Are you looking to cover up acne, conceal scars, disguise dry spots, or just want a more even complexion? A flawless face shouldn’t break the bank. Foundation sets the groundwork for all other face makeup so choosing the right product is just as important. And as you might have realized, there are fabulous foundation options lining up on your local drugstore shelves for a fraction of the price of the high-end and prestige products.
When it comes to selecting the right formula for your skin tone and type, however, it could feel intimidating and overwhelming. There are numerous great drugstore options available in multiple shades and textures to match your coverage needs. To help you navigate this cosmetics aisle faster the next time you’ll be running low, we have reviewed dozens of drugstore foundations to pinpoint the best of the best.
After extensive research, we identified the Maybelline Fit Me Poreless Liquid Foundation as the best drugstore foundation. Besides coming in 40 shades to match virtually any skin tone, this formula perfectly mimics your natural skin texture. It’s great for anyone with normal to oily skin, and it refines pores for a flawless natural look.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Drugstore Foundations
|Best Overall||Maybelline Fit Me Poreless Liquid Foundation||4.3|
|Runner Up||L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation Makeup||4.2|
|Best Budget Buy||Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation||4.0|
|Best Drugstore Powder Foundation||Maybelline New York Powder Makeup||4.3|
|Best Drugstore Liquid Foundation||Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation||4.2|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Maybelline Fit Me Poreless Liquid Foundation
The Maybelline Fit Me Poreless Liquid Foundation has a tagline that pretty much sums up everything about this drugstore foundation: Fit for all. This product is just the right item for anyone who’s expecting a little more from their makeup. This foundation lasts all day, particularly when used with a finishing powder.
It comes in a light glass bottle with a tight and secure lid, making it a travel-friendly option. It’s buildable, too, so it’s easy to achieve medium to high coverage with this foundation. From dark spots to blemishes and acne scars, this foundation covers beautifully.
Reviewers say Maybelline Fit Me is the ultimate natural skin fit that goes beyond the usual skin tone matching to solve the texture issues of oily to normal skin. It also contains genius blurring micro-powders which refine pores and absorb skin oil for a flawless matte finish.
Maybelline Fit Me Poreless Liquid Foundation Key Features:
- Comes in 40 shades
- Full face foundation with buildable coverage
- Tone and texture-fitting foundation
- Blends easily with fingertips or an applicator
Our Runner Up Pick: L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation Makeup
Another unicorn of the drugstore aisle, L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation Makeup deserves applause for being highly adaptable to most skin types. Formulated with L’Oreal’s patented Precise Match Technology, this foundation not only matches your skin tone but also allows you to precisely control and fine-tune the amount of coverage you want.
This ultra-pure product contains no pore-clogging fillers, fragrances, or oils, so you will enjoy beautiful, flawless, and radiant-looking skin. This super-blendable formula also contains SPF 17 or SPF 19 (depending on the shade) to protect your skin while offering light to medium coverage with a natural-looking finish. For better skin nourishment and protection, this formula is also enriched with vitamin A, vitamin C, grapefruit, and wheat germ extract.
This foundation is a favorite among many reviewers because of its impressive range of 45 different shades that serve those with light, medium, or deep skin tones as well as warm, cool, and neutral undertones.
L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation Makeup Key Features:
- Oil-free and fragrance-free blendable foundation
- Light to medium coverage
- Perfect for all skin types
- Contains SPF 17 or SPF 19, depending on shade
Best Budget Pick: Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation
If you do not have the time to mess around with high-end makeup at department stores and are looking for a good quality foundation that won’t break the bank, Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation comes at an appealing price while still giving you a flawless look. Mousse formulas feel great going on the skin and are perfect for more combination or oily skin types, and this foundation by Rimmel is no exception.
The oil-free, silky smooth formula will leave a perfectly matte, baby-soft finish on your face, and the lightweight texture doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. It provides complete coverage with using a small amount of the formula while also minimizing the appearance of pores.
Besides being incredibly affordable, this formula blends flawlessly, evening out your skin tone, concealing imperfections, and controlling shine all day long – without the need for setting powder. Most of our reviewers who had noticeable scarring and acne prone skin were impressed by the fact that this foundation covers all blemishes effortlessly.
Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation Key Features:
- Oil-free, lightweight formula
- All-day shine control
- Reduces the appearance of pores
- Silky smooth formula
Best Drugstore Powder Foundation: Maybelline New York Powder Makeup
If you’re looking for the best powder foundation in the drugstore range, then you shouldn’t look beyond the Maybelline New York Powder Makeup. When applied with a damp beauty sponge, this powder leaves your skin with an attractive and natural-looking dewy effect. You just have to choose a shade that matches your skin tone, and you’ll be surprised by the results.
This product does what it says it will do – erase all pores and mattify your skin. This is one of the few powder foundations you’ll keep coming back to because it has no scent, no shimmer, and you can easily build it up or use one swoop of coverage. The pore coverage is also smooth and perfect, giving an incredible matte effect that keeps shine under control all day long. And if you’re of the oily skin type, this foundation is the perfect fit because the baking eliminates the need to reapply later in the day.
Maybelline New York Powder Makeup Key Features:
- Long-lasting powder
- Buildable coverage
- All-day shine control
- Allergy-tested, non-comedogenic
Best Drugstore Liquid Foundation: Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation
The Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation is a solid choice if you’re looking for liquid drugstore foundation. It’s formulated for oily/combination skin, and there’s also dry/normal skin formula available, so you can find a formula that works for your skin type. This foundation glides on smoothly to provide long-lasting shine control while creating an even matte finish that will last all day. This liquid foundation features a pump for mess-free application in addition to letting you dispense the exact amount of product you need.
The formula is lightweight, and you’ll often feel as if there’s nothing on your face at all. It’s buildable, so you can easily create full coverage to conceal discoloration and blemishes, and this formula also offers SPF protection. Most reviewers are particularly impressed by the fact that this foundation looks good all day without breaking down, controlling shine all day.
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation Key Features:
- Formulated with salicylic acid for oil control
- Medium to full coverage; buildable
- 24-hour, all-day wear
- Broad spectrum SPF 15 protection
Who Should Buy a Drugstore Foundation
Besides laying the groundwork for other makeup, a drugstore foundation is an ideal choice for anyone who has imperfections like acne, redness, uneven skin tone, and pigmentation. And if you want to look beautiful without breaking the bank, then the drugstore aisle is the best route to take.
Many drugstore foundations are formulated with SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, as well. With many formulas offering a broad array of shades to suit every possible skin tone, you no longer need to spend a fortune on high-end foundation to get a flawless look that’s a perfect match for your skin type and undertones. Also, some makeup foundations have luminescence to create a glowing, refined look for a youthful appearance. Check out our review of the best contour kits for more options to create a flawless look.
Quality makeup foundation will not only improve your appearance in the short term but in the long run, as well, since they are infused with substances and ingredients that help to nourish and protect your skin.
Important Features to Consider
Whether your skin is oily, dry, or acne-prone, finding the right drugstore foundation can feel like a guessing game. Most drugstores do not provide you with samples, and when you reach home, the color on your face might not look anything close to what you expected. Before buying a new drugstore foundation, here are a few things to consider when evaluating your options:
- The formula. While you could be tempted to splurge on the latest high-end foundation, it is important to do some research besides going by what’s indicated on the bottle. Beauty lingo isn’t the easiest to grasp, so you should consider a formula that complements your skin. A cream formula is ideal for normal, dry, and combination skin types and works well for women who either need heavier coverage or have uneven pigmentation. A liquid formula suits most skin types but is well-suited for mature or dry skin. It’s easy to apply and quickly blends with the skin. Powder formulas are ideal for oily skin types since they often provide extra oil-absorbing ingredients. Foundations with mineral formulas work for all skin types except oily ones and are particularly suited for sensitive skin. Tinted moisturizing formulas are recommended for those who need extra hydration on their skin. They appear so natural that it will be difficult for anyone to tell that you’re wearing foundation at all.
- Coverage. Want to show off your freckles? It’s time to let them show through with some tinted moisturizer or light coverage foundation. Choose a medium coverage foundation if you’re looking for a more airbrushed look, and full coverage you have acne scarring or redness or want a more dramatic look that will last all day. Some foundations can be built-up when you need heavier coverage, and this makes them adaptable for both daytime and evening use.
