Remember when the closest thing to covering up a mysterious purple and blue bruise or the tiny wrist tattoo was with a glob of concealer or pantyhose that weren’t a very convincing skin-tone match? Luckily, times have changed. Beauty brands have heard the cry for body foundations good enough for even the oiliest of skin types and can last throughout the day with little to no wear or smudging from our ever-moving limbs.
According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, body foundation formulas are quite different from the foundation you blend onto your face. After all, they have to be sweat-resistant but comfortable for all-day (or night wear). “The overall finish [of body foundation] is not cakey,” says King. “You need a non-transferring, quick-setting formula with great coverage, as body foundation is typically to cover up spider veins, scars or bruises, or tattoos with it. The pigment loading is much more than for facial care,” she explains. “A regular facial foundation, [on the other hand], needs to be more natural-looking and with breathable coverage to prevent potential breakout on the skin.”
Their ingredient lists may read a bit differently, too. “You will often see isododecane [in body foundations], which is a volatile emollient that leaves a smooth finish and sets the pigments without leaving a smear,” King says. Oil-based emollients typically added to face foundation are notably missing, though, as they create smudges, she adds.
New York City-based makeup artist and body painter Michela Wariebi, who famously drew Beyonce’s striped body art in the visual album Black Is King, slathers body foundations with her hands. “Certain [body foundations] will apply better with certain tools,” she adds. Occasionally, Wariebi reaches for a large buffing brush or tanning mitt, if the product calls for a more dense applicator than just her palms.
The amount of product you’ll need depends on how large an area you are covering, as well as the formula, Wariebi says. We recommend starting with a dime-sized dollop and building up from there.
Now true believers of what this stuff can do, we’ve rounded up the nine best body foundations on the market, so you don’t have to guess. No matter the coverage level, finish type, or overall versatility you prefer, we’ve got a body foundation here for you.