Discover perfect, lightweight summer foundations for flawless, glowing skin in our go-to guide

During the summer months, we often find our everyday foundation just doesn’t cut it. With the humidity and heat sometimes amped up to beyond reasonable levels, we look to swap our heavy formulas for lightweight options that don’t crack in the sunlight, and feel breathable and light on the skin – yup, it’s time to officially say goodbye to that mask-like layer of make-up. 

The even better news? Opting for a lightweight base doesn’t mean shorter wear time and can still give you the long-lasting, flawless coverage of your dreams. And if you’re a never-leave-the-house-without-a-full-face-of-make-up-on kind of person, you’re in luck – there’s a whole array of new launches that combine skincare with make-up, so wearing foundation everyday needn’t be an issue.

And when it comes to application, we suggest taking a small amount of foundation and building it up in thin layers to aid a natural, breathable complexion. Remember, less is more here, as it’s easier to add more product than it is to remove. Our top tip? Keeping the coverage light and minimising any blemishes with a great concealer. For a summer-ready airbrushed look, a damp sponge is the perfect tool, while a brush is a great option for building coverage and blending around hard-to-reach areas, such as the sides of the nose. But we’ll never forget the power of our not-so-humble fingertips. Nothing melts make-up into skin so seamlessly – just make sure they’re clean first.

But what happens when you’ve found your summer foundation BFF only to go on holiday and it suddenly doesn’t match your tan? Step in products like NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Pro Drop Hue Shifter Foundation Mixer, £16. This is a fab option for making your foundation darker. Simply mix a few drops of this into your regular foundation to make your shade darker, lighter, cooler or warmer – depending on the desired effect. It can also be a good investment to buy two different shades of your favourite foundation so that you can custom blend your colour throughout the year. The other option is to stick to your normal foundation, but add some bronzer to warm up your complexion. 

So, how do you make an informed choice over which summer foundation is best for you when there are tons of products out there? We suggest opting for foundations brimming with hero ingredients and expert credentials. A parched complexion? Opt for sheer formulas rich in moisturising hyaluronic acid, which will help create a luminous, natural look. An oily t-zone? Look for long-lasting, non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested formulas that won’t disrupt pores or excess sebum production. 

When all’s said and done, we’ve got you. From hydrating heroes to SPF-infused saviours, finding the perfect base for summer needn’t be tricky, thanks to our edit of tried-and-tested products. Whatever your skin type, tone, or texture, we guarantee there’s an option for you…

Our pick of the best summer foundations at Boots
Best summer foundation for oily skin

Try: Shiseido Synchro Skin Self Refreshing Tint, £35

• Size: 30ml

• 12 shades

• Light coverage 

• Fragrance-free

• SPF20

If you’re an oily skinned gal, then chances are you struggle to get make-up to sit pretty throughout the day. However, a common misconception is that oily skin needs a heavier foundation. Shiseido’s skin tint is as light as they come, thanks to its beautifully fresh, weightless texture. Providing light coverage, it contains fancy tech that resists heat, humidity and oil to keep you feeling fresh in the sun. Oily babes, rejoice, ‘cause this one’s for you. 

Best long-wearing summer foundation for oily skin

Try: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £30

• Size: 32ml 

• 50 shades

• Medium-to-full coverage

When Rihanna first launched Fenty in 2017, this was the foundation that changed the game. And she’s only gone and amped things up, making it available in a whopping 50 shades. We love an inclusive queen. Just a pea-sized amount of this helps give skin a smooth, pore-diffused, shine-free finish. It also allows for medium coverage that can be built up to full on glam – if that’s your vibe. Better yet, it’s oil-free and contains climate-adaptive technology that helps fight against summer nemeses – heat and humidity, we’re coming for you.

Best multitasking summer foundation for oily skin

Try: Maybelline Instant Anti Age Perfector 4-in-1 Whipped Matte Makeup, £13.99

• Size: 27ml

• Six shades

• Light coverage

• Vegan

This is a total beauty bargain. Loved by make-up artists, it gives skin four products in one. We’re talking the benefits of a primer, concealer, mattifying powder and BB cream – in one application. Press into skin with a damp beauty blender and watch how the whipped blurring formula minimises pores, conceals blemishes, mattifies and evens skin tone with its weightless, light coverage. Yep, this do-it-all make-up is suited to even the oiliest of complexions. It’s a long-wearing delight.

Best light summer foundation

Try: Dior Forever Natural Nude Foundation, £39

• Size: 30ml

• Light coverage

• 20 shades

When the sun’s shining, we’re not about super-thick layers of foundation. Enter the seriously luxurious Dior Forever foundation, which embodies a subtle “your complexion but better” finish. The formula is brimming with natural and nourishing floral skincare ingredients for a luminous look that feels undetectable. Oh hey, hydrated, dewy visage.

