The 10 Best Drugstore Foundations, Tested and Reviewed by Editors


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Updated May 3, 2024: This article on the best drugstore foundations was updated with expert insights on choosing a great formula for your skin type, as well as new product picks after an additional round of drugstore foundation testing. Our editors are currently testing additional formulas from brands like Nyx Professional Makeup for consideration in this guide.

The art of perfecting a base makeup routine is ultra-personal, and it takes trial and error to discover the right complexion products to suit your skin. As the seasons shift from warm spring weather to sweltering summer heat, it’s crucial to switch up your complexion products to avoid a serious makeup meltdown or a mismatched shade when your tan kicks in. There’s no need to shell out the big bucks for a high-quality skin perfector, because the best drugstore foundations have you covered. Our team of editors tested a range of budget-friendly foundations from top makeup brands that compliment different needs and preferences, including skin care-infused formulas, matte to dewy finishes, and textures for every skin type or concern.

“Foundations are a personal preference,” says celebrity makeup artist Katie Mellinger, who counts Sofia Coppola and Emma Watson as clients. “As long as the shades suits your skin tone and you like the performance, it doesn’t matter if it’s a prestige foundation or a drugstore brand. A lot of strides have been taken in the last 10 to 15 years to increase the quality of performance with drugstore brands. There’s definitely no shame in saving money when you can get the same effect as a prestige brand.”

Drugstore foundations cost dozens of dollars less than their luxury counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on quality ingredients or coverage. New formulas and innovations, like serum-enriched formulas or smoothing filter-like foundations, offer similar or better results that won’t break the bank, and often pose as a lighter, SPF-powered layer for the sunny months.

Upon selecting a drugstore foundation, “you want to pay attention to your skin type and the type of coverage that you want,” explains Mellinger. “Steer clear of any ingredients that might aggravate your skin, for example, looking for oil-free foundations if you’re prone to acne. But in my opinion, shopping for a drugstore brand isn’t any different than shopping for a prestige brand — the only difference being that you usually can’t swatch to color match on the spot.”

Below, discover 10 editor-tested and expert-recommended formulations that knock the makeup bag essential out of the ballpark.

Top Drugstore Foundations of 2024

Testing Verdict: Top 3 Drugstore Foundations of 2024

To hunt down the best foundations at the drugstore, multiple WWD Shop editors put dozens of budget foundations to the test and tapped a beauty expert for standout recommendations. We sleuthed through local drugstores near our New York City offices to conduct real-time reporting on the drugstore foundations that are flying off shelves, then compared notes on formulas that are taking off on TikTok or have earned a high number of five-star reviews at e-tailers like Amazon. During testing, we looked for foundations with robust shade ranges, skin-nourishing ingredients, and flawless finishes for dry to oily skin types.

Since our first round of drugstore foundation testing in October 2023, our editors have embarked on a second round of foundation testing for the summer months. We further assessed our top picks as well as new discoveries for this guide. Products that no longer impressed our editors in comparison to newly tested additions were removed, while we still stand by many of our original recommendations that we continued to test through spring.

The best drugstore foundations come in a vast range of formulations, so we’ve selected our top three foundations for different finishes, coverage levels, and, of course, skin types. Our winner’s circle exemplified a list of crucial criteria upon our thorough assessments, including impressive staying power, comfortable coverage, skin nourishing formulation, and overall finish.

  • L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation: After conducting a second round of drugstore foundation testing, we still stand behind this formula as the best drugstore foundation for oily skin. It provides a high level of coverage, impressive staying power, and a shine-absorbing formulation that’s great for hot summer days when you’d be hard-pressed to leave the house without blotting paper. We love that it cleanly dispenses with a pump and is available in large range of shade options.
  • Maybelline New York Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation: This dewy iteration of Maybelline’s bestselling Fit Me collection is our editor’s favorite drugstore foundation for dry skin, and also comes recommended by Mellinger. It hits the sweet spot between lightweight coverage and a complexion-enhancing finish. The non-cakey, emollient formulation melts into the skin to provide that coveted “clean girl” lit-from-within-glow.
  • E.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation: A drugstore foundation that boasts a high-quality formulation at an affordable point is practically unheard of — but E.l.f.’s foundation fits the bill, particularly for combination skin types. This formula won over our testers with its extensive shade range, thoughtful ingredients and semi-matte finish that doesn’t exacerbate dry patches or cause excess sheen in the t-zone.

