Best full-coverage foundation UK reviews

Best full-coverage foundation UK: We put 40+ foundations to the test to finally discover which is best

30th January 2024 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

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.

FURTHER READING: How we test foundationsHow to find your perfect foundation match | MUA explains how to get flawless makeup | How to get free foundation samples online


Best full-coverage foundation UK

The 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 full-coverage foundations may change. 

 

  • Collection Lasting Perfection Matte – £6.49 | Buy now
  • e.l.f Camo Foundation – £14 | Buy now
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid – £14 | Buy now
  • Max Factor Facefinity  – £14 | Buy now
  • Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Longwear £14 | Buy now
  • Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating £14 | Buy now
  • Morphe Filter Effect Foundation £14 | Buy now
  • NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop £14 | Buy now
  • Urban Decay Stay Naked Foundation £14 | Buy now

 


What is the best full-coverage foundation?

If you don’t want to go through our full list of the best full-coverage foundations in the UK, we’ve listed our top pick below.

What is the best full-coverage foundation? Collection Lasting PerfectionCollection

***Collection Lasting Perfection***

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 and its Lasting Perfection foundation is the best foundation for full coverage.

It performed as well as we’d expect in our orange and strawberry tests, scoring 3 points on each. Elsewhere, it’s affordable and lasts for hours.


♥︎ Collection Lasting Perfection Matte 

£6.49 | Buy now

Collection Lasting Perfection foundation reviewmamabella | mamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £6.49

Shades: 20

Coverage: Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Matte

Vegan: No

Cruelty-free: Yes

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.

What’s more, a lot of the products are alternatives for expensive products from the likes of Charlotte Tilbury, Fenty Beauty, and more.

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.

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♥︎ MAC Studio Fix Fluid 

£29 | Buy now

View the full video on Tiktok

MAC Studio Fix Fluid best foundation for shadesmamabella | mamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £29

Shades: 67

Coverage: Medium-Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Matte

Vegan: Yes (but isn’t cruelty-free)

Cruelty-free: No (parent-brand isn’t)

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 makeup 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

Buy now from MAC

♥︎ Max Factor FaceFinity

£13.99 | Buy now

View the full video on TikTok

Max Factor FaceFinity foundation reviewMax Factor

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £13.99

Shades: 33

Coverage: Med/Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Matte

Vegan: Yes

Cruelty-free: No

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.

Buy now from Boots

♥︎ Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Longwear Foundation

£30 | Buy now

View the full video on TikTok

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation reviewmamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £30

Shades: 50

Coverage: Med/Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Matte

Vegan: Yes

Cruelty-free: Yes

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.

Buy now from Boots

Best full-coverage foundations based on skin type

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.

 

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1. Editor’s Pick: L’Oreal Infallible Freshwear

£11.99 | Buy now

L'Oreal Infallible full-coverage foundation reviewmamabella | mamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £11.99

Shades: 26

Coverage: Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Natural

Vegan: No

Cruelty-free: No

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


2. Best cheap full-coverage foundation: Rimmel Lasting Finish

£9.99 | Buy now

Rimmel Lasting Finish full-coverage foundation reviewmamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £9.99

Shades: 20

Coverage: Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Sheer

Vegan: No

Cruelty-free: No

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


Maybelline 30H: Best full-coverage foundation for oily skin:

 £10.99 | Buy now

Maybelline 30 H full coverage foundation for oily skin reviewmamabella | mamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £10.99

Shades: 20

Coverage: Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Matte

Vegan: No

Cruelty-free: No

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


Lancôme Teint Idôle Ultra Wear: Best full-coverage foundation for dry skin

 £38 | BUY NOW

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear foundation reviewmamabella | mamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £38

Shades: 45

Coverage: Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Natural

Vegan: No

Cruelty-free: Yes (Parent-company isn’t)

We know that it’s expensive but if you’re looking for the best full-coverage foundation for dry skin, you’re unlikely to find a product and formula that performs as well as the Lancôme Teint Idôle Ultra Wear.

It offers full coverage with a natural finish. It doesn’t weigh the skin down, nor does it feel heavy or stick to dry skin.

Instead, it’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, moringa oil and Vitamin E to bring a host of skincare benefits to go with its full coverage.

This formula also plumps up the skin and helps it look youthful.

This not only suits dry skin, but it’s a great foundation for mature skin over 50 that’s become drier as a result of menopause and has fine lines and wrinkles.

Having a serum base also means that it doesn’t dry out the skin as the day goes on.

Elsewhere, this foundation for dry skin comes in 45 shades and offers SPF35 protection.

BUY NOW

XX Revolution Liquid Skin: Best inclusive full-coverage foundation:

£15 | Buy now

XX Revolution Liquid Skin reviewmamabella | mamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £15

Shades: 55

Coverage: Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Silk

Vegan: Yes

Cruelty-free: Yes

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


7. Best vegan full-coverage foundation: NYX Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

£15 | Buy now

NYX Can't Stop, Won't Stop full-coverage foundation reviewmamabella | mamabella

PRODUCT DETAILS

Price: £15

Shades: 45

Coverage: Full

Base: Silicone

Finish: Ultra-matte

Vegan: Yes

Cruelty-free: Yes

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


How we test the best full-coverage foundations

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.

We additionally highlight each foundation’s price, shade range, finish, and whether or not they are vegan and cruelty-free. There are additional scores available on the spreadsheet.

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.


What makes a foundation full coverage?

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 to make sure the pigments remain stable even as they’re spread across your face ingredients including emollients are added. These can weigh the formula down.


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