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Beauty Awards: Best face makeup, from foundation to primer, for a flawless base

Put your best face forward with these award-winning picks, starting at less than $7.

Let's face it: Most people aren't blessed with perfect complexions. Thankfully, we can lean on some base makeup products for those days we want to fake our way to a flawless face.

Narrowed down from hundreds of products our team carefully reviewed, these makeup MVPs impressed both our team of TODAY staff and beauty experts. Our award-winning priming potions, foundations, concealers, blushes, and setting products are here to help you achieve the look of your dreams. And, when the time comes to take it all off, we found the makeup-melting all-stars that'll actually have you excited to kick off your nighttime skin care routine.

From pore-minimizing primers to budget-friendly blushes, scroll on for the complete list of this year's Beauty Awards-winning products that'll help you put your best face forward.

Shop TODAY Beauty Awards: 24 best face makeup products of 2023

Primers | Foundations | Concealers | Setting powders | Blushes | Makeup tools | Makeup removers

Best Primers

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer

Award: Best overall primer

This primer is a longtime favorite among the Shop TODAY team for its uncanny ability to lock onto your makeup and maintain skin moisture throughout the day. According to deputy editorial director Alexandra Deabler, this primer gets "tens across the board."

"I've tried a couple of primers, but this one stays grippy and hydrating," Deabler says.

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer

Award: Best hydrating primer

Anyone battling seasonal dryness or just looking for a solid base will appreciate the ultra-moisturizing properties of this primer.

"So hydrating! I was shocked," gushes executive editor Ashley Codianni. "This primer felt like I was putting on lotion. It also helped preserve my full face of makeup for a full day."

Smashbox Photo Finish Correct Anti-Redness Primer

Award: Best color-correcting primer

This do-it-all primer talks a big game — the brand says it color corrects to neutralize redness, blurs pores and imperfections and helps makeup glide on smoothly for a flawless finish. Our reviewers put it to work and can attest that it lives up to its claims.

"I struggle with rosacea and rosacea flare-ups and this product was very useful," Codianni says. "I use a full coverage foundation and this helped tame my redness even more. It also lasts through an entire work day and night out — which is promising."

Best Foundations

Haus Labs Triclone Skin Tech Medium Coverage Foundation

Award: Best medium coverage foundation

When the Shop TODAY team saw this foundation being lauded by TikTokers for its incredibly natural, "skin-like" finish and buildable coverage, we knew we had to try it. Since one editor's rave review, a ton of other team members have been influenced to sport the viral product.

Associate editor Danielle Murphy can think of quite a few reasons to love this product, citing its many shades, serum-like application, great ingredients, blendability and flexible coverage as reasons it's worth adding to your cart.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation

Award: Best full coverage foundation

If you're a full-coverage kind of person, our reviewers recommend this trendy foundation. Those who tried it say that it will stay put all day, without any caking or creasing.

"Hands down the best foundation I’ve used," raves intern Jordan Greene. "It didn’t make my skin look 'cakey' or clumpy. I also loved how full coverage and natural it looked."

Merit The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick

Award: Best stick foundation

While we love a liquid foundation, sometimes things can get messy. This stick is versatile because it can be used as both a concealer and foundation, making it a great product to do your base makeup with and then throw in your purse for easy touch-ups throughout the day. But rest assured — you won't be sacrificing coverage for convenience with this multitasker.

"It really covers!" exclaims deals editor for Shop TODAY Rebecca Brown. "And it blended so softly and easily. I dab a bit underneath my eyes and blend out the edges and it brightens my entire face. The dark discoloration underneath my eyes disappears with this."

bareMinerals Original Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Award: Best powder foundation

This powder foundation is beloved by Shop TODAY staffers who tried it for its airy, lightweight feel and buildable coverage.

"It went on smoothly and rested on my skin nicely," says trending editor Nicoletta Richardson. "As someone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, I appreciated that I couldn't even feel it on my skin while seeing results (but not obvious texture, which is good). The tone blended with my skin well."

Although it's well-suited for your whole face, experts say it can also be used more sparingly to powder particularly oil-prone areas. "I like to use it mainly in the t-zone of the face to set the base in place," explains celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney.

