Why Serum Foundation Is Becoming Everyone’s Favorite Makeup

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Skin-care serums have quickly taken up residency in our bathroom cabinets for their efficacy in hydrating and treating common skin conditions. (And, OK, they make for a really pretty shelfie, too.) But serum foundation—the newest makeup-meets-skin care hybrid—is a whole new ball game, with its slightly milky, slightly watery but totally weightless and nourishing formula. Here’s everything you need to know about this two-in-one complexion booster.

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First of all, what is serum foundation? You guessed it—part serum and part foundation. But unlike traditional formulas, it has an ultra-fluid consistency that blends easily into skin for a velvety no-makeup finish. It also has skin-nourishing ingredients similar to those in your skin-care serums, helping to improve the appearance of fine lines, dark spots and signs of aging.

Should I try it? If you love how lightweight tinted moisturizer feels but want something with more coverage, serum foundation could be your answer. Use a drop or two, and it will mirror the appearance of bare skin. But a few more drops will build up to that airbrushed “I’m a YouTube makeup star” look without the pore-suffocating feeling. It’s also perfect for every skin type, because it’s neither drying nor greasy and it won’t settle into fine lines on mature skin. But beware—its super-liquidy consistency can be hard to blend on the first get-go. Try using an old-school flat foundation brush for the most control.

Where do I get it? Luckily, so many brands are making this type of foundation, because, well, it works. And with a formula at every price point, the foundation aisle is your oyster. We’d recommend e.l.f. Cosmetics Beautifully Bare Serum Foundation ($8), bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation ($30), or ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation ($54).

Now you can say you kinda woke up like this.

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Brianna Lapolla formerly held the role of Senior Commerce Editor at PureWow covering all things shopping across beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Now, she's putting her 12 years of...