15 Best Water-based Foundations Offering a Smooth Finish



The products curated for this article are independently chosen by the
editorial team. If you make a purchase through the links mentioned below, we may receive a commission. Check out our product
research & curation process

Choosing the right foundation for your skin can be a troublesome task, especially if you possess dry, acne-prone, and sensitive skin. But gone are the days of confusion as we bring to you a list of the best water-based foundations after multiple trials of the best options available in the market.  As per our research, these foundations are super light, buildable, and blendable. What makes them so special and distinctive is their flawless ability to conceal wrinkles, blemishes, and redness. They also reduce the appearance of pores to a great extent. Let us also tell you that water-based foundations are at the forefront when it comes to beauty and the makeup world. To know what exactly is a water-based foundation, keep scrolling. 

Our top picks

Best Water-based Foundation for Dry Skin

What is a Water-based Foundation?

A foundation that is formulated without any oil base is called a water-based foundation. They look undetectable when applied to the skin because of their natural formulation and light coverage. Secondly, they take due care of your skin and do not clog pores. If you ask us, they are just perfect for a non-cakey or non-patchy makeup look.

To indulge in one, ahead is our fanciful list of the best water-based foundations that you should think of investing in.

15 Best Water-based Foundations to Amp Up Your Makeup Game

Our very first recommendation is Flawless Satin foundation from the most renowned beauty brand named e.l.f. It is a lightweight foundation that has the ability to improve uneven skin tone and conceal discoloration, if any. Furthermore, it has managed to earn more than 32 thousand ratings on Amazon for its highly blendable and buildable formula. Secondly, it is power-packed with glycerin that leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated. For those who are looking for a semi-matte finish foundation, let us tell you that this is your ideal pick. 


  • Cruelty-free
  • Cost-effective
  • Vegan
  • Ideal for all skin types
  • Available in plenty of colors

  • 2

    Amazon’s Choice

    Neutrogena SkinClearing Acne Fighting Liquid Foundation – Buff

    Neutrogena SkinClearing Acne Fighting Liquid Foundation - Buff

  • The next on our list is Neutrogena’s skin-clearing oil-free liquid foundation that is enriched with salicylic acid to help your skin fight against acne-causing bacteria. What we really love is its ability to control shine and treat blemishes, which ultimately pave the way toward healthy and clear skin. This long-lasting foundation also provides very natural-looking and buildable coverage by preventing future breakouts. The best part — this water-based foundation for oily skin and acne-prone skin is skillfully developed by dermatologists.


    • Hypoallergenic
    • Doesn’t clog pores
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Inexpensive

  • 3

    Best Matte Finish

    COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Foundation – Creamy Natural

    COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Foundation - Creamy Natural

  • While researching for the best clean foundation, we came across this product from the most popular beauty brand named Covergirl. It is an impeccable matte finish liquid foundation that blends perfectly and lets your skin breathe some fresh air. Secondly, its smooth butter-like texture melts onto your skin and makes it look more youthful and glowy. What left us impressed is the fact that this water-based foundation suits even sensitive skin and doesn’t clog pores. 


    • Amazon’s choice
    • Reasonable
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Available in 7 shades

  • 4

    Best for All Skin Types

    Art of Air Airbrush Makeup Foundation – Movie Star

    Art of Air Airbrush Makeup Foundation - Movie Star

  • Art of Air has introduced a fail-proof airbrush makeup foundation that will help you elevate your makeup game effortlessly. This water-based foundation is oil-free and smudge-proof and thus perfect for everyday use. Plus, it is free from harsh toxins, and minerals and ideal for all skin types. Addedly, it offers long-lasting coverage and minimizes skin imperfections without any need for touch-ups. Topping it all off, this makeup essential is not only a good choice for those who have an airbrush gun but also for those who prefer using a foundation brush. 


    • Fragrance-free
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Best for all skin types
    • Sheer finish


    • Might crease under the eyes

  • 5

    Best for Sensitive Skin

    Belloccio Fair Color Shade Foundation Set

    Belloccio Fair Color Shade Foundation Set

  • Belloccio’s fair shade foundation set contains four foundations with pink and yellow undertones and an anti-aging moisturizing primer. What we really like about the foundations is their sheer finish and long-lasting results. Plus, it lays a blanket over your imperfections and makes your makeup application process a matter of minutes. In addition, it is recommended by dermatologists and features a creamy formulation for mess and hassle-free makeup sessions.


    • Hypoallergenic
    • Paraben-free
    • Best for those who have an airbrush gun
    • Pocket-friendly

  • 6

    Most Breathable

    NARS Light Reflecting Foundation – CARACAS

    NARS Light Reflecting Foundation -  CARACAS

  • Based on our team’s research, NARS light-reflecting foundation is loved for three primary reasons. Firstly, it comes with an advanced makeup-skincare hybrid formula that blurs skin imperfections and improves your skin’s quality and texture over time. Secondly, it lends you a buildable coverage and makes you look naturally beautiful. Lastly, it suits most skin types and is said to be an ideal choice for those with acne-prone and sensitive skin. 


