Best Water Based Foundation – Your Complete 2023 Oil Free Foundation Guide

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

If you have dry or oily skin, you may find that many foundations are too drying for your skin or include too much oil that leaves an unnecessary shine or greasy look. Water based foundations are preferred by many individuals in these situations. Their formula is much friendlier for many skin types than oil based or silicone based foundations. If you want to find the best water based foundation for your skin, read through our reviews below. We’ll also share some tips for wearing this type of base makeup to help you look your best.

Table of Contents

L'Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Water-infused Tinted Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 19 sunscreen lightweight, natural coverage up to 24h hydration for a fresh, glowing complexion, Fair 03, 1 fl oz

Best Water Based Foundation

After a lot of testing and research, we chose the water based foundations below as our top picks.  Keep reading to discover which of these selections will best suit your skin type and needs.

Hi beautiful! Just to let you know, we earn a modest commission off of purchases made through Amazon affiliate links on this page. Don't worry, it's of no extra cost to you. We love the products we recommend in this post, and we hope you do, too!

What Is the Best Water Based Foundation?

Editor’s Pick – Dior Airflash Spray Foundation

Foundation Highlights

  • 24 shades available
  • Spray foundation
  • Water-resistant
  • Blendable coverage
  • Lightweight
  • Airbrush finish

The Airflash spray foundation from Dior is a wonderful choice when you’re looking for a water based foundation.  This water-resistant foundation gives skin a soft and smooth appearance with a lightweight feel.  You can build on the coverage to get the right amount of coverage for any occasion.

Why We Love This Water Based Foundation

We absolutely love the look this water based foundation from Dior provides.  It is infused with light-diffusing pigments that really give an attractive look to the skin.  We also love how lightweight the formula is and that you can build on the coverage to get the exact look you desire.

What Users Love

This is a very popular foundation among individuals who have tried it.  They have shared that it leaves their skin feeling very smooth and provides excellent coverage to hide blemishes.  However, some users with sensitive skin said that they couldn’t use this foundation without breaking out.

Best Water Based Foundation Drugstore – COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Foundation

COVERGIRL Clean Makeup Foundation Creamy Natural 120, 1 oz (packaging may vary)
Buy on Amazon

Foundation Highlights

  • Smooth textures
  • Lightweight
  • Allows skin to breath
  • Non-comedogenic formula

With a budget-friendly price, the COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Foundation is our top pick for those looking for a drugstore water based foundation. This foundation is designed to be easy to blend to offer the coverage you need. It has a smooth consistency and a non-comedogenic formula.  We also like that the foundation is lightweight and still allows your skin to breathe while you’re wearing it.

What Users Love

Users love that this foundation isn’t greasy and helps them achieve a more natural look.  However, some users looking for a more full-coverage foundation weren’t happy with this choice and found that it didn’t cover up their blemishes very well.

Best Water Based Foundation for Oily Skin – Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation

Foundation Highlights

  • 21 shades available
  • Matte finish
  • Full-coverage foundation
  • Oil- and silicone-free formula
  • Breathable
  • Suitable for use with oily, combination, and normal skin types

If you have oily skin, we think you’ll love the Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation. This water-based foundation features a lightweight formula that is free of oil- and silicone, making it a great choice for those with oily skin since it won’t clog your pores and will allow your skin to breathe.  As a full-coverage foundation, you’ll find that this pick does an excellent job hiding blemishes and imperfections.

RELATED: Best Non-Comedogenic Foundations for Acne Prone Skin

What Users Love

Many individuals who have tried this foundation love how the shade matches their skin and have shared that the coverage lasts for a long time.  However, some users had a bad experience and the pigment separated from the base, making it hard to use.

Best Water Based Foundation for Dry Skin – L’Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Water-Infused Tinted Moisturizer

L'Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Water-infused Tinted Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 19 sunscreen lightweight, natural coverage up to 24h hydration for a fresh, glowing complexion, Fair 03, 1 fl oz
Buy on Amazon

Foundation Highlights

  • 12 shades available
  • Tinted moisturizer
  • Natural, lightweight coverage
  • Up to 24 hours of hydration
  • Infused with aloe vera and witch hazel
  • Oil-free formula

Having dry skin can make finding the right foundation a challenge.  We think individuals with dry skin will like this water-infused tinted moisturizer from L’Oreal Paris. Water makes up 70% of the ingredients, and aloe vera and witch hazel have also been added to the moisturizer to deliver even greater benefits to skin.  Using this can keep skin hydrated for up to 24 hours.

What Users Love

When you look through user reviews for this tinted moisturizer, it is pretty clear that most individuals are really happy with how it makes their skin look and feel.  Some users weren’t impressed with the color options or how the moisturizer blended on their skin.