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Related:
Best Drugstore Mascaras
Best Amazon Beauty Products

liquid foundation with red cap

Editor’s Choice

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation

$13.88

$16.99

18% off

$16.99

$13.99

The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Foundation comes recommended by Mellinger as a stellar full-coverage drugstore foundation that’s well-suited for mature skin, due to its silicone-based formulation that blurs fine lines. It’s also a TikTok favorite, with well over 200 million views and searches on the app. Its impressive staying power — which lasts up to a whopping 24 hours — makes it a standout, which is powered by three oil absorbers that resist water, sweat, and transferring. This matte-finish formula is one of the best drugstore foundations for oily skin, and earns bonus points for its inclusion of SPF 25 and wide range of shade options.

Editor testing and review notes: “This foundation is the best drugstore matte foundation throughout both of our first and second rounds of testing. At first, I noticed that the product was thinner than I’m used to, but after applying it with a fluffy brush, the foundation blended perfectly and felt lightweight while concealing my blemishes and redness. I love that it has SPF 25, which boosts my daily sun protection. The only caveat is that a little goes a long way, which I learned from experience — if you apply too much product, it tends to look a little cake-y.”

Longwear: 5/5 rating | Coverage: 4.8/5 rating | Formula: 4.6/5 rating | Finish: 4.9/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $12.94

glass foundation bottle with swatch

Editor’s Choice

Maybelline New York Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation

Editor testing review rating: 4.8/5 rating
Shade range: 24 shades available
Texture: Liquid
Finish: Dewy
Luxury alternative: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint for Dewy Sheer Coverage
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
CVS Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$7.58

$10.99

31% off

$10.99

$10.49

The glass skin TikTok trend has attracted over 2.8 billion beauty lovers looking to achieve a complexion that practically gleams, and Maybelline New York’s Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation is your best drugstore bet for achieving blurred, glossy skin. Dry skin types will love how it marries buildable coverage, SPF, and skin-quenching ingredients in one step. This foundation’s comfortable feel — courtesy of vitamin E, which soothes irritation and promotes softer skin — will leave you looking fresh and dewy on the daily. Mellinger especially recommends this foundation for its silicone-based formulation that works to smooth wrinkles and uneven texture, and its lightweight feel on the skin.

Editor testing and review notes: “This foundation maintains its top spot in our list since our first round of testing in the fall. It’s aptly named, because dewy, smooth skin is exactly what you’ll get. Maybelline’s Dewy + Smooth formulation of the Fit Me foundation range is great for those with dry skin because it immediately feels hydrating upon application. It has a natural finish and light coverage, which I enjoy since it allows my freckles to shine through while still evening out my complexion. It’s very thin on the skin, so it feels lightweight all day. It’s important to note that it does leave a wet-to-the-touch feeling upon initial application, so make sure to wait for it to fully set before applying products on top (otherwise brushes or sponges may displace the product). Those with oily skin should definitely skip this product, but if your skin type is combination or dry and you’re looking for a your-skin-but-better foundation, give this a try.”

Longwear: 4.5/5 rating | Coverage: 4.7/5 rating | Formula: 5/5 rating | Finish: 5/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $7.58

liquid foundation with pump

Editor’s Choice

E.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation

Editor testing review rating: 4.8/5 rating
Shade range: 40 shades available
Texture: Liquid
Finish: Semi-matte
Luxury alternative: Too Faced Born This Way Natural Finish Longwear Liquid Foundation
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Walmart Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Target Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars

Over the years, E.l.f. has become a powerhouse drugstore beauty brand that offers affordable options for everything from makeup brushes to lip gloss and face primer. E.l.f. is no stranger to high-quality complexion products, with viral hits like the Halo Glow Liquid filter and Hydrating Camo Concealer, and this foundation is no exception. The E.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation is outstanding, not only for its buildable medium coverage and versatile semi-matte finish, but also for its extensive shade range that allows you plenty of options to find your perfect match. The formula is best suited for combination skin types that’ll enjoy hydrating glycerin and clean, vegan ingredients that help to keep oils at bay.

