We would never tell you to stop using SPF. Sun protection is paramount, and every time we sit down or exchange emails with industry-leading dermatologists or estheticians, they make sure to extoll the importance of a stringent (and daily) SPF routine. So understandably, and with increased skin safety and efficiency in mind, a large majority of foundations have launched new iterations of old favorites or brand-new formulas altogether combining coverage with SPF and UV protection. In theory, it’s a brilliant move. But considering many offer tacky consistencies, suspicious scents, or pale and ashy color payoff or flash-back, the SPF and foundation combo starts to lose its luster. And we don’t just mean that figuratively.
That being said, if you still prep your face with SPF (think primers and moisturizers) pre-foundation, you’ll still get your daily quota of sun protection without the unsightly side effects of some, not all, SPF-infused foundations. However, since foundations with SPF are quickly becoming the majority (to play the devil’s advocate, some formulas are much better—and more natural—than others), finding the best foundations without SPF has become increasingly challenging. But as the fates (or maybe just foundation gods) would have it, some of our favorite formulas have stuck to their O.G. (and SPF-free) signature formulas. Keep reading for eight Byrdie-vetted foundations without SPF. Oh, and they also happen to layer beautifully atop our favorite SPF-enriched moisturizers. Just saying.
Loved by: Audrey Noble, associate editor
Not only is this versatile foundation stick loved by virtually every makeup artist we talk to (it’s a wedding day favorite!), but it’s equally popular at Byrdie HQ as well. Some highlights: It comes in over 30 colors (praise be), lasts a full 12 hours, fuses with your natural body temperature for effortless blendability, and is travel-friendly to boot.
Loved by: Erin Jahns, assistant editor
If you’re looking for a foundation without SPF that delivers budgeproof wear and instantaneous coverage, this iconic formula by Estée Lauder is The One. Not only does it have a diverse shade range with over 40 options, but it’s also said to last a full 24 hours. (Truth be told, I’ve worn this foundation on and off for years now and on enough Friday nights to fully attest to that claim. Plus, I almost always get a compliment on how my skin looks—not how my foundation looks. The ultimate test in my mind.)
Loved by: Hallie Gould, senior editor
Essentially, SPF is just about the only thing this foundation from Laura Mercier doesn’t have, and we mean that in the best way possible. Ideal if you’re prone to midday greasies, this medium- to full-coverage pick is oil-free and magically resistant to transfer, sweat, humidity, your S.O.’s chin… what have you. Plus, while the finish is matte, it never looks chalky or parched on top of the skin. Oh, and did we mention it will last an impressive 15 hours?
Loved by: Jahns
Want to know a secret? This has been the film and entertainment industry’s best-kept secret for years. In fact, as I learned from the brand directly, Cameron Diaz has been known to bring her very own bottle with her on set because that’s just how much she trusts the formula in front of the cameras. In all honesty, the shade range needs some work (it’s rather outdated in that there are only seven colors), but the HD-compatible formula in and of itself is pure brilliance and provides an effortless, lit-from-within appearance.
Loved by: Jahns and Faith Xue, editorial director
Delicately infused with coconut water for a natural wash of radiance, this game-changing SPF-free foundation is a definitive favorite among team Byrdie. And call us crazy, but we’re actually convinced it looks better the longer you wear it. (All thanks to Alpine rose and hyaluronic acid, which keep the skin barrier quenched, smooth, and bright all day long.) It also happens to be one of the only medium- to full-coverage options we’ve tried—therefore delivering on its promise to layer well with natural prowess.
Loved by: Gould and Maya Allen, assistant editor
Yes, Fenty’s epic foundation made waves last year when the brand set the new gold standard for shade diversity, but this foundation without SPF also set the gold standard for super-flattering application and wear. Offering medium coverage and a plush matte finish, climate adaptive technology also ensures sweat and humidity resistance and an airbrushed result, to boot. (Trust us—your pores will quite literally disappear before your eyes.)
Loved by: Xue; Lindsey Metrus, managing editor; and Amanda Montell, features editor
Perhaps the crème de la crème of cult favorites, Giorgio Armani’s dearly beloved foundation has been praised by editors, makeup artists, and celebrities for years—and with good reason. No, it doesn’t have SPF, but if you’re looking to abolish a white or ashy cast to the skin, this will work to your advantage. Also working to your advantage? Micro-fill technology, weightless texture, and the foundation’s iconic silky finish.
Loved by: Jahns
Not only is this foundation remarkably skin-friendly (it boasts glow-worthy ingredients like coconut oil, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins C and E), but it also is one of the most efficient we’ve tried when it comes to application. Aka it blends beautifully, delivers sheer to medium coverage (that looks so believable and natural), and also locks in moisture for unbeatable hydration. However, to be 100% transparent, if you fall on the oil and blemish-prone side of the spectrum, you probably won’t love this, as it blurs the line between dewy and greasy if you already have oily skin. But if you’re in the drier camp? Consider yourself introduced to your new BFF.