We’ve put 40+ of the best full-coverage foundations in the UK to the test (and counting) to discover which are the best for different skin types and budgets
We recently started putting as many UK foundations to the test as possible, and ranking them on a spreadsheet, as part of a long-running series on TikTok. You can read more about the overall winners on our best foundation makeup page.
One of the columns on the spreadsheet is coverage type, and we feel it’s one of the most important. Based on what coverage type the manufacturer promises forms the basis for how we judge what that particular foundation looks like when applied to an orange and a strawberry.
The other categories are entirely objective, but the coverage expectation category is subjective so we take it very seriously.
If you have no idea what we’re talking about, check out our How we test foundations guide.
The list below shows you the best full-coverage foundations based on our tests.
This list includes both full-coverage foundations as well as medium-coverage foundations that are buildable, meaning they can be worn as full coverage as and when needed.
Feel free to scroll through our list below, or click on the links in the box to the left to jump straight to the most relevant section for you.
The top 10 best full-coverage foundations we’ve tried and tested are below. We’ve also highlighted the best full-coverage foundation for oily skin, dry skin and other skin types further down this list. You can jump straight to this section by clicking here. As we test more and more foundations, this list of the best full-coverage foundations in the UK may change.
£6.49 | Buy now
Collection is one of the best cheap makeup brands in the UK because it consistently releases products that outperform its rivals for a fraction of the price.
In our best foundation list, the Collection Lasting Perfection foundation sits in second place, just behind the Essence Hydro Hero foundation as well as topping our best full-coverage foundation list.
It performed as well as we’d expect for a full-coverage foundation in our orange and strawberry tests, scoring 3 points on each. A product only scores the maximum of 5 if it exceeds the coverage it promises.
Given its matte finish, this foundation let out a minimal amount of oil onto the blotting paper. It goes an almost maximum score of 9 out of 10.
Elsewhere, Collection sells 20 shades in its range. This isn’t a high number, but it’s not bad for such a cheap foundation. Especially when you consider more expensive foundations have fewer.
In our hydration test, we had expected the Collection Lasting Perfection foundation to be drying because it’s a matte foundation. Yet it only dropped our hydration levels by 1.3 percentage points. This is equivalent to a drop of 5.3%. Relatively small anyway, let alone for a foundation that let out so little oil.
Finally, this foundation scored highly because it’s cruelty-free yet it isn’t fully vegan, because it sells products with animal byproducts in it.
Buy now from Boots” text=”Buy now from Boots”]
£9 | Buy now
View the full video on TikTok
This was a surprise entry for us because we hadn’t used a Revolution foundation before, but the Conceal and Hydrate performed admirably.
For just £9, it comes in 50 shades and offers medium-to-full coverage. In our experience, we’d say it errs more on the side of medium but because it’s buildable, this is a positive thing.
It allows you to apply as much as you need for your specific skin type of coverage needs.
In both the orange and strawberry tests it performed better than we had expected.
It let out a lot of oil onto the blotting paper, yet considering it’s meant to be a hydrating, radiant-finish foundation, this is hardly surprising.
Speaking of hydration, in our tests this entry on best foundation guide reduced the hydration level of our skin by 3.7 points, which is equivalent to a drop of 12%.
While this is a below-average drop in hydration, meaning that it performed better than the majority of products in our tests, for a foundation that has the word “hydrate” in the title, we were disappointed.
Its overall score was then boosted by the fact Revolution is a vegan and cruelty-free brand.
The only catch is that it appears to have been discontinued – or will be soon – because stock levels have been low for a while. If you’re keen to give this foundation a go, we highly recommend it, you just might have to be quick!
£29 | Buy now
View the full video on Tiktok
The MAC Studio Fix Fluid has consistently ranked among the leaders in our search for the best foundation, largely due to its extensive shade range. MAC offers an impressive 67 shades.
This exceeds Estee Lauder’s Double Wear, which is renowned for being inclusive, by seven shades and more than doubling the average of all foundations we’ve tested, which is 29.
With an SPF rating of 15, MAC’s Studio Fix provides medium-full coverage and performed exceptionally well in various skin tests.
It minimises oil on the skin while leaving a natural finish that isn’t flat or matte. It blends effortlessly, and our writer Lucy attests to its impressive finish and longevity by saying, “this is our go-to foundation, and we’ve even convinced our friends to switch to it.”