Editor testing and review notes: “I was floored by the E.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation, considering its unbeatable price point, and, even after a second round of testing, have yet to find another product that measures up. It pumps out to a thicker consistency, which feels creamy, hydrating, and cooling as you blend it out. I applied the foundation with clean fingertips as well as a buffing brush during testing, and both techniques resulted in a very natural, non-streaky, and comfortable semi-matte finish. This foundation gave me a nice medium coverage that’s buildable and doesn’t leave the skin dry and cakey throughout the day. This formula would likely suit the range of skin types, though I’d recommend that those with combination and oily skin powder their T zone or use a mattifying primer to ward off unwanted shine. Capping at just $6, this is a hidden gem at the drugstore and worth the try — regardless if you’re on a tight beauty budget.”

Longwear: 4.6/5 rating | Coverage: 4.8/5 rating | Formula: 4.7/5 rating | Finish: 5/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $5.10

serum foundation with dropper applicator

L’Oréal Paris True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum Foundation

Editor testing review rating: 4.8/5 rating
Shade range: 14 shades available
Texture: Liquid serum
Finish: Radiant
Luxury alternative: Estée Lauder Futurist Skin Tint Serum Foundation
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Target Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars

$14.99

$19.99

25% off

$19.99

$14.99

If you’re looking for a medium coverage foundation that gives a healthy radiant finish, go with L’Oréal Paris True Match Nude Tinted Serum Foundation. The difference between a traditional foundation and a serum foundation is the skin care-infused benefits from active ingredients in the latter, along with a much lighter feel. This product’s natural glow isn’t just for show, because it contains one percent hyaluronic acid, which plumps skin, aids in hydration, and contributes to improved skin elasticity over time. It’s also blended with luminous mineral pigments that brighten the complexion and seamlessly melt into the skin.

Editor testing and review notes: “Serum foundations always excite me because they nourish the skin while providing coverage at the same time, and I was especially interested in this one for its inclusion of hyaluronic acid. I’ve always been a fan of the L’Oréal Paris True Match complexion line and this remains my top dog in our second round of testing. I love how easily it blends into the skin with a buffing brush and provides natural, buildable, and effective coverage. The formula is not runny like other serum foundations — it has a typical foundation consistency, and the dropper applicator makes dispensing product simple and sanitary (and a little fun). The hyaluronic acid in this foundation does not go unnoticed, as it feels hydrating without overdoing it on the dew-factor, and results in an ideal skin-like sheen.”

Longwear: 4.6/5 rating | Coverage: 4.7/5 rating | Formula: 4.9/5 rating | Finish: 5/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $14.99

glass foundation bottle with swatch

Colourpop Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Hydrating Foundation

Colourpop’s Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Hydrating Foundation is similar to a serum foundation but boasts a more full-coverage color payoff. It has a hydrating formula base of coconut water that’s doubled-down with hyaluronic acid to quench the skin and blur fine lines. Those with acne-prone skin get the green light with this product, not only for its buildable, natural-looking coverage that’ll camouflage blemishes, but also because it’s dermatologist-tested and is formulated without irritating added fragrance or alcohol.

Editor testing and review notes: “This is the first complexion product I’ve tried from Colourpop and it’s become a mainstay in my routine ever since I originally tested it six months ago. The Pretty Fresh foundation feels incredibly hydrating on the skin and has a wet, thin formula that blends effortlessly atop moisturizer and primer. It provides a satin to dewy finish (depending on my moisturizer base) that’s super lightweight — it feels better than a tinted moisturizer. The coverage of this foundation is light to medium, which allows for plenty of layering control without the risk of getting cakey. The brand was smart to add a pump to its packaging, since the foundation has a runny consistency.”

