Foundation Types, Types of Foundation Coverages, and Foundation For Every Skin Type at my F.A.Q section. 

Here are 5 of my favorite liquid foundations that give a glowing, non to semi matte skin finish. These are obviously not all; just what I happen to have right now. 

The key to choosing is to consider your skin type. Most sheer or dewy finish foundations tend to be less long lasting than matte foundations so if you have oily skin you will need to look for a formula that really clings. You also need to think of setting powders. If you use a very sheer powder you can retain the dewy finish after it sinks in. I used to use matte finish two- way cakes (Ie: Chanel Mat Lumiere) in my younger days when I was oilier and battling teenage acne. Over the years, my skin got considerably better and I switched to liquid foundations altogether because two way cakes are now too dry for my skin, and I like the finish and texture of liquid formulas more.  I only use pressed powders for touch ups. 

Knowing whether your undertone is warm, cool or neutral is the key to ensuring that your foundation matches your skin and color products look natural, not contrived. When foundation doesn’t properly match skin’s undertone, the color stands out as orange to copper, pink to rose, or ashen. If makeup looks like the right color in the package but looks odd once applied, you’ve likely purchased makeup with the incorrect undertone for your skin. Now as Asians, you should always choose a foundation with a yellow base, as opposed to a pink base. Caucasians are more suitable for a pink base because they have lesser melanin in their skin thus attributing to their pale skin. So technically, they also get sunburns more easily than us, Asians.

 Lancôme Mat Miracle 24HR Foundation (Asia only)

This is not new, in fact it has been around for a couple of years. Mat Miracle is specifically developed to withstand the extreme heat and humidity of the Asian climate. Before you shrug this off due to its indicative matte finish title, you must know that this is formulated with the same optical illuminators (Aura-inside) in the Teint Miracle foundations, so if you want a lasting, matte finish because you have oilier skin; but don’t want to lose the luminosity, this is a great option. Tested by Asian women, it has already achieved unprecedented results on all the key criteria of coverage, comfort and staying power. 

Promises: Medium to Full Coverage, Long Wear, Sebum and Shine Resistance 

If you know me by now, my skin is combination by default. (Oily tzone, slightly dry cheeks). 

What I like about this: This is a solid product. The coverage is impeccable. I like how lightweight it feels even though it is a medium coverage foundation. Not counting BBs and CCs, Lancome's Mat Miracle is one of the lightweight longwear liquid foundations out there. It almost feels like a powder foundation once it sets, except it lasts a lot better. If you just want a feathery light velvet finish to even out your skin, this is great. The end result is a “illuminated semi- matte” finish. I like how this product is not that matte so you don't end up looking cakey. People tend to associate matte products with a cakey look. Smart foundations nowadays can give you a natural, luminous finish coupled with sebum control properties. Coupled to that, for those who are concerned about the flatness of matte finish, smart foundations are also incorporated with light diffusing properties so that you can have a luminous glow despite wearing a matte formula.  This is a good matte even for more mature oily skins because it doesn’t look aging and heavy, and doesn’t emphasize fine lines. 

The lasting power of this foundation is excellent. The Mat Miracle does a great job in controlling sebum and a total makeup meltdown which is PERFECT for those with oily/ combination skin like mine. If you have a hyper t-zone like mine, then try using a mattifying base under it, on your T-zone. That should help your foundation and make up to last even longer.

I know it states that it's longwear but truth be told, in high heat and humidity conditions, it's extremely difficult for makeup to stay put for so long. Eventually, everything will succumb to the destructive forces of the heat. You will need to blot or touch up regularly to keep oil in check. This lasted on my face for 7 hours before I had to blot? Longwear yes, but not 24 hours, duh. Let's be realistic, no make up should even last that long!

Cons: This contains SPF 15, which is still a little low, so I'd recommend using a light sunscreen below it. I would also say stay away if you have dry skin and dry patches though, because as you can see, it does emphasize flakes and make them appear even more visible. Not recommended if you are blemish prone and deal with spot-dryness due to acne medication. 

Texture/ Coverage/ Finish:  Lightweight Texture, Medium to Full Coverage, slightly buildable

Silky and spreadable, “illuminated semi- matte” finish.

Suitable For: Combination to Oily Skins,

The Lancôme Mat Miracle Liquid Foundation comes in 10 Asian-specific shades 
Price: SGD $66.

Lancôme Teint Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo

Another Lancome product, but for another purpose. Supposedly, This two-in-one, must-have skintone correcting duo is touted to be able to transform skin concerns in 4 weeks and naturally corrects skin imperfections flawlessly and visibly improves pores, dark spots and lines day after day. The Skin-Correcting Foundation flawlessly and visibly improves pores and fine lines day after day and offers SPF 20 protection with the active ingredient LR 2412 in Lancome's Visionnaire serum. The Precision Spot Corrector is infused with vitamin C, and visibly corrects spots, dark circles, and all types of imperfections while providing full coverage Now, serum foundations are hot for a good reason. Besides just perfecting surface appearance, they are supposed to contain enough active ingredients to be an extension of skincare routines.

