College Beauty Awards: The 15 Best Base Makeup Products, from Foundation to Contour

Quality base makeup can be positive and transformative. The reason? Well, complexions are complex, and everyone has such varied needs when it comes to coverage products. If you do find your perfect shade match or concealer consistency, it’s kind of life changing. And no, we’re not just being dramatic. The Her Campus community was very vocal about how one amazing blurring powder or satiny highlighter can make their whole semester better.

Without further ado, we’re here to help you find the golden ratio of foundation, concealer, contour, blush and highlight that is truly sublime. We have inclusive shade ranges, color correctors and expert coverups — and even if you rarely wear makeup, we’ve got something here for you too. Cue all of the selfies.

  1. 1. First Light Priming Filter Face Primer

    BECCA,, $39; shop now

    This primer combines so many good things in one: hydration, glow, and a natural-looking finish. It perfectly preps your skin for makeup, but also can be worn on it's own if you're feeling a translucent look.

  2. 2. Smooth Sailing 360° Eye Primer

    Wander Beauty,, $39; shop now

    Good morning to this eye primer only. In contrast to other primer formulas, this is thin and liquidy so it easily blends out and sinks into the skin. It's so common to come home from a long day of class and find your makeup smudged and dull, but incorporate this primer into your eye makeup routine and that'll never happen again. 

  3. 3. Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

    Fenty Beauty,, $35; shop now

    College women can't stop talking about Fenty Beauty, and it's easy to understand why when this foundation completely changed the beauty industry for the better. This full-coverage formula has shades for every skin tone, and you can easily build it on to cover blemishes and scarring as needed. 

  4. 4. Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation

    L'Oréal,, $15; shop now

    Becoming a longwear foundation person, how about you? This formula falls perfectly between medium and full coverage, and it lasts all day. Seriously, no touch-ups needed, because we don't need that kind of stress in our lives. 

  5. 5. Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer

    First Aid Beauty,, $35; shop now

    No-makeup makeup is all over Instagram right now, especially for daytime looks, and students are loving a natural finish. Opt in for this tinted moisturizer that evens-out your complexion, while retaining that lightweight lotion feel. 

  6. 6. Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer

    Too Faced,, $35; shop now

    This formula conceals, contours and highlights — yes, really. Even the darkest under-eye circles don't stand a chance against the full-coverage. We love to go foundation-free and wear this as our only coverage product for the day because it's that good

  7. 7. Dark Circle Treatment Concealer

    Maybelline,, $10; shop now

    Multiple Her Campus community members revealed that this was their introduction to the world of concealer, and they've been religiously using it since first application. It's everything you could want to hide dark circles, and the built-in sponge makes application even easier if you're a makeup newbie. 

  8. 8. MegaGlo Contouring Palette

    Wet n Wild,, $6; shop now

    This is an easy-to-use contour powder for when you're trying to sculpt in a hurry. Build it on for heavier definition, and brush it on lightly to add sheer coverage to your look. 

  9. 9. Cali Contour Palette

    Smashbox,, $35; shop now

    If you take contouring very seriously, this one's for you. It's got highlight, bronzer and blush powders to create warm, glowy looks for days. 

  10. 10. Stellar Lights Highlighting Palette

    Milani,, $11; shop now

    This highlight trio helps you achieve any kind of shimmer with a single palette. Wear just one — though we love to wear all three at the same time for a very ~extra~ look. 

  11. 11. Magic Beauty Balm Stick

    Honest Beauty,, $15; shop now

    This balm legit gives the most natural-looking shimmer we have ever seen. Smear it all over your highlight points and eyelids for a dewiness that looks like you came straight from a facial. 

  12. 12. Rose Powder Blush

    Milani,, $7; shop now

    This blush comes in four romantic shades, and we own them all. It has a good amount of pigment without being too potent, so simply use a brush or sponge to blend it in for a rosy finish. 

  13. 13. Tender Flesh Blush

    Flesh Beauty,, $26; shop now

    This blush won of our hearts as soon as we felt the texture that was more cream-like than powder. It's richly pigmented, and comes in the most perfect variety of colors (bold shades included). 

  14. 14. Continuous Setting Mist

    Morphe,, $16; shop now

    Depending on the season and your skin type, you're probably no stranger to makeup melting off your face. So, say hello to this amazing setting mist that sets both liquid and powder makeup with a fresh finish! 

  15. 15. Perfect Setting Powder

    Cover FX,, $16; shop now

    Not only does this powder set makeup, but if you love to bake it creates a blurred look. We also love that there's a translucent finish option for light and deep skin tones.

Just a heads up — this article may contain affiliate links. While a purchase through affiliate links doesn't impact the price you pay, Her Campus Media may receive a small commission. All products' prices and availability are accurate as of publication.