Longwear: 4.3/5 rating | Coverage: 4.5/5 rating | Formula: 5/5 rating | Finish: 4.8/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $16

10 Best Drugstore Foundations, Tested & Reviewed

Maybelline Superstay Super Stay 24H Skin Tint

If you’re in the market for a foundation that won’t slide off your skin during the dog days of summer, look to the Maybelline Superstay Super Stay 24H Skin Tint. The bestselling drugstore foundation for combination and sensitive skin boasts over 1,500 five-star reviews on Amazon that rave over its flawless finish and budge-proof wear. Infused with brightening vitamin C, this weightless formula provides light-to-medium coverage in a natural, radiant finish that won’t weigh you down in warm weather. Plus, it’s sweat-, humidity-, and transfer-proof, so you won’t have to worry about your mug fading away by the end of the day.

Editor testing and review notes: “This foundation looks like skin! I found it incredibly easy to blend into my complexion, and it feels lightweight and hydrating like a traditional serum formula. A little goes a long way to start, then it’s easy to build for fuller coverage in target areas on your skin. Keep in mind that I found it clinging to dry patches on my combination skin, likely due to its long-wearing formula, so make sure to moisturize and apply a face sunscreen beforehand so you’re primed with a hydrated base.”

Longwear: 5/5 rating | Coverage: 4.7/5 rating | Formula: 4.7/5 rating | Finish: 4.9/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $13.98

pink foundation tube

Covergirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation

Editor testing review rating: 4.5/5 rating
Shade range: 15 shades available
Texture: Liquid
Finish: Dewy
Luxury alternative: Huda Beauty GloWish MultiDew Vegan Skin Tint Foundation
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
CVS Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$8.00

$13.99

43% off

$12.49

$11.79

For those with sensitive skin types, finding a foundation that’s not loaded with irritating ingredients can be a challenge. Consider this clean and vegan foundation from Covergirl your next holy grail drugstore foundation for sensitive skin. Its formulation is free of formaldehydes, sulfates, and talc, while packing a healthy punch of hydrating coconut milk and soothing aloe vera. It has a lightweight feel that won’t clog your pores and creates a healthy, fresh glow that’s comfortable for daily wear.

Editor testing and review notes: “As someone with sensitive, dry skin, I’m always looking for clean foundations that go big on moisturizing ingredients, so I was excited to try Covergirl’s Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation. The formula is packaged similar to a tinted moisturizer — and applies just like one, as well, as this creamy liquid has light but buildable coverage. There’s a slight smell to the formula, but the cushiony, cooling effect on my skin makes it well worth it. During my eight-hour testing period, I didn’t experience any smearing, smudging, or streakiness.” 

Longwear: 4.3/5 rating | Coverage: 4.4/5 rating | Formula: 4.5/5 rating | Finish: 4.8/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $8.00

foundation with sponge applicator

Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Instant Perfector 4-In-1 Glow Makeup

Editor testing review rating: 4.6/5 rating
Shade range: 8 shades available
Texture: Liquid
Finish: Dewy
Luxury alternative: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Walmart Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$9.99

$13.99

29% off

$13.99

$11.13

Maybelline New York’s Instant Age Rewind Instant Perfector 4-In-1 Glow Makeup is one of the most unique drugstore foundations. It’s a TikTok-favorite beauty product for its plush sponge applicator that allows for speedy swipe-on application and wins with its jack-of-all-trades formulation. Similar to pricey filter foundation products on the market, it works to blur and prime the skin, while going a step further by delivering on concealer-level coverage. Don’t let the limited shade range scare you, because it’s formulated as a self-adjusting foundation that seamlessly blends into your skin tone.

