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Best 15 Drugstore Foundations for a Beautiful Base on a Budget

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Foundation can be tricky. Before you can even begin to think about all the details of flawless foundation, like application techniques and finishing touches, you’ve got to start with finding the right formula for your skin tone and type. Factor in the many options on the makeup market, and you’ll quickly understand why this is no easy task. 

While you can go to your favorite department store and speak with a trained beauty advisor to find the right formula and finish for your skin and walk away with a perfect color match — you’ll likely have to fork over upwards of $40 for the assist. 

However, drugstore foundations are valid alternatives. While the best drugstore foundations are most certainly budget-friendly, many companies like Maybelline and L’Oréal have stepped up over the years to offer beauty products capable of competing with their expensive counterparts. Drugstore brands often make excellent foundation dupes (in terms of color, wear, and overall performance) for big-name brands. 

So, if you’re looking for a department-store-quality foundation on a shoestring budget, we’ve rounded up the best drugstore foundations on the market. 

Best drugstore foundations overview:

How we chose the best drugstore foundations

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including ingredients, finishes, and more, to create a short list of the top foundations from drugstores. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best drugstore foundations for each category.

Our picks for the best drugstore foundations

Best overall
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

What we love

  • Inclusive shade range
  • 12-hour wear
  • Blurs pores

What we don’t love

  • No SPF
  • No pump

Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation will likely check a lot of boxes for most people. It’s longwearing, pore-minimizing, and mattifying — check, check, and check. Oh, and it offers a spectacularly inclusive shade range and hits your bank balance for less than $10. If you didn’t see it coming, this foundation tops our list as the best drugstore foundation overall. 

Designed with robust staying power (up to 12 hours for many), this highly rated drugstore foundation delivers department store performance for a fraction of the price. Formulated with clay micro powders, this lightweight formula mattifies your skin, controls shine, and blurs pores, leaving you with a stunning natural finish. 

Even better, Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation offers a comprehensive color selection (40 different shades, to be exact), so whether you’re a fair ivory or a deep bronze, you’re likely to find a good match. 

This formula works like a dream for those with normal to oily skin, but it has a knack for clinging and highlighting dry patches, so those with combination or dry skin types might want to steer clear. 

We did have to take off a few points for the packaging. Anyone who uses foundation regularly can tell you a pump is almost non-negotiable for an easy application, and unfortunately, Maybelline missed the mark here.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Matte | Shades: 40 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best cream
Milani Cosmetics Conceal + Perfect Smooth Finish Cream To Powder

What we love

  • Cream-to-powder formula
  • Available in 15 shades
  • Formulated with antioxidants and vitamins

What we don’t love

  • Poor color/coverage payoff

According to Milani, their cream-to-powder formula is a complexion perfector. It glides onto the skin as a cream and magically transforms into a light-diffusing powder foundation with a soft-matte finish. Milani’s Conceal + Perfect Smooth Finish Cream-To-Powder is longwearing, sweatproof, and waterproof, but it doesn’t leave you with a heavy, overdone feeling. 

This lightweight foundation is made with lily and bamboo extracts, which control shine and oil for up to 16 hours. It’s also packed with skin-nourishing antioxidants, including vitamins A and E, and green tea.  

As a cream-to-powder formula, Milani’s Conceal + Perfect brings something a little different to the table in terms of foundation packaging — a beautiful compact that travels quite well. Incidentally, that also means it’s far less messy than many other foundations. 

Available in 15 shades, users have noted that this foundation goes on seamlessly, and while it’s a cream-to-powder formula, it doesn’t leave you with an overly dry look that most powders are notorious for. Users have also noted that it doesn’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles, which is always a plus.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Matte | Shades: 15 | SPF: No | Type: Cream to powder

Best photo finish
Wet ‘n’ Wild Photo Focus

What we love

  • Rigorously tested to minimize flashback
  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight

What we don’t love

  • Smell is off-putting for some

Wet ‘n’ Wild is serious about camera-ready makeup. So, if your time and effort are spent searching for the perfect photo finish, you might consider its Photo Focus foundation. Wet ‘n’ Wild tested their formula under seven light conditions, using the most popular smartphone models (with and without the flash) to make their claims. The end result is a high-performing, light-diffusing foundation that gives you a perfect photo finish every time — no filter needed. 

