“Cream foundations tend to be a little richer, more nourishing, with a little extra coverage,” says RMS Beauty founder and celebrity makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift. It’s this richness that makes cream formulas especially beneficial for dry skin types. The rich, buttery formulas are often packed with powerful hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. According to Ellis, they’re also great for problematic or redness-prone skin that requires coverage strong enough to cancel out redness. “Their moisturizing textures help to cushion and even out the complexion in a more natural way,” she adds. If your skin is more on the oily side, however, then cream foundations might not be the best option for you, since you probably don’t need the added moisture. Instead, look for powder or liquid formulas with a matte finish.
Although you might think that due to their thicker textures, cream foundations would look and feel heavy on the skin, with the right tools and technique, you can achieve really natural-looking, weightless results. “The beauty of a cream foundation is you can either use your fingers and press into any areas where it needs coverage or you can use a brush,” says Ellis. “For a lightweight coverage, blend and circulate the foundation into the skin, and for a fuller coverage, press and stipple into the skin.” If you’re keen to try this technique, look specifically for a stippling brush. Designed with two layers of bristles—a shorter, more compact one to press the product in and a longer, looser layer to pick up and deposit the product—these brushes are perfect for achieving an airbrushed finish.
Converted? To help you narrow down your options, we’ve tried and tested 2022’s best-selling, highly rated cream foundations, including drugstore and luxury options. There’s also a variety of finishes and coverages, from matte to dewy, sheer to full, and everything in between.