Water Based Foundation for Combination Skin – EVXO Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation

EVXO Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation - Vegan, All Natural, Gluten Free, Aloe Based, Buildable Coverage, Cruelty Free Foundation Makeup - 1 Fl Oz (Sea Shell)
Buy on Amazon

Foundation Highlights

  • 11 shades available
  • Certified organic
  • Dewy finish
  • Long-lasting
  • Buildable coverage

The EVXO Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation is formulated with safe and natural ingredients that won’t clog pores.  This foundation, which offers all-day wear, provides a smooth and dewy finish.  You can choose to apply a small amount for a more natural finish, or build on the coverage for a full-coverage, flawless look.

What Users Love

Customers who have tried this foundation feel that it is easy to apply and helps them create a smooth and flawless look.  However, some users were not happy with the pump included with the foundation and found it challenging to control how much they were able to get out of the bottle.

Water Based Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin – Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Liquid Foundation

Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Acne and Blemish Fighting Liquid Foundation with Salicylic Acid Acne Medicine, Shine Controlling, for Acne Prone Skin, 30 Buff, 1 fl. oz
Buy on Amazon

Foundation Highlights

  • 14 shades available
  • Formulated with salicylic acid to clear acne
  • Prevents new acne breakouts
  • Breathable
  • Controls shine

If you have been searching for the best water based foundation for your acne-prone skin, then you definitely need to look at the Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Liquid Foundation.  This foundation’s formula includes salicylic acid and special MicroClear technology to clear up acne breakouts and prevent future breakouts.  It is also designed to be breathable and to help keep shine under control.

What Users Love

Users with acne-prone skin are so happy that this foundation doesn’t make their acne worse unlike so many other foundations they’ve tried.  Many users also shared that they were impressed with how long the coverage lasts.  However, some users were not happy with the shade representations online and said they had trouble getting the right match for their skin.

What Is Water Based Foundation?

Water based foundations use H2O as the binding agent for the other ingredients in the foundation, rather than gels or oils.  This gives them a lightweight feel on the skin and also keeps them from feeling as tight or drying as other foundations.  Many water based foundations are formulated without oil, which makes them a good non-comedogenic skincare product.

How Do I Know if a Foundation Is Water Based?

The best way to determine whether a foundation is water based is to look at the ingredient list.  Water based foundations should list water as the first ingredient.  However, since many liquid foundations, even those that are not water based will list water in the ingredient list, you may need to look a bit more closely at the full ingredient list.

Foundation ingredients that end in -cone or -siloxane, such as dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, or cyclomethicone, indicate a silicone based option.  So, if you see any of these ingredients, the foundation is likely not water based.

Many manufacturers will also explicitly list their foundation as a water based product to help simplify your search.

How Do You Apply Water Based Foundation?

Use the tips below to help you apply water based foundation:

  • Choose a foundation shade that matches your skin tone and will blend in well with your skin.
  • Before applying any base makeup, apply a water based primer to prepare your skin.
  • Use a makeup sponge or foundation brush to help you apply the foundation smoothly and evenly.
  • Keep in mind that a little bit of water based foundation can go a long way, so don’t apply too much to your face.
  • Set the foundation after applying it using a setting spray or loose powder.
  • Do not mix water based foundation with oil or silicone based foundations or primers.


Is water based or silicone based foundation better?

Deciding whether water based or silicone based foundation is best for you can vary based on a few different factors.  Water based foundations are often a better solution for users with dry or oily skin.  Their formula doesn’t clog pores and is less drying than other foundation types.  Silicone foundations can be a better option if you’re looking for a long-wearing foundation, as they’ll typically stay on your face longer.  Silicone foundations can also be a good option for individuals with more lines or wrinkles on their face, since silicone is good at helping to fill in and even out those imperfections for a smooth and flawless finish.

Can you mix silicone and water based foundation?

No, you should not mix silicone and water based foundations (or primers).  This is because the silicone based foundation can create a barrier on your skin, which can result in the water based foundation not being able to be applied correctly.

Is Charlotte Tilbury foundation water based?

No, the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation is not water based.

Is Loreal True Match foundation water based?

No, L’oreal’s True Match foundation is silicone based, not water based.

Is Makeup Forever foundation water based?

Yes, Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend foundation is water based.

Is Huda Beauty foundation water based?

Is Maybelline Fit Me foundation water based?

No, Maybelline’s Fit Me Foundation is not water based.

RELATED: Best Silicone Based Foundation

Water You Waiting For!

Here’s a quick recap of all the water based foundations recommended in this post:

So, what do you think?  Are you feeling inspired to add one of our favorite water based foundations to your cart?  If you have oily, acne-prone, or dry skin, we think you’ll be happy with your decision to try out one of the water based foundations we shared above!

Learn more about foundation and skincare with these related posts on our blog:

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?