Beyond its exceptional ability to minimize flashback, Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Photo Focus is lightweight, mattifying, and offers coverage ranging from medium to full, all at a very affordable price.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Satin | Shades: 20 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best full coverage
E.l.f. Cosmetics Flawless Satin Foundation

What we love

  • Buildable, blendable coverage
  • Lightweight
  • Hydrating

What we don’t love

  • May not last throughout the day

For those who think full coverage foundation is the only way to go, E.l.f. Cosmetics’ Flawless Satin Foundation should probably top your shortlist. This lightweight liquid foundation offers buildable, blendable color in a semi-matte finish. And while it does plenty to provide the coverage you’re looking for day after day, it also gives something back to your skin. It’s formulated with glycerin, so it hydrates and softens your skin every time you wear it. 

Formulated for all skin types, E.l.f. Cosmetics’ Flawless Satin Foundation beautifully covers uneven skin tone and texture and does an excellent job of evening out redness.  

While some users have commented on its lack of staying power, others have noted that the E.l.f. primer and a finishing spray might be helpful.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Semi-matte | Shades: 40 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best powder
Maybelline Super Stay Foundation

What we love

  • Hybrid powder foundation
  • 24-hour wear
  • Transfer-resistant

What we don’t love

  • Case shatters easily
  • May feel cakey to some

While hybrid is a term we don’t often hear concerning makeup, Maybelline shows us that hybrids certainly have their place. The brand’s hybrid powder foundation gives users the best of both worlds — the performance of a liquid with the soft finish of a powder. This formula offers medium to full coverage and is sweat-resistant, water-resistant, and transfer-resistant. Ultimately, you’ll leave the drugstore with a foundation that delivers a soft matte look and a 24-hour wear time. 

Maybelline’s Super Stay Full Coverage Powder Foundation is highly rated, but it’s worth noting that some reviewers say it magnified their fine lines. Others said it’s not the best pick for dry skin, and with only 16 shades to choose from, it’s not quite as inclusive as we hoped.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Matte | Shades: 16 | SPF: No | Type: Cream to powder

Best for oily skin
Cover Girl Clean Matte Liquid Foundation

What we love

  • Transfer-resistant
  • Controls oil
  • Lightweight

What we don’t love

  • No pump
  • Not color inclusive

If you have oily skin, not only do you need a matte formula foundation, but you also need one that’s oil-free. Failure to check these two boxes can lead to disastrous results by mid-morning. 

Covergirl’s Clean Matte Liquid Foundation is the ideal solution, as it’s water-based and formulated with oil absorbers. So while it skips the oil, it still keeps your skin hydrated, and you never have to worry about clogged pores or breakouts. This lightweight formula goes on easily and blends just as well. Users will ultimately find a matte finish that’s longwearing and transfer resistant. 

While this foundation hits our list as the best drugstore foundation for oily skin, we had to take away a few points for packaging (it’s not a pump), and with only 12 shades, it doesn’t accommodate deeper skin tones.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Matte | Shades: 12 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best shade range
NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation

What we love

  • Inclusive shade range
  • Longwearing
  • Waterproof

What we don’t love

  • Not great for dry skin

NYX’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop formula is lightweight and highly pigmented, so you get full coverage without a heavy, cakey “made up” feel. The best part is the brand delivers color and coverage for everyone with an impressive 45 shades. So whether you’re light porcelain or deep ebony, you can find it here. 

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a longwearing waterproof foundation that glides on smoothly, controls shine, and gives your skin gorgeous matte coverage. It’s non-comedogenic and suitable for normal, oily, combination, and sensitive skin types. 

Users have indicated that a little goes a long way, so this option also provides great value.

Coverage: Full | Finish: Matte | Shades: 45 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best for dry skin
Physicians Formula Butter Believe It! Foundation + Concealer

What we love

  • Works for sensitive skin
  • Transfer-resistant
  • Made with skin-nourishing butters

What we don’t love

  • Not longwearing
  • Doesn’t control oil

Designed specifically for dry skin, Physicians Formula Butter Believe It! Foundation + Concealer is infused with a skin-loving blend of Murumuru Butter, Cupuaçu Butter, and Tucuma Butter. So while it beautifully delivers weightless, buildable coverage with a radiant glow, it also does some heavy lifting to nourish your skin. The creamy texture of this foundation melts onto your skin, leaving you with a lit-from-within, radiant glow that’s transfer-resistant and never cakey. 

