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5 Best Full Coverage Foundations for Pageantry

Summer heat calls for sheer and lightweight formulas for foundation since it is going to sweat off anyway! Well, winter is here and the cooler temperatures allow for a more full-coverage look, whether you are competing on stage, in interview, or just attending appearances.

With so many options out there, is can be hard to narrow it down to the best options for a full-coverage formula. Personally, I need a full-coverage makeup for every day simply because of my uneven skin tone and acne scars (word to the wise and younger crowd, heed your mother’s advice and don’t pop those pimples!)

If you want to try numerous foundations, go to Sephora and they will make you samples of any of their products, as does the makeup counters inside most department stores (such as inside Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, etc.).

After trying over 20 types of foundations, these are the best I have found in the areas of coverage, breathability and comfort, sweat and water resistance, and length of wear.

5 Best Full Coverage Foundations for Pageantry

1. MAC Face and Body

Pageant girls, if you haven’t tried my personal favorite, Holy Grail product yet, you need to get on that! Not only is this makeup great for build-able coverage on your face, but like the name suggests, it helps even out skin tone for your body. Hello swimsuit perfect legs!

Another bonus of this particular product is it has an extremely natural-looking finish that mimics your skin’s texture but is also very build-able. You can wear it very sheer, or add layers until you have the desired coverage.

Lastly, it is also great for photography as it will not produce the dreaded flashback (the ghostly white face in photos).

MAC face and body
MAC Face and Body foundation. Photo: MAC Cosmetics

2. Urban Decay All-Nighter

This product truly stands up to its name. It will last all night long, so make sure you don’t skimp on your nightly cleansing routine. (Do you need help with your evening routine? Read: How to Establish a Skincare Routine)

The formula is a medium to full coverage, helps absorb oil throughout the day, and it is waterproof. This is an especially good option for on-stage competitions, as it will stand up to the heat of stage lighting.

You can find this foundation at Sephora for $40. Trust me when I say a little goes a long way with this product.

full coverage makeup, urban decay
Urban Decay All-Nighter. Photo: Sephora

3. Diorskin Airflash

Okay, this one is a little steep in price ($62 at Sephora), but it is so worth the price, especially if comfort of the makeup is a key factor for you.

Not only does this foundation have wonderful coverage, it felt so light on my skin that I almost forgot I was wearing a full-coverage foundation. It felt as light as my mineral and pressed powder options but had the coverage to conceal my scars and discoloration.

One caveat to this foundation however is the application process. Although it comes in a spray bottle in an attempt to mimic airbrushing techniques, my favorite way to apply was actually to spray some in my hand and then work the product into a foundation or stippling brush, and then apply it to my face.

I found that if I sprayed the product directly on my face, the foundation didn’t cover as well and ended up looking spotty.

My last favorite feature of this foundation is the finish – it gave a soft, dewy glow because of a pearlized finish to the foundation. It was just subtle enough to give a glow without adding additional highlighter to the skin.

Diorskin Airflash
Dior Airflash Foundation. Photo: Sehora

4. Estee Lauder Double Wear

I first discovered the Double Wear foundation when I was in high school and desperately needed to cover my persistent acne. I loved the coverage then for its ability to hide the breakouts, and I love it now because it hides the discoloration from said acne scars.

My favorite part of double wear is how smooth the foundation covers, no matter what your favorite application is. It works well with fingers, foundation brushes, stippling methods, or even with sponges.

The next best part of the Double Wear line is the range of colors. You can base your color on your tone (i.e. cool, warm or neutral), and also on your level of color (i.e. light, medium or deep).

Although it claims to wear for 15 hours, I would say it truly depends on your skin’s oil production. I have an oily t-zone and the foundation starts to break down on my forehead after about 6 hours. However, on my dryer cheek area, the product tends to last closer to 10+ hours. (For more tips on oily skin, read: How to Control Oily Skin at Your Next Pageant.)

esteem lauder double wear
Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. Photo: Estee Lauder

5. Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation

Have you seen the video of the head-to-toe tattooed man that gets all of his tattoos hidden with makeup? This is the product actually used in that commercial.

This is the product for you if you are serious about full coverage, nothing showing through, extremely covering makeup.

The coverage of this foundation is the best I have personally ever used. It hid every dark spot, pimple and acne scar I have. However, the makeup felt extremely heavy on my face and it did not look dewy. It will give that very made-up, perfected look.

This is also an extremely long-wearing product; I wore it all day from about 7:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m. and only needed a light touch up of powder on my oily t-zone.

Personally, I found the coverage to be a little too heavy for my preference. But, if you want a formula that will perfect your skin tone, hide birth marks or blemishes, then I would recommend this brand.

Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo
Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo foundation. Photo: Ariva

Kristin Billings, Ms. North Carolina United States 2015, uses Dermablend to conceal her tattoos for pageantry. She struggled to find a makeup powerful enough to conceal large tattoos, especially with a long-lasting formula.

“Every article I’ve ever read was about covering tiny tattoos, not large pieces, so I struggled to find what I needed,” Billings said.

She also advised girls to cover tattoos 100% for competition phases of pageantry. Check out the amazing coverage of Dermablend in Kristin’s photo below!

Kristin Billings, Ms. North Carolina United States, Dermablend
Kristin Billings, Ms. North Carolina United States 2015. Photo: Kristin Billings

If you want even higher power coverage, try Dermablend’s Cover Crème. It is specifically formulated to hide even the most troublesome of skin issues, like rosacea, tattoos, and even discoloration caused by vitiligo.

Do you have specific skin issues you need to find the perfect product for? Leave it in the comments section to get your question answered.

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