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College Beauty Awards: The Best Base Makeup of 2020

The best feeling in the world? Getting compliments on your skin. While some of us were blessed with a naturally smooth skin texture and even complexion, the majority of us turn to foundation, bronzer and blush to create a glowy and healthy look.

Ready to take a peek into our saved folder of base products? Read on for a roundup of the best makeup, as told by Her Campus readers and community members.

Born This Way Foundation

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Too Faced, tooface.com, $40; shop now

Meet the foundation with medium-to-full coverage that’s somehow undetectable, re: your skin looks unified, but some natural texture peeks through. The best way to describe it is that Too Faced has mastered makeup that looks more like skin. It doesn’t pill over moisturizer, and it’s got some juicy treats in their like coconut water and hyaluronic acid to keep your face moist and bouncy while you wear it.

Halo Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer

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Smashbox, sephora.com, $36; shop now

If you prefer a light level of coverage, tinted moisturizer is your best bet — just like the name implies it’s more of a tint than a thick coating of product. The other bonus is that it's an all-in-one formula with SPF, primer, moisturizer, and foundation in a single tube. It makes quick work of dry skin, but is friendly to all skin types if you’re combo or oily.

Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

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Fenty Beauty, sephora.com, $35; shop now

Pro Filt’r is the foundation of the year, right now and always. The foundation is full coverage but feels light as air, and it’s matte without drying you out. Obv, Fenty’s crowning moment is the full shade range available, so you can customize for your skin tone whether you lean warm or neutral.

Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation

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bareMinerals, sephora.com, $32; shop now

Liquid foundations are all the rage, but this bareMinerals powder will own our hearts forever. With powder, you can get the same impressive level of coverage and finish, and it applies beautifully with a flat brush. What makes this base so special is that it’s skin-improving, meaning the powder has ingredients built in that help address texture issues. It doesn’t feel like your pores are clogged up with product, and it blends beautifully from your face to your neck.

Your Skin But Better Makeup Primer+

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IT Cosmetics, sephora.com, $39; shop now

This buttery primer melts onto skin and grips makeup to extend the wear of your base makeup. It feels oh-so silky, that you’ll be surprised how it helps texture by blurring pores for an even application.

Radiant Creamy Concealer

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NARS, sephora.com, $30; shop now

NARS owns this cult-status concealer with a huge fanbase. It masks zits, dark circles, redness, and anything else you want to cover — all with a creamy consistency that sits well on the skin. You can wear this natural finish for up to 16 hours, from wakeup to Zoom class and back.

Secret Concealer

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Laura Mercier, sephora.com, $28; shop now

This concealer is designed for under and around the eye area, so it gives a god-tier level of coverage for dark circles. Seriously, it brightens the entire eye area when your bags need a wake-up call. It also slips on easily (so you don’t have to pull and tug), and it’s crease-resistant (that annoying pooling in your eyelid wrinkles, if you know you know).

True Complexion Contour Palette

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Black Radiance, walmart.com, $10; shop now

Highlight, shape and sculpt — those are maybe some of our favorite words in the makeup vocabulary. This palette by Black Radiance achieves all that goodness and more with this set of pressed powders perf for everyday wear, or more dramatic looks, depending on the vibe. Just buff contour onto areas you want to define, or the areas you want to glow and hit the light.

Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter

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Becca Cosmetics, sephora.com, $38; shop now

During your first toe-dipping into the world of makeup, you’ll notice that highlighter is having a moment. This pressed compact comes in gorgeous and unique shades (prismatic amethyst, hello??) that melt into the skin for a natural glow, or one that’s more vibrant as you build it on. You’ll love the little ultra-fine pearls that catch the light and leave a dewy finish.

Magic Beauty Balm Stick

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Honest Beauty, ulta.com, $15; shop now

This stick feels less like a highlighter and more like drops of water drying glamorously on your face. That’s not to say the formula is wet, but it has more of a dewy finish than a sparkly shine. For extra fun, apply some to your eyelids for a glossy look. Just dew you!

Skinlights Prismatic Bronzer

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Revlon, walmart.com, $9; shop now

The only correct word we can use to articulate the impact of this bronzer is “illuminated.” An “I just got back from spring break” glow, if you will. Skinlights has a silky and soft formula that’s easy to blend out, and it leaves a subtle shimmer, so you don’t have a flat or caked-on look like other matte bronzers tend to finish with.

Baked Blush

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Milani, ulta.com, $10; shop now

The best kind of blush leaves you with an enviable natural flush. Use this as a final step in your base routine to add brightness and lovely color. There’s also so much you can do here outside the realm of traditional blush — the berry and rose shades work as a cheeky contour, and the shimmery finishes work as a highlighter too. (We’d go so far as to say it would be a beautiful eyeshadow, especially for folks with neutral undertones.)

Major Beauty Headlines - Double-Take Crème & Powder Blush

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Patrick Ta, sephora.com, $34; shop now

This product’s name says it all, because this blush has been making major headlines this year. It toes the line between cream and powder, meaning it’s pigmented and blendable, but gives a lush finish. Applied with a brush, it gives a popsicle-tiny of color to your cheeks, without being overpowering. Also, that packaging — COME ON.

the original beautyblender

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beautyblender, sephora.com, $20; shop now

Scalding hot take: it’s time to stop applying foundation with your fingers. We’re in ~college~ now, there’s no time for juvenile beauty techniques. And in the buffet of impressive brushes and sponges, the original beautyblender reigns supreme. It blends in all kinds of face product for an airbrushed finish, and it will change your mornings for good.

The Her Campus National Editors write about products we love and think you’ll love too. Her Campus has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. All products are in stock and all prices are accurate as of publication.

Gina was formerly the Beauty & Culture Editor at Her Campus, where she oversaw content and strategy for the site's key verticals. She was also the person behind @HerCampusBeauty, and all those other glowy selfies you faved. She got her start in digital media as a Campus Correspondent at HC Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she graduated in 2017 with degrees in English and Theater. Now, Gina is an LA-based writer and editor, and you can regularly find her wearing a face mask in bed and scrolling through TikTok.
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