No Joke: These Drugstore Foundations Are Seriously the Best

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If you’ve spent any amount of time watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, you might have noticed the overwhelming popularity of all-drugstore routines—and for good reason. Plenty of quality drugstore makeup now exists on the market, with creamier, more pigmented and versatile formulas than in past years.

Whether you’re looking for a foundation that glides over imperfections, disguises dry patches or doesn’t only come in ivory, there are plenty of drugstore options to choose from—and we found the best of them, hands-down. The best part? Each one costs less than the average lunch.

Read on for the best drugstore foundations you can buy now.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: L’Oreal True Match Foundation

The unicorn of the drugstore aisle, this beloved foundation from L’Oreal works for both oily/combination and dry skin types. Clocking in at less than the average cost of lunch, this full-coverage formula smooths over skin for a flawless finish without clinging to dry patches or emphasizing texture. The result is an airbrushed look without the dreaded cakiness. And unlike other full-coverage foundations, this lightweight formula doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything on your face. It’s also a favorite among reviewers for the impressive shade range, which serves cool, neutral and warm undertones.

Take a peek at some of the other best foundations you can buy.

Best for Dry Skin: L’Oreal’ Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation

L'Oreal® Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation - Medium Shades - 1.0 fl oz
Courtesy of Target

If you have dry skin but prefer a dewier finish, this second option from L’Oreal might work better. This liquid foundation comes in a squeeze tube, and like the True Match formula, smooths over skin without caking up. The result is a luminous, healthy glow that isn’t drying and resembles real skin. The coverage, as always, is buildable and hides everything from redness to laugh lines without settling in into the creases. According to reviews, a little goes a long way with this foundation, so start with a small amount and layer as needed.

Best for Oily Skin: e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation

elf cosmetics flawless finish foundation

Courtesy of e.l.f. Cosmetics 

Don't be fooled by the endearingly simple packaging of this foundation because it's a workhorse. The formula resists breaking down on oily skin and blends out to a buildable satin finish that adds radiance without greasiness. Reviewers reported the foundation lasted comfortably for hours and gave even better results with primer. Like most liquid foundations, this applies best with a damp sponge but also works well with brushes. And since e.l.f. refrains from animal testing, this foundation is also cruelty-free.

Best For Acne: Neutrogena Skinclearing Makeup

Wearing foundation on acne-prone skin is like a double-edge sword. You may want to use it to cover up blemishes and spots that have taken up residence on your face, but you also don’t want to clog your pores, potentially causing new acne to appear. Luckily, Neutrogena created a formula—with the help of dermatologists—that doesn’t just conceal pimples but actually treats them while you’re wearing it.

Thanks to the brand’s Micro-Clear technology this breathable liquid formula not only heals pesky blemishes but also helps prevent future ones. It contains blemish-busting salicylic acid and is oil-free so it won’t clog pores. The oil-dissolving formula helps to control shine leaving your skin looking natural—basically, not too matte and not too dewy.

Best Powder: NYX Professional Makeup Stay Matte Powder Foundation

nyx stay matte but not flat

Courtesy of Ulta

Matte foundations, powders included, create the illusion of beautifully smooth skin, but run the risk of steamrolling the dimension out of your face. Additional highlighting is often required to counter this flattening effect, but this lightweight pressed powder avoids that issue. It’s not only available in multiple shades, but suits different undertones as well. You can brush or pat over moisturizer for a natural-looking velvet finish, or press over a layer of liquid foundation for additional coverage.

Best Stick: Maybelline Fit Me! Shine-Free Stick Foundation

Maybelline® FIT ME® Shine-Free + Balance Foundation - Deep Shades - .32oz
Courtesy of Target

Stick foundations promise a few advantages over their liquid counterparts. They’re less likely to cause a mess when you toss them in your bag, cover your face in less time (swipe the stick across your face for speedy application) and blend out quickly.

This compact option from Maybelline is a stick version of the popular liquid Fit Me! foundation and is just as easy to use. Twist the stick and apply to your face for buildable, light to medium coverage. As the product warms up on your skin, it smooths out easily to a natural-looking finish.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best stick foundations.

Best Liquid: NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Drops

This liquid foundation comes in a dropper bottle that lets you dispense exactly how much foundation you need. The dropper packaging also allows you to control how much coverage you get—a difference of a few drops can take you from sheer to full coverage in seconds. It dries to a velvet matte finish that boasts a soft glow while reducing shininess. And for users with oily skin, this formula doesn’t break up into the all-too-familiar greasy particles.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our picks of the best liquid foundations.

Best Dewy Finish: Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation in Dewy and Smooth

This Maybelline foundation is somewhat of a cult favorite. Providing hydration and medium coverage, the Fit Me! Foundation (also available in a matte formula) works best for normal to dry skin types, though oilier skin could also pull this off with some setting powder layered over top. Reviewers love how easy the formula is to work with—it applies smoothly and leaves a healthy, glowing finish that seems to put your skin in soft focus.

Best Matte: Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

This budget-friendly option from Maybelline is a match made in heaven for those looking for a shine-free finish. The lightweight liquid foundation features micro-powders to help control excess oil and shine while blurring the appearance of pores. The velvet-like texture melts into skin and dries to a powder finish that doesn’t appear chalky or heavy, but still stays put all day. Plus, the formula is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores. The best part? The extensive 40 plus shade range works for fair to deep complexions.

Need more convincing? These matte foundations can tackle a midday oil slick like none other.

Best Waterproof: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

If you normally find your foundation sliding down your face or transferring onto your clothes, then this waterproof formula from L'Oréal is the one you should reach for. It features shine-defying blotting spheres that act like blotting paper so it immediately soaks up any sweat or oil without disrupting your makeup.

The high water content in the formula doesn’t dry out your skin so it works for even dry complexions. It also has a 24-hour wear time, making it one of the most long-lasting foundations on the market. When applying, we recommend pressing the foundation into the skin, concentrating on areas that tend to get a bit more oily as the days goes on.

Best for Dark Skin: L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Foundation

la girl pro coverage hd foundation

Courtesy of La Girl

If you’re a fan of the color-correcting products or concealers from this brand, there’s now an equally effective foundation. Available in a pump bottle, this full-coverage formula glides across the skin for a long-lasting dewy finish and boasts an impressive 16-shade range for people with darker skin.

Interested in more foundation picks? Take a look at our selection of the best high-end foundations.

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