The 13 best cream foundations to hydrate and cover in 2024

Rich and deeply hydrating, the best cream foundations reign supreme for dry skin types

collage of three of the best cream foundations
(Image credit: Jones Road/Fenty/Makeup by Mario)

The best cream foundations combine a flawless, natural finish with bonus moisturising benefits making them a godsend for dry, red-prone or mature skin. They may be less familiar than traditional liquid foundations but these rich and creamy bases bring plenty of perks.  

If you’re looking for the best foundation to suit your skin’s ever-evolving seasonal needs, or adjusting your makeup to suit your age, creams offer additional skin-loving ingredients that will treat as well as cover. “Cream foundations can be a beautiful choice for someone looking for great coverage with a natural, balmy skin-like finish,” explains Jessica Kohn, Lead Artist and Events Manager at Laura Mercier. “Because of its cream/wax base, cream foundation looks beautiful on dry skin types, skimming over any texture issues and nourishing skin at the same time.” With all that hydration crammed in, you can expect a cream foundation to melt into the skin without caking or pilling, and blend seamlessly with your best cream blushers and best cream bronzers you apply on top. The other perk is its immaculate coverage. From blemishes to hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, a cream foundation will easily veil your less-than-perfect complexion quirks. “The high pigment load within a cream foundation means that you can use a small amount of product to cover a variety of skin concerns,” says Kohn. 

“Just remember that the specific benefits of a cream foundation may vary depending on the brand and formulation,” adds pro makeup artist Lan Nguyen-Grealis. “It’s essential to choose a product that suits your skin type and desired makeup look for the best results.” So, whether you prefer the easy application of foundation sticks, the mess-free, no-spill advantages of a solid cream or looking for a silky, squeezy liquid creme, this tried and tested guide will help you find the best cream foundation for your skin right now. 

Jessica Kohn
Jessica Kohn

Jessica Kohn works as Lead Artist as part of the Laura Mercier team. She has loved beauty since a young age and developed a signature look that involves glowing skin with a touch of lip colour. 

Lan Nguyen-Grealis
Lan Nguyen-Grealis

Lan is a well established makeup artist who has worked with the likes of Beverly Knight, Paloma Faith and Nicole Scherzinger. 

How we chose the best cream foundations

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

We wore each of these foundations for at least one full day, some two to three days in a row, and others even more. We were keen to ensure that all budget levels were catered to, but what we have found is that the caveat to rich, indulgent cream foundations loaded with skincare-inspired ingredients, was that there were very few buget options to choose from, and most of the offerings came from mid-range and luxury designer names. 

We whittled down the list based on the number of shades available, coverage level and finish. We made constant checks to see how each one was wearing throughout the day. Was it shiny or patchy in places? Were our blemishes still covered up? What is left is a selection of the best cream foundations for every skin type – even oily – and catering to all skin tones. 

The best cream foundations, as chosen by our beauty team 

Jones Road What The Foundation Tinted Moisture Balm

(Image credit: Jones Road)

1. Jones Road What The Foundation Tinted Moisture Balm

Best cream foundation for a fresh finish

Specifications

RRP: £42 / $
Shades: 12
Coverage: Medium
Medium: Glossy

Reasons to buy

+
Feels really nourishing on the skin
+
Leaves your complexion glossy and glowing
+
Good and convincing shade range 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for oily skin

The brainchild of household name makeup artist Bobbi Brown, Jones Road has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2020, and their What The Foundation has quickly become a cult buy thanks to its fresh-faced finish. Part foundation, part moisture balm, it has a slightly oily consistency. In fact, we could see where the jojoba oil had separated from the formula in our jar and it needed a bit of a mix to blend it back with the pigment before we first used it. That oil content is the reason why it glides so beautifully and seamlessly onto the skin and dry skin will absolutely lap it up. If you’re someone with a complexion that feels ever rough and thirsty, then you’ll love the way it suddenly brings life, vibrancy and a bucket-load of glow to your skin. Now, just to be clear, often when we say glow, we mean a sort of pearlescent radiance, but the glow here isn’t like that. It’s more of a glossy, almost shiny finish, and the skin is left feeling damp, which will be a turn-off for anyone whose skin is already oily. 

As you’d expect from Bobbi, the shade range is good, and take undertones into account too for a convincing finish. You can apply it with your fingers, but because it’s a pot, we found that got messy quite quickly, so a brush or sponge is your best bet to avoid ruining your favourite white shirt in the process. 

Fenty Eaze Drop Smooth Blur Foundation Stick

(Image credit: Fenty)

2. Fenty Eaze Drop Smooth Blur Foundation Stick

Best cream foundation for quick application

Specifications

RRP: £28 / $35
Shades: 25
Coverage : Light
Finish : Creamy

Reasons to buy

+
Doddle to apply
+
Leaves a creamy finish on the skin
+
Good shade range 

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't be enough coverage for some

There’s something quite nostalgic about drawing a big chunky crayon onto the skin – maybe it’s because it reminds us of getting our faces painted as kids, or drawing with chubby chalks, but either way, we found Fenty Eaze Drop Smooth Blur Foundation Stick joyous and easy to apply. Swipe across your forehead, down your nose, on each cheek and your chin and that’s comfortably enough coverage for your entire face. You can use a brush to blend the lines together, but the quickest way is definitely with your fingers. The texture of this cream foundation is so light that it melts into the skin instantly, so there’s no cakiness to contend with. It’s creamy and not at all oily and builds nicely too. On one particularly tired morning, we added a couple of extra sweeps beneath each eye and it worked instant magic to banish our giveaway dark rings. 

There’s also the benefit of added skincare ingredients with murumuru butter to nourish the skin and sodium hyaluronate (the technical name for hyaluronic acid) for hydration. Plus, the packaging is 100% recycable. Once you’ve used your last swipe of the stick it can go directly into your plastic recycling, and shouldn’t need any rinsing or scraping first. 

Makeup by Mario Softsculpt Transforming Skin Enhancer

(Image credit: Makeup by Mario)

3. Makeup by Mario Softsculpt Transforming Skin Enhancer

Best cream foundation for glow

Specifications

RRP: £32 / $30
Shades: 6
Coverage : Sheer
Finish: Glowy

Reasons to buy

+
Feels like silk on the skin
+
Gorgeous glowy finish 
+
Blends seamlessly 

Reasons to avoid

-
Bronzed tint may not be for everyone

Described by the brand as a 3-in-1 tinted complexion balm, this is a product that puts the focus on making skin look and feel healthy. It almost feels like a stretch to describe it as a foundation as the consistency is so light, but it still manages to deliver the benefits you’d want from one, like smoothing, tinting and adding glow to the skin. 

It’s very satisfying to swoosh your finger around the pan as the buttery-texture balm melts beneath it, but Mario Dedivanovic (the makeup artist behind the brand, best known for working with Kim Kardashian) recommends applying with a brush for enhanced results. Either way you apply it though, the initial coverage is super sheer. It is possible to build a little, but really we wouldn’t say this is the best cream foundation for you if you have bugbears that you want to cover. We’d only use this if we were having quite a good skin day to begin with, or if we were enjoying a chilled Sunday and just wanted a little something to take the edge off of an exhausted-post-Saturday-night complexion – at this, it excels. Just keep in mind that as it’s designed to warm your complexion, the shades will deepen, rather than match your skin tone, giving you a bronzed effect. If you’re not keen on that, consider dropping down a shade for a closer skin match. 

SUQQU The Cream Foundation

(Image credit: SUQQU)

4. SUQQU The Cream Foundation

Best cream foundation overall

Specifications

RRP: £68 / $68
Shades: 23
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Radiant

Reasons to buy

+
Shades available in different undertones
+
Made with hydrolyzed collagen
+
Glow gets better throughout the day

Reasons to avoid

-
Pot can get messy

Great coverage and radiance don’t always go hand in hand but this J-beauty buy prioritises both. You can expect SUUQU’s cutting-edge tech and a luxurious-feeling formula, infused with 13 Japanese extracts, including silk protein and green tea, a powerful antioxidant.

We weren't completely sold on the jar. We found it messy applying from finger, to back of the hand, to face. But having to scoop out the foundation did emphasise the formula’s sensorial, silky texture. A few sweeps and our skin tone looked more uniform, and our dark circles were no longer visible. 

The real USP for us is the sunlit luminosity. SUQQU calls it a ‘self-renewing glow’, meaning it gets better the longer you wear it. There are three stages. When the foundation is first applied, the immediate freshness comes from the moisturising reflection oils. As these sink into the skin, pearlescent pigments come into play, reflecting the light. As the day wears on, your natural sebum will mix with the foundation so you get more natural skin show-through. Think of it like the top, middle and base notes of a perfume, multi-facted and constantly adapting. It’s probably not as suitable for blemish-prone and oily skin, but it’s a tonic for dry, lifeless skin. 

Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Cream Foundation

(Image credit: Clé de Peau Beauté)

5. Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Cream Foundation

Best cream foundation for mature skin

Specifications

RRP: £108 / $130
Shades: 31
Coverage: Medium to full
Finish: Luminous

Reasons to buy

+
SPF 25
+
24-hour hydration
+
Improves skin over time

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive

"Mature skin's lack of hydration is well-known, and thanks to their hydrating formulas, cream foundations are more suited to this skin type," explains Benjamin Puckey, Global Colour Director for Clé de Peau Beauté. "The Radiant Cream Foundation features the Light-Empowering Enhancer (a technology which minimizes skin concerns by harnessing the play of light) and also provides long-lasting hydration for a youthful and radiant complexion."

The idea of foundation isn’t to pad out wrinkles like Polyfilla but to simply even out the complexion. This one is our pick for mature skin for several reasons. Firstly, rather than being a foundation with added skincare, this feels more like skin cream with pigment and exceptional payoff. It marries Japanese tech with precious ingredients like platinum golden silk essence, and actually boosts skin repair and improves its natural brilliance over time. Secondly, the radiant, lit-from-within finish acts as a kind of airbrush filter, reflecting the light and making everything look smoother. It’s because of all these lovely nourishing ingredients that the foundation bends with lines and creases rather than sitting in them conspicuously. The end result is radiant, healthy-looking and natural - in fact, it’s hard to tell where your skin and makeup meet. Throw in solid sun protection, making this one of the best foundations with SPF on our list, and that’s a home run. 

Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick

(Image credit: Milk Makeup)

6. Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick

Best on-the-go cream foundation

Specifications

RRP: £32 / $36
Shades: 36
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Naturally radiant

Reasons to buy

+
Glowy finish
+
Weightless, melt-in texture
+
Suitable for sensitive, red-prone skin
+
Impressive shade selection

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best option for oily, spot-prone skin

Full disclosure – we and Milk’s Flex Stick have had a little thing going for a couple of years now. Our head’s gone, and all of our eggs are in its basket, so to speak. It’s the twist-up stick we chuck in my handbags or pack for a night away. It’s just easy. We like to dapple it on across our complexions and then use a brush to buff it in, but if you’re in a bind and brushless, it blends easily with fingers at your disposal.  

As well as boasting a pleasingly broad shade range (making this one of the best foundations for dark skin on this list) the stick is creamy without being too slippery or completely dissolving on contact with the face. We’ve used foundation sticks that have just melted like a Whippy in 40-degree heat. Marshmallow root extract adds enough bend and flex to prevent creasing and caking. Elsewhere, there’s blue lotus and chamomile, a calming combination, which dials down reactive, red skin from the inside. The coverage is buildable and good enough to even out patchy skin tone and a hint of redness. We’re sold on the glowy and radiant finish, but if your skin is on the oily side things could slip southwards. 

Laura Mercier Silk Crème Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation

(Image credit: Laura Mercier)

7. Laura Mercier Silk Crème Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation

Best photo-finish cream foundation

Specifications

RRP: £38 / $48
Shades: 12
Coverage: Full
Finish: Natural luminous

Reasons to buy

+
Long-wearing
+
Smoothes textural issues
+
Feels hydrating

Reasons to avoid

-
Watery if not shaken properly first

If great coverage and a flawless canvas are your goals here, this is a fantastic choice. Without feeling heavy the pigment-packed cream covers blemishes easily and visibly evens out skin tone with a light layer. 

“I like using the Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation to create a moisturised, even and perfected complexion that still looks like skin,” raves Kohn. “My aim would always be to have someone compliment a client on their skin, rather than their makeup, and this cream foundation allows for just that. It is also particularly beautiful on brides as the texture photographs beautifully.” We decided to test this theory and took a series of selfies wearing this foundation versus our regular glowy foundation of choice. Our Beauty Ed always thinks her naturally dry, dull-looking complexion needs maximum sheen to appear healthy, but in photos the Silk Creme Foundation looked loads better. It leaves the skin even and spot-less. It’s not dewy but still manages to make the skin look bright and alive. 

RMS Beauty UnCover Up Cream Foundation

(Image credit: RMS Beauty)

8. RMS Beauty UnCover Up Cream Foundation

Best cream foundation for very dry skin

Specifications

RRP: £59 / $58
Shades: 16
Coverage: Medium to full
Finish: Luminous

Reasons to buy

+
Luxurious texture
+
Deeply moisturising
+
Calms irritation

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for oily skin

If your skin is crying out for a big slurp of hydration, this foundation will pump skin with moisture. Enriched with organic coconut oil and wild-crafted buriti oil, it feels immediately quenching, like your loveliest, richest night cream. Except here you’ve got phenomenal colour payoff that immediately quashes dark spots and redness. 

We enjoyed the dewy, light-reflecting finish. It made our skin look like it had just checked out of a 5* spa. We can’t say whether it would have a soothing effect on reactive skin as ours is fairly hardy (*touches wood) - but what we can say is it's a fantastic foundation for particularly dry or mature skin types. 

Max Factor Miracle Touch Skin Perfecting Foundation

(Image credit: Max Factor)

9. Max Factor Miracle Touch Skin Perfecting Foundation

Best budget cream foundation

Specifications

RRP: £14.99 / $18.61
Shades: 16
Coverage: Full
Finish: Natural matte

Reasons to buy

+
Enriched with hyaluronic acid
+
SPF30
+
Won’t leak in your handbag
+
Light but long-lasting

Reasons to avoid

-
Sponge gets messy

It was bafflingly difficult to find cheaper, drugstore options for the best cream foundations but Max Factor’s compact delivers on price point and formula. The case is sturdy, and the foundation solid, which means you can chuck it in your handbag without worrying about gloopy Air Pods. There’s a satisfyingly squidgy sponge nestled neatly in the top section, with the cream-to-liquid base housed underneath. The sponge worked well enough for us, and dug right into the nooks and crannies of our faces. The foundation applied nicely with fingers, especially when targeting areas that needed extra concealment. It also diffused nicely with a foundation brush, so you can go with the method of application you’re most comfortable with. 

The cream-to-liquid formula is enriched with moisture-magnet hyaluronic acid, which keeps everything nice and bouncy. This is the most ‘solid’ of any of the creams on our list, so psychologically, we worried it would go flaky on our winter-battered skin. But it skimmed over dry patches without caking, blurred pores and seemed to flex with our facial creases. The online blurb was a bit misleading, using words like ‘radiance’ and ‘glow’ but for us, the finish was definitely demi-matte – velvety, rather than dewy. 

Ere Perez Oat Milk Foundation

(Image credit: Ere Perez)

10. Ere Perez Oat Milk Foundation

Best cream foundation for sensitive skin

Specifications

RRP: £35.50 / $39
Shades: 12
Coverage: Medium to full
Finish: Natural matte

Reasons to buy

+
"Clean" foundation
+
Protection against free radicals
+
Long-wearing
+
Variable coverage

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as hydrating for extremely dry skin

Ere Perez is defined by minimal formulas and high-performing natural ingredients. The brand’s philosophy is, ‘do more with less’, and this cream foundation is the perfect example. There’s no over-the-head techy speak here. Ingredients read more like a Whole Foods shopping list. Oat milk is added to balance pH levels and gently exfoliate, with peach to soothe and calm skin in freak-out mode. 

We found the coverage more adaptable than others on this list of the best cream foundations. A light layer created a sheerer veil of colour, but was easily built on for fuller coverage. It wasn’t quite as skin-quenching as some of the other cream foundations on this list, but it was airily light and incredibly comfortable to wear. Combination and oily skin, this could be a winning formula for you. 

Chantecaille Future Skin Oil Free Gel Foundation

(Image credit: Chantecaille)

11. Chantecaille Future Skin Oil Free Gel Foundation

Best cream foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP: £80 / $89
Shades: 15
Coverage : Medium to full
Finish: Naturally radiant

Reasons to buy

+
Smallest amount of product provides intense coverage
+
Oil-free
+
Soothing ingredients

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Even the best cream foundations don’t always play so well with oily skin. That’s why we’ve included Chantecaille’s award-winning base in our round-up. The oil-free formula and gel-cream texture work well for those with oily and combination skin types. This was one of the longer-lasting foundations we tried – it still looked pretty even and uniform at the end of the day. 

Again, the jar, with its extra internal plastic lid that is always inevitably covered in foundation (you know what I’m talking about, right?) was a bit messy. But once applied it was easy to blend and melted into skin, probably attributed to the 60% water formula, boosted by a raft of natural botanicals like aloe and arnica.