Don't knock foundations at the drugstore! There's some great products out there and in recent years, the quality of drugstore products have improved immensely. It may be a little harder to match your skin tone without a tester, but check out the return policy--most stores are flexible with beauty product returns. Here's my guide to my favorite drugstore foundations that I've been loving.
Just as an FYI, my skin tone changes drastically from winter to summer so I have these foundations in a multitude of shades--if it doesn't match me now, I promise it did at one point.
In no particular order:
Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme Foundation
I'm so impressed with this one! It's a creme base with a thicker consistency--if I turn the pot upside down, the product won't drip. On the skin, however, it's quite light and so easy to blend. A little goes a long way with this but you can build it up as long as you keep blending away. I do have to powder it with my combination skin type (as I do with all foundations) to keep it from moving around, but I think if you have normal to dry skin, you would have no problems. I found that it lasts easily for 4-6 hours. There's only a limited amount of shades so it was hard to match my medium, yellow undertone but I'm hoping Revlon will expand to include all the colors of their Colorstay family.
Coverage: Medium to full
Packaging: Good quality. Wish it was a pump so you didn't have to dip your fingers in for hygienic reasons.
Staying Power: SO good.
Application: I like to use my fingers or a beauty blender. Brushes don't seem to blend this in as easy.
Price: $13.99 at Ulta
My Shade: 370 Natural Tan but a tad too pink for me
L'oreal True Match
This line of foundation gets a big thumbs up for its shade selection system. Matching foundation to your skin tone comes down to undertones and L'oreal did a great job of dividing and organizing by either warm, neutral or cool toned bases. I was able to select my shade in record timing by first narrowing down to the warms and choosing how light or dark I was in that family. The foundation itself blends well and goes on smoothly. It looks and feels great on the skin but it is not a long wearing formula, nor does it provide full coverage. It reminds me of Nars Sheer Glow It looks very natural on the skin, but does get shiny on my face.
Finish: Dewy (I would recommend this for dry-normal skin)
Coverage: light to medium
Packaging: Standard, no frills.
Staying Power: Will break down after a few hours
Application: Works well with a foundation brush or buffing brush.
Price: $9.99 at Ulta
My Shade: W7--best yellow undertone in drugstore foundation!
Revlon Colorstay Combination/Oily
A dream come true for me! This is the only formula, drugstore and high-end included, that stays matte on me all day long--which is an absolute miracle. It is a rather thick formula with full coverage. If you DON'T have oily skin, I would stay away from this one because it will feel cakey on you. However, they made a dry/normal skin formula in the same line, which I've heard great things about as well. It will not fade on you and does a great at oil absorption and controlling shine. The range of colors is fantastic. I would say this is comparable to my Chanel Perfection Lumeire, which is one of my favorites.
Packaging: Heavy glass bottle. I love everything about this foundation except the lack of pump!
Staying Power: Fantastic
Application: Works well with foundation brush or buffing brush.
Price: $9.99 at Target
My Shade: 360 Golden Caramel--pretty close, could be more yellow. I will def. need a new shade as I get more tan in the summer.
Revlon Photoready Airbrush Mousse
I was sure this one was going to fall short of my expectations and be more of a gimmick-y product, but the actual formulation of this is much better than you'd think. It's lightweight on the skin and very comfortable. It does achieve an airbrushed finish as it's intended and somehow manages to fill in your pores to give you that flawless look. The delivery method is a huge mess though. It's hard to control how much product is going to come out. As you can see in the swatch above, usually it's more than you need. I haven't tried any other airbrush mousse foundations, like Dior's Airflash, so I can't compare it to anything for you. It comes out as a bubbling mousse and after it dissipates, it becomes a very watery foundation. Like I said, I like the finish but hate the packaging. I'm also not sold on the shade selection--I didn't find a perfect match for me.
Finish: Matte to Satin
Coverage: light to medium
Staying Power: Not amazing, but will stay for 3-4 hours.
Application: A buffing brush will give you that perfect airbrush finish
Price: $11.99 at Target
My Shade: 60 Golden Beige--too light for me to wear now, but worked well over the winter months
Revlon Nearly Naked
This one created quite a buzz in the blogging/vlogging beauty world. It was the drugstore alternative to Urban Decay's Naked Skin foundation. It a lightweight formula, marketed as a very natural finish. I love the way this looks--it gives your face a healthy glow without being too greasy. It blends in seamlessly but it is a very sheer formula so don't expect it to provide any real coverage for blemishes. I can't go too long before this gets shiny as me, but as its marketed as a dewy foundation, I was prepared for it. This is a "my skin but better" foundation and I love it for what it is.
Coverage: light to medium, not buildable
Packaing: Small glass bottle, no pump
Staying power: not ideal for oily skin, but works well with setting powders
Application: fingers or any kind of brush
Price: $9.99 at Ulta
My Shade: 200 Warm Beige--good
I understand and accept that no two skin types are exactly the same so I can only speak to how these apply and react to my own face. Trial and error really is the only way you're going to find something that works for you, but I know that reading these types of reviews help me when I'm trying to decide what or what not to buy. I hope this helped in some way! Let me know if you want a specific review on something.
All items linked below, plus a few extras I'd recommend since writing this post. Shop below!