With a nourishing butter blend, this foundation is also suitable for sensitive skin types, and while some people love the scent, others noted that it was just too strong. Users have also said that Physicians Formula Butter Believe It! Foundation + Concealer isn’t as longwearing as they hoped, and with only 12 shades ranging from fair to rich, it looks like the brand has some work to do on its shade range.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Radiant | Shades: 12 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best radiant finish
NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation

What we love

  • Inclusive shade range
  • Buildable
  • Lightweight

What we don’t love

  • Messy

Looking for a radiant finish to your foundation? Try NYX’s Professional Makeup Born to Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation — the goodness is in the name. This foundation offers buildable, medium coverage in 45 shades. It’s lightweight and blendable, and the watery texture makes it infinitely customizable. 

Incidentally, we should note that while the watery texture makes it great for customizing color, users have noted that it also translates to a mess on your hands — literally.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Radiant | Shades: 45 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best for mature skin
Covergirl Simply Ageless + Olay Foundation

What we love

  • Contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin C
  • Doesn’t settle into fine lines
  • Smells great

What we don’t love

  • Only a few options for deep skin tones

Formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, Covergirl Simply Ageless + Olay Foundation delivers the color, coverage, and skin-nourishing ingredients mature skin needs. And while this foundation takes care of your skin, it also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, evens your skin tone, and leaves you with a sheer matte finish that you can easily build when the mood or occasion strikes.

Covergirl Simply Ageless + Olay Foundation saturates your skin with moisture, but users have noted that it doesn’t leave your skin oily. And to sweeten the deal just a little, Covergirl added primer to the foundation so you can skip a step but still have a smooth, poreless finish that stays put.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Natural | Shades: 18 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best stick
Black Opal True Color Skin Perfecting Stick Foundation

What we love

  • Travel-friendly
  • Enriched with antioxidants and vitamins
  • Fragrance-free

What we don’t love

  • Makes skin oily
  • Transfers easily

While Black Opal’s True Color color foundation hits our list as the best stick, it could also win the day for best mess-free delivery. You need only swipe and blend for longwearing color with full coverage and a velvety finish. With all that the Black Opal stick delivers, this is the brand’s #1 best seller for a reason. 

Black Opal’s True Color expertly hides blemishes and under-eye circles, but as a stick, it’s also great for contouring. This foundation is enriched with antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, and sunscreen, working together to nourish and protect your skin. 

Concerned about the right color match? No need. Black Opal answers concerns about color-matching with its Shade ID technology — multi-colored chromatic pigments to adjust to your unique skin tone. 

We should note that some users have said that this foundation left their skin oily, and it transfers easily even with a setting spray or powder.

Coverage: Full | Finish: Velvety | Shades: 23 | SPF: Yes/SPF 15 | Type: Cream

Best for acne-prone skin
Neutrogena Skin-Clearing Liquid Makeup

What we love

  • Lightweight
  • Covers well
  • Breathable

What we don’t love

  • May be too drying for some skin types
  • Not inclusive

Formulated with MicroClear® Technology, Neutrogena’s Skin-Clearing Liquid Makeup dissolves oil and delivers salicylic acid and natural-looking coverage to problem areas. Ideal for oily, combination, and sensitive skin, this foundation won’t clog pores, but it will control shine and keep breakouts in check. 

Sifting through the reviews, we found that users say it covers well, looks natural, and isn’t cakey. Neutrogena’s Skin-Clearing Liquid Makeup is available in 14 shades, but unfortunately, deeper skin tones may have to look elsewhere.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Natural | Shades: 14 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Best with SPF
Revlon ColorStay Longwear Liquid Foundation SPF 15

What we love

  • Broad shade range
  • Waterproof
  • Transfer-resistant

What we don’t love

  • Looks oily
  • Not longwearing as promised

With a breathable, buildable, oil-free formulation, Revlon’s ColorStay Longwear Liquid Foundation delivers a flawless finish with a 24-hour wear time. Infused with skin-nourishing ingredients and antioxidants like vitamin E, it also protects your skin and improves its appearance every time you layer it on. 

Revlon’s ColorStay foundation is also formulated with mineral powders that help control oil for a poreless matte finish. This foundation is transfer-resistant, waterproof, and available in 43 shades. 

