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Giorgio Armani’s beloved Luminous Silk Foundation is a huge favorite among makeup artists, beauty editors, models, and YouTubers because put simply, it delivers an Instagram-worthy filter-like finish offering medium-to-full coverage buildability, but miraculously manages to still look (and feel) like bare skin. It delivers a subtle radiance that catches the light beautifully (it looks amazing in photos) all without looking shimmery or overly dewy. Plus, it blends into the skin like a dream, hence why it’s endured as an industry staple spotted in so many MUA’s kits. Sadly, finding a Luminous Silk foundation dupe isn’t exactly easy — I should know since I’ve been trying to find an affordable alternative to this magical potion for years.
The first time a makeup artist applied it to my skin, it was love at first sight. My skin looked like it had been photo-shopped by a professional (except IRL, obviously) while still looking natural — not like a bad Facetune edit, and definitely not cakey or greasy. Unfortunately, while I was in love with Luminous Silk, the $69 price tag wasn’t exactly a love affair I could commit to long-term (or, on any terms, really).
While the iconic complexion-enhancing base may be one-of-a-kind, there are some similar formulas available that will give your skin a similar effect without having to shell out a whopping $64 for one fluid ounce. Look, if you’re going to invest in a luxury foundation, this one is totally worth it, but not all of us are able to drop that kind of cash on makeup.
If you’re really looking to save, but simply can’t fathom of the idea of having to downgrade to one of the dupes I’ve highlighted below, there is a smaller-sized bottle of Luminous Silk Foundation for $45 instead of $69. You’re only going to get 0.8 ounces, but it’s a great option for those who intend to only wear it on special occasions or if you haven’t tried it for yourself yet, and don’t want to invest the full amount until you’re absolutely certain that it’s worth it.
Either way, I’ve searched long and hard trying to find drugstore equivalent to this wondrous foundation, and while I can’t quite say any of them are a 100 percent spot-on match, they’re pretty darn close and cost less than $25 a pop.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
The iconic foundation is now available in two sizes, so you can save $22 bucks for the smaller size if you really don’t want to stray from the original.
L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation
When you search for Luminous Silk dupes online (whether on Google, Reddit or Pinterest), L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Foundation is by far the most mentioned alternative to its high-end counterpart. This lightweight, silky foundation feels like skin and gives a satiny glow that falls perfectly in between the dewy vs. matte spectrum. It also scores serious bonus points for being infused with skin-enhancing ingredients, including Vitamin C and E.
Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation
Maybelline’s beloved Fit Me line is mostly known for their Matte + Poreless foundation, which yes, is amazing. But the lesser-known dewy version of this affordable foundation is not only equally as stellar, but it’s also a tragically underrated dupe for Luminous Silk. It also contains SPF 18 and is offered in an impressive range of shades, which gives it some major extra credit points.
The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation
Okay, so I know this one isn’t technically a drugstore option, but $25 is significantly cheaper than $64, and this is a pretty close dupe to Luminous Silk if you’re looking to come as close as possible to the real deal. It’s a hydrating formula, but dries down to a semi-matte finish, making it feel comfortable and airless all day long. It delivers a solid medium-level coverage, but you can easily build it to full with another layer without it streaking or looking heavy. Just like Luminous Silk Nude Glow actually blends into the skin rather than sitting on top of it, giving you a natural veil of coverage.
Physician’s Formula The Healthy Foundation
This top-rated foundation is somewhat of a newcomer to the drugstore beauty sphere, but it’s already amassed a major following in the short time it’s been out. Just like the Armani, this weightless formula offers buildable coverage that looks like your skin but better (and maybe with a real-life filter on it), without looking like you’re wearing makeup at all. It also contains skincare ingredients to help brighten and improve texture and tone over time. What’s not to love?
L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation
Honestly, L’Oreal knows how to do affordable foundation right. I can’t think of a foundation that I’ve tried from their range that I haven’t been impressed with (and I’ve tried pretty much every single one they have to offer). The Pro-Glow foundation from their long-wearing Infallible collection is an excellent alternative to Luminous Silk because it gives you a natural radiance that looks like skin, but doesn’t leave you looking like an oil slick or foundation-free after just two hours of wear time.
A version of this story was originally published in February 2020.