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Getting up in the morning is hard. Taking the time to apply a full face of makeup? We’re getting tired just thinking about it. It takes a lot to apply foundation—equally distributing the product on the areas of your face, finding that blending brush, and then finally buffing the formula on for that perfect seamless finish. What should take a few seconds ends up taking more than a few minutes, lengthening that morning routine. For someone on-the-go or a perpetual traveler, traditional formulas just aren’t going to cut it. From creams to gels to mousses, there’s a formula for everyone. But for the hit-snooze-loving gal, it’s important to find a product that makes the a.m. easy, convenient, and fast. That’s where stick foundation comes in.
Just like other foundations, stick foundations come in an array of different formulas that can target different skin types, skin tones, and personal preferences. But there’s one thing that sets it apart: it’s ease of use sans tools and mirror. All you need to do it swipe on, dab with your fingers, and an even, balanced finish is all yours. We promise it isn’t too good to be true. Here, the top stick foundations that check all the boxes.
Best Overall: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation
A smooth and creamy formula that glides on like a second skin and covers all imperfections while still looking natural? Consider your holy grail found. The brand took all the beloved benefits of their liquid foundation and basically solidified it for this travel-friendly and foolproof stick. Made for all skin types, the full coverage formula covers everything from redness, blemishes, scarring, dark circles, and more. But the best part is that although it does some heavy duty masking, the finish doesn’t look or feel cakey or dense at all. The product can be applied all over the face for complete coverage, or you can spot treat certain problem areas.
Best Budget: NYX Cosmetics Mineral Stick Foundation
For just a few bucks, you can get major color payoff, long-lasting wear, and a super portable packaging. At this price, you can afford to mix and match shades for a full-on at-home highlighting and contouring master class. Users love this formula for it’s satiny, easy-to-blend texture that almost melts into skin as you massage with your fingers. Plus, it doesn’t budge, even in humid summer months.
Best for Dry Skin: Wander Beauty Flash Focus Hydrating Foundation Stick
Dry skin types, rejoice! There’s a foundation stick for you. This versatile formula is not only moisturizing, but also buildable (go from sheer to full coverage with just a few swipes) and practically weightless. A combination of coconut oil and vitamins C and E works to deeply hydrate the skin and keep it hydrated throughout the day while sodium hyaluronate reduces the appearance of those pesky fine lines and wrinkles. The result: a gorgeous, dewy finish that lasts all day long.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Tarte Clay Stick Foundation
Infused with their famed Amazonian clay, this vegan foundation stick both moisturizes and mattifies the skin depending on it’s current needs. Basically, if your skin is thirsty, it provides moisturizing benefits, and if it’s oily, it helps to eliminate greasiness. The formula is rich in antioxidants and minerals which encourage healthy skin by fighting free radicals and delivering softening benefits. It’s also free of many irritating ingredients, like parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, and gluten.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Stick Foundation
One of the most important things to look for when it comes to choosing foundation for acneic skin is making sure the formula won’t cause breakouts or irritation. Enter: a multitasking stick that stays put and lasts all day, even for oily, acne-prone skin types. With 26 foundation shades, three contour shades, and a highlighter, this incredible stick really does do it all. The silky texture has the ability to glide onto the skin, but still remain lightweight and breathable.
Best for Full Coverage: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation
For mornings when you want complete coverage but only have a few minutes to spare, there’s this highly pigmented stick. Unlike other formulas, this one has a matte finish so it’s perfect for those who like a shine-free look. With a 24-hour wear (yes, really!), this foundation can take you from day to night without having to touch-up.
The powder-cream formula smooths on without much effort, covering up all imperfections, including enlarged pores and redness. Apply to areas with the most discoloration or concerns and then blend outwards with your fingers. Bonus: it’s got major sun protection in the form of SPF 21, so it’s ideal to wear during the summertime.
Best for Contouring: Smashbox Studio Skin Shaping Foundation Stick
If there’s a way to make your morning routine even easier, it’s this double-ended stick. A creamy, blendable foundation lives on one side, while a soft contour stick sits on the other. The two-in-one capability makes sculpting on-the-go easier done than said. The foundation end delivers medium coverage, but is buildable, so you can go as sheer or as heavy as you’d like. The contouring side boasts a “soft” shade, meaning it gives less of a harsh look and more of a natural contour. Another plus about this product is that the contour pigment is complementary to the foundation shade, so it takes the guesswork out of picking colors that go well with each other.
Our writers spent 7 hours researching the most popular stick foundations on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 7 different stick foundations overall, screened options from 7 different brands and manufacturers, read over 5 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 3 of the stick foundations themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.