Best Buildable Coverage Foundations

To achieve the most effective duality in a buildable foundation, we’re not just settling for bottle brand name…Oh no sister. It’s going deeper than the skin on this one, we want the product to meet the following requirements:

  1. Give me that skinmalist veil on days I want to feel lighter
  2. Have that full coverage-esq longevity in wear
  3. Have the duality to build fullness and flawlessness

When a foundation claims it’s buildable, it’s openly declaring it’s duality in meeting all of the above criteria. However, in my experience since discovering my love for experimenting with make-up, I’ve found buildable coverage products sit at either end of the spectrum. For instance, they’re either a skinmalist sensation but fails on the ability to build up to fullness, or the other way around. I’m sure many can relate when I say I have trust issues with my skin’s breakouts! On those days I’m craving a little more coverage for my blemishes- that’s where the magic of buildability can be a savior. So sit back my cult of cosmetic lovers, I put myself to the test in searching for my holy grail buildable best friend so you don’t have to.

Foundation 1: The Ordinary serum foundation SPF 15

Coming in at the lowest price point is the ordinary serum foundation. What initially drew me towards this product was my long-lasting trust in their skincare range. I’m forever an advocate for products that support my skin microbiome, SPF protection plus a cosmetic enhanced complexion. Not to mention the considerably affordable ££ for those beauty babes on a budget. But should this brand stick to skincare only?

Application was a true dream, there’s a running theme with Ordinary products and that’s the uncompromising formula. However, I typically find with lighter, more milky consistencies that it suggests a light coverage. Finding my colour match however was more challenging than most due to their labelling being based on numbers with no description into tones or skin pigments to help better inform your shade match. Another red flag was its minimal shade range of 21. The beauty industry has evolved where no brand can excuse providing a limited shade range. However, with my typically yellow undertones with a tanned overall complexion, I was lucky enough to find a match suitable.

I’ll be honest…this product surprised me. My first application was a vale over the skin perfect for daywear or a morning gym session you want to have that extra confidence for. Feeling lusciously light was already a bonus however did it have the fullness I desired? Yes. It wasn’t your typical evening or event ready fullness however definitely offered a coverage that wasn’t far off.

It’s important to note I trialed all foundations while on holiday, so they had the heat, water and all the testing elements to live up to. I can confirm this foundation gave it a strong effort. Would I reach for this on an occasion I need creamy fullness? Probably not. However, on a day I need that buildability and long lasting wear that won’t compromise too much on coverage, this products my new go to!

Foundation 2: NARS Cosmetics Natural Radiant Longwear

Price: £37.50

Beauty bloggers and YouTuber’s alike went crazy over NARS Longwear when it first released. A couple years on I was curious to see if this foundation lived up to the hype. As a semi-premium cosmetic brand, I wasn’t overly impressed with their shade range however with model imagery to support, this facilitated my shade choice more than the Ordinary foundation. The undertones however were extremely yellow, but I’ll accept this slight error could be avoided If it were an in-store experience.

Let’s get into the product. During any buildable application I like to use a brush initially then beauty blend away any excess. Seamlessly gliding over the skin, this product has a stary eyed YES in terms of formula. Unlike the Ordinary formula, this was creamier similar to my other holy grails that are openly full coverage. A little definitely goes a long way with this product and the buildability was already notable from the first layer of application. There was no cakeyness or heaviness either while building the fullness which is a must from my perspective. I guess the less you add the lighter the coverage, so despite not offering the duality of skinmalism, you could definitely get away with using this product for daywear or occasions you desire fullness without the weight.

 Overall, I would totally reach for this product over typically full coverage foundations simply because of the wearability and feel on my skin. It’s not the most affordable foundation on the market however it ticks buildable-to-full labelling to the max. I can see why NARS has this down as a holy grail make up bag essential.

Foundation 3: Too Faced Born This Way

Price: £34.00

I was yet to trial Too Faced products however for a full coverage glam YouTuber tutorial, this product was a popular one. This oil-free foundation claims to ‘masterfully diffuse the line between make up and skin’. Well, if you go back to the beginning, this is exactly what I set out to discover. A buildable foundation that offers a second skin veil and flawless fullness. This product definitely had the thickest formula out of the 3 trialed however wasn’t exactly your Huda Beauty heaviness.

The application was very similar to NARS Longwear offering a seamless blend and surprisingly lightweight feel. To truly test this product’s wear-ability to the max it suffered a beach day in Mediterranean heat, a sea swim followed by a few retouches and an evening meal. I have to say it didn’t just survive, it thrived! After a few retouches I couldn’t fault the buildability without uneven patches or the feeling my skin has wallpaper over it. I was honestly so impressed and will be reaching for this product on a busy day where I need to feel as confident in a product as I do myself to take on anything.

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