13 Top Water-Based Foundations According to Your Skin Type

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Does your foundation feel heavy? Does it tend to clog the pores, making acne breakouts worse? Or is your skin more prone to dryness?

If these issues have become too familiar, you’re more likely to benefit from switching to water-based foundations.

A water-based beige liquid foundation on a white background.

There are different formulations for foundations in the market, but water-based foundations may be your top choice if you want products that feel light and hydrating.

We’ll make your makeup-shopping journey much easier with a list of the top water-based foundations in this article.

Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation
Editor's Choice
  • Has SPF 25
  • Active ingredients for soothing and brightening the skin
  • Hyaluronic acid for flawless finish
NARS Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation
Premium Pick
  • Formulated for acne-prone skin
  • Photo-ready finish
  • Has no parabens, fragrance, and mineral oil
COVERGIRL Clean Makeup Liquid Foundation
Budget Pick
  • Non-comedogenic formula
  • Easy to blend
  • Lightweight

What Is Water-Based Foundation?

Foundations are generally divided into three categories, the main difference being the key ingredient used as the base for their formulas:

  • Water-based
  • Silicone-based
  • Oil-based

And as you may have guessed, water-based foundations are made with water as the base or the leading ingredient. 

So technically, these products have minimal to zero silicones or oils in their ingredients.

How To Know if a Foundation Is Water-Based

Determining whether a foundation is water-based is usually a straightforward process. Here are some common methods to identify if a foundation is water-based:

Read the Label

The easiest way to figure out if you have a water-based foundation is to read the label. Most of these makeup products already have “water-based” in the name or description.

Check the Ingredient List

You may still have to read the ingredients at the back. Look for the words “aqua,” “water,” or “eau” as the first ingredient or high up in the list. This indicates that water is the primary component of the foundation.

Look Out for Oils or Silicones

Some water-based foundation brands are not purely water-based because they still contain silicones or oils. Look out for ingredients like mineral oil, petroleum, sunflower oil, etc.

Also look out for silicones. The most commonly used silicones in cosmetics are dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, dimethiconol, phenyl trimethicone, amodimethicone, and cyclomethicone.

To make it easier, look for ingredient names that end in “-cone,” “-conol,” “-silane,” and “-siloxane.” And if these are present on the label, that foundation is not entirely water-based.

Research the Brand and Product

Sometimes, a simple online search or a visit to the brand’s official website can provide information about the foundation’s composition.

Brands may also describe the type of foundation (water-based, oil-based, silicone-based, etc.) in their product descriptions.

Top Water-Based Foundation for Normal Skin

Now for the most important part! Here is a list of 13 water-based foundations for your different skin types.

1
Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation

A water-based makeup that brightens, delivers a “pore-less” finish, and has sun protection. This foundation can do it all!

Key benefits: Medium coverage with natural finish; easy to blend; helps minimize the appearance of pores

Features:

  • Niacinamide and caffeine for brightening results
  • Soothing effects from squalane and provitamin B5
  • Peptides and hyaluronic acid for a plump-looking skin

This comes in as many as 36 shades too!

 

It’s not just great to achieve a natural, glowing finish. It’s also packed with active ingredients, making it a great skincare reinforcement.

The combination of active ingredients like niacinamide, squalane, provitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid promises to brighten and soothe your skin. This explains why it’s earned its place on the top water-based foundation list.

Many are also raving about this foundation after finding that it’s a long-wear product that can stay on for up to 8 hours.

And did we mention it has SPF 25, too, for some sun protection?

Top Water-Based Foundations for Sensitive Skin

2
Harvest Natural Beauty Perfecting Organic Liquid Foundation

Healthy ingredients, moisturizing silicone alternatives, and a breathable formula — this water-based foundation has it all!

Key benefits: Lightweight makeup; filled with organic ingredients; has color adjusting effect

Features:

  • Aloe leaf juice
  • Vitamin E
  • Sugarcane-derived squalane

It’s not just free of silicones and oils, it’s also free of harsh chemicals to suit all skin types.

 

This is one foundation on your list of must-try water based foundations. The ingredients list from the brand indicates that it doesn’t contain silicone. But it’s filled with natural ingredients and extracts from skin-loving botanicals.

And the absence of harsh chemicals makes this foundation very suitable for all skin types. Even makeup wearers with sensitive skin swear by how comfortable it is on the face.

It has a lightweight formula, and one of its highlight features is its color-adjusting effect, making it easy to use to even out your skin tone.