Editor testing and review notes: “Consider Maybelline’s 4-in-1 Perfector the polar opposite of a matte foundation. This fluffy cream foundation goes big on dewiness and shine, but in a flattering way (particularly for those dealing with dullness or dry patches). I’d liken it to a BB cream in color payoff and hydration, but with the sheen of a lightweight liquid highlighter. This combination lends a really nice brightening, blurring effect that I didn’t experience with other foundations I tested. Best of all, it’s easy to layer other products on top — the formula features some ingredients you’d find in a great makeup primer.” 

Longwear: 4.5/5 rating | Coverage: 4.6/5 rating | Formula: 4.7/5 rating | Finish: 4.6/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $9.99

10 Best Drugstore Foundations, Tested & Reviewed

Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer

Editor testing review rating: 4.8/5 rating
Shade range: 24 shades available
Texture: Liquid
Finish: Natural matte
Luxury alternative: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Target Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars

If full-coverage is your priority, the Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer is your ticket to a flawless finish. The formula combines flexible, full face coverage with the concentrated pigment of a concealer, so it serves as a double-duty product to streamline your complexion routine. Its demi matte finish is best for combination or oily skin, white its sweat and waterproof staying power bodes well for long days where there will be tons of photo-ops, like a summer wedding or graduation ceremony. It’s a great two-in-one drugstore foundation to throw in your travel makeup bag because it allows you to control your coverage without having to lug around a makeup aisle’s worth of complexion products.

Editor testing and review notes: “This foundation is one of the most full-coverage formulas I’ve tried across both drugstore and prestige price points. It pumps out to a thick consistency, but thins out as you blend it into the skin. I recommend starting with a super light hand — you’ll be surprised with how much pigment this product packs. I find that I can certainly skip concealer with this product, as it completely evens out my discoloration and covers spots in one step. I even like to mix it with my moisturizer on days when I want a more lightweight feel.”

Longwear: 4.9/5 rating | Coverage: 5/5 rating | Formula: 4.7/5 rating | Finish: 4.7/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $10.97

10 Best Drugstore Foundations, Tested & Reviewed

Maybelline Dream Radiant Liquid Foundation

When we saw this foundation gaining serious traction on beauty TikTok — to the tune of 11.5 million views — we had to take it for a spin. The Maybelline Dream Radiant Liquid Foundation has quickly achieved cult-favorite status, with over 4,600 five-star reviews on Amazon that deem the non-cakey formula a game changer for mature or dry skin. Its smoothing formulation comes with a healthy dose of hydrating hyaluronic acid and medium coverage with a skin-mimicking finish. Some testers even say they can skip makeup primer, since the formula is naturally long-lasting and crease-resistant.

Editor testing and review notes: “I had never heard of this foundation before discovering it on TikTok, but now I see what all the hype is about. It delivers a truly radiant finish that gives my complexion a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed glow, and successfully smooths out the skin tone. It feels like a glass of water for my skin, which is so refreshing when I do my glam in the early mornings, and I love its just-right, Goldilocks coverage for daily wear. Plus, you only need one pump to tackle your entire face, so you get a lot of bang for your buck in one bottle. When applied alone, it’s not as longwearing as other foundations on this list, but that’s nothing a little primer can’t fix.”

Longwear: 4.8/5 rating | Coverage: 4.7/5 rating | Formula: 4.7/5 rating | Finish: 4.9/5

Price upon publish date of this article: $10.31

What to Look for in the Best Drugstore Foundations:

Shade range: Many brands have expanded their shade ranges to offer more inclusive options, but it can still be tricky to find your perfect match. “First, you want to understand your undertone,” says Mellinger. This is especially key when you order a drugstore foundation online, as product imagery isn’t always accurate. “A good way to do this is to hold up a piece of white paper next to your face in natural light. That will give a point of comparison and you should be able to see either a yellow undertone in your skin or a red/pink undertone. Yellow is considered a warm undertone whereas red/pink is considered a cool under tone. If can’t decide which undertone you are, then you probably are a neutral undertone, which is a combination of both.” If you’re shopping in-person, Mellinger recommends holding the glass bottle up to your jawline to determine your closest shade. Luckily if you choose incorrectly, the drugstore brand isn’t that expensive.”