Promises: Skin Correction, Even Skin Tone, Flawless Coverage

What I like about this product: Visionnaire comes with a matching concealer in the cap so it's a true-blue multi tasker. It also has a dewy finish with skin/pore refining properties and promises a 2nd-skin effect. The product is quite creamy and it spreads and smooths out easily. I must say that it is quite hydrating and sets to a satin/moist looking finish. If you lean more dry/mature or just like a dewy finish this would be good. Normal, dry-combination, dry as well as slightly more mature skins with uneven tones will probably love this silky medium- to high-coverage duo. It spreads and blends very well, doesn’t emphasize or grab on dry areas, and really gives a soft glow to dull, uneven skin without making pores look larger. The concealer on the other hand isn’t an extremely opaque concealer and doesn’t set matte, so it retains quite a natural satin finish and doesn’t look heavy. I also find it runs just a hair lighter than the foundation and works like a subtle highlighter. .

While Visionnaire works to tighten and blur the appearance of pores, this is not a foundation with specific oil-control or long-wear properties. If you have oily skin or don’t need the coverage then this might be too heavy-duty. The concealer is also creamy and doesn’t really set so this product will probably not sit very well on acne and very oily skins compared to long-wearing or matte-finish products. Definitely better for under the eyes, and hyperpigmentation. I usually take this with me when I traveling, especially to colder climates I find that the hydrating properties of the foundation helps to keep my face from cracking. I haven’t tested it enough to really verify the longer-term skincare claims (evenness, smaller pores) so I won't comment on that.

Cons: This contains SPF 20, which is still a little low, so I'd recommend using a light sunscreen below it. This is not a foundation with specific oil-control or long-wear properties. If you have oily skin or don’t need the coverage then this might be too heavy-duty. The concealer is also creamy and doesn’t really set so this product will probably not sit very well on acne and very oily skins compared to long-wearing or matte-finish products.

Texture/ Coverage/ Finish:  Creamy Texture, Medium to Full Coverage,  Buildable

Silky and spreadable, Satin/ Moist Finish

Suitable For: Normal, dry-combination, dry as well as slightly more mature skins

Lancome Teint Visionnaire is available in SEVEN shades 
Price: SGD $70 

VDL Perfecting Last Foundation SPF 30/ PA++

The brand recently reformulated their products and developed a SKIN P+R=O Regenerative range of antioxidant skincare products which protect (P)your skin and help it to recover (R) from damage so you can get optimum (O) results from your skincare, but also complement their bestselling Lumilayer Primer and the newly-reformulated Perfecting Last Foundation SPF 30, PA++. I was already using their initial range and I was quite excited to test out the reformulated range.

Promises: Flawless, Long-Lasting Coverage without oxidation, Shine Control

What I like about this product: Out of all the products that I've mentioned here, Perfecting Last has the most, and best coverage. The lasting power of this foundation is excellent. It  does a great job in controlling sebum yet delivering a natural, matte-radiant finish. This is slightly similar to Mat Miracle just that it has higher coverage.  The product sets and locks into place very nicely and if you want to emphasize the radiance beneath your foundation, slather on a generous layer of their Lumilayer Primer which really creates that sense of "translucency"with special red and blue light-reflecting pigments to help color correct, brighten, and create dimension on the face contours. I think I have emphasized enough on the importance of a primer. Not only does it help your makeup to stay on longer and for those who are worried that a foundation may strip off your natural glow, you can inject a natural luminous glow to your skin with a decent primer. The end result? A subtle luminous aura that comes out from beneath your foundation. I reach out for this product when I need maximum coverage, for big occasions etc. However, if you are going for a photoshoot, you may wish to tone down on the use of shimmer, glitter and shiny makeup products. Actually make that no glitter, and only a little shimmer if you can’t do without it. These types of products can reflect light too much, or make your skin look really shiny.

Cons: If you don’t need the coverage then this might be too heavy-duty. 

Texture/ Coverage/ Finish:  Creamy Texture, Medium to Full Coverage,  Buildable

Silky and spreadable, Semi Matte, Radiant Finish

Suitable For: All skins

Price:  SGD $42
Dior Nude Air Serum Foundation

This new baby was introduced recently. This is also another serum foundation that aims to create a sheer, barely there makeup look. The original Diorskin Nude range was designed to be skin-like and natural. And the Diorskin Nude Air range shares that characteristic, but also differs in 2 key ways. Texture/feel: the new range is free of talc, and formulated with volatile oils, so it goes on weightlessly and sets quickly, leaving only pigments. Compared to the previous Nude liquid formulation, this has almost no discernible texture on the skin. Skincare properties: Nude Air products contain a proprietary formula of plant oils, vitamins, and minerals to provide antioxidants and essential fatty acids, treat and nourish the skin, as well as a "hyper-oxygenated" base which delivers oxygen to the skin

