Are you on the hunt for a new foundation that makes your skin flawless, but don’t want to take out a mortgage on the house to buy it? We understand!
Some foundations out there can cost quite a bit, but not to worry! What you need is one of the best drugstore foundations.
Don’t underestimate them all; while some drugstore foundations are less-than-desirable, there are some hidden gems that will blow you away at how well they work, at just a fraction of the price! Let’s get started!
Top 6 Drugstore Foundations For 2021
Here’s a quick overview of the best drugstore foundations on the market!
|Foundation||Type||At a Glance|
|e.l.f. Acne Fighting||Liquid||Available in 5 different shades, very affordable, disguise redness/blemishes/uneven skin tone, flawless coverage, features acne-fighting ingredients|
|L’Oreal Paris True Match||Liquid||Comes in 33 different shades, very easy to blend, matches both skin tone and undertone, diffuses imperfections, works to help nourish skin|
|Maybelline Fit Me Dewy||Liquid||Features SPF 18, hydrates skin and smooths texture, leaves naturally luminous finish, great for normal to dry skin|
|NYX Professional BB Cream||Cream||Oil-free, mineral-enriched, works to brighten/smooth/moisturize skin, very lightweight feel, primes skin, easy to apply, great price|
|MaxFactor Panstik (Editor's Pick)||Stick||Very easy application, recommended for daily use, great for travel, great budget price, conceals blemishes well|
|Iman Second to None||Cream/Powder||Great for darker skin tones, creamy consistency blends easily, velvety soft finish, reduces pore appearance, helps even skin tone and hide blemishes, great for all skin types|
Now that you’ve had the chance to take a quick overview of all of the best drugstore foundations, you’re probably eager to learn more about some that you have your eye on. Scroll down a bit further to learn everything you need to know about them!
E.l.f. Acne Fighting – Best Product for Acne
About The Product
The e.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation is truly a game-changer for many sufferers of acne. Many who have acne try to avoid putting on makeup; especially foundation, due to the fact that it can often aggravate the skin and clog the pores, thus making their skin condition worse.
e.l.f. has actively worked to make something for those consumers.
This acne foundation is full-coverage but actively works to fight against blemishes. It’s a lightweight formula, which is infused with salicylic acid, witch-hazel, camphor, tea tree oil, as well as aloe.
The product is also cruelty-free, and 100% vegan, which makes it available to a much larger consumer base, and is great for those with allergies.
First off, we’d like to state that this is undoubtedly some of the best makeup for acne-prone skin on the market today. However, with that being said, it is not flawless.
Our biggest complaint?
Wear-time. If you have oily skin, you might start to see some coming off within 4 hours or so. Even if you don’t have oily skin, you may still see the foundation needs to be touched up throughout the day.
Applying some setting powder; especially around the nose and eye areas. This helped it last a couple of hours longer without the need for touching up.
Okay, now let’s move onto what we loved!
When you first get it on the back of your hand/finger/however you like to apply it, it will come out feeling very creamy and luxurious. At first, this kind of worried us, because we figured it would be heavy and clog pores.
Boy, were we wrong!
If you read into the e.l.f. acne fighting foundation reviews, you’ll see that they state the formula is lightweight. We can attest to this! Once it’s on, it actually feels very light; kind of as if you’ll forget you’re even wearing it. It feels nice and smooth on the skin, and even more so once it’s dried.
However, make sure that you’re really paying attention to blending, as it doesn’t seem to absorb as well as some rival items. The positive thing is that it does build well, so you are able to cover raised bumps/acne/redness without the addition of a concealer.
Aside from the performance, it’s one of the least expensive foundations at this level of quality. Not only that, but you only need a little bit to get full coverage.
What We Liked
- Great for those with acne/blemishes
- Extremely affordable and long-lasting
- Lightweight feeling; no clogged pores
- Makes skin feel smooth and soft
What We Didn’t Like
- Requires retouching throughout the day
- Doesn’t absorb as well as some other foundations
L’Oreal Paris True Match – Product with Widest Color Variety
One of the most obvious bonuses about this foundation is that it provides natural-looking, easily-blendable coverage that’s available in a whopping 33 shades. Not only does it match your skin tone, but your undertones, as well.
It features no oils, artificial fragrances, nor fillers which are often the cause of clogged pores. It also comes packed full of vitamins A and C, along with wheat germ and grapefruit extract to help nourish the skin.
Really, if you want an ultra-natural look in terms of finish and color, then the True Match Foundation should be your go-to.