- Your skin tone. Unless you’re looking to color-correct, you shouldn’t fight against your skin’s natural undertones. Shade differences can be remarkably narrow, and typically the variation between two similar shades is that one has cool undertones while the other has warm undertones. Knowing what you need makes it easier for you to sift through the endless collection of foundations and find the perfect match. If you have a warm complexion, consider shades with yellow or peach-based undertones. For those with a cool complexion, foundations with pink undertones will work best. Neutral-toned people often have a mix of warm and cool and have a wider selection of foundations. Not sure how to check your undertone? Check the veins on your wrists. If they are olive, you probably have a warm undertone. Purple or blue veins indicate a cool undertone, while blue-green veins indicate a neutral undertone.
- Skin type. This is a huge deciding factor in selecting a foundation that best suits you. How the foundation dries – luminous, matte, etc. – will benefit various skin types. The dry skin type is easily influenced by weather conditions and ages faster, so there’s a need for lots of nourishment and moisturizing. In this case, oil- or water-based foundations work best. Oily skin types, on the other hand, do not need any extra moisturizing, but they do typically require shine control, so powder or matte foundations are ideal. Normal skin is the ideal type of skin and doesn’t require drying or moisturizing, so those with normal skin can use pretty much any foundation. If you’re of the sensitive skin type – experiencing face redness, discomfort, or irritation when applying foundation – you should consider hypoallergenic and fragrance-free foundations.
- Method of application. Foundations have different methods of application, from sponges to brushes to fingers, so you have plenty of options depending how you typically apply and blend your makeup.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is foundation and how does it work?
Foundation is simply the base onto which you will build your overall makeup look. It’s applied on the whole face to cover up acne, disguise dry spots, conceal scars, and provide an even finish to your skin.
Is it bad to wear foundation every day?
Whether daily or occasionally, there’s no harm in wearing foundation. Besides creating a more dramatic beauty look, makeup offers a much-needed barrier against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Provided you’re using a foundation that’s appropriate for your skin type and undertone, you shouldn’t shy away from wearing makeup every day.
Which is better: liquid or powder foundation?
While liquid foundation might be more superior for its great concealing properties, the choice between either formula depends on your skin type. Liquid formulas range from light to full coverage and work for any and every type of skin. There are also numerous ways to apply liquid foundation including a brush, a sponge, or your hands – and with a good makeup mirror, of course.
Powder foundations often come in matte or illuminating finishes and are excellent for getting a flawless result on your oily skin. Although this formula works for a broad range of people, it isn’t recommended for dry skin since it settles and clings to patches. Although a dry sponge is the only way to apply this foundation, it works like a charm.
If you want to get the best of both worlds, just be sure not to overdo the makeup so that it doesn’t look caked on. Put the liquid formula on first, then proceed to powder.
Is foundation necessary for makeup?
Foundation is often not necessary for makeup, not unless you need coverage. If you have some facial discoloration or any skin problems like acne, scarring, rosacea, or sun damage on the face that you want to cover, then you should wear foundation. But, if you have an even skin tone with little to no blemish or just like the look of your natural skin, you can skip the foundation.
Other Drugstore Foundations We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other drugstore foundations. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best drugstore foundations list, they are the best of the rest and each is still a great option for laying the groundwork for your makeup without being too expensive. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
- Drugstore Foundations for Dry Skin
- Drugstore Foundations for Oily Skin
- Drugstore Cream Foundations
- Drugstore Stick Foundations
Drugstore Foundations for Dry Skin
This high-definition, long-wearing foundation is perfect for a flawless, full coverage finish. And besides being comfortable for all-day wear, this paraben-free formula contains extra anti-oxidants that aid in hydrating the skin and improving its appearance.
- Added anti-oxidants
- Paraben-free formula
- 15 shades
- No mess pump applicator
This is a hydrating, non-obstructive formula that goes on smooth, wears incredibly lightweight, and has a dewy finish for flawless skin. It is neither thick nor runny and it contains SPF 18 for total protection from the sun’s UV rays.
- Contains SPF 18
- Comes in 40 shades
This hydrating tint instantly quenches dry skin so that it looks smooth and fresh all day long. This hydration-infused formula contains no oils and is non-comedogenic so it doesn’t clog your pores.
- 10 blendable makeup shades
- Contains hydrating hyaluronic acid
- Oil-free and non-comedogenic
Hyaluronic acid and SPF 20 properties make this a great foundation for healthy, hydrated skin. It offers medium to buildable coverage with a semi-matte finish.