    • Vegan
    • Breathable
    • Available in plenty of shades
    • Blends well

  • 7

    Best with SPF

    Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15

     Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15

  • For all those patrolling the internet for the best long-lasting foundation, make sure you do not miss out on Bobbi Brown’s skin foundation that is enriched with the goodness of SPF 15. We also glanced through the features of this product and were surprised to see it comes with an oil-free and hydrating formula that makes the foundation adhere to the skin better. In addition, it delivers undetectable coverage and a natural skin-like finish.  


    • Paraben-free
    • Ideal for normal skin types
    • Available in 8 shades
    • Very moisturizing

  • 8

    Best Oil-free Formula

    bareMinerals Original Liquid Mineral Foundation

    bareMinerals Original Liquid Mineral Foundation

  • Here comes yet another water-based foundation with a dollop of SPF 20 from the brand BareMinerals. This foundation is what you need in your makeup vanity to keep your skin nourished and protected from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Additionally, it lends you sheer to maximum coverage and blends easily without clogging pores. What makes this product the best is its wide shade palette and lightweight formula that glides like butter onto your skin. 


    • Conceals redness
    • Refines skin texture
    • Travel-friendly
    • Very hydrating

  • 9

    Best Water-based Foundation for Dry Skin

    COVER FX Natural Finish Foundation

    COVER FX Natural Finish Foundation

  • Our findings show that COVER FX Natural Finish foundation has managed to attract the attention of makeup enthusiasts around the world. Firstly, its natural finish and talc-free formula make it a sheer winner. Let us tell you that this is one of the best water-based foundations for dry skin that not only hydrates it but also works toward concealing imperfections and creating a clean and clear canvas for other makeup products to cling on. 


    • Enriched with vitamins C, E, and F
    • Offers 12-hour of hydration
    • Available in a variety of shades
    • Protect against environmental stressors

  • 10

    Best Creamy Texture

    Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation

    Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation

  • Estee Lauder’s double wear light foundation is the best makeup foundation crafted for all skin types. It is extremely light in weight and lends you a smooth and clear canvas. What we loved the most about this foundation is the fact that it has flawless capabilities to blur skin imperfections and visibly reduce the appearance of your pores. The most impressive — it is smudge-proof and resistant to humidity, water, and sweat.


    • Non-acnegenic
    • Ophthalmologically-tested
    • Dermatologically-tested
    • Fragrance-free

  • 11

    Ecco Bella Natural Foundation – Ivory Porcelain

     Ecco Bella Natural Foundation - Ivory Porcelain

  • We bet you will fall in love with Ecco Bella’s natural water-based foundation for its distinctive formulation. It is enriched with scientifically formulated natural minerals that act as skincare as well as makeup essentials. Addedly, it is a beauty shield that lays a blanket over your blemishes and simultaneously nourishes your skin. To note more, this foundation serves you with full and even coverage. The best part — it is loaded with lutein, astaxanthin, lycopene, and beta-carotene that protect your skin against harmful blue light. 


    • Cruelty-free
    • Paraben-free
    • Available in 2 more shades
    • Unscented

  • 12

    Ere Perez – Quinoa Water Foundation – Dawn

    Ere Perez - Quinoa Water Foundation - Dawn

  • Our next favorite water-based foundation is this one from Ere Perez that is infused with quinoa. It is a fabulous lightweight foundation that heals irritated and inflamed skin. Furthermore, it increases the elasticity levels of your skin with a potent blend of antioxidants and vitamins. Talking about the consistency of this foundation, it is remarkable and easy to glide on. Topping it all off, its fresh natural-looking matte finish acts as a game changer whenever you wish to go minimal or maximum on your makeup game.


    • Available in 5 shades
    • Conceals fine lines and wrinkles
    • Offers light to medium coverag
    • Reduces redness

  • 13

    Kiss NY Professional PRO TOUCH Drop Foundation – Sun Beige

    Kiss NY Professional PRO TOUCH Drop Foundation - Sun Beige

  • While researching for the best water-based foundation, we came across Kiss NY Professional Pro Touch Drop foundation. What makes us recommend this foundation to you is its impeccable buildable coverage and lightweight texture. Plus, it blends like magic and looks undetectable. After glancing through its features, we came to know that it is enriched with the goodness of green tea for maximum anti-oxidation. Lastly, it leaves your skin mattified and ready for other products to cling to. 



    • Doesn’t crease
    • Affordable 
    • Easy to apply
    • Available in 5 shades

  • 14

    Glam Air Airbrush Makeup Water-based Foundation

    Glam Air Airbrush Makeup Water-based Foundation

  • For all those who possess an airbrush makeup gun, Glam Air’s airbrush makeup water-based foundation is meant for you. It is extremely long-lasting and highly capable of concealing redness, blemishes, wrinkles, dark spots, and other skin imperfections. Secondly, it doesn’t smear, flake, or look cakey. Believe us, this is one of the best water-based foundations to create top-notch makeup looks in a jiffy. What you will love is its natural-looking matte finish and skin-friendly formula. 


