This post has been a long time coming, mostly because foundation is one of my favourite categories of makeup and also because it's so personal and I really wanted to make sure I got my thoughts together before choosing my favourites so these aren't just standard "they're great!" reviews. It took me a while to decide that, like with my favourite primers, I didn't want to just pick 5 for the sake of talking about 5 products, so again I'm only going to talk about my four favourites because although I use and enjoy more than just these four, these are the ones that are a step above the rest for one reason or another.
I'll start by telling you about my skin and what I look for in a foundation to give you a bit of insight into why these ones work for me. Firstly, as though I haven't said it a thousand times before, I have oily skin, so I never really go for hydrating/glowy/dewy-finish foundations because they wouldn't stand a chance. I like my skin to look as natural and non-makeup-y as possible, so my preference is a satin finish, though I can work with a matte finish since everything always ends up looking dewy on me in the end. While I'm mostly too lazy to touch up, I can handle the occasional blot, but if a foundation actually breaks up on my skin and there's no saving it then that's a dealbreaker for me. As a bare minimum I expect my makeup to last a full day at work, and if I know I'm going out afterwards or have a long day ahead of me, I'll choose a specific primer, foundation and powder combo. I prefer a medium coverage as I'd rather spot conceal where necessary and let my skin show through on the rest of my face. I have no issues with sensitivity or fragrance and I don't care if foundations have SPF in them or not because I wear a dedicated SPF regardless. I have yellow undertones and I'm always the lightest shade in everything cause I'm pale af.
So my number one foundation in terms of how it makes my skin look has to be Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk (shade 2). Although I wouldn't consider this to be long-lasting, it's still my go-to foundation for special occasions because it has the most beautiful finish. A while back it was THE foundation, recommended by beauty bloggers and makeup artists alike, I remember when I got a sample of it and tried it for the first time and thought, "oh, that's what everyone's talking about!" I find that my oils do come through when I wear this, but they don't break up the foundation or make it look cakey at all, a quick blot and powder fixes everything, and this foundation is worth the maintenance. They also have a Lasting Silk in their line but since no one ever talks about that one, at $95(!!) I didn't want to take a chance and get a dud, but I'd love to try a sample one day to compare the two. I know the price is outrageous, but to me it's worth it because it legit makes your skin look like luminous silk. I'd say the coverage is on the fuller side of medium and it can be built up further if that's your thing. While this isn't necessarily made for oily skin, I'm happy to make it work for me, but if you have drier skin I'm sure you'll love it just as much.
My super reliable, all day and all night foundation is Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Light (intensity 0.5). One of the most recommended foundations for oily skin is always the original Double Wear but when I heard about Double Wear Light I thought it would hopefully be more my speed in terms of finish and coverage, and it 100% is. Although I'm still pretty curious about the original Double Wear (I tried a sample a while back but don't remember much about it) I do hear a lot of people say that with its fuller coverage, it can look a little obvious on the skin, which is something I try to avoid. Double Wear Light has a light-medium coverage with a really natural, satin finish that never breaks up and magically manages to hold my oils back longer than any other. The only issue I have is that in Australia we only seem to start stocking the range from the second lightest shade, 1.0 (boooo!) so when this runs out I'll have to either test out the darker shade or somehow get one from overseas. But if you're less pale than me you should be able to find a colour match, and if your skin is on the drier side Anna from ViviannaDoesMakeup can vouch for it working just as well for her too.
An all-time favourite of mine is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum (51 Light Vanilla) which is the first foundation I tried after I started getting seriously into beauty and it was revolutionary for me. It has a really unique gel formula and I think this could easily pass for being a high end product. It's super easy to blend, looks incredibly natural on the skin and has a light-medium coverage (sensing a theme here?). It can be confusing trying to figure out which one to buy between this and the other Healthy Mix (not-serum) foundation as it's not very clear which skin types they're marketed towards. I personally found the other Healthy Mix to only last 5-6 hours before wearing away completely on me, so I got rid of that one long ago. Although a lot of people with dry skin seem to love it, the serum version also claims to offer 16-hour wear and it's stood the test of time for me and is still a favourite to this day. My oils do tend to come through eventually but the key difference between this and the other formulation is this one holds together and can be fixed with a blot and powder, while the other can't on me. I feel like this foundation is foolproof and and I think the gel formula means it would work really well on dry skin as well.
And lastly, the Rimmel Lasting Finish Nude Foundation (010 Light Porcelain) was relaunched last year it really didn't interest me, but after seeing a few good reviews floating around from people I trust, when I spotted it on sale I figured I didn't have much to lose. It comes in two varieties - the white lid is a medium coverage formula and has Nude in the name, while the red lid is full coverage. I wasn't expecting much from this foundation but it completely blew me away. Not only does it last really well, but it looks SO natural on the skin which I really wasn't expecting, and those are the two biggest things I look for. It leans a bit pink which isn't the best as I have yellow undertones, but I find that since I don't try to use it as a full coverage product it's not really an issue for me as it blends out and looks fine. I never thought I'd enjoy this foundation as much as I do but I really feel like I can rely on it, along with Double Wear Light, when I know I've got a long day/night ahead of me.