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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.
Thanks to a few enterprising brands, you can now pick up foundation in multiple finishes and shades a few aisles over from your toilet paper brand of choice. So whether you’re looking for foundation that glides over imperfections, disguises dry patches or doesn’t only come in ivory, there are plenty of options to choose from no matter your skin type. From great picks that include a 16-shade foundation range to a dewy-finish favorite, there is a foundation formula that suits your needs. The best part? Each costs less than an impulse buy at Sephora.
Read on for the best drugstore foundations you can buy now.
Best Powder: NYX Stay Matte Powder Foundation
NYX tends to excel in all categories, not least in foundation. 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. Perfect for those who want flawless coverage with minimal product or want to touch up on the go, 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. Reviewers reported good results either way.
Best Stick: Maybelline Fit Me! Shine-Free Stick Foundation
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 up 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. If you have oily or combination skin, reviewers suggest mattifying with a light dusting of setting powder. The foundation also offers an option for deeper skin tones.
Best Full Coverage: 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 under $7, this full-coverage formula somehow smooths over skin for a flawless finish without clinging to dry patches or emphasizing texture, resulting in 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. L'Oreal's liquid foundation comes in a small glass jar, so be careful when pouring out applying the product, as it comes out quickly and can result in using more than needed.
Best for Dry Skin: L’Oreal’ Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation
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 covers everything from redness to laugh lines without settling in into the creases, which leaves an unnatural look on the face. One reviewer even said this formula, with a little bit of primer, works for mature skin. According to reviews, a little goes a long way with this foundation, so start with a small amount and layer as needed.
Best Liquid: NYX Total Control Drops
Another winner from NYX, 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.
This foundation leaves a velvet matte finish that adds 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.
Best for Dark Skin: L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Foundation
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 skin for a long-lasting dewy finish and boasts an impressive 16-shade range for people with darker skin. The foundation also comes in a matte finish for oily skin types on L.A. Girl’s site, though it unfortunately comes in fewer shades. If you’re a fan of Makeup Forever’s Ultra HD Foundations, this lightweight, illuminating foundation is a worthy drugstore dupe.
Best Dewy Finish: Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation in Dewy and Smooth
Like the L’Oreal True Match, 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 this for 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 for Oily Skin: e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation
The endearingly simple packaging of this foundation doesn’t even list the name of the product on the bottle’s frosted exterior. Minimalism aside, this foundation is 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 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 Paris 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 medium-coverage formula boasts a light texture with a semi-matte finish that feels comfortable on the skin while still concealing blemishes, spots, or any discoloration you may have. 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 Matte: Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation
This budget-friendly option from Maybelline is a match made in heaven for those with oily/combination skin or are 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 and can lead to pimples.
The best part? The extensive 40 plus shade range works for fair to deep complexions. We recommend applying it with a synthetic densely-packed brush for a fuller coverage look or sheer it out with a damp beauty sponge.
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 causing new ones 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. Before applying, make sure your skin is freshly cleansed and moisturized to ensure the Salicylic Acid in the formula doesn’t dry-out your skin. Note: if you have extremely dry skin or are sensitive this one is probably not the foundation for you.