When it comes to looking our best, wearing the right foundation that evens out our skin tone is the biggest make-or-break makeup product in our entire makeup routine. But as we all know, our foundation can create a beautiful, glowing second-skin look or a cakey, chalky looking catastrophe that looks like – well – foundation.
Finding the best foundation can be tricky because there are so many different things to consider and literally hundreds of foundations from which to choose. So it’s important to know our own personal preferences and consider our skin type.
For instance, do we have oily, dry or combination skin? A foundation that works well on very dry skin may not work as well for those of us with oily skin. Other questions to consider are: how much coverage we want? Do we want a matte look or a glowing look? What’s the undertone of our skin? And do we want our foundation to include an SPF?
If you know the undertone of your skin, the good news is that most foundations now indicate whether the undertone of the foundation is cool, warm or neutral, so definitely pick a shade that matches the undertone of your skin.
And if you’re not sure of the undertone of your skin, here’s a helpful video:
And knowing the undertone of your skin is not only important for choosing the foundation that will really make your skin come alive, but also essential in order to pick out the blush and lipstick shades that will make your skin glow.
I like to combine two of my favorite drugstore foundations to create my preferred finish which is a slight glow to the skin: the Catrice True Skin Hydrating Foundation and the L’Oréal Age Perfect Serum Foundation.
This product provides medium coverage, a skin-like finish and comes in 20 shades. The focus of the brand is on creating quality products at an affordable price with a cleaner formula. In fact, since they’re headquartered in Germany, they adhere to European standards set forth by the EU Cosmetics Regulation which restricts over 1,500 ingredients from being used in beauty products. In comparison, the U.S. restricts just eleven.
Additionally, Catrice has banned an additional 60 plus ingredients that they deem unacceptable, and they are cruelty free. And what’s most amazing is that this foundation costs only $11.00! Two things to note about Catrice is that the shade range is somewhat limited, and if you have extremely dry skin, this formula may not be hydrating enough for you.
This foundation was specifically created for mature skin. It’s formulated with Vitamin B3 and a hydrating serum which includes hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and aloes. Some people can have a reaction to niacinamide, so if this is true for you, it’s always a good idea to check the foundation’s ingredient list to see how much niacinamide the product contains.
This foundation comes in 30 shades, has a chemical SPF of 50, is lightweight, has a medium coverage and is specifically formulated not to settle into fine lines. I have had a really good experience with this foundation, but I must say that the reviews are somewhat mixed. It seems that people either really like this foundation or really don’t. So as always, check the return policy before purchasing.
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The third drugstore priced foundation I want to highlight is Colourpop’s Pretty Fresh Foundation. This one really surprised me, in a positive way. It comes in a whooping number of shade choices – 42! – has good medium coverage and a natural looking finish which can get somewhat dewy looking throughout the day if you have oily skin.
It’s oil-free and vegan and contains hyaluronic acid and coconut water. Products containing coconut ingredients can cause breakouts in some people, so I think that’s an important ingredient to be aware of. I’ve been really impressed with the lovely finish and coverage of this foundation.
Another amazingly good foundation formula at a very reasonable price is Sephora’s Best Skin Ever Foundation which has the second highest number of shades on this list at 50. It provides light to medium buildable coverage and is a lovely gel-like formula containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin and squalane.
It’s fragrance free, but not cruelty free. What I love most about this formula is that it provides a natural, but slightly dewy look which can be beautiful on our more mature skin.
The first two more expensive foundations I want to highlight are clean beauty choices: Merit’s The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick and the most recent foundation entry from Kosas: their Revealer Skin Improving Foundation.
Merit’s foundation comes in a stick formula which makes it wonderfully quick and easy to apply. There are 17 shades and in addition to being a clean beauty product, it’s also fragrance free, vegan and cruelty free.
It’s a medium coverage foundation with a natural finish. One of the things I really love about this foundation is that it’s a combination foundation and concealer so you can get more coverage if you need it, but it’s also easy to sheer out.
The Kosas clean beauty foundation comes in 36 shades and has a mineral SPF of 25. It’s also cruelty free and hypoallergenic. The finish is definitely natural, and it has a beautiful medium coverage. In addition to containing hyaluronic acid, it also has niacinamide, peptides, squalane, Vitamin B5 and caffeine. I was especially impressed with the coverage of this foundation and how good it felt on the skin.
There are two foundations from Estee Lauder and the first is a cult classic: Estee Lauder’s Double Wear. If you’re looking for a matte finish, fuller coverage, long-wearing foundation, then this is an excellent choice. And it has the biggest shade range of any foundation on this list: 56! It also just happens to be the top selling foundation in the United States and has a chemical SPF of 10.
But Estee Lauder has also come out with a newer foundation that is more moisturizing and has a beautiful radiant finish: it’s their Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation. It has a chemical SPF of 45, is lightweight and provides medium coverage. And this foundation comes in 28 shades.
IT Cosmetics also makes some very popular foundations and one that works especially well for more mature skin is their Your Skin But Better Foundation which is medium coverage and comes in 40 shades.
It’s formulated to provide hydration with ingredients that include hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, and Vitamin E. And it definitely creates a radiant finish. IT Cosmetics has also been confirmed as a cruelty free brand. There is a slight fragrance with this product, and it has a physical sunscreen of 50.
The last two foundations are two of my favorites: Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation and Charlotte Tilbury’s recently launched Beautiful Skin Foundation.
The Giorgio Armani Foundation is truly an iconic foundation which provides a beautiful satin, soft finish focus. It’s lightweight and oil-free with medium coverage. The good news with this foundation is that in addition to the standard size which costs $65, it now comes in a mini size for $44. However, the mini sizes are often sold out. This foundation is a classically beautiful foundation which I usually save for special occasions.
The Charlotte Tilbury Foundation is cruelty free, long-wearing, and hydrating with a natural finish. What sets this foundation apart for me is that it not only helps to blur pores, but it also creates a beautiful bright quality to my skin which I love.
I hope these recommendations can help you find your perfect foundation.
What’s your current favorite foundation? What do you like best about it? What are the most important things you look for when choosing a foundation?
Hi, Billie Marie–
Thanks for letting us know about your experience with airbrush and airbrush makeups!
I love the L’oreal foundation serum with sunscreen. Lightweight, good coverage. Great value
Hi, Maria–I’m so glad you found this information helpful. Estee Lauder certainly came up with a winner with their Hydra Rescue Foundation! And I definitely agree with you about Colourpop. They have some great eyeshadows which really are an amazing value.
Great information! I recently switched to the new Estee Lauder hydra rescue foundation for summer, and I like the coverage and hydration. Love to try new makeup, and I find colour pop eyeshadows especially appealing.
I have had very good results with an airbrush and airbrush makeups. Its fast and easy and you can mainly hit just the problem areas. You only use a few drops at a time but it has to be makeup made for an airbrush. Your old makeup that is not water base will clog up your air gun.