With the healthy ingredients included in this foundation, your skin will be nourished while building coverage for a flawless-looking finish.

9
ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation

Thanks to this tint-slash-foundation from ILIA, you’re extending your skincare regimen even when you’re putting on makeup.

Key benefits: Contains niacinamide; has no fragrance; great for the everyday no-makeup look

Features:

  • SPF 40 for protection against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Plant-based squalane

It’s a versatile product you can use as a light foundation or face tint with plenty of skincare goodness!

 

Want a dewy makeup look that hydrates and protects your skin from pollutants and UV rays? You can’t go wrong with this one!

What we love about this product from ILIA are the active ingredients that help improve your skin’s overall condition.

It has hyaluronic acid for hydration, SPF 40 for sun protection, plant-based squalane that can strengthen the skin barrier for moisture retention, and niacinamide to regulate oil production!

10
Art Of Air Airbrush Makeup Foundation

Hate having to touch up your foundation later in the day? This water-based airbrush foundation is a great solution!

Key benefits: Long wear without need for touch-ups; water-resistant and smudge-proof; works for everyday use  

Features:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Oil-free and non-comedogenic

Hide blemishes and even out your skin tone with this water-based foundation.

 

If you’re a fan of airbrush makeup, you’re in luck. You’ll find great options if you’re looking to switch to an oil-free water-based foundation — like this one from Art of Air!

But you’ll like this one even more if you have sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic, oil-free, doesn’t contain silicones, and has no fragrance. So there are basically zero irritants to worry about.

And even if you don’t own or don’t know how to operate an airbrush gun, no worries! This foundation can be applied even with a foundation brush.

11
BaeBlu Lux Liquid Foundation

This is one unique water-based foundation because it also provides the effect of a makeup primer.

Key benefits: Non-greasy formula; ample coverage to hide blemishes and signs of skin aging; with skin primer effect

Features:

  • Rice powder
  • Lecithin from sunflower
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)

It’s formulated to blot out excess oil while dealing with dry spots on the skin.

 

Sensitive skin types will enjoy this foundation because of its natural ingredients and because it doesn’t have fragrance and harsh chemicals that can trigger irritation.

What’s great about this foundation is it’s formulated to provide enough coverage to cover even the signs of skin aging like fine lines and hyperpigmentation from sun exposure.

You’ll instantly get healthy-looking youthful skin!

You don’t have to be concerned about pore-clogging ingredients, and the formula doesn’t feel greasy when building the coverage you want.

It also has notable ingredients like rice powder, which gives this foundation its oil-absorbing effect. There’s also plant-based lecithin that has emollient properties and is known to help soothe the skin and keep it moisturized.

Top Water-Based Foundation for Oily Skin

3
Graftobian GlamAire AirBrush Makeup

Here’s a water-based airbrush foundation crafted with inputs from notable Hollywood makeup artists.

Key benefits: Gentle formula to avoid skin irritation; formulated for all-day wear; available in dozens of different shades

Features:

  • Buildable, full coverage
  • Alcohol-free formula
  • Suitable for all skin types

Preparing for a special occasion? Here’s a water-based foundation that will give you a natural, “ultra HD” finish.

 

This one’s a little more special and is top used for special occasions you expect to last all day. 

So this one’s a great option if you’re a makeup professional or a client looking for a water-based foundation to recommend to your makeup artist.

It’s formulated to create durable coverage so you won’t feel uncomfortable wearing makeup all day.

And you’ll only need about 10 drops of this airbrush foundation to hide impurities and achieve an even skin tone.

8
Ecco Bella FlowerColor Natural Foundation

Your skin will definitely glow with this foundation while getting added skin protection.

Key benefits: Suitable for oily skin; moisturizes skin; binds well to the skin for all-day wear

Features:

  • Aloe vera soothes and moisturizes skin 
  • Clay (kaolin) helps reduce blemishes
  • Natural minerals protect skin from blue light

A water-based foundation that’s manageable even on oily skin? This Ecco Bella product is for you!

 

You want your foundation to have light-reflecting properties for a natural, luminous glow? You’re going to get that with this one from Ecco Bella.

It’s packed with ingredients that deliver a skin-healing treatment. It even reinforces your favorite sunscreen with its blue light protection.

This is also formulated to act as a full-coverage water-based foundation that helps hide blemishes. And it actually has moisture-binding ingredients for long-lasting wear.

Best of all, it contains kaolin clay, which makes it great for oily skin types!