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

Award: Best CC cream

Move over, heavy foundations! This CC cream formula combines cosmetics with skin care ingredients for a layer that looks and feels natural and doesn't appear cakey, according to reviewers. But don't get it twisted — that lighter texture doesn't mean the formula lacks the ability to cover or conceal imperfections.

"The coverage was really good! No complaints about that" assures commerce deals coordinator Victoria Herlocker.

Best Concealers

Dermablend Cover Care Full Coverage Concealer

Award: Best full coverage concealer

When it comes to coverage, one option emerged as a clear winner, according to Shop TODAY staffers who tried the product firsthand.

"I love how much coverage it provides under my eyes. I just need two to three taps to cover one area," SEO commerce writer Jannely Espinal reports. "The formula is thick, creamy and very concentrated, which helps if you have puffiness around the eyes. It doesn’t crease and gives you that smooth filter-like effect."

Experts agree that this concealer has you covered — literally. "This is great to use to cover tattoos," Henney says, adding that she likes to pair it with fellow Beauty Awards winner, the Original BeautyBlender, to slowly blend.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

Award: Best medium coverage concealer

A common theme among the praise from reviewers of this concealer was the shade match, a real testament to the product's ample range of colors and undertones.

"The color match is probably the closest to my skin tone that I’ve ever encountered with a concealer yet, which makes it feel like I’m not wearing anything at all," muses SEO senior editor Jess Bender. "I’ve worn it for several long days and it remains fully intact, in place and free of creasing by the time I get home (sometimes over 12 hours after I applied it in the first place)."

Bender also complimented the formula's doe-foot applicator, noting that there's always exactly the right amount of product on the brush to tackle all of her problem spots in one go.

Maybelline Fit Me Liquid Concealer

Award: Best budget concealer

If you're looking for solid coverage on a budget, this option delivers serious bang for your buck. Assistant editor Lauren Witonsky appreciated that it matched her fair complexion seamlessly, and also praised the applicator, shouting out its small wand that makes it easy to spot correct with precision.

Best Setting Products

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

Award: Best loose powder

Sheer, weightless, superfine ... this powder is marketed as a barely-there layer to lock in makeup for a flawless finish, and Shop TODAY staff reviewers say it lived up to the hype.

"Feels so lightweight!" raves production associate Jill Ortiz. "Like, forgot I was wearing it at times. Could wear it all day!"

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

Award: Best pressed powder

Our reviewers loved the packaging and concept of this pressed powder, pointing out that it helped avoid the potential mess of setting with loose powder and also felt less wasteful. From a performance perspective, the powder wore really well with our reviewers, too.

"I tried this with a few different foundations and wearing it with just concealer and it pairs nicely with both," editorial assistant Shannon Garlin reports. "I found my makeup to be perfectly set, with an overall matte finish and zero shine. As the brand says, it is long-lasting; I only had to touch up once or twice throughout the entire day."

Milk Makeup Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Set + Refresh Spray

Award: Best setting spray

Prone to dryness and flaking? This setting spray offers a hydrating alternative to powder-based setting products that will keep your makeup locked in place and leave your skin feeling refreshed.

"It holds up to its claims and makes my makeup last all day," shares Lifestyle editor Amanda Garrity. "It gives a natural yet dewy finish, which is exactly what I’m after. I use it when I first apply my makeup, but also throughout the day if I need to liven things up."

Best Blushes

Burt's Bees All Aglow Lip & Cheek Stick

Award: Best multi stick

We love a beauty multitasker, which does the work of two products in one and allows us to skip a step in our beauty routines. This stick is both a lip balm and a cheek tint and boasts hydrating properties since its "emollients can work to moisturize the skin," according to cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson.

"It seems to have minimal ingredients and is not irritating to my sensitive skin on my lips," Shop TODAY reviewer, SEO associate editor Fran Sales, notes. "This was surprisingly subtly hydrating on my lips. It’s also very affordable and can be used on the cheek."

NARS Orgasm Blush

Award: Best powder blush

Yeah, you read that product name right. This naughtily-named blush caused quite a stir among Shop TODAY Beauty Awards reviewers, and not just for its raunchy title.