Best glow-boosting summer foundation

Try: Max Factor Miracle Touch Second Skin Hydrating Foundation with SPF20, £12.99

• Size: 30ml

• 13 shades

• Light coverage

• SPF20

This hybrid foundation combines skincare with make-up, making it perfect for daily use. Infused with pre and probiotics, it helps keep skin soft and supple, while giving it a lit-from-within glow. For the most natural, lightweight look, we like to apply this foundation with our fingertips, beginning in the centre of the face and blending outwards. Need more coverage? Use a tapping motion to layer and build to help minimise any blemishes. 

Best hydrating summer foundation

Try: No7 HydraLuminous AquaRelease Skin Perfector, £13.95

• Size: 30ml

• Six shades

• Light coverage

Looking for a hit of hydration? We’ve got you. This foundation is bursting with AquaRelease technology – a formula that helps deliver eight hours of hydration for skin that continues to glow throughout the day. Coverage is lightweight, but expertly minimises dry patches for a smooth and luminous finish. Finish with a setting spray for the best, long-lasting results.

Best light summer foundation for dry skin

Try: L’Oréal Paris True Match Nude Plumping Tinted Serum, 1% Hyaluronic Acid, £14.99

• Size: 30ml

• Light-to-medium coverage 

• Nine shades

Want a bit of pure hyaluronic acid in your foundation? This is for you – we’re officially hooked on the formula that combines the beauty benefits of a serum with the radiance and coverage of a foundation. The results? A beautifully natural finish that stands the test of hot, summer days spent in the sun.

Best summer foundation for dry skin

Try: Nars Light Reflecting Foundation, £37.50

• Size: 30ml

• Medium coverage

• 36 shades

Put the glow back into dry skin with the Nars Light Reflecting Foundation. Blending make-up and skincare to help blur imperfections, smooth the look of textured skin and conceal any blemishes, dark spots and redness, this is one hard-working product. It provides medium coverage and leaves a natural finish – no caking in sight. Bonus points for packaging, as it comes in a recyclable glass bottle. 

For more dry skin foundation heroes, check out our edit of the best hydrating formulas.

Best long-lasting summer foundation for dry skin

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Foundation, £30

• Size: 32ml

• 50 shades

• Medium-to-full coverage

• Dermatologically tested

You’ve got a day of summer soirées planned and need a foundation that’s going to stand the test of time. We’ve got the perfect option, and it comes as no surprise that it’s Fenty. So light you won’t know you’re wearing it, but amazingly long lasting, this base is a beauty hero. We like to apply with a stippling brush, pressing the product into the skin for an airbrushed finish that can last for up to 15 hours.

Best summer foundation for sensitive skin

Try: L’Oréal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation, £9.99

• Size: 30ml

• Light coverage

• Non-comedogenic

• 40 shades

The summer months can be tough on skin thanks to a mix of heat, dehydration and more rigorous cleansing regimes to remove make-up, SPF and sweat. Joys. Dermatologically tested, non-comedogenic and enriched with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera, this formula helps to nourish and soothe, while the 40 shades on offer means there’s an option for every skin tone.

Best summer foundation for combination skin

Try: Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation, £34

• Size: 30ml

• Oil-free

• Non-acnegenic

• Fragrance-free

• 42 shades

• Medium-to-full coverage 

• SPF20

If you’re a little bit dry in places, but also deal with an oily T-zone, then you’ll likely have combination skin – and we’ve found your summer-skin saviour. Created with three serum technologies, this satin matte, oil-free formula delivers beautifully even coverage and is bursting with skin-enhancing goodness, such as hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid and vitamin C (ideal for helping to amp up the glow). It’s weightless, provides medium-to-full coverage and is amazing for hydrating dry patches, while mattifying oiler areas. What a dream.

Best summer foundation with SPF

Try: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF50, £32.50

• Size: 32ml

• 14 shades

• Full coverage

• SPF50

A beauty all-rounder, it’s no wonder that IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream is still having a moment. Infused with SPF50 (we love to hear it), this full coverage and colour-correcting CC cream should take pride of place in every make-up bag. And it boasts a pretty impressive formula, too. We’re talking collagen to help plump, niacinamide to soothe and hyaluronic acid to hydrate. The finished result is flawless-looking coverage that won’t crease or crack. It’s a great accompaniment to a separate SPF for shielding skin in the sun.

Best summer stick foundation

Try: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation Stick, £29.50

• Size: 9.5g

• 17 shades

• Medium-to-full coverage

• Non-comedogenic

Going on a flight? This stick foundation is fab for travelling, thanks to its sleek and portable packaging. The silky texture applies seamlessly and blends effortlessly onto skin, while the built-in kabuki foundation brush is great for application, contouring and blending. Fancy stuff. 

For more gorgeous foundations, check out our full range – you won’t be disappointed.

All prices correct on date of publication.