I Tried Essence Makeup's $7 Foundation and It’s Impressive

It’s the brand’s newest complexion product.

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essence makeup Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation

Essence Makeup Product Shot

Byrdie / Essence Makeup

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Inexpensive

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • Finish isn’t incredibly dewy

Essence Makeup’s Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation is a budget-friendly complexion product that enhances your skin and lasts all day. It’s a must-try, in my opinion.


essence makeup Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation

Essence Makeup Product Shot

Byrdie / Essence Makeup

When a beauty brand announces they’re launching a new foundation, it immediately captures my attention. I’m always eager to see the shade range, formula innovations, and price points brands can offer. One of the latest brands to launch a foundation is Essence Makeup. Since launching in 2001, Essence Makeup has gone on to amass a massive fanbase (their collective social following is well over four million) who favor the brand for its affordable yet high-quality beauty products. Its newly-launched Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation ($7) promises to be hydrating, long-wearing, and help you achieve that “your-skin-but-better” look. Did it live up to its claims? Ahead, I share my honest thoughts on the brand’s foundation. 

Essence Makeup Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation

Best for: All skin types

Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid and aloe vera

Byrdie Clean?: Yes 

Price: $7

About the brand: Essence Makeup is known for its affordable, fun, cruelty-free, and high-quality cosmetics.

About My Skin/Complexion: Leans toward the dryer side

I have perpetually dry skin, so any makeup that hydrates my skin while I wear it is a winner in my book. When it comes to complexion products, I reach for formulas that will enhance my skin but still leave it looking natural. So, a tinted moisturizer or light-to-medium coverage foundation is my typical go-to.

How to Apply: Use a sponge, brush, or your fingers

I prepped my face using a hydrating primer and then moved on to applying the foundation. For reference, I used the shade 190. The brand says you can use a sponge, brush, or your fingers to apply it. My tool of choice is always a sponge, so I blended the product across my face and down my neck using one. 

Ingredient Quality: Two dynamic ingredients

The foundation’s moisturizing abilities are powered by hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. Hyaluronic acid is a super-hydrator praised for its ability to plump skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and replenish cell moisture. Aloe vera is a well-known skin soother that calms irritation or itchiness, cools the skin, prevents transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and promotes the healing of breakouts. It is also worth noting that it is vegan, paraben-free, alcohol-free, oil-free, and gluten-free.

The Results: Achieved that “my-skin-but-better” look

Olivia Hancock Selfie

Byrdie / Olivia Hancock

I applied the liquid foundation in the middle of my workday and left it on for the remainder of the day. As soon as I put it on and blended it out, I noticed how lightweight it felt on my skin. As far as its initial claims, I will say that the foundation stayed on my skin without a problem and helped me achieve that “my-skin-but-better” look. The product wasn’t intensely hydrating as its description suggests, but I could tell that the formula did add some moisture to my skin. Lastly, while this foundation says it has a dew-inducing formula, the formula ended up drying down on my skin with a matte texture rather than the glow I know and love.

The Value: You can’t beat it

Essence Makeup produces cosmetics that won’t break the bank and can go toe-to-toe with higher-end products. This foundation rings at $7. Yes, just $7. For that price, you get 1.05 ounces of product. Considering how well this foundation performs, this is an excellent deal.

Similar Products: You have options

L'Oréal Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation ($15): This medium-to-full coverage foundation is made with breathable skin technology that leaves you with a fresh, dewy complexion. It is made with SPF, suitable for all skin types, and comes in 40 shades.

Maybelline Dream Radiant Liquid Foundation ($13):
 Available in 20 shades, this Maybelline foundation promises to deliver medium, radiant coverage. It’s made with hyaluronic acid and collagen to moisturize your skin for 12 hours while you wear it.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for an affordable foundation, look no further. Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation delivers beautiful, long-wearing coverage, and comes with a price tag of just $7. You can’t beat that.

The Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation is currently available in 29 shades at Ulta.com, with all 36 shades available on the brand website.


  • Product Name Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation
  • Product Brand essence makeup
  • Price $7.00
  • Weight 1.05 oz.
  • Ingredients Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Talc, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tropolone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Chloride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Sodium Phytate, Propylene Carbonate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Parfum (Fragrance), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin agingDermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-258. doi:10.4161/derm.21923

  2. Svitina H, Swanepoel R, Rossouw J, Netshimbupfe H, Gouws C, Hamman J. Treatment of skin disorders with aloe materialsCurr Pharm Des. 2019;25(20):2208-2240. doi:10.2174/1381612825666190703154244

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