In humid weather conditions, this foundation lasts for hours even without setting spray, although it can be tricky to remove at the end of the day.
MAC is not classified as entirely cruelty-free because it sells products in countries that test on animals, although it doesn’t partake in animal testing itself. Additionally, it’s not 100% vegan, even though some of the formulas are vegan.
One downside is that the foundation doesn’t come with a pump. This is not only an inconvenience, but it can lead to wastage which can lead to additional costs.
Given its already premium price, this is a disappointment – a minor one, but a disappointment nonetheless.
Read our full MAC Studio Fix foundation review
£13.99 | Buy now
View the full video on TikTok
MaxFactor’s FaceFinity isn’t cheap enough to make our best cheap foundation list, it’s not expensive enough to make the best luxury foundation list and as a 3-in-1 product, it didn’t fit naturally into many of the other categories.
However, one area where it absolutely excelled was hydration and this score was high enough to make it the best matte foundation of the 100+ foundations we’ve tested.
At £13.99, it’s on the affordable side, and for that price you effectively get three products in one – a primer, a concealer, and a foundation.
We’re always a little skeptical of products promising multiple benefits, especially at such a cheap price, but in the case of the MaxFactor FaceFinity, we were pleasantly surprised.
It provides a smooth, relatively long-lasting base that blurs the pores. It has enough coverage to minimise the appearance of dark circles and redness, and the foundation element evens out skin tone while mattifying shine. In fact, it manages to mattify the skin without making it appear flat or dull.
In our orange test, this foundation performed as expected for a medium-coverage product. It underperformed on the larger “pores” on the strawberry and it produced an above-average amount of liquid on the blotting paper.
It does have buildable coverage, so while we didn’t apply more than one layer on the fruit in our tests, when we used it on our skin we applied more of this foundation in areas where more coverage was needed.
It’s not perfect. MaxFactor claims it gives “24-hour wear” and says it’s touch- and shine-proof. Yet in our experience, this isn’t quite accurate. We managed to get to around lunchtime before our shiny T-Zone began making a slight appearance and by the end of the day, areas of redness started to peek through.
On the plus side, it is incredibly hydrating. This is rare for foundations generally, but certainly those which offer such an effective matte finish. In our hydration test, it was one of only a handful of foundations to increase the hydration of the skin; raising hydrating by 1.3 percentage points, or 5% overall. This means it’s a great foundation for dry and mature skin generally but is particularly great for people with those skin types looking for a matte finish.
Elsewhere, as an added bonus, the foundation has SPF 20 and is non-comedogenic.
£30 | Buy now
View the full video on TikTok
There are two foundation options in the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r collection, both are medium-full coverage yet the Longwear version is more suited to oily skin or when you need your makeup to last all day. The other – Pro Filt’r Hydrating – is great if you have combination or dry skin, or prefer a lighter finish.
The higher scoring of the two in our foundation group test was the Pro Filt’r Longwear. It exceeded our expectations on the orange and strawberry tests. It let out quite a lot of moisture on the blotting paper but it only dropped the hydration levels by 1.7%.
Ironically, this hydration score was better than the Pro Filt’r Hydrating foundation which dropped hydration by 6.5%. This goes some way towards explaining why the foundation doesn’t feel as thick or as heavy as other full-coverage foundations we’ve tried.
It may also be because it contains grape seed oil and sodium hyaluronate – the sodium form of hyaluronic acid – which is known to nourish and hydrate the skin.
Despite the seemingly high moisture level, the Longwear full-coverage foundation lived up to its name. It creates a soft, but not flat, matte finish that not only evened out our skin tone but helped to smooth the skin and blur the appearance of pores and blemishes.
The effect didn’t quite last 24 hours, as the brand promises, but it definitely lasted long enough to take us from morning to bedtime.
This is likely because it contains what Fenty Beauty calls “climate-adaptive technology” that claims to make your skin sweat and humidity-resistant.
Shade-wise we tested the shade 210 and it is a tad yellow for our complexion. Not significantly so and once blended, it didn’t look too bad. You can see what we mean in our Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r skin test video here.
Thankfully, the shade range is huge so there are other options. We’ll just need to wait until we’ve used our current bottle up as it’s not cheap! It is designed to cater to all skin tones and undertones, with an impressive range of 50 shades.