Let’s start out by talking about the obvious: the shades.
There’s good and bad.
The bad is that as there are so many shades to choose from, it can become time-consuming and confusing trying to select one. However, once you do, you can rest assured that it will match your skin tone better than any other foundation ever has!
We loved that we didn’t have to worry about oxidizing/orange-iness that so many other foundations cause.
As far as packaging goes, we would’ve liked to see a bit more precision. The screw-off cap leaves you to your own devices and makes it easy to spill or to get too much product. If you’re someone who travels often with your makeup, we’d suggest getting a separate container so that there are no spill risks.
Now, let’s talk about the actual foundation.
The texture was super-smooth and silky. It is so nice to have a foundation blend so easily and absorb nicely into the skin without having to work it in or worry about streaking. You also only need a tiny bit for a good amount of coverage.
What if you have acne or bumps?
Not to worry!
The first go-around will cover a good amount of blemishes and redness, but if you need to cover up more noticeable bumps, then this foundation builds easily, without looking cakey.
The finish is also smooth, and leaves skin looking flawless; even if you have blemishes you want to hide. It’s neither matte, nor dewy, but somewhere in the middle. We found that when we used a primer underneath, it became a bit more mattified.
One thing that we did notice, was that after a few hours or so, it will start to crease a bit, so make sure you add a setting powder and touch up every now-and-then if you can. Overall, it stayed on very well, and that was the only issue with staying power.
What We Liked
- Comes in a huge variety of shades
- Very easy to apply and blend
- Leaves skin feeling soft and silky
- Stays on for a good amount of time
What We Didn’t Like
- The packaging is a bit messy
- Creasing around lips/forehead after a few hours
Maybelline Fit Me Dewy – Best Product for Dewy Look
About The Product
On the hunt for the best foundation for a dewy finish? Look no further than the Maybelline Fit Me Dewy and Smooth Foundation.
This product offers smooth, easy coverage and application, and will give you that dewy, natural, bright look with ease. Maybelline is a very reputable drugstore cosmetics brand that has consistently put out products that are affordable, while also maintaining a particular level of quality.
The range of colors/shades available isn’t the worst out there, but it’s also definitely not one of the best.
Right away, we noticed the packaging.
Unfortunately, this was something that we felt that this was something that could majorly be improved upon. The top comes off to reveal that there is no pump, nor “clean” way to dispense the product. Given the fact that it comes out so quickly, it’s easy to have too much or to make a mess.
The upside to this is that when you’re in a hurry, it does come out fast.
Not only that, but it blends and absorbs quickly, without having to put too much effort into blending.
To go a bit further into the consistency, ideally, you’re going to want to use just a tiny amount on a Beauty Blender. This way, it will become more of a moisturizer consistency and will give you an even more natural look.
Need extra coverage?
Not to worry. You can build upon it to cover some minor bumps. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t build as well as some of the others, and will begin to look a bit cakey if you’re not careful.
What kind of skin is it best for?
Probably normal/combination, or even dryer skin. Oily skin doesn’t fare as well with this dewy foundation makeup, as it’s already designed to be a bit shiny.
Once it’s applied, leave it to dry for a couple minutes. Once that happens, you’ll begin to notice a fresh, luminous glow! Again, if you have oily skin, we don’t really recommend this product, but if you have it, then try using a setting powder with it to help mattify and set the foundation a bit.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have dry skin, you’ll find that this foundation works to hydrate the skin, hiding any dry patches.
Just how well does this dewy drugstore foundation for dry skin fare with wear time?
Similar to the majority of drugstore foundations we’ve tried, the longevity could definitely see some improvement. After a few hours, it started coming off a bit around the nose and mouth areas. If you live in a hot/humid climate, you’re really going to need to touch up various times throughout the day and make sure you’re using a setting powder.
What about the shades they have available?
It’s not the worst, but it’s not the best.
The lightest shade was still a bit dark for some, and the darkest tones only seemed to have reddish undertones, which makes things difficult for the yellow/olive-skinned ladies out there. Also, we really felt that they should add some darker tones to what they have available, in general.
What We Liked
- Very smooth, quick application and blending
- Great for those with normal/combination/dry skin
- Great for applying if you’re in a hurry
What We Didn’t Like
- Can easily dispense too much product due to packaging design
- Could be available in a wide variety of colors/undertones
NYX Professional BB Cream – Best Budget Product
About the Product
Okay, so technically, this is a BB cream. What is the difference between a foundation and BB cream? Sometimes, hardly anything, and others, there are bigger differences. Generally speaking, however, you’ll have a lighter, less-heavy coverage level with BB creams.