Finish: Drugstore foundations come in myriad finishes, but they do not perform the same on different skin types. For example, dewy drugstore foundations may overwhelm oily skin with too much shine, while matte foundations will exacerbate dry skin. Mellinger explains, “a matte [finish] doesn’t give off any luminosity or shine, a lot like a powder finish without the powdery texture. A dewy finish gives a glow to your skin and a natural finish is a combination of the two, meaning you’re not too dewy and not too matte. Your skin looks fresh but not shiny.” It’s important to select a foundation that supplements your skin type to ensure the most flattering appearance and lasting wear. Those with dry skin should lean into hydrating, dewy foundations, while those with oily skin will most benefit from anti-shine matte finishes. Combination skin types have a bit more flexibility in their selection, though satin or demi-matte finishes that absorb oil and contain hydrating ingredients will best suit your complexion.

Coverage level: Foundation coverage is a personal preference that depends on your skin concerns and comfortability. Full-coverage foundation can often sit heavier on the skin, however it will create the most flawless finish by concealing all signs of blemishes and redness. Medium coverage foundations will even out the skin tone and blur imperfections, while light coverage will create the most skin-like finish and allow natural features like freckles to shine through.

Key ingredients: Ingredients in drugstore foundations have evolved in recent years thanks to skin care-infused formulas and innovations. However, foundations are almost always formulated with a base of water, oil, or wax that’s blended with iron oxide or titanium dioxide pigments to mimic natural skin tones. Water-based drugstore foundations are best for sensitive skin types. Oil-based foundations are thin and hydrating, similar to any facial or body oil, while wax foundations are thick, oil-absorbing, and reliable for long periods of wear time. Other common ingredients in modern formulations include SPF, brightening vitamin C, smoothing vitamin E, and hydrating hyaluronic acid.

How We Chose the Best Drugstore Foundations

In order to select the best drugstore foundations, our WWD Shop editors conducted extensive research across the beauty market, along with our own comprehensive editor-approved product testing. We tested a total of 27 top drugstore foundations, including new product releases, TikTok-viral formulations, and prominent foundations that have been shopper favorites for decades. We also sifted through and compared hundreds of customer review quotes to roundup superlative foundations available at the most common drugstores. We tested many drugstore foundations, including the below runner-ups:

  • Flower Get Real Serum Foundation: While our testers love Flower Beauty’s blushes and lip liners, we weren’t as impressed with this foundation. Unfortunately, this serum foundation is more serum than foundation, leaving more to be desired in terms of coverage and formula consistency. Only those with very dry skin may appreciate the hydration of this foundation, however we found it to be far too slippery on other skin types.
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup: The Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation had an off-putting fragrance that our testers didn’t find in other foundations on our list. While it has nice coverage and blends well using fingertips or a sponge, we noticed the color oxidizing to a darker tone after a few minutes of wear.
  • Maybelline Fit Me Matte Poreless Foundation: At first test, our reviewers loved the consistency, feel, and coverage of the formula. However after hours of wear time, we noticed the formula settling into fine lines and pores, rather than gliding on top to conceal them. The product doesn’t come with a pump or doe foot wand applicator, so it’s also tricky to dispense.
  • NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation: While our testers found the shade range impressive and the price point affordable, this formula was too dry for all members of our testing panel (oily skin types included). The texture dried down quickly upon application, which limited the product’s ability to blend.

How We Tested & Reviewed the Best Drugstore Foundations

A total of 27 foundation formulations were tested among five WWD editors for this best drugstore foundation shopping guide. Initially, these drugstore foundations were put to the test for a duration of eight to 18 hours per day across a three-week testing period in order to determine the pros and cons of each option. In some cases, these foundations were already purchased by testers and used daily for months before our official review process began. We assessed key factors of the drugstore foundations throughout our testing, including skin finish, coverage, application experience, wear time, comfortability, packaging, and whether or not the foundations caused breakouts or irritation.

