What Is Sheer Foundation and Who Should Use It?

woman applying drop of liquid sheer foundation to back of her hand
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When you hear about different types of foundations, "sheer foundation" is mentioned a lot. But what exactly is sheer foundation? And more importantly, should you bag your current foundation for it?

Sheer foundation is one of the most common, popular forms of foundation. It glides on smoothly, giving skin the appearance of having no foundation on it at all. Because it won't mask your natural skin, it's a great bet for women who want enough coverage to create an even skin texture.

But it's not for everyone.

What Makes Sheer Foundation So Sheer?

Sheer foundations are usually made with silicone, which is why they glide on so beautifully. Unlike heavier foundations (think cream foundations or stick foundations), sheer foundation won't give you what I call "cake face" if you apply too liberally. In fact, you can build up coats of sheer foundation if you choose.

Who Should Buy Sheer Foundation?

Sheer foundation works best on women with normal to dry skin. They also work beautifully on mature skin because the product won't settle into fine lines or wrinkles.

So who isn't it for? If you need to cover up acne or rosacea, you might consider a heavier formula. If you have oily skin, the silicone in sheer foundation may make your skin feel too oily. Try an oil-free foundation instead. Many brands of sheer foundations contain SPF, which gives you the added benefit of sun protection, but I recommend supplementing with sunscreen unless the SPF is 40 or above.

Favorite Sheer Foundations

Here are a few amazing sheer foundations.

  1. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation (buy it from Amazon)
  2. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation (buy it from Amazon)
  3. Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover (buy it from Amazon)
  4. Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup (buy it from Amazon)