They are also designed to help care for the skin’s health, rather than a mask and even worse conditions.
Perhaps the biggest downfall of BB creams is that there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to colors, so if you have super light or dark skin, it may be notified that you have it on (however, not a rule).
Let’s talk about the NYX Professional BB Cream, specifically.
It claims to provide a “no makeup” look, that’s created without oil, and great for just about any skin type. It will smooth and soften the skin’s appearance, while also helping to nourish and better the appearance of skin. Not only that, but it’s also very easy and fast to apply.
We really enjoyed this product, which is pretty much always the case with us when it comes to NYX products. The cruelty-free company’s BB cream comes in a little squeeze tube which makes it super easy to dispense and apply just the right amount.
The tinted beauty balm goes on super lightweight; almost like a lotion or moisturizer. However, as it is so light, this means that if you’re trying to cover up a good amount of acne or blemishes, this one might let them show through.
Rather than masking skin conditions, it instead works to help improve the condition of your skin.
It’s infused with minerals to nourish the skin and give sheer coverage. The oil-free formula helps to hydrate skin and prime the skin for a smooth, radiant look. It may not give a really heavy finish but generally will leave skin looking soft, luminous, and fresh.
Did we mention it’s also super affordable?
Not only is the price tag low, the product itself lasts quite a long time, so you can rest assured you’re making a good investment.
The part we didn’t like?
That it’s only available in three shades. It almost kind of mixes in with your skin tone so it’s not like it only works with three shades of skin, but if you do have very light or very dark skin, it may become noticeable, so take that into account!
What We Liked
- Very lightweight, sheer coverage feels comfortable
- Very inexpensive
- Infused with minerals to help hydrate and nourish skin
- Leaves skin feeling smooth, soft, and luminous
What We Didn’t Like
- Not ideal if you need/prefer full coverage
- Only three shades available
MaxFactor Panstik – Editor’s Pick
Toted as one of the best full coverage foundation makeup items currently on the market, you know we had to check the MaxFactor Pan Stik Foundation out.
The foundation itself is a bit different than the others on our list; namely due to the packaging/type of material. It is a creamy stick foundation that comes in a thick tube package; awesome for travel and ultra-convenient as you don’t run the risk of spilling.
The foundation claims to provide maximum coverage with ease, and not only conceals blemishes and pigmentations but even birthmarks and wrinkles.
It can be used for all-over coverage, or can also be kept in your handbag for touch-ups throughout the day.
First off, this is one of our favorites in terms of portability and convenience. It can be taken just about anywhere in a convenient, little tube without worrying about it spilling everywhere.
Not only that, but it’s also pretty easy to apply. It comes in a stick format, which makes it simple and natural to apply, as it’s similar to writing with a pencil or using a lipstick tube.
So, let’s talk about how it goes on.
It goes on kind of as you would imagine; super smooth and easy. In fact, it practically glides across the skin. If you have dry skin, this may not be the case, but generally speaking, it’s pretty soft and smooth without looking cakey or fake.
The application is probably the fastest of any foundation we’d tried, also. This is mainly due to the fact that you don’t need to spread it as much. Use your fingers or a Beauty Blender, and it will blend right in.
How long does it stay on?
A surprisingly good amount of time. If you’re looking for one of the best drugstore foundations but need something to provide you with full coverage all day, we highly recommend this one. Without the use of a setting powder, it lasted around 6 hours without needing any touch-ups, and with setting powder, 8.
So, were there any “cons”?
The first is the smell. It has a very chemical-ly smell, unfortunately. The good thing, is that it goes away after a while. The second downside, is the lack of shades available. If you have very light or dark skin, you may find you can’t find the perfect shade. Of course, there are still 9 shades available, so there’s a good amount of diversity, but we’d like to see more.
What We Liked
- Goes on super easily, quickly, and smoothly
- Easy to carry with you and even travel with
- Wear time is quite substantial
What We Didn’t Like
- Not available in wide range of colors
- Has a weird chemical scent
Iman Second to None Cream to Powder – Best Product for Darker Skin Tones
About The Product
The Iman Second to None Cream Powder Foundation is truly unique in many ways.
The formula of this drugstore foundation is cream-based, yet dries to a very soft, velvety-smooth powder. It’s one of the most versatile foundations out there, and it’s available in darker shades that most drugstore brands, unfortunately, do not carry.