    • Creamy texture
    • Inexpensive
    • Great coverage
    • Doesn’t clog pores


    • No shade options to choose from

  • 15

    Carter Beauty By Marissa Carter Half Measure Dewy Foundation – Crème Brulee

    Carter Beauty By Marissa Carter Half Measure Dewy Foundation - Crème Brulee

  • Lastly, we recommend an astounding dewy and water-based foundation from Carter Beauty By Marissa Carter. It is extremely hydrating, light in weight, and crafted without any sulfates or parabens. What we like is its poreless finish, and buildable and blendable superstay formula that allows you to create some really intense and minimalistic makeup looks. Moreover, it covers up redness and blemishes and simultaneously moisturizes your skin for a better glow and clearer complexion.  


    • Suits all skin types
    • Cruelty-free
    • Budget-friendly
    • Available in plenty of shades

    That was our comprehensive list of the best water-based high-end foundations. Now, let us run you through our detailed buying guide. 

    How to Choose the Best Water-based Foundation?

    Here are a few aspects that you should consider before splurging on the best water-based makeup foundation – 

    Skin Type: Make sure you analyze your skin type before investing in any of the best water-based foundations. For those possessing dry skin type, invest in a foundation that is infused with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients and vitamins C, E, and F. On the other hand, for the ones with acne-prone and oily skin type, it is wise to pick an oil-free foundation that delivers a matte or satin finish. 

    Ingredients: Always pay heed to the ingredient list before splurging on the best affordable foundation. It is good to invest in a foundation that is loaded with skin-friendly and primary ingredients like green tea, salicylic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, coconut water, etc. Make sure that it should be completely free from harmful ingredients like parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances, and talc.

    Texture: Ensure the foundation that you are planning to purchase possesses a smooth and easy-to-glide texture. It should be blendable and offer you buildable, full, or medium coverage. Secondly, it should not look cakey, flaky, or creased after some time. 

    Formula: The next important aspect is the formula of the foundation. It is advisable to invest in a foundation that is vegan, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and non-acnegenic. 

    After taking note of the above-mentioned aspects, allow us to help you know how to verify if the foundation is water-based or not. 


    How to Know if the Foundation is Water-based?

    The very easy trick to know whether the foundation is water-based or not is by looking at the list of ingredients. The very first ingredient found in a water-based foundation is ‘water’ or ‘aqua’ which states that it contains high levels of water. Let us also tell you that the ingredients are mentioned according to their concentration levels making it easier for you to pick the best of the best. You can find the list of ingredients on the outer as well as inner packaging. 

    We hope now you will be able to make some better purchasing decisions. However, it is also important to understand the steps of taking it off. Scroll down and check it out.


    How to Remove Water-based Foundation?

    Below are the steps to remove a water-based foundation with ease – 

    Step 1: Pick a sufficient quantity of your daily cleanser on a microfiber cloth or cotton pad.

    Step 2: Begin removing your foundation in a circular motion. Do not rub your face rigorously.

    Step 3: Clean the inner corners of your eyes and neck using the same method. 

    Step 4: Lastly, take the help of a wet facial wipe to cleanse your face. 

    Step 5: Wash your face with a face wash, rinse it, damp your skin clean, and apply a cold cream. 

    Tada, you are done! 

    That was all about the best water-based foundations that you should think of snagging right away. These foundations are not only loved for their hybrid formulations but also for their ability to conceal your imperfections. With the right water-based foundation in your hands, you can easily create the makeup look of your dreams. Plus, they are light in weight, blendable, buildable, and known for simultaneously moisturizing your skin. So, ditch those heavily formulated foundations and indulge in these beauties right away. Happy shopping! 


    Are water-based foundations better?

    Yes, water-based foundations are better as they moisturize your skin and allow it to breathe.

    What is a water-based foundation best for?

    Water-based foundations are best for those dealing with acne-prone skin, dry skin, and breakouts.

    Is water-based foundation better for older skin?

    Yes, a water-based foundation is excellent for older as well as mature skin as it is lightweight and buildable.

    Which liquid foundation is water-based?

    bareMinerals Original Liquid Mineral Foundation is a liquid foundation that is water-based.

    What is better: water-based or silicone foundation?

    It depends on your skin type. Water-based foundations are great for dry and sensitive skin, whereas silicone foundations are ideal for oily skin.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Our certified beauty expert, Sayantani, is a makeup enthusiast who owns a plethora of products, right from foundations to lipsticks! She believes that a foundation is the hero of them all! It not only sets a base but also smoothens the skin and blurs imperfections. Recently, she meticulously researched the best water-based foundations to keep her skin hydrated and glowing. Personally, she loves the e.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation that features a buildable and blendable formula. You too can snatch a glimpse of the rest of her top picks and amp up your makeup game seamlessly. 

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!


    Author BIO

    Sayantani is a certified hair and makeup professional turned writer with 2+ years of experience in the same genre. Ap More

    Source link

    Comments are closed.