- Oil-free and contains SPF 20
- 13 beautiful, long-wearing shades
- Contains hyaluronic acid
If you’re looking for flawless coverage with a bit of luminosity, then this is the foundation to buy. Infused with some coconut derivative, this lightweight and buildable formula helps boost hydration in dry skin and contains SPF 15 for extra skin protection.
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Comes in a cushion compact
- Comes with a sponge applicator
- Infused with coconut derivative
This high-performing, skin-perfecting formula has been tested under multiple photo lighting conditions to deliver camera-ready makeup each time. It also boasts a matte, light-diffusing complex for ultimate skin perfection.
- Light-adjusting complex
- Medium-high coverage
- Comes with an application spatula
Drugstore Foundations for Oily Skin
This lightweight and oil-free formula blends in naturally for an attractive semi-matte finish and offers full coverage you might not get from stick foundations. It comes available in an array of colors so you will surely find one that complements your skin tone.
- Oil-free formula
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- PETA certified
This creamy and lightweight foundation goes on the skin smooth for a matte finish and keeps the oil at bay for 24 hours. And from natural to full coverage, this product has pretty much everything you need for that smooth, even finish.
- Air-light texture
- You can apply with fingers or foundation brush
This pressed powder helps absorb the excess sebum and reduce shine on your skin’s surface for 16 hours. This lightweight formula could also be used alone to give an all-over glow in only a few brushes.
- 16 hours shine-defying powder
- Absorbs excess oil
- Lightweight powder
This allergy tested and dermatologist tested mousse foundation formula boasts ultra-mattifying powders and oxygen blended in a single product for a flawless finish that won’t look chalky or flat.
- Ultra mattifying powders
- 100% velvet-matte complexion
This powder foundation from NYX does a great job in giving you full coverage without appearing too chalky. This product boasts a compact packaging that makes it easy to carry wherever you travel to.
- Compact packaging
- Good for light-medium skin tones
- Natural matte finish
Drugstore Cream Foundations
If you’re looking for a comfortable and long-wearing foundation that instantly restores your youthful appearance by reducing the appearance of imperfections, wrinkles, and fine lines, this is the product to buy.
- Great fragrance
- Packaged in a pump bottle
- Available in several shades
This Holy Grail from Covergirl provides all-day hydration, natural-looking radiance, mattifying sheer coverage, and improved elasticity without clogging your pores. This tinted moisturizer comes in multiple shades that will even out your skin for a natural glow.
- Oil-free formula
- Doesn’t clog pores
- Various shades to match your skin
This 8-in-1 replenishing water-gel formula has no heavy ingredients and oils to provide ultimate protection from the sun. It blurs all imperfections leaving your skin feeling fresh with an incredible dewy finish.
- Water-gel formula
- 5 skin tone shades
- Protects with SPF 30
Meet one of the best multi-taskers in the cosmetics aisle that combats redness, under eye circles, and many other skin imperfections by doubling as a concealer and foundation.
- Doubles as a concealer and foundation
- Available in 29 long-lasting shades
This foundation from Physicians Formula is a lightweight, ultra-blendable cream that instantly corrects common skin perfections, evens out your skin tone, and smoothes skin texture. It boasts high-tech anti-aging ingredients as well as invisible micro color-correcting pigments that work to deliver a youthful complexion.
- Color-correcting pigments
- Paraben free, fragrance free, and oil free
- Dermatologist approved
Packed with matte perfecting benefits, this specially formulated, lightweight BB cream formula minimizes the appearance of pores and is great for combination to oily skin. Besides concealing your dark circles it also effectively prevents blemishes.
- Good matte finish
- Lightweight formula
- Ideal for combination to oily skin
Drugstore Stick Foundations
Great for contouring, touch-ups, highlighting, and seamless full coverage, this crème stick foundation is infused with a formula that delivers a moisturized, even-toned complexion
- Hypoallergenic formula
- Broad-spectrum SPF 15
- Velvet matte finish
This stick foundation promises to give a flawless, shine-free skin almost instantly. Its anti-shine core is infused with ultra-lightweight powders that are designed to instantly dissolve all oil.
- Comes in 12 oil-free shades
- Blends easily
- Lightweight pigments
Meet the must-have, long-lasting makeup essential that delivers highlighting, precise concealing, contouring, and skin accentuation – all in a single stick foundation.
- Full coverage foundation
- Available in various shades
- Cream-to-matte foundation