Users have noted that while it’s lightweight, it may not keep oil breakthroughs in check, and long-wear claims may not hold up in court.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Natural | Shades: 43 | SPF: Yes/SPF 15 | Type: Cream

Best longwearing
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation

What we love

  • Hydrating formula
  • Contains SPF
  • Lightweight

What we don’t love

  • Not for dry skin

Looking for a foundation that makes it to your evening dinner plans? Try L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation. Not only does this formula promise an impressive 24-hour wear time, but it does so with a hydrating glow. And while you might think that translates to a heavy foundation that only Mrs.Doubtfire would be happy with, the formula is fairly lightweight and offers medium coverage. 

This hydrating foundation features SPF15, and while it’s ideal for normal to dry skin, dry skin types might want to find a different foundation formula.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Radiant | Shades: 12 | SPF: Yes/SPF 15 | Type: Cream

Best color match
L’Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation

What we love

  • True Match formula
  • Hydrating
  • Numerous skin-like shades

What we don’t love

  • Might have been subject to a formula change

Finding the right perfect color match is the biggest issue for anyone considering drugstore foundations. But with its True Match formula, L’Oreal Paris aims to put those fears to rest. First, this formula is offered in nearly 50 true-to-skin shades. Next, each shade is made with six pigments for a precise match that adapts to any skin color and texture. And finally, the brand offers extensive guidance on its website to help you nail it the first time. If you didn’t see it coming, L’Oreal Paris’ True Match Super-Blendable Foundation hits our list as the best color match formula. 

Beyond a precise color match, this medium-coverage liquid foundation is beautifully blendable and offers users a skin-like finish. Plus, it’s infused with hyaluronic acid, so while it hydrates your skin, it also locks in moisture. The foundation is alcohol-free, oil-free, and fragrance-free, so it’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Coverage: Medium | Finish: Natural | Shades: 47 | SPF: No | Type: Cream

Flawless foundation doesn’t have to be expensive

Drugstore foundations have come a long way over the years. In an effort to steer consumer buying power in their direction, many companies have doubled down, creating formulas that blur, mattify, and nourish like their department store competitors for a fraction of the price. 

And while perfect color matching may still have some work to do, brands like Black Opal and L’Oreal Paris are proof that they’re on their way. If you’re dipping a toe into drugstore foundations, Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation (our pick for the best drugstore foundation overall) is likely to check a lot of boxes for you. It’s longwearing, pore-minimizing, mattifying, and incredibly budget-friendly. 

How to pick the right drugstore foundation for you

Drugstore foundations can deliver the same (sometimes even better) results than their expensive counterparts. The best way to find the right drugstore foundation is to pay close attention to the formula, coverage options, and color.

Find the right formula 

If you’ve ever researched foundations, then you know there are tons of formulas to choose from. Your first order of business is to figure out which formula works best for your skin type. If your skin is dry, normal, oily, or sensitive, the perfect formula is out there. And there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. If your skin is dry, consider a hydrating formula with a dewy or radiant finish. If it’s oily, opt for a matte formula instead. 

Find the right coverage 

Foundations are generally available in a ton of coverage options, ranging from light to full. If you prefer a more natural look or you want to even out your skin tone, a light coverage foundation is a good choice. However, if you’re looking to cover imperfections and prominent blemishes, a medium to full-coverage foundation is better. 

Find the right color

The right color match is crucial for foundation. And while the big name brands often offer expert color matching by their beauty advisors, drugstore foundations don’t often come with that luxury. 

The good news is that brands know this, and many are finding great ways to meet their customers where they’re at. Not only are many offering incredible shade ranges, but some brands like L’Oreal Paris and Black Opal have created foundations that allow users to find a color match easily. 

Ultimately, you want a shade that blends seamlessly, essentially disappearing on your face. At the very least, be sure to check your drugstore’s return policy, so if you need to do a little trial and error, you won’t waste any money on duds. 


What’s the best foundation at a reasonable price? 

Our pick for the best foundation at a reasonable price is Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation. This foundation is longwearing, pore-minimizing, and mattifying, so it checks a lot of boxes at an affordable price.

What’s the best dermatologist-recommended foundation?

Dermatologist recommendations for foundation will often vary from doctor to doctor. If you need something a bit more skin-friendly, you could try Neutrogena’s Skin-Clearing Liquid Makeup, our pick for the best foundation for acne-prone skin. This foundation dissolves oil and packs a powerful skin-clearing punch with salicylic acid. Plus, it won’t clog your pores or exacerbate acne or sensitivities. 

What’s the best foundation that stays on?

Our pick for foundation that stays put is L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation. This formula promises a 24-hour wear time.