If you don’t know what you are doing, full coverage foundations can be a very tricky type of makeup. If you add too much, you may end up with a cakey look. If you add too little, you may not be able to get the coverage you need.

In this post, I will go over how you should tackle this type of foundation and recommend some of the best full coverage foundations that I have used.

Our Picks For The Best Full Coverage Foundations

Full Coverage Foundation Key Features
Jolie Creme Foundation Stick- 17 Shades
- Hypoallergenic
- SPF 15
- Water Resistant
- All skin types
Taste Cosmetics Clay Foundation- Long Lasting (12 Hours)
- 5 Shades
- Lightweight
- Buildable Formula
- Water Based
L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Foundation- Long Lasting (24 Hours)
- 12 Shades
- Lightweight
- Very affordable
- Water Based
Vichy Dermafinish Foundation- Long Lasting (16 Hours)
- 4 Shades
- SPF 30
- Fragrance Free
- Good on sensitive skin

What does “Full Coverage” Mean?

When discussing makeup, the “coverage” of your foundation refers to the opacity of the foundation. If your skin is even and have minor discoloration and blemishes, then only a light opacity of foundation is typically required. This is called “sheer coverage”. For individuals struggling with scarred skin, dark spots, or the need to hide tattoos, a heavier opacity will be required to cover up any imperfections. This is called “full coverage”. Full coverage is also perfect for individuals that struggle with facial birthmarks, hyper-pigmentation, and acne scars. Makeup for general use usually contains only 35% pigment, while full coverage makeup can have up to 50% pigment.


When Should You Use a Full Coverage Foundation? When To Avoid?

Makeup that offers full coverage is not necessarily for everyone. Full coverage makeup involves putting a larger, thicker layer of product onto your face, which can result in an unwanted, heavy-faced appearance. Full coverage is much more suitable for those looking to cover blemishes, or struggle with skin scarring or other skin conditions. If you find that you have a difficult time hiding redness, discoloration, acne scars or hyper-pigmentation, a full coverage makeup routine may be the best for your skin.


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Is Liquid or Powder Better For Full Coverage?

Liquid foundation and powder foundation can both be used to achieve a full coverage look. According to Diana Crisan from Makeup.com, the best foundation for you depends on your skin type. One may work better than the other when it comes to hiding those pesky unwanted blemishes. I have detailed the pros and cons of full coverage liquid foundations and full coverage powder foundations below so you can find the best fit for your make up routine!


A Word on Full Coverage Liquid Foundations

Liquid full coverage foundations are popular because it works well with almost every skin type, whether its dry, oily, sensitive or normal. Liquid full coverage foundations are made with highly pigmented formulas to help conceal even the most stubborn of skin imperfections. However, like with all liquid foundations, full coverage liquid foundations do have a tendency to look wet and shiny on the skin, especially if you’re prone to perspiring through the day, or have oily skin. The added moisture and oil can get into the lines of your face and any textured blemishes, which will result in an unflattering, cakey appearance.


A Word on Full Coverage Powder Foundations

Full coverage powder foundations are generally pressed rather than in loose jars. Pressed powder can deliver a more buildable coverage to achieve a full coverage appearance. Full coverage powders are great for those with oily skin, as it works to absorb any excess oil that may accumulate throughout the day. According to Lauren Bernstein of Glamour.com, avoid using full coverage powder foundations if you have dry skin. Powder foundations can make your skin appear flakey and dry as the powder settles into the parts of your face that have dried out, which can be very noticeable after application.


How Do I Apply Full Coverage Foundation Without It Looking Cakey?

When applying full coverage makeup, your makeup will be heavier than your average makeup, and it can be difficult to avoid ending up with that frustratingly awful cakey look that can result from it.

Heather Marie, a notable blogger from OneCrazyHouse suggests that, you must take care of your skin. Prep your skin well before applying any foundation, and learn how to properly build your coverage. Additional tips include using the correct tools to apply your foundation, and using a setting powder to set your makeup after you’ve applied your base coat of foundation.

