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Fun fact: Price doesn’t really mean that much when it comes to full-coverage foundation. Yes, we love Double Wear as much as the next person, but the truth is that you can find a stack of budge-proof foundation formulas at the drugstore (also known as heaven on Earth). And what’s even better is that they hit all the other markers of a great base product: diverse shade ranges, natural-looking finishes, great blend-ability, and sometimes even skincare benefits.
So if you’re looking for a full-coverage foundation at an affordable price point, get excited, because the below list features the best of them. There’s super matte formulas, luminous options, acne-fighting buys…basically everything you need to nail a flawless base on a budget, every single time.
Keep scrolling to shop the best full-coverage drugstore foundations.
Best Overall: Maybelline New York SuperStay Long-Lasting Full Coverage Foundation
This hardworking foundation will give your skin a diffused finish that promises not to budge, no matter the conditions. It's loved by so many celebrity makeup artists and often used backstage during fashion week because its saturated pigment lays a veil of coverage that works on all skin tones.
Best Budget: Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Full Coverage Foundation
This is the perfect multipurpose, do-it-all makeup product. The creamy, buildable formula comes in the format of a large concealer, with a demi-matte finish and a buildable, full level of coverage. Use it all over for a perfect base or apply as needed for a fresh but polished makeup look. It also comes in an impressive 50 shades.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: e.l.f. Cosmetics Acne Fighting Foundation
It's a beautiful thing when makeup and skincare collide. This foundation conceals and treats acne spots at the same time, thanks to skin-saving ingredients like salicylic acid, witch hazel, camphor, tea tree, and aloe. In terms of texture, it settles into your skin with a comfortable matte finish.
Best for Dark Skin: BLK/OPL True Color Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation
As of 2019, BLK OPL is proudly black-owned, meaning they’re experts when it comes to beautiful, flattering shades for dark skin tones. The Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation specifically is super pigmented and luminous, so leaves the skin looking polished, refined, and even. No grey, ashy or chalky undertones, either.
Best for Olive Skin: NYX Professional Makeup Can't Stop Won't Stop Foundation
This unicorn foundation has nailed a full, life-proof level of coverage that still looks (and feels) natural. It’s a rich, pigmented liquid, so a little goes a long way. It’s also matte and won’t oxidize, so is a safe bet on hot, humid days. There are a few warm and olive undertone shade variants in there too, so perfect for those with a golden complexion.
Best for Medium Skin: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
As far as full coverage drugstore foundation formulas go, this stuff is iconic. It contains what Maybelline calls “blurring micro-powders” to minimize the look of pores and refine skin texture, leaving you with a soft, matte, diffused complexion. While the entire shade range is quite strong, it’s especially great for warm, neutral, and cool-toned medium complexions.
Best for Fair Skin: L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation SPF 25
Fair skin types will love both the flattering rosy and yellow-toned lighter shades from this L’Oreal option. It’s a thinner liquid that spreads over the complexion with ease, but then stays put for a solid 18-hour workday without transferring, rubbing, or oxidizing.
Best Matte Finish: CoverGirl TruBlend Matte Made Liquid Foundation
If you want a true matte finish without the chalky, heavy feeling, Covergirl has you sorted. It absorbs oil but moves with the skin, so you look fresh for up to 12 hours. It comes in an impressive 40 shades, too.
Best for Dry Skin: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
This unique formula from The Ordinary is really thin, but still offers ample coverage thanks to pigments being suspended in a light, silicone-based fluid. It’s perfect for dry skin or those who find their foundation settles because it’s super light and doesn’t grab.
Best Stick: Wet n Wild PhotoFocus Stick Foundation
Stick foundations are a tough one to get right. Too thick, and they’re impossible to blend. Too thin and you’ll never build up your desired coverage. But Wet n Wild’s PhotoFocus Stick Foundation strikes the perfect balance. It’s really creamy and blends well, while the inclusion of sunflower and argan oils leave the skin looking fresh and hydrated. It’s great for touching up throughout the day as well if you’re that way inclined.
While foundation is a highly personal makeup choice, we’re unanimous fans of the Maybelline New York Super Stay Full Coverage Foundation because it’s natural-looking, long-wearing, and feels really comfortable on the skin. A close second place goes to the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation. Not only does this nail the perfect “matte finish” (one that is soft and powdery, but not flat or cakey) but it comes in an incredible shade range and at a reasonable price.
What to Look For When Buying Full Coverage Drugstore Foundation
This seems obvious, but unfortunately, some makeup brands are still lacking when it comes to a diverse, comprehensive shade offering. Your individual skin tone will come into play here, but keep an eye out for a variety of shades and undertones that sit within your complexion category (fair, medium, olive or dark).
Makeup artist Jasmin Lo suggests looking out for a drugstore formula that blends evenly and easily, plus wears well through the day without looking heavy. Lo prefers something with a little bit of glow for most of her clients, but the finish will come down to your personal preference. When in doubt, go for a velvet finish that sits somewhere between matte and luminous.
If you’re after a long-lasting, full coverage makeup look, Lo also has some advice when it comes to skin prep and foundation application: “Skin prep is the most important part for long-lasting, beautiful makeup. Make sure your face is smooth, and exfoliate if needed. Hydrate the skin and take time to massage in your moisturizer. I don’t often use primer but you may want to apply a little to the t-zone if you’re prone to shine. Then for foundation application, I would use a damp beauty blender and stipple the foundation in (dab dab dab, bouncing the sponge over and over). Start with a small amount of product first, and then layer to increase coverage. Powder lightly to set around the center of the face only to keep the rest of the skin looking luminous.”
Why Trust Byrdie?
Team Byrdie has been testing and trialing foundation products since well, everyone collectively started wearing makeup. Emily Algar has seen new launches come and go and takes note of the drugstore products that continuously do well. The team also spends a lot of time talking to various makeup artists and professionals about the best products for all skin types and complexions.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough full-coverage drugstore foundations from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.