It works with any skin type, is pretty straightforward to apply, and features full coverage so blemishes, pigmentation, and/or acne is covered up with ease.
We were actually quite impressed by what Iman had to offer.
At first, we did notice that it was a bit more expensive than the other best drugstore foundations; however, we definitely wouldn’t consider it anywhere near expensive, and it works really well, so no harm there.
The application is super smooth and simple. Much like the previous foundation, it basically glides over the skin with ease – no matter your skin type.
With that being said, it does work well with any skin type, however, you may find you need to retouch a couple more times if you have oily skin.
How does it look on?
It looks nothing short of incredible.
The moment it goes on, you can see the amazing level of coverage you receive. It provides a flawless, natural, smooth look that really feels and looks like your skin. The finish is silky/velvety, and again, looks very natural. We also noticed that it minimized the appearance of large pores, and was particularly great at hiding discoloration/hyperpigmentation.
It feels very lightweight despite its creaminess, and throughout the day, hardly notice it’s there.
It comes in a convenient little compact, which is great if you travel frequently and want to bring your foundation along. It won’t get all over like liquid foundations have the possibility of doing, so that’s always a nice reassurance.
What didn’t we like?
Pretty much the only thing is that it doesn’t come in lighter shades (however, we know that that’s on purpose). Just because it’s such an amazing product!
What We Liked
- Excellent for darker-skinned women
- Goes on super smooth and easy
- Gives a flawless, natural, silky-smooth look that conceals imperfections
- Long-lasting coverage throughout the day
What We Didn’t Like
- Isn’t available in a wider variety of shades
How To Select The Best Drugstore Foundation
Now that you’ve had the chance to really take an in-depth look at each of the best drugstore foundations, you may find yourself indecisive between a couple of products. That’s okay! We’ve gone ahead and created the buying guide below, to help you know exactly which product to purchase and why.
What kind of foundation are you looking for? Most women look for a liquid foundation, as it’s convenient, and most readily available at drugstores. However, perhaps you’d like to try something else out? You never know; a cream could be better for your skin!
There are sticks, there are cream compacts, liquids, and more!
Sticks are typically the most convenient, as the application is very natural and easy. They’re also super easy to travel with as they won’t spill anywhere. The same goes for the cream compacts. These can just be slid easily into your handbag, carry-on, or luggage.
How long do you need your foundation to last for? Perhaps the biggest “con” when it comes to drugstore foundations, in general, is the wear time.
Usually, they last around 3-4 hours before you start to see some coming off. Usually, you’ll see this first around the mouth and nose. Some look excellent with a quick touch-up, and others will need to be reapplied completely.
However, there are a few exceptions.
These exceptions are typically the cream foundations, however, it’s not a rule. The Pan Stik and the Iman foundations are the longest-lasting ones we found, and they are going to last you well throughout the day without any touch-ups.
Think about how you like your makeup to feel. Do you like the thick, full-coverage makeup where you can feel it all throughout the day? It may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but some women actually like the reminder that they’re made-up.
Some women, instead prefer a very lightweight, barely-there feel.
Just because a product is full-coverage doesn’t mean it’s going to be heavy, and just because a foundation offers sheer coverage, doesn’t mean it’s going to be lightweight!
When it comes to drugstore foundations, the prices vary, but generally not more than $10 USD. You may be more interested in looking into how much of the product you’ll need to use every day. There could be two foundations listed at the same price, but one requires only a dime-sized amount, while the other practically requires an entire handful. Cream foundations also generally will last you longer, but there are some great liquid foundations on here where you also just need a bit to cover the entire face.
Some women have just plain given up on finding their shade of foundation; especially when it comes to drugstore foundations. Unfortunately, the less-expensive foundations often miss the mark when it comes to offering a wide variety of shades and undertones.
However, there are definitely some exceptions.
One is the Perfect Match.
This foundation offers a huge variety of tones and undertones, so you can find the exact color you need without having to combine it with another foundation or a bronzer.
So, which one of the best drugstore foundations made the mark for you? If you haven’t decided, allow us to reiterate how much we loved the MaxFactor Pan Stik Foundation.
First of all, it’s super convenient. You can take it just about anywhere and everywhere, without worrying about it spilling all over the place.
The application is super-quick, smooth, and easy. The finish is smooth, soft, and offers a great amount of coverage to get rid of redness, blemishes, and more.
It lasts a long time and is available in a good amount of shades. However, no matter which product you select, you can rest assured that you’re choosing one of the best currently on the market!
So, which one of these best drugstore foundations will be making its way into your makeup bag?