The list below reveals the best-scoring full-coverage foundations for oily, dry and mature skin, as well as the best vegan and inclusive options.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best concealer | Best makeup brush | Best foundation brush | Best eyeshadow palette | Best foundation | Best foundation for dark skin | Best foundation for oily skin | Best foundation for dry skin | Best contour kit | Best lip gloss | Best lip liner | Best mascara| Best primer | Best highlighter | Best brow pomade | Best blusher | Best setting spray| Best makeup sets | Best false eyelashes | Best eyeliner | Best MAC foundation | Best Charlotte Tilbury foundation | Best No7 foundation
£11.99 | Buy now
L’Oreal Infallible’s Freshwear foundation was one of the first foundations we tested as part of our mega group test – on day 18. It held the top spot for a long time until the XX Revolution Liquid Skin came and stole its crown.
However, despite the overall best foundation list changing almost daily, the best full-coverage foundation list has remained the same. Especially at the top, and the current leader is L’Oreal.
Coverage-wise, in both the orange and strawberry tests, L’Oreal Infallible Freshwear performed well above what we expected. The coverage and blend were even and not too thick.
Elsewhere, it released hardly any oil on the blotting paper test – in fact, it’s one of the most matte foundations we’ve tried. If you don’t know what we mean regarding oranges and strawberries, we explain here.
It gained points for having SPF 25, but it lost points for dropping the hydration of our skin by a staggering 41%. It also lost points because it’s not vegan, or cruelty-free.
From our tests, we feel this full-coverage foundation would particularly suit oily skin. Given how much it sucks hydration out of the skin, we don’t recommend this for dry skin or if you have dry patches.
This may also be more of a summer foundation than a winter one, given the fact cold weather dries the skin out further.
People with mature skin could get away with wearing L’Oreal Infallible because it has a medium consistency, and doesn’t settle in wrinkles or fine lines. Just make sure your skin is hydrated and prepped beforehand to make sure you’re getting the most out of this winning foundation.Buy now from Lookfantastic
@victoria_woolly_web Okay, this foundation has no right being as good as it is 🤯 #fyp #foryoupage #tiktok #foundations #foundationreview #beautyblogger #foruyou #ElectrifyTheMini #stitch #mua #lorealparis #4up #makeuptok #makeuptiktok #makeup ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy
£9.99 | Buy now
While Rimmel Lasting Finish wasn’t the cheapest full-coverage foundation we tried – that award goes to TLM Colour-Changing – it outperformed almost all other brands to achieve a podium finish. Despite the fact that it costs less than a tenner.
Coming in third, behind the best full-coverage foundation overall (L’Oreal Infallible), and the best inclusive full-coverage foundation from XX Revolution, Rimmel’s Lasting Finish impressed us on the orange and the strawberry tests by exceeding our expectations of coverage and sheer finish on both. Even on the strawberry’s larger “pores”.
It doesn’t have the widest range of shades, nor is it vegan or cruelty-free. It’s also quite a drying foundation, causing hydration levels to drop by 36.5%.
However, it let out a huge amount of oil on the blotting paper, insinuating that it’s better for dry skin than its hydration score would suggest.
It also comes with SPF20, which is an added bonus. Particularly if you have mature skin and don’t want to make your dark spots more prominent.
The consistency is quite thick and it can be a little tricky to blend – the best results we achieved were when using a flat foundation brush followed by a damp beauty blender.
When we just used the blender, the foundation gathered a little in our larger pores and around our nose. A small sacrifice to make for such a cheap price, though.Buy now from Lookfantastic
@victoria_woolly_web That orange is looking peachy AF 🍑😅 day 33: Rimmel Lasting Finish #fyp #foryoupage #foundations #foundationreview #makeuptiktok #rimmellondon #rimmel @rimmellondon ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy
£31 | Buy now
Having previously tested the Hydra version of Smashbox’s Studio Skin foundation – which offers medium coverage and hyaluronic acid for extra hydration – we had a request from a TikTok follower to try the full-coverage alternative. Also called Smashbox Studio Skin.
Instead of a bottle, the luxury entry in our best full-coverage foundation list comes in a tube (which is the easiest way to tell the difference). You get the same amount of foundation for the same price and, if you put the difference in coverage aside, we find the tube easier to use and travel with. There are 40 shades to choose from, which is impressive
This foundation exceeded expectations in the orange test and met our expectations in the strawberry test.
