Liquid foundation is easily the most varied category in this report. We found top products for oily, acne-prone, dry skin and everything in between. Most women's skin changes from season to season or has characteristics of both dry and oily skin. For these women, one product stands out as being almost universally flattering, making it our best reviewed liquid foundation: YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat (Est. $55) .
Like the cult-favorite concealer (YSL Touche Éclat) of the same name, Le Teint Touche Eclat brightens skin without adding shine, smoothes imperfections and makes tired skin look alive. The finish is semi-matte, and the formula, "has a luxuriously smooth, lightweight texture that blends well," says beauty expert Paula Begoun.
Allure editors say the foundation covers well with only a few drops, and users say it is easy to build up from light to full coverage. Reviewers find the colors are very true to real skin tones. Begoun points out that this does not provide broad-spectrum sun protection, so it should be paired with sunscreen. The only complaint from owners is that the formula can feel slick on oily skin -- however, this isn't universal to all oily skin; some oily skinned women love YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat.
Though YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat has a semi-matte finish, it leaves skin luminous and radiant. For those who prefer a more matte finish, Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup (Est. $27) may be a worthy choice. The formula has a matte-like finish that Allure describes as "satiny." It's lightweight and natural-feeling -- a pro for wearers used to caking on makeup to cover blemishes, plus it works well on oily skin. Though the name suggests the formula will clear up zits, which may be a stretch; according to Begoun, the 0.5 percent of salicylic acid isn't enough to have a major impact.
However, it won't make acne any worse, and contrary to Begoun's review, a few users find it does clear up their acne. Reviewers also point out that salicylic acid in Clinique Acne Solutions can make it harsh for combination skin or for use around eyes. Either way, reviewers praise Clinique's 12 shade options. While the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat has more shade options (17), Clinique's colors cover a wide range of skin tones. One complaint from users is some colors look unnatural.
At a lower price point and with more color options (32), L'Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup SPF 17 (Est. $11) is another popular option for oily skin. L'Oréal offers shades with different undertones including cool, neutral and warm, making it easier for users to find an exact match. The liquid formula is lightweight and dries with a matte finish. Makeup artist Johny Saade tells InStyle magazine, "It's got incredible coverage, lasts all day, and is so cheap." There are complaints that this foundation emphasizes dry patches, though, and some shades are too pink. You'll get light to moderate coverage with True Match, but it isn't easily buildable.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, women with normal to dry skin love Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Normal/Dry Ski (Est. $13) . Reviewers find the foundation to be lightweight despite its medium to full coverage -- a hard-to-find combination. The formula is moisturizing without feeling too heavy. However, Begoun says it isn't moisturizing enough for those with dry skin to wear without a moisturizer.
The finish is a satiny matte and it's long-wearing. It's worth noting this formula has fragrance, which could be irritating to those with sensitive skin -- though we didn't find any reports of this -- and it lacks darker shades. For women who are sensitive to fragrance in foundation, mineral makeup, like Bare Escentuals bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation (Est. $27) , may be a good option.