How to Shop for Drugstore Foundation

Updated 08/01/19
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Makeup artist Beau Nelson is the genius behind Kristen Stewart’s consistently fresh-looking smoky eyes, but he’s also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the science behind the products in his kit. Naturally, we were curious on what his magical kit consists of that allows him to create so many flawless makeup looks, so we asked him to swing by the office to help us navigate a sea of foundations available at drugstores.


Of all the products to snag on your weekly trip to the drugstore, foundation can tend to be the hardest. You can’t test it on your skin, meaning you don’t know if the color matches or how the texture feels. So before you even start to look, Nelson suggests trying prestige foundations and then using one of the many foundation matrixes online to discover which color corresponds at the drugstore level (because you can easily test prestige foundations at a department store while you can’t even open the sealed bottles at a drugstore). The good news is, the lower price points mean there’s a little more wiggle room to, for example, buy two shades and mix them together for a custom blend.
Click through for the rest of Nelson’s helpful tips!

CoverGirl
CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation $9
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Nelson raves about CoverGirls’ 3-in-1: “This is an amazing foundation,” he says. “It’s the most coverage you’ll get at a drugstore level and the most flawless finish as well.” It’s also matte, which is perfect for those looking for an alternative to a dewy finish.

Maybelline
Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation $8
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"Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte and Poreless foundation line is like a one-stop-shop. Once you figure out which shade of foundation you need, the numbers line up with a matching concealer and bronzer. “It’s an easy way to shop,” Nelson says.

L'Oreal
L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation $12
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Nelson loves True Match: “It’s easy to wear, the range of shades are incredible for a drug store foundation, and it offers medium coverage,” he says. “An all-around great choice when choosing a foundation.”

e.l.f
e.l.f Flawless Finish Foundation $6
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e.l.f.’s frosted packaging looks expensive, but it’s one of the least pricey formulas on our list. “It’s flexible,” Nelson says, meaning you can start light and build up to heavier coverage, making it particularly easy to apply." At a price of only $6, you'll love the results and how much money you save.

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