"This product was very high quality and seems like it would last a long time, which is great considering it’s expensive for blush," notes social media editor Kara Quill. "I also found it to be pretty understated, but buildable if you were looking for it to be more pigmented or more easily noticeable."

Milani Baked Blush

Award: Best budget blush

On the hunt for an option at a lower price point? This baked blush is a solid pick that won't break the bank.

"I love how pigmented this blush is and how easy it is to blend out," says Kayiu Wong. "Since it is a bit shimmery, it effortlessly gives my cheeks a nice glow. I don’t even need to use a highlighter when I wear this blush."

Be sure to check out the full range of shades to find the one best suited for your complexion — reviewers noted that for certain skin tones, the color payoff was minimal. When it came to darker skin tones, the blush provides more of a light shimmer than a true flush of color.

Best Makeup Tools

Daubigny Kabuki Makeup Brush

Award: Best brush

This affordable brush impressed our reviewers, even convincing a few to ditch their go-to makeup sponges in favor of this option.

"I feel like sponges often absorb too much of the product and sheer out the coverage, which is great when I want a lighter and dewier look," says photo editor Vivian Le. "However, when my skin isn’t looking great, that’s not so helpful. This brush really retains the coverage of the product though and also blends like a dream. I also used it to blend my contour and it was seamless."

For a flawless finish, Henney recommends that you "tap foundation onto the face with your finger and blend and buff in circular motions with the kabuki brush, starting from the center and moving outward."

BESTOPE PRO Makeup Brush Set

Award: Best brush set

Be honest ... when was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? If you're in need of a new set, this 16-piece collection rings up at less than ten bucks. Reviewers were blown away by the value of the set, which has a tool or two for every step of your makeup routine.

The set is "so affordable and has lots of different brush sizes and options!" producer Phoebe Curran gushes. "The bristles were very soft too."

Beautyblender Original Beautyblender

Award: Best sponge

Tried and true, the Original Beautyblender remains a go-to in our beauty arsenal. As the top pick amongst our reviewers, it impressed beauty industry veterans and makeup novices alike.

"As someone who used to apply products with just my hands, I’ll probably never go back," admits Shop Today associate social media editor Dani Musacchio. "I love using this tool to easily apply and blend products into my skin. I believe that it makes my foundation and concealer application so much better."

Best Makeup Removers


Award: Best makeup remover

If you're in search of a remover for your most stubborn makeup (yes, even waterproof), reviewers say this does the trick — without all the tugging, rubbing, and triple cleansing normally involved.

"This is an oldie but goodie," proclaims executive assistant Jacqueline Agnolet. "I forgot how thoroughly this removes everything from the eyes without any irritation or tugging. I used to always purchase this but stopped — dumb move on my part. This large bottle will last forever."

Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

Award: Best cleansing balm

Who knew the ingredient your skin care routine was missing all along was... papaya? We turned to an expert to give us the scoop on this naturally cleansing ingredient.

"Papaya is known to have enzymes that work to digest or dissolve proteins and therefore may serve as a gentle cleanser through this mechanism," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades. "This product also contains many oils, so it would be an appropriate choice for very dry and mature skin types."

"This balm seriously takes everything off without stripping the skin or making it feel overly dry," swears Witonsky. "[It] feels really luxurious, from the texture of the product to the applicator it comes with. I love that it’s not considered a liquid, so I can travel with the full size."

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Award: Best micellar water

Looking to steer clear of oils in your skin care? Reviewers appreciated the gentle feeling of this micellar water, which serves as a quick and easy way to take off makeup. It won't leave you with any greasy or oily residue, and reviewers noted that just a small dab on a cotton swab went a long way.

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Stick

Award: Best budget makeup remover

This makeup-removing stick from Neutrogena is portable, affordable and ready whenever you are for a touch-up.

"This product worked really well and I love how compact it is," says photo editor Kara Birnbaum. "I started carrying this product whenever I knew I would need to transition my look. I often spend weekends out of my apartment at my boyfriend's house and have to lug my makeup bag, but with products like this, it makes it so much easier than clunky makeup removing pads and doesn't spill like liquid remover."

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