It released minimal oil on the blotting paper, which is unsurprising given that it promises a soft-matte finish, and it caused a drop of 21% in the hydration test.
This is just above the average hydration drop of 17% seen across the entire full-coverage foundations tested.
Consistency-wise, this foundation is thick and a little goes a long way so we recommend you start with a small dollop and see how you get on before applying too much.
It dries very quickly so you either need to blend quickly or use a hydrating spray or mist to make this job easier. We highly recommend the Oui Cherie spray from The Beauty Crop. If you haven’t heard of The Beauty Crop, it’s a fantastic, affordable brand. Read more on our list of the best cheap makeup brands.
That said, because of how full this coverage is and how quickly it dries down, this foundation will last all day. Even on oily skin like ours.
£10.99 | Buy now
Another affordable foundation bringing the goods.
Maybelline’s 30H foundation – which has a much longer, official name of Maybelline Superstay Active Wear Full Coverage 30H Liquid Foundation with Hyaluronic Acid – offers full coverage with a matte finish that lasts all day.
It’s sweat-proof, transfer-proof, and waterproof and this makes it the best full-coverage foundation for oily skin because, even if your face gets slick and shiny, the foundation doesn’t move.
Allowing you to maintain great coverage throughout the day and into the night.
Another reason why we rate this foundation so highly for oily skin is because of how little oil it released onto the blotting paper. It was a minimal amount, on par with Smashbox’s Studio Skin.
It also dropped hydration levels of the skin by 23%. We were surprised by this drop, given the addition of hyaluronic acid in this foundation and we wonder how much the drop would have been without it.
However, this, again, makes it more suited to oily skin and, as a result, it may not suit dry skin. Certainly not without adequate skin prep.
Buy now from Lookfantastic
@victoria_woolly_web Day 24: Maybelline 30H #fyp #foryoupage #tiktok #foundations #foundationreview #beautyblogger #JDSummerDrip #foruyou #viral #mua #maybelline #4up #makeuptok #makeuptiktok #makeup ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy
£20 | Buy now
If you haven’t heard about Vichy Laboratoires, it’s a leading French skincare brand that is both doctor-founded and dermatologist-approved. It’s renowned for fact that the entire range contains a unique, volcanic mineralizing water called Vichy, from a region around the Auvergne Volcanoes in France.
This Vichy water is rich in minerals including calcium, potassium and magnesium and this makes it perfect for giving your skin many of the nutrients it needs to be healthy and clear.
In particular, this ingredient has been clinically proven to reinforce the skin’s natural barrier. When this barrier is damaged, it can lead to a lack of moisture causing the skin to look and feel dry. It can also lead to conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
As a result, Vichy Dermablend is the best full-coverage foundation for dry skin because it combines a natural finish that conceals imperfections, all while protecting and nourishing the skin.
Not only did it cause one of the smallest hydration drops of any foundation we’ve tested – at 2.4 percentage points – it also released an average amount of oil. This means it doesn’t flood the skin, but it doesn’t dry it out too much either. Keeping it in balance, which is what the skin barrier needs.
What’s more, depending on the shade in question, this full-coverage foundation offers a range of SPF. Almost all shades offer SPF35, however two of the darkest shades – 65 and 75 – offer SPF 25. We’ve asked Vichy to clarify why this is the case, but we’re assuming it’s because darker skin tones faller higher on the Fitzpatrick skin scale.
We explain more about SPF and the Fitzpatrick scale here, but in summary – all skin types are categorised by how likely they are to burn in the sun. This is known as a person’s phototype.
On the Fitzpatrick scale, people with the phototype (or skin type) VI have a dark skin colour and are usually of African descent. Their skin rarely burns which means their risk of skin cancer is lower, and thus they can get away with wearing a lower SPF.
This is because the number written on the front of an SPF product refers to the amount of time it takes to start to burn compared to how long it would take if you weren’t wearing any SPF cream at all.Buy now from Boots
@victoria_woolly_web This one pleasantly surprised me! Day 56: @Vichy Laboratoires Dermablend #fyp #fypシ #mamabella #foundationtest #makeuptiktok #foundations #foundationreview #makeuptiktok #SuperShow #FilmTeyvatIslands #vichy #vichylovers #dermablend ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy
£15 | Buy now
For a long time, the XX Revolution Liquid Skin foundation held the top spot in our hunt for the best foundation.