Top Water-Based Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin

12
NARS Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation

Shopping for makeup for acne-prone skin is made much easier with this water-based liquid foundation.

Key benefits: Helps blur skin imperfections; gentle even on sensitive skin; no mineral oil, parabens, and fragrance

Features:

  • Non-acnegenic formula
  • NARS’ Photochromic Technology for a “photo-friendly” finish
  • NARS’ Light Reflecting Complex for luminous skin

For a worry-free makeup look, invest in NARS Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation!

 

A non-acnegenic formula is what you should look for when shopping for a water-based foundation for acne-prone skin. And that happens to be one of the primary benefits you’ll get from this foundation.

It’s also crafted with NARS’ makeup technologies to achieve a photo-ready look. So you’ll have to try this one, especially if you want medium, buildable coverage.

Plus, it has a breathable formula, which is what you need if you have to wear makeup all day.

A good water-based foundation that’s gentle on acne-prone and sensitive skin and delivers a glowing luminous finish? That’s exactly what this foundation can do for you!

Top Water-Based Foundation for Dry Skin

4
bareMinerals Original Liquid Mineral Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20

Hoping for a bareMinerals loose powder foundation but in liquid form? Wish granted!

Key benefits: Dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested; improves redness over time; blends easily

Features:

  • Olive-derived squalane
  • Peptide and prickly pear extract
  • Fragrance-free

It’s nourishing and has SPF — what’s not to love?

 

If you’re already a fan of the bareMinerals Original Loose Mineral Foundation, then you have to try this one.

It may even be a better choice if you have dry skin because it’s packed with nourishing ingredients, like olive-derived squalane to help hydrate and retain skin moisture.

What makes it even better is the inclusion of peptides and prickly pear extract. Both ingredients can help reduce redness and pore size with continued use. 

So you’re not just getting a smoother skin texture immediately after application. You’ll also get the same benefits over time. And it has SPF 20 too!

5
COVER FX Natural Finish Foundation

A highly recommended water-based foundation for its antioxidant protection and flawless finish.

Key benefits: Promises “second-skin” finish for a natural look; buildable coverage; up to 12-hour wear

Features:

  • Vitamins C, E, and F
  • Oil-free
  • Natural finish

Now you won’t have to worry about dryness even hours after you put on your makeup!

 

This one’s a favorite water-based foundation for many makeup enthusiasts for several reasons.

Aside from an oil-free formula, it’s enriched with antioxidant protection to nourish the skin while you achieve a radiant natural finish. 

It is also highly recommended for dry skin types because it contains emollients, allowing this foundation to deliver up to 12 hours of hydration and coverage.

Additionally, the combination of vitamins C, E, and F will give you much-needed moisturization while protecting you from pollutants that can be stressful for your skin.

6
Pacifica Alight Clean Foundation

Looking for a clean foundation that will give you seamless coverage? Here it is!

Key benefits: Satin finish; buildable coverage; oil- and silicone-free; non-comedogenic

Features:

  • Squalane
  • Coconut water
  • Hyaluronic acid

Waste no time and try out this foundation and reap all the nourishing goodness that comes with it!

 

Healthy glowing skin is within your reach once you give this foundation a chance.

Makeup wearers with oily skin types greatly benefit from choosing water-based foundations, especially when using products that don’t contain silicones and oils. And that’s what you’re getting from this foundation.

Its non-comedogenic formula will ensure it won’t exacerbate oily skin and this foundation is also formulated to control shine when you’re wearing it.

You’re getting a satin finish, so your skin looks radiant while it provides great coverage for blemishes and impurities. And you can achieve the level of coverage you want, whether it’s medium or full, thanks to its buildable formula.

It also features moisturizing ingredients like coconut water and hyaluronic acid. So it controls oil without drying your skin!

7
100% PURE Water Foundation

With this 100% PURE makeup gem, your search for a full-coverage water-based foundation filled with skin-loving ingredients is over!

Key benefits: Hydrating; full coverage; dewy finish; pigment and skin health benefits from superfruits

Features:

  • Aloe juice
  • Acai berry
  • Green tea

Give your skin a hydration boost and achieve a dewy makeup finish for a radiant look.

 

The best thing about the 100% PURE Water Foundation is that it’s composed of various fruits. It’s where this makeup gets its pigment while also giving your skin much-needed care.

It’s very suitable for dry skin types as it features several hydrating ingredients like aloe juice, acai berry, and pomegranate. It features plant-based glycerin too!

