What Is Serum Foundation And Should You Try It?

An expert explains the benefits of the trend, which blends skin care and makeup.

Makeup: What a concept.

After a year of mostly staying home and having half of our faces covered when we do venture out, piling on a full face of makeup feels more like a distant memory than part of our routines.

Trends started shifting this way even before stay-at-home orders in 2020, with many brands taking on a “less is more” attitude and prioritizing skin care and convenience over heavy formulas and coverage. The perfect example of this? Serum foundation, which you might have seen all over Instagram.

“Serum foundation, also called ‘skin tints’ or ‘foundation fluids,’ are a lightweight alternative to heavy cream makeup foundations,” Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama, told HuffPost. “They typically have an oil or silicone base to provide thorough coverage with less risk of pore clogging, and a more elegant feel once applied.” Traditional foundations can also be made with silicone; however, many are made with powder, cream or wax in the base.

Serum foundations do offer less coverage than a traditional foundation, offering a more transparent look that can be used as a base under other products. “Think of serum foundations as a fine finishing paint to complement the glowing skin underneath, instead of a traditional foundation that acts more as a spackle to cover skin imperfections,” Hartman said.

We’ll try anything that feels elegant these days, and luckily there are plenty of silky-smooth options available at all different price points. What’s more, serum foundations often include skin care benefits like SPF.

“Serum foundations hydrate, protect and repair skin while providing coverage thanks to active ingredients contained within like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and SPF,” Hartman said.

As with any makeup product, Hartman says, serum foundation can have adverse effects on skin that is easily clogged or prone to acne ― “particularly if they are not cleansed at the end of the day,” but ultimately can be a great option for highlighting the natural skin as opposed to covering it up.

Some of Hartman’s favorite options come from Neutrogena, Ilia and No7. We’ve rounded up his ― and our ― picks below.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change.

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation
Flower Beauty Get Real Serum Foundation
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint With SPF 40
Dior Capture Totale Serum Foundation with SPF 25
No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum Foundation with SPF 15
Perricone MD No Makeup Foundation Serum with SPF 20
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint Foundation with Hyaluronic Acid

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