Not only did it score highly on the orange, and strawberry tests – achieving a maximum score of 5 on the orange, and 3 on the strawberry – but it offers a fantastic range of 55 shades. This is an impressive number on its own, yet is even more impressive when you consider how cheap this foundation is.
It puts much more expensive foundations to shame with its shade range and even covers a broad range of undertones including yellow, olive, pink, neutral, cool, golden, orange, and warm undertones.
It eventually lost points, however, because it released a huge amount of liquid onto the blotting paper, which would suggest it’s good for dry skin, but then dropped hydration levels by a high 32%, suggesting it’s not great for dry skin after all.
In fact, it had one of the highest hydration drops in our hunt for the best full-coverage foundations.
Due to the fact this foundation dries out the skin so much, without leaving the skin heavy (and it gives a lovely, silk finish), it recently took our best overall foundation for oily skin title.
In this full-coverage foundation ranking, it falls short of Maybelline’s performance in terms of oily skin and in terms of durability. It does, however, take the best inclusive full-coverage foundation crown instead.Buy now from Boots
@victoria_woolly_web LOL at how TikTok’s text-to-speech describes XX Revolution #fyp #foryoupage #tiktok #foundations #foundationreview #beautyblogger #foruyou #viral #stitch #mua #revolution #xxrevolution #4up #makeuptok #makeuptiktok #makeup ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy
£15 | Buy now
If you’ve been on TikTok for a while, you’ll be very familiar with the NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop foundation. It was once an absolute favourite among influencers and makeup artists and we recently discovered why.
For just £15, you get a choice of 45 shades. It promises full, ultra-matte coverage and it more than lived up to these expectations in our orange and strawberry tests – scoring the maxiumum of 10 points across the two tests.
It’s not the most hydrating of foundations because it released an average amount of oil and dropped hydration levels of the skin by almost 23%.
That said, it gained points for being one of the only fully vegan and cruelty-free brands on our overall best foundation list.
What’s more, this foundation promises to last all day.
Our one complaint is that it’s very thick. Most full-coverage foundations are but this one is noticeably so and this makes it tricky to blend.Buy now from Boots
@victoria_woolly_web Remember when this foundation was ALL over TikTok? #nyx #nyxprofessionalmakeup #fyp #foundations #foundationreview #beautyblogger #makeuptiktok @nyxcosmetics_uk ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy
We explain more about how we’re testing foundations here but, as a summary, we apply every foundation to an orange and a strawberry. As well as applying them to our skin.
This may sound a little odd, but the texture of both fruits isn’t too dissimilar to human skin and pores. We do also test on our own skin, but to avoid our skin type skewing the results, every foundation is tested on fruit in the first instance.
To create our best full-coverage foundation list, we filtered the overall ranking to show only those which describe themselves as full coverage. We then sorted the shortlist by score.
From there we have determined the best full-coverage foundations for oily skin, based on how much oil they release; the best full-coverage foundations for dry skin, based on their hydration scores, and the best premium, and budget full-coverage foundations.
We decided not to include buildable foundations or those which describe themselves as medium-to-full so we can keep this list to the best full-coverage foundations only. However, if you want to see those results, we list them here.
The science behind a full-coverage foundation lies in its formulation and to be classed as full-coverage, it needs to contains higher concentrations of pigments than other types of foundation.
Pigments are what give the foundation its colour. The more pigments, the more colour and hence the greater coverage. This is because as you spread the foundation across your face, the higher the number of pigments the more pigments per square inch of your face. This enhances its concealing properties and creates a more even coverage.
You can think of it like using a felt-tip pen, compared to using a coloured pencil on paper. When using a felt-tip, the colour is more intense and you can cover up the colour of the paper to the point where you can’t see any white peeking through.
Using a coloured pencil doesn’t give the same level of colour pay-off. You can see the colour but it’s not as vibrant and the colour of the paper can be seen through.
The reason why full-coverage foundations are thicker and heavier on the face also comes down to this greater use of pigment. The more pigments, the thicker the formula generally. Yet in order to make sure the pigments remain stable and even as they’re spread across your face, additional ingredients including emollients are added. These can weigh the formula down.
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget