WE SPENT ALMOST 300 HOURS TESTING DRUGSTORE FOUNDATION TO FIND THE BEST
Most of our faves are under $10!
Need to conceal scars, cover up acne, or just crave a more even complexion? A flawless face doesn’t need to break the bank! There are fabulous foundation options on the shelves of your local drugstore for a fraction of the cost of prestige products. We invested some serious time (not money!) investigating the best of the best drugstore foundations. Check out what our team of testers discovered in the world of budget-friendly drugstore foundations, ranging from mattifying powders to long-lasting liquids.
L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation
We applaud L’Oréal for this ultra blendable drugstore foundation that adapts to your skin. Formulated with patented color technology, it’s a buildable blend enriched with vitamins A and C, wheat germ, and grapefruit extract for coverage that keeps skin looking and feeling healthy.
Multiple testers noted that they love the consistency. Our editor Jill Ferguscommented that she liked that it wasn’t too thick or greasy. “It was lightweight, went on smoothly, and I thought it blended easily on my skin,” she said.
Beyond the skin-loving formula and ease of application, we love the shade range. L’Oréal offers 45 different tones, which is pretty impressive for any line of foundation, drugstore or not.
Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation
Best for Dry Skin
Maybelline’s foundation is fitting for those expecting more from their makeup. Ideal for skin that’s drying out, the Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation rehydrates skin and de-clogs pores with a hydra-smoothing concentrate. It leaves skin looking luminous and never overdone.
I have combination skin, but I love to use this one any time I want a dewier finish, especially on my cheeks where my skin is the driest. A handful of makeup artists I know swear by this one as well!
Pro tip: Pair this one with the Fit Me Matte Powder to set it and provide that effortlessly airbrushed look.
Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation
Best for Oily Skin
Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation is one of the best we’ve tried to keep oily skin at bay. This light-as-air cream buffs into the skin effortlessly, leaving a truly matte finish that keeps you looking fresh for hours.
I was impressed with both the fluffy consistency of the foundation as well as the level of coverage and staying power. It effectively controlled shine in my T-zone and evened out the texture in my cheeks, giving the appearance of naturally baby-soft skin.
Other testers noted that it has a light feeling while giving full-coverage, which is a win in our book.
Almay Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup
Best for Light Coverage
Before we discuss the beautiful coverage provided by Almay’s Smart Shade Makeup, we must first tell you about its innovative skin tone matching technology. It leaves the bottle as a white substance and looks similar to a typical body lotion at first glance. Upon blending into the skin, the color transforms to fit your skin tone.
“It’s a little odd to have the formula come out of the tube white, but it definitely blends into your skin tone as long as you’re in the ballpark shade to begin with,” said our team member Bridget Clegg.
Bridget and I agree that this one leans more into BB cream territory and does not act like a traditional full-coverage foundation. If that’s what you’re looking for, this gives you a sheer wash of color
with light coverage that you’ll love!
Revlon ColorStay Makeup
Best for Full Coverage
Revlon’s ColorStay Makeup promises 24-hour wear, while (bonus!) pampering our skin with hyaluronic acid. It’s formulated for both combination/oily skin, and normal/dry skin, so you can pick the type best suited for your needs.
All testers agree that this drugstore foundation from Revlon provides excellent coverage that conceals blemishes and discoloration.
Our editor Danielle St. Pierre thought it stayed on a little too well. “This formula stayed on my skin during a full work day into evening out without budging,” she said. “I actually had to exfoliate my skin after removing the makeup to get the product completely off.”
With that, we think this one would be best for someone who prefers the look and feel of heavier coverage (and keeps a good makeup remover on hand).Reach for this one if you need to go from desk to dinner looking fresh!
Neutrogena Skinclearing Makeup Foundation
Best for Acne
The thought of drowning your pores in drugstore foundation can be nightmarish if you deal with acne-prone skin, but it doesn’t have to be!
Per his recommendation, you can hide and heal blemishes with this dual-purpose product from Neutrogena. Featuring the brand’s MicroClear technology, it’s an oil-free formula that speeds up the process of salicylic acid in order to unclog pores and eliminate acne.
Our team member Caitlyn Fitzpatrickcommented that this one went on a little dewier than she had expected. If you’re an acne sufferer who prefers a matte finish, we recommend dusting this one with a non-comedogenic powder to set it.
COVERGIRL + Olay Simply Ageless Instant Wrinkle Defying Foundation
Best Cream Foundation
COVERGIRL’s Simply Ageless foundation, infused with Olay’s science-based skincare technology, is the perfect drugstore foundation if you prefer a cream. The unique formula contains B vitamins and peptides to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, enhance tone, and deliver firming hydration.
Our editor Melanie Yates thought it lived up to the hype. “I didn’t need to wear concealer when I applied this foundation, and I felt that it covered up my hyperpigmentation and dark circles very effectively,” she said.
Melanie also noted that the foundation’s wrinkle-free claims rang true. “It didn’t crease in my eye area as noticeably as other foundations I’ve used,” she said.
NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation
Best Powder Foundation
Finding a powder foundation that keeps your skin looking fresh is no cakewalk. Luckily, NYX launched the holy grail Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation to answer our powder foundation prayers.
Available in 30 shades, this convenient product applies effortlessly, leaving a beautifully matte finish (minus the cakey look typically associated with powder foundation).
I love to apply this one with a brush on days when I want some light coverage in a hurray. I think it’s also a great option for anyone who wants a dupe of the MAC Studio Fix Powder!
Max Factor Pan Stik Foundation
Best Stick Foundation
Stick foundation camouflages imperfections effortlessly, whether you’re lounging at your vanity or rushing to finish your makeup on the train.
I love Max Factor’s Pan Stik because not only is it convenient, it provides serious coverage. The formula of this drugstore foundation is rich and pigmented without feeling too heavy on your skin. Just toss it in your purse, and you have a secret weapon for touching up your foundation while you’re out and about.
Pro tip: Grab a darker shade to use as a contour color, or a slightly lighter tone for highlighting your cheekbones.