The Best Dewy Foundations

Because radiant skin is always in.

Written by Marissa DeSantis
Elite Daily/Amazon
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You can find promises of a more radiant, hydrated complexion from facials and at-home beauty tools, as well as the never-ending stream of skin care products that constantly bombard us all. But the right makeup can help, too, and it all starts with your base. The best dewy foundations have lightweight formulas that are infused with just enough moisturizing ingredients to leave skin glowing, but never greasy. Ideal for those with dry or combination skin, dewy foundations typically have a radiant or satin finish (as opposed to matte, which is designed to prevent any sheen). Traditionally, dewy foundations offer relatively light coverage, but you can also find buildable formulas that will give you medium coverage when you want something a little more heavy-duty. Serum-foundation hybrids, tinted moisturizers, and BB or CC creams are also great alternatives to foundation when you want something that offers a fresh-faced glow.

You can also help achieve a dewier finish with your application method. Prepping your skin with moisturizer and/or a hydrating serum is essential for ensuring that your skin looks (and feels) hydrated and smooth, even before you go in with any makeup. You may also find it helpful to swap out your makeup brush for a damp Beautyblender (or other makeup sponge), which will give you a more lightweight, airbrushed finish. If that’s not enough for you, you can further enhance any dewy foundation by mixing it with a few drops of moisturizer or a luminous primer for a bit of shimmer. And, rather than set your makeup with a powder, opt for a hydrating setting spray, such as Milani’s Make It Dewy spray.

Shop The Best Dewy Foundations

In a hurry? Here are the best dewy foundations:

  1. Best Dewy Foundation Under $10: Maybelline Fit Me! Dewy + Smooth Foundation
  2. Best Shade Range: NYX Born To Glow! Naturally Radiant Foundation
  3. Best Soothing Dewy Foundation: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Full Coverage Water Foundation
  4. Best Serum-Foundation With SPF: ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
  5. Best Drugstore Serum-Foundation With SPF: L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Radiant Serum Foundation SPF 50

1. Best Dewy Foundation Under $10

Boasting nearly 20,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, this drugstore foundation is a fan favorite for its glowing finish and very reasonable price tag. Maybelline’s Fit Me! Dewy + Smooth Foundation was formulated with dry skin types in mind, using ingredients like glycerin and vitamin E to help smooth over rough patches and keep skin moisturized. The foundation gives fuller coverage — think medium to full — than most other, dewy formulas, but it’s also noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores or contribute to acne. It’s also nice and buildable, so you can apply a light layer with a damp makeup sponge for a more natural look, or layer it on if you have a big event.

Available Shades: 24 Moisturizing Ingredients: Glycerin, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: No

Relevant Review: “I love this foundation and it's really good for the price. It's kind of my go-to when I need foundation asap or don't wanna spend $25+ on foundation. It honestly is just as good as some of the pricier options. It creates a dewy look, as advertised. This is good when you have dry skin like me. Just add a little powder with your T-zone and you're good to go or facial spray if you're super dry. Also, did not break me out.”

2. Best Shade Range

Another drugstore option, NYX’s Born To Glow! Naturally Radiant Foundation offers the widest shade range out of all the products on this list with 34 colors to choose from. The formula was designed to give you a glowing finish as it evens out your skin tone, using ingredients like jojoba seed oil, panthenol, and vitamin E to nourish your skin. Like all NYX products, this foundation is vegan and cruelty-free — and at just $10, it’s quite budget-friendly, too.

Available Shades: 34 Moisturizing Ingredients: Jojoba Seed Oil, Panthenol, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: “This is easily my favorite foundation - matches my skin tone perfectly, which is rare for me as a lightskinned Filipina. Stays on all day, full coverage, and has a gorgeous dewy glow to it. I've used this for a year but moved to a city that doesn't carry Nyx products, so glad it's on Amazon.”

3. Best Soothing Dewy Foundation

Check out the ingredients lists, and you’ll notice that all of the foundations in this round-up name water as the first ingredient. Except for this 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Full Coverage Water Foundation, that is, which is aloe vera-based to simultaneously calm and hydrate dry skin. Fruit extracts like peach, apricot, pomegranate, and resveratrol (extracted from red grapes) give skin antioxidant protection, and green tea leaf extract adds even more soothing benefits. This is more of a full-coverage foundation, but it’s also buildable, so you have more control over the end result.

Available Shades: 18 Moisturizing Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Peach Fruit Extract, Apricot Fruit Extract, Acai Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Resveratrol, Vitamin E, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Glycerin Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: “[...] This is the best foundation I’ve ever used! It has a dewy look but not oily [...] It makes your skin feel moist but it’s not slippery. [...] I started with neutral 3.0 which was a tad dark for winter - so then I ordered cool 2.0. All colors seem to adjust to your skin. [...] It lets your natural skin shine through while giving very good coverage. My skin even seems better after use. Love it!”

4. Best Dewy Serum-Foundation With SPF

A hybrid formula that combines the coverage of a foundation with the skin benefits of a serum is another great way to achieve a dewy finish. The ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 is an award-winning formula that combines light, buildable coverage with sun protection and plenty of moisturizing ingredients. In addition to squalane, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid, the serum-foundation includes niacinamide, a multi-tasking ingredient that can help with everything from reducing the appearance of pores to calming inflammation. Those with sensitive skin will also like that ILIA uses zinc oxide for its SPF, and that the formula is noncomedogenic, oil-free, fragrance-free, and silicone-free.

Available Shades: 29 Moisturizing Ingredients: Squalane, Shea Butter, Niacinamide, Aloe Vera, Hyaluronic Acid Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: “I love how lightweight this feels on my skin. It has a dewy effect, but it looks natural and not oily. The shade was perfect and I like how it does have SPF.”

5. Best Drugstore Serum-Foundation With SPF

For a less expensive take on the serum foundation, there’s this L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Radiant Serum Foundation. The Amazon-approved product (it’s currently just shy of 10,000 five-star ratings) has many of the same ingredients as the ILIA formula, including glycerin, niacinamide, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid. A combination of chemical sun filters provides you with SPF 50, but the serum-foundation is otherwise sensitive skin-friendly (in addition to noncomedogenic and dermatologist-tested).

Available Shades: 30 Moisturizing Ingredients: Glycerin, Niacinamide, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, Hyaluronic Acid Cruelty-Free: No

Relevant Review: “I had been trying the more expensive foundations and they all made me look "made up". This product moisturizes and does provide coverage, but leaves the skin dewy and fresh looking. I am so happy with this product after years of searching.”

About The Author:

Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty writer and editor for nearly 10 years. Her pieces can be found across print and digital publications like Bustle, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue, and InStyle.