For the longest time, foundation has maintained its status as beauty's biggest guilty pleasure. Wearing it almost always feels like a vice, since we're always told that our skin would do so much better without it. "Let your skin breathe," they say. It's even more complicated because we all know that deep down, we agree.

However, times have changed, and so have foundation formulas. This notion of the product being the devil in your routine might already be obsolete, and beauty experts agree. 

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According to Nancy Woo, regional training director of Japanese beauty brand Shiseido, wearing a layer of foundation every day can actually be good for your skin. "Apart from using skin care, protecting your skin is very important. Most Shiseido foundations have an SPF factor and can therefore protect the skin from ultraviolet rays," she explains. Nancy even compares wearing foundation to wearing clothes, in that it protects the face like clothes do with our bodies.

We asked Dr. Windie Hayano of The Skin Inc. Dermatology and Laser Center about what she thought of this and to our surprise, she agreed. "There is some truth to it, especially now that products have changed and improved formulations. Most foundations now have sun protection, moisture, and other active ingredients mixed into them like antioxidants. At the bare minimum you get an extra layer of sun protection like a physical sunblock while you have it on,” says the derm.

Dr. Raissa Pasion of SKIN Dermatology and Laser Center thinks similarly but recommends proceeding with caution. She explains that wearing foundation alone is not enough to protect the skin, meaning we still have to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to do so. She adds, "While we dermatologists stress that it is better to use a sunscreen separately, a foundation with SPF is better than one without it if the individual will not use a separate sunscreen."


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If foundation is beneficial when it contains SPF, what makes it better than just wearing sunscreen? Nancy explains, "Some people can use only sunblock [for protection], but most sunblocks don't even out your skin tone or give you a healthy glow. A very light foundation that's massaged into the skin, however, will." In short, a well-formulated foundation with SPF and skin care benefits can give you the best of both complexion-perfecting worlds.

With that, both Dr. Raissa and Dr. Windie stress the importance of removing your makeup thoroughly at the end of the day in order to avoid irritation. "Sleeping with foundation is a no-no," Dr. Raissa emphasizes. Because no matter how protected you are in the morning, all of it has to go at night if you want healthy skin. So do a double cleanse if you can, just to be sure that no trace of makeup is left. Also, make sure to pick the right product for your skin type!

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This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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