1. Slowly build up your foundation to achieve the coverage that you want. A common mistake people make when applying their foundation is applying a large amount of product all at once, and spreading it all across their face. The trick to a flawless finish is layering your foundation slowly and leaving a few minutes between each small application of product to let the foundation settle onto your face.

2. Although there is no one right way to apply your foundation. Popular techniques are with a makeup sponge, a foundation or powder brush, and even just your hands! According to TeenVogue.com, the key to applying your makeup is choosing the right tool, and making sure you are blending your makeup properly. Makeup can appear caked on if it is not evenly distributed across your face.

When using a makeup sponge, dampen it a little with water to give off an even and blended finish. If you’re using a brush, use small amounts of product to build up to the right coverage. Be sure to avoid leaving streaks by changing the direction of application if using liquid foundation. If you prefer just applying your foundation with your hands, first rub the product between your fingers before pressing it into your skin to allow it to emulsify.

3. Taking good care of your skin is just as important to your makeup routine as the makeup itself. All the tips, tricks and techniques that are out there will not work unless you’re taking good care of your skin. Be sure to cleanse and moisturize your skin daily, use sunscreen when going out into the sun, and remove all makeup and excess dirt from your face before going to bed at night. We also recommend taking some time to research your skin type to find the ideal methods to take care of it. Before you start applying any makeup products, consider purchasing a facial primer to help prep your face for your other products.

4. Angelica Di Guglielmo from Stylecaster.com suggests setting your makeup with a translucent powder or setting spray. Full coverage foundations are heavier and can move around throughout the day. Translucent powder or a setting spray will keep your makeup locked in place, and take away any shine (from liquid foundation) or dryness (from powder foundation) that can result after application.

Here we have a beautiful and easy-to-follow how-to video by YouTube makeup artist Mariah Leonard. In this video she discusses the techniques and products she used to achieve a natural, full coverage foundation look, and how to avoid ending up with a cake face.

Final Recommendations

Jolie Creme Foundation Stick
Jolie Stick Full Coverage Foundation
It’s rare that I recommend a stick foundation but you should definitely take a serious look at this one. This is a great budget foundation that is cheaper than other similar stick foundations. It’s easy to apply, provides full coverage, easy to blend and fully buildable. I love the creamy finish you get after the application. The foundation doesn’t feel heavy but it’s thick enough to be used as a concealer as well. It’s water resistant and SPF 15.

Jolie Creme Stick Foundation is not fragrance free. One mistake that most people make while applying stick foundations is not blending it properly with your fingers. Remember: the stick makes it easier for you to apply, but blending is just as important. Unevenness of the application causes some areas to be thicker than others. This is the main cause for blocked pores and breakouts. Some of my clients have experienced breakouts after using this foundation but it’s almost always due to the fact that they weren’t using it properly. With that said, assuming you know what you are doing, this is a great foundation for the price!

Vichy High Coverage Liquid Foundation

Best Full Coverage Foundation
If you’re looking for a premium foundation that offers great full coverage, you may want to consider this foundation from Vichy Laboratories. This is the secret weapon that I use on my clients and they all love it. This product does what it’s suppose to do, and that is to provide really good coverage.

This foundation can handle acne scars, rosacea skin, birthmarks, blemishes and other skin impurities. It has high pigmentation which means that it provides really good coverage without it looking heavy or thick. The package says it lasts about 16 hours but I’ve used it on a camping trip that lasted over 24 hours without any problems. It works great on oily skin and sensitive skin. It’s non-comedogenic and won’t clog your pores. Furthermore, it is SPF 30. Although the bottle size is only 1oz (30ml), a little goes a long way. The bottle can actually last pretty long.

It would be nice to see more color options for this product. Some people do find it more on the dryer side. If you choose to try this foundation, make sure to use only thin layers. It’s “non-comedogenic” but I have seen people using thick layers which causes clogged pores. Despite these few flaws however, it is still a great foundation.