Our Favorite Foundation: The 2022 List Beauty Awards

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From skincare-infused tinted serums to airbrush spray foundations, it can be difficult to decide which foundation is the best option — especially among all the new and innovative formulations. And with glowy, lightweight, skincare-infused foundations being on-trend, there's an abundance of foundations that all promise to give you the perfect skin-like finish.

If foundation shopping sounds daunting, we don't blame you. That's why we decided to test out five highly-rated foundations to find out which one is the best. You no longer have to waste any more money on your hunt for the perfect skin-in-a-bottle foundation!

The products were rated and scored in six different categories: formula, application, coverage, finish, wear, and shade selection. Additionally, each foundation was tested using the AOA Super Soft Wonder Blender sponge (unless otherwise noted) for two days to prevent any first-time user errors from affecting the scores. To keep the testing consistent, we used the same makeup products and neutral matte eyeshadow look to keep the focus on the complexion.

Now for the fun part! Here are The List Beauty Awards: foundation edition. 

Beautyblender BOUNCE Always On Tint: Winner

Beautyblender's sponge has won Allure's "Best of Beauty" award a whopping 13 times, per the company's website. So it should come as no surprise that the brand has knocked it out of the park with its new foundation. In fact, the Beautyblender BOUNCE Always On Tint ($29) is our favorite foundation of 2022. 

Per Sephora, the product contains hyaluronic acid to plump the skin, beta-glucan to soothe irritation, and niacinamide and willow bark extract to smooth pores and brighten the skin. The tinted serum formula offers buildable coverage that can either be worn on a "no-makeup" makeup day or layered for a flawless, fuller-coverage finish. The foundation melted right into the skin, but it took slightly longer to set than the other foundations we tried. Once it's set with a powder, though, the foundation is long-lasting. Overall, this hydrating formula gives a skin-like feeling as well as a radiant satin finish.

The foundation scored especially high in coverage, finish, and wear. On the first day, it lasted through shopping and a 30-minute HIIT workout with only the slightest bit of fading and redness peeking through. On the second day, it fared well after going to an outdoor festival. 

With 20 shades, the shade selection is better compared to other foundations we tested. Because it's an adjustable formula, one shade could work for several different skin tones. However, the brand could add more undertones to make the shade range even more inclusive.

Tower 28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Foundation: Runner-up

According to Tower 28, its SunnyDays Tinted Sunscreen ($30) is the only foundation to have the National Eczema Association's seal of approval. This mineral sunscreen consists of non-nano zinc oxide and offers blue light protection as a bonus. It also contains softening prickly pear extract, anti-inflammatory white sage extract, and soothing aloe vera.

This vegan, cruelty-free foundation ultimately tied with Beautyblender — being $1 more expensive and offering fewer shades were the only factors that set this foundation behind. It ranked just as high in formula, coverage, finish, and wear. The serum formula felt incredibly lightweight on the skin and the coverage exceeded expectations. While you can use either your hands or a sponge for this one, we preferred using a sponge as the formula can get slightly streaky and takes longer to blend using your hands. The foundation gives a budge-free, glass-skin finish while plumping the skin, evening redness, and blurring fine lines and pores.

Plus, the foundation still looked flawless after an hour-long walk to-and-from Starbucks. It further impressed us after staying put through a 20-minute HIIT workout, with minimal fading. The next day it looked fresh after a 3-hour long shopping spree, without mask marks around the nose.

The catch is that this foundation only comes in 14 shades. We tested a shade that seemed slightly too light but found that the next darker shade with the same undertones was a big jump up in shades. However, once we used our tinted finishing powder, the makeup matched well, without any demarcation lines.

CoverGirl + Olay Simply Ageless Foundation: Runner-up

CoverGirl has long been an affordable staple in numerous makeup bags, and its CoverGirl + Olay Simply Ageless Foundation offers great value. Available at Amazon for just $7.32, this foundation claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and even your skin tone as well as firm and moisturize the skin. The product contains hyaluronic acid, anti-aging Matrixyl, and skin-brightening acetyl glucosamine along with vitamins B3, B5, C, and E. It ended up ranking high in formula, application, and finish.

This whipped formula sinks into the skin to give a creamy, hydrated appearance. There's also an immediate plumping effect that firms the skin and blurs fine lines. The lighter coverage formula can be built up to medium coverage, and because it blends naturally into your skin, it doesn't emphasize texture. We did notice that it can be a little troublesome to blend the formula into any flaky dry patches on your skin. Otherwise, this foundation looks lovely and wears well throughout the day.

After shopping while wearing a mask, there was minimal wear with barely any redness peeking through. However, it wasn't as resilient during a workout routine, with parts of it sweating off. Nevertheless, this foundation offers skin-loving ingredients and a dreamy, skin-like finish at an affordable price. At the time of purchasing, there were only 12 shades. They've since added three more shades, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

Magic Minerals Airbrush Foundation: Runner-up

If you're after the movie-star look, then Magic Minerals Airbrush Foundation ($24) may be worth a try. This foundation-in-a-spray-can has been named the best anti-aging airbrush foundation by Harper's Bazaar and the best airbrush foundation without a machine by Byrdie, and we can see why. 

The "as seen on TV" product is from makeup artist Jerome Alexander's self-named makeup line and comes in 12 different shades. It claims to be lightweight and buildable, and it contains hyaluronic acid, anti-aging peptides, Argireline, and Matrixyl 3000.

This foundation ranked high in formula, finish, and wear. It gives a flawless airbrushed look with a radiant, satin-like finish. The first layer looks incredibly skin-like, but applying too many layers can emphasize fine lines. When building up areas that needed more coverage, we noticed that the product tended to move around. Therefore, we recommend spraying the product onto a makeup palette and then using a brush or sponge. This method uses less product and ensures a cake-free appearance. It's also important to spray this foundation over your bathroom sink to avoid a mess.

We wore this pick while trudging through the rain to pick up food, and we're happy to report that it was water-resistant and didn't leave mask marks. We noticed redness peeking through after eight hours, which is typical of most foundations. The shade selection is also poor for a medium-coverage formula, and it lacks golden and olive undertones. But if you can find a match, this foundation will certainly get you camera-ready.

L'Oreal Age Perfect 4-in-1 Tinted Balm: Runner-up

According to Amazon, L'Oreal's $12 Age Perfect 4-in-1 Tinted Balm foundation contains a "firming serum" that provides a luminous finish with "light-to-medium coverage." It also claims to "firm the skin, smooth lines, conceal imperfections, and even your skin tone." The product contains sodium hyaluronate, brightening black tea ferment, vitamin E, biotin, peptides, and papaya enzymes, as well as gentle exfoliators like sodium lactate and pineapple extract.

This foundation scored especially high in formula and finish due to its unique buttery texture and dewy glow. This creamy balm melts and blends into the skin. L'Oreal recommends blending this product using your fingers, and for good reason. When applied with the fingers, it covers texture and plumps the skin — especially around fine lines — giving a smooth, dewy appearance. Using a sponge, on the other hand, can cause cakiness and exaggerate pores.

Building up the foundation is difficult, and it really can't be built up to medium coverage as the product claims. The product subdues redness and generally evens the skin tone, but it fails to cover acne marks. Even after setting it with powder and a mist, it remains tacky and doesn't completely set. After working out, the foundation did sweat off a bit in the upper lip area, which tends to get oily, and around the nose where glasses rest. Otherwise, it wore decently on the skin. 

This is a tinted moisturizer that will make your skin look nourished, but it's better suited for a Zoom meeting rather than a Zumba class. We'll be sticking to our favorite from now on!