Other ingredients, such as green tea, resveratrol from grapes, and alpha lipoic acid are rich in antioxidants that may provide anti-aging benefits

So the foundation’s formula may help fight damage caused by free radicals, giving you healthy, youthful skin.

How it performs as a makeup product is just as great. It provides full coverage, which isn’t always true for water-based foundations. And it will give you a glowing, semi-dewy finish without making your skin look oily.

Top Drugstore Water-Based Foundation

13
COVERGIRL Clean Makeup Liquid Foundation

Here’s COVERGIRL’s Clean Makeup line to end the search for a real drugstore water-based foundation.

Key benefits: Delivers a natural look; won’t clog pores; covers well for a smooth finish

Features:

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Lightweight
  • Easy-to-blend formula

Finally, water-based makeup that won’t break the bank!

 

Browsing through water based cosmetics brands that are both cheap and effective can be quite tedious. But believe it or not, a tried-and-tested drugstore name like COVERGIRL has exactly what you’re looking for!

This water-based foundation is a crowd favorite because it’s easy to use and won’t require much effort to blend. But you’ll still get a nice natural finish.

Its water-based formulation also means it doesn’t feel heavy and it’s a non-comedogenic foundation. So you won’t have to worry about clogged pores even with everyday wear!

Is Water-Based Foundation Good for Your Skin?

Water-based foundation is considered good for the skin for several reasons, particularly when compared to oil-based or heavy foundations.

Here are some of the benefits of using water-based foundation for your skin:

  • Lightweight: Water-based foundations are typically lighter in texture, which means they don’t feel heavy on the skin. This makes it blendable and more comfortable during long hours of wear.
  • Breathable: Water-based foundations allow the skin to breathe, reducing the risk of clogging pores and promoting better air circulation. This makes them suitable for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
  • Hydrating: Water is a natural hydrator, and water-based foundations often contain water as a primary ingredient. This helps keep the skin moisturized, making it a good choice for those with dry skin.
  • Natural-looking: Water-based foundations tend to provide a more natural, dewy, or matte finish, depending on the product. They don’t typically leave a greasy or overly shiny appearance on the skin.
  • Suitable for most skin types: Water-based foundations are often designed to be versatile and can be suitable for various skin types, including sensitive, oily, combination, and dry skin.
  • Non-comedogenic: Many water-based foundations are formulated to be non-comedogenic, meaning they are less likely to clog pores, making them a better choice for those prone to acne or breakouts.
  • Easy to remove: Water-based foundations are generally easier to remove at the end of the day, and they don’t require heavy cleansing routines. This can help prevent skin irritation.
  • Hypoallergenic: Some water-based foundations are hypoallergenic, which means they are less likely to cause allergic reactions or skin sensitivities.
  • Nourishing: Lastly, they’re commonly formulated with skin-nourishing ingredients like niacinamide, squalane, hyaluronic acid, and other plant-derived materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is IT Cosmetics Foundation Water-Based?

IT Cosmetics describes its Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare as having a “waterlight formula.” But it contains various silicones, including dimethicone and cyclohexasiloxane.

Is Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Water-Based?

The Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation is a popular oil-free, lightweight makeup. It’s primarily water-based, but cyclohexasiloxane is one of its prominently listed ingredients.

Is Mac Foundation Water-Based?

Many swear by Mac Foundations like the Studio Waterweight and Studio Fix Fluid for their hydrating properties. But their ingredient lists dimethicone and other silicones.

Is Too Faced Born This Way Foundation Water-Based?

It has coconut water on top of the plain aqua to boost skin moisture. But it also has dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane.

Is There a Water-Based Foundation From Clinique?

Clinique’s Even Better makeup line has several foundations that promise up to 24-hour hydration. But they also contain silicones like dimethicone, methyl trimethicone, and phenyl trimethicone.

Find the Top Water-Based Foundation for Your Skin Type

One of the great things about water-based foundations is that they’re mostly safe to use regardless of your skin type.

A woman is using a brush to apply water-based foundation to her face.

But if your skin needs some extra care, you won’t run out of water-based foundation options formulated to boost hydration and nourish your skin.

Remember to look for skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, and niacinamide. Fruit extracts and plant-based hydrators are great for extra skincare treatment too.

Want To Read More About Foundations?

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Author

  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for all your information regarding water based foundations which I found to be invaluable. I have been wanting to change to a water based foundation for a long time, however I have been unable to fully understand which foundations were oil based and which were water based.
    I have saved all your information to my phone and I now feel confident in purchasing the correct foundation for my complexion.

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