Promises: Second Skin, Air Brushed Effect. Natural, Barely There Makeup Illusion

What I like about this product:  The liquid is ultra-light, like all of the new generation of volatile oil foundations. It blends out extremely smoothly, but doesn't feel like it will smear around endlessly or looking patchy, as some foundations can. The coverage is light-medium. It is more lightweight than many of its volatile oil foundation predecessors, so it blends out quicker and more evenly. But at the same time, the pigments are much finer grained and more translucent, so it almost feels like you won't get any coverage. But these translucent pigments manage to blur flaws and unevenness so effectively that I look like I applied light concealer above. My veins, dark circles, and light marks are hidden so effectively that I was extremely surprised because the foundation was so lightweight. I was skeptical at first because I wasn't sure that this could deliver substantial coverage to cover imperfections. The best thing for me is that the natural-looking glow of the skin is not gone. If you like the ethereal glow and "no makeup" look, this will work for you. Dior Nude Air also contains antioxidants for long term skin protection. 

Cons: LOW SPF AGAIN! Dior Nude Air contains SPF 20 so it's best that you wear stronger protection under. However, do also be careful to blend it out properly because while it is easy to spread and blend, and might look fine in the mirror, the pigments do refract light and it might be visible if your coverage is uneven. The fragrance is a not-unpleasant herbal/green scent that I’ve come to associate with most Dior foundations, although I do not detect any scent once the product is applied (still worth noting for those with sensitivities).

Texture/ Coverage/ Finish:  Weightless, Lightweight, Sheer Texture, Light to Medium Coverage, Buildable, Dewy/ Semi Matte or Velvety Finish

Suitable For: The only skins I would say this might not be suited to would be the very oily and very dry. All volatile-oil foundations are a bit paradoxical because they're very weightless feeling and most set matte or velvety, which appeals to oilier skins. But at the same time, they are oil-based, and the volatile oil formulas sometimes don't set that well on very oily skins, or certain skincare products.

Dior Nude Air Serum Foundation is available in eight shades
Price: SGD $88 

Estee Lauder’s Futurist Aqua Brilliance Makeup

The Futurist Aqua Brilliance Makeup is specially formulated for Asian skin, and I believe it is exclusive to the Asian market [there is a different Futurist Age-Resisting Makeup for the rest of the Western world]. Just as with the other Estee Lauder foundations I have tried, the Futurist Aqua Brilliance foundations are loaded with skincare ingredients that target long-lasting hydration. This formula boasts a patented Sustainable Moisture Complex composed of hyaluronic acid, ceramide spheres and linoleic acid locks moisture deep in the skin, delivering long-lasting hydration.

Promises: All Day Moisture, Shine Control, Rosy, Dewy Complexion

What I like about this product: I bought this product when my skin was experience dryness due to hormonal changes. Furthermore, it was on/off sensitive and I had some tiny red bumps on my face which was frustrating. I needed something lightweight with hydrating properties, and the most important factor would be that it MUST BE irritation free. From the moment the foundation makes contact, this deceptively light formula creates a flawless finish that helps minimize the appearance of pores, even skin tone and leave skin looking dewy, plumped and more radiant. The texture is incredibly smooth and light, and it glides on the skin for medium to full, buildable coverage. The end result is a illuminated, satin finish after setting. This did not emphasize any of my dry spots thankfully so I must say it's hydration claims are there.  As for its shine control claims, I have yet to test this when I'm oilier so I can't verify this. If I can diescribe this product in one sentence, that would be that it has a plethora of plush moisture magnets for cushiony all-day comfort.

Cons: LOW SPF PROTECTION UGH. This product contains SPF 15/ PA++ so it's best that you wear stronger protection under. 

Texture/ Coverage/ Finish:   Lightweight, Medium to Full Coverage, Buildable, Dewy/Moist Finish

Suitable For: If you like the korean dewy makeup look, this is the product you should look for. The only skins that I don't recommend this product for would be those with very deep acne scars because you might need heavier coverage to camouflage the scars. 

Estee Lauder’s Futurist Aqua Brilliance Makeup is available in nine shades.
Price: SGD $58 

Just a side note, I know a dewy-finish fluid foundation may seem counterintuitive when it comes to screening out scars or spots because shouldn’t we be cutting down on spot-causing gunk and grease instead? But celebrity makeup artist Larry Yeo says it’s the intricate interplay of light that deflects attention away from the discolouration of acne scars: “Look for light-to-medium coverage foundies that contain reflective optics because these light diffusing particles help create the illusion of smoother skin.”

Think of it this way: Luminous liquids furnish your face with a ravishing radiance that’s quite similar to that afforded by selfie filter apps. More light, less visible scars.

What did I tell you. Foundations are getting smarter. And we all love it when our products work a little harder. 


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The Skin Radar is an online avenue which documents my tumbling thoughts, ideas and musings from my daily life, mainly based on skincare and beauty. It is designed to take the clutter out of beauty journalism to provide trustworthy and objective insights, new finds and sneak peaks- all in a beautiful and clean platform.

I test all products & treatments with age and skin colour in mind, break down the latest health fads, and source for expert opinions from international skincare leaders. All in all, my goal is to make sure that I am on top of every beauty innovation and skincare trend the world has to offer.