Since our original testing period in October 2023, we’ve continued to test our favorite formulas over the course of six months. We also assessed additional drugstore foundations to add to this guide, of which we discovered outperformed a few of our original product picks. We’ve included new finds that are particularly beneficial for the warm weather months, though we stand by the bulk of our original recommendations in this list after a second round of testing.

In both rounds of testing, we made sure to compare shade ranges, special formulations, like serum or skin care-infused foundations, and overall texture. The drugstore foundations included in this article were tested across a variety of skin types, skin tones, climates, and functions, so you can feel confident about your next drugstore foundation purchase. 

Below are the criteria our panel of testers considered while trying out drugstore foundation formulas:

  • Packaging: Foundation packaging does not only impact its aesthetic appeal — it’s also incredibly important to its overall usability and application. We evaluated each foundation’s packaging in terms of weight, durability, accessibility, and whether the foundation leaked or clogged in its dispense mechanism. It’s important to note that a foundation’s packaging should go hand-in-hand with its formula. For example, thick foundations are most easily and cleanly dispensed with a pump, while thin or runny foundations benefit from a dropper applicator to direct product in controlled areas. Liquid formulas that mimic a moisturizer texture are most easily accessed with a squeeze tube bottle, while thick creams are convenient to apply from pot compacts.
  • Coverage: We assessed foundation coverage based on the formula’s claims. For instance, if a foundation promised full-coverage, we tested whether it could double as a concealer for blemishes or dark under eye circles. We also paid attention to each foundation’s buildability and whether it could be layered for added coverage without appearing thick or cakey.
  • Wear time: A foundation’s staying power refers to whether it can maintain its initial finish and coverage after long hours of wear. We tested each foundation from eight to 18 hours to determine whether they left our skin feeling dry, looking shiny, dissolved atop face serums and moisturizers, or transferred. We also considered how well they played with different types of primers, concealers, and setting powders throughout the day and whether the formula broke down in conjunction with other products.
  • Ease of application: We judged the application of each foundation based on how it blended and set on the skin. We utilized several application methods during our testing, including beauty sponges, different makeup brushes, and our own freshly-washed fingertips. Any formulas that took too much time and effort to blend, oxidized to a darker finish, or failed to fully dry on the skin were removed from our list.

the best drugstore foundations tested and reviewed

WWD Shop editor Claire Sullivan swatches drugstore foundations in our New York City office.

WWD/ Adam Mansuroglu

Before you go, check out our list of the best foundations:

Best Foundations for Every Skin Type Gallery

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Meet the Drugstore Foundation Testers

A panel of five testers contributed to this extensive shopping guide for the best drugstore foundations. Our testers include Olivia Cigliano, the Commerce Writer & Producer at Footwear News and WWD and the author of this story, Claire Sullivan, the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for WWD and Footwear News, and three additional testers. Our drugstore foundations testing team represents a range of needs and preferences, such as varying skin tones and under tones, dry to oily skin types, and some with sensitive and acne-prone skin. Each of our testers assessed formulas for a variety of makeup looks for various occasions and climates, from natural no-makeup-makeup days to full glam beats, in order to determine the best recommendations that are universally satisfactory.

Meet the Expert

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Katie Mellinger is a bicoastal makeup artist who specializes in flawless skin. She has worked with clients such as Sofia Coppola, Emma Watson, Chloë Sevigny, AnnaSophia Robb, and more. Her work has been featured in major publications including W, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and i-D, to name a few.

Meet the Author

Olivia Cigliano is a Commerce Writer & Producer at Footwear News and WWD where she writes and edits shopping content across fashion, beauty, footwear, TikTok style trends, and more. Cigliano received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Emerson College, and her byline can be found in publications including Elite Daily and CR Fashion Book. She is currently based in New York City. At WWD, she regularly tests and reviews top-rated and TikTok-famous products like drugstore foundations to recommend for a variety of skin types and preferences.





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