Sign in
Your Position: Home >Beauty & Personal Care >The Best Places to Buy Foundation Day Online and In-Store

The Best Places to Buy Foundation Day Online and In-Store

Feb. 04, 2024
  • 120
  • 0
  • 0

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, WWD may receive an affiliate commission.

The art of perfecting a base makeup routine is ultra-personal, and it takes trial and error to discover the right complexion products to suite your skin. There’s no need to shell out the big bucks for a high-quality skin perfecter, because these best drugstore foundations have got 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.

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 formulas or smoothing filter-like foundations, offer similar or better results that won’t break the bank. If you think about it, selecting a foundation is adjacent to curating your skin care routine, since the product will be sitting on your skin all day long, so it’s important to choose a formula that supplements your skin type for the most flattering wear and finish.

Staple drugstore foundation brands such as Maybelline New York, L’Oréal Paris, Covergirl, and even ultra-affordable beauty brands like E.l.f. offer foundations that include skin-loving ingredients like SPF, hyaluronic acid, and nourishing vitamins C and E. Drugstores offer a range of foundation textures too, from powder, liquid, cream, and everything in between. There are specially formulated options that cater to different skin types, such as mattifying drugstore foundations for oily skin and extra hydrating options for dry skin. You can also shop clean and vegan formulas for sensitive skin types and acne-prone skin, semi-matte finishes for combination skin, and blurring foundations that improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

It’s no secret that trying out a new foundation can be a hit or a miss, which is why affordable drugstore foundations are a safe bet. A prestige foundation could run you upwards of $50, which can add up as your skin tone or texture changes with the seasons. Plus, there’s nothing more frustrating than taking a pricey product home and discovering that it doesn’t agree with your skin type, looks cakey past the point of return, or causes a skin reaction that leads you back to the makeup aisle to buy even more cover up. While foundation can be a high-stakes purchase, a drugstore price point is reliably low-risk. Luckily, we’ve discovered nine affordable formulations that knock this makeup bag essential out of the ballpark.

To hunt down the best foundations at the drugstore, multiple WWD Shop editors put dozens of budget foundations to the test. We sleuthed through our favorite beauty supply destinations and evaluated different formulations across the most prominent and affordable cosmetic brands. We also conducted thorough research on the best complexion makeup ingredients, as well as robust shade ranges and undertones to give kudos to the most inclusive drugstore foundations that serve different skin types, coverage levels, and flawless finishes.

Top Drugstore Foundations of 2024

Sign up for WWD Shop’s newsletter to get the scoop on the best in beauty and style with in-depth reviews of exciting new releases and buyer’s guides to find the products you need to try ASAP.

Related:
Best Drugstore Mascaras
Best Amazon Beauty Products

Testing & Review Verdict: Top 3 Drugstore Foundations of 2024

Selecting a go-to foundation is all dependent on your preferred finish, coverage, and, of course, your skin type. Drugstore foundations come in a wide range of options, which is why our testers crowned top three options that offer different results, rather than a single winner. Here are our trialed champs:

  • L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation: This drugstore foundation stands out against other drugstore foundation options for its high level of coverage, staying power, and oil-absorbing properties. We love that it cleanly dispenses with a pump and is available in large range of shade options.
  • Colourpop Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Hydrating Foundation: Colourpop’s hydrating foundation is one of the best skin care-infused foundations for its price point, and the best drugstore foundation for dry skin that we tested. We were impressed by its super natural, skin-like finish and its easy blendability. It offers buildable medium coverage, nourishes the skin with clean ingredients, and results in a healthy glow finish.
  • 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. This formula won over our testers with its extensive shade range, thoughtful ingredients, comfortable wear, and semi-matte finish that’s suitable for the range of skin types.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum Foundation

Best Drugstore Foundation for Combination Skin

  • 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

If you’re looking for a medium coverage foundation that gives a healthy radiance 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 of active ingredients, along with a much lighter feel. This product’s natural glow isn’t just for show, because it contains 1 percent hyaluronic acid, which aids in hydration and supple 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 is officially my top dog. 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.” — Commerce Writer & Producer Olivia Cigliano

Price upon publish date of this article: $13.39

Courtesy of Target

$13.39

$19.99

33% off

Buy Now At Amazon

$19.99

Buy Now At Ulta

$14.99

Buy Now At Target

Colourpop Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Hydrating Foundation

Best Drugstore Foundation for Acne

  • Shade range: 42 shades available
  • Texture: Liquid
  • Finish: Natural
  • Luxury alternative: Saie Glowy Super Skin Lightweight Hydrobounce Serum Foundation
  • Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
  • Target Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars
  • Colourpop Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.7/5 stars

Colourpop’s Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Hydrating Foundation is similar to a serum foundation but boasts a higher color payoff. It has a hydrating formula base of coconut water that’s doubled-down with hyaluronic acid and a fruit complex that works 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 contains 100 percent vegan and clean ingredients.

Editor testing and review notes: “This is the first complexion product I’ve tried from Colourpop and it’s an instant winner in my book. 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.” — Cigliano

Price upon publish date of this article: $16

Courtesy of Colourpop

$16

Buy Now At Ulta

$16

Buy Now Target

$16

Buy Now At Colourpop

E.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation

Best Drugstore Liquid Foundation

  • 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 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 suitable for all skin types, with hydrating glycerin and clean, vegan ingredients, but it stood out to us as one of the best drugstore foundations for oily skin in particular.

Editor testing and review notes: “I was floored by the E.l.f. Flawless Satin Foundation, considering its unbeatable price point. 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 provides 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.” — Cigliano

Price upon publish date of this article: $5.66

Courtesy of Target

$5.66

$6

6% off

Buy Now At Amazon

$6

Buy Now At Walmart

$6

Buy Now At Target

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Perfector

Best Drugstore Foundation for Mature Skin

  • Shade range: 6 shades available
  • Texture: Liquid
  • Finish: Natural
  • Luxury alternative: It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Full Coverage Color Correcting Foundation
  • Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
  • Target Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars
  • Walmart Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

This all-in-on foundation is great for mature skin or those who prefer their foundation to knock off steps in their skin care routine. The Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Perfector performs similarly to a tinted moisturizer, with sheer coverage, SPF 20, and a lightweight feel. Its star feature is retinol, which is a tried-and-true skin care ingredient that increases skin elasticity, reduces the appearance of dark spots, calms inflammation, and prevents clogged pores. The formula also includes nourishing antioxidants, vitamins, and titanium dioxide to revitalize the skin under the makeup and provide a radiant, natural finish.

Editor testing and review notes: “Of all the foundations I tested, this Neutrogena option had the richest texture. Those with oily skin types may not love this factor, but anyone who’s trying to ward off wrinkles and fine lines (or just plain old dry skin) know that the more moisture, the better. Unlike other liquid and cream foundations I tried, this balmy cream blended into my skin like an expensive face moisturizer — that just so happens to provide medium coverage and SPF 20. It has a tendency to transfer, so I’d suggest a light dust of setting powder or a spritz of setting spray after you apply it.” — Sullivan

Price upon publish date of this article: $14

Courtesy of Amazon

$14

$20.59

32% off

Buy Now At Amazon

$19.99

Buy Now At Target

$18.93

Buy Now At Walmart

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation

Best Full-Coverage Drugstore Foundation

Related articles:
Can I Use Whitening Body Scrubs Every Day?
Pros and Cons of Buying a House on a Concrete Slab
Types of powder coating paints - IFS Coatings
  • Shade range: 40 shades available
  • Texture: Liquid
  • Finish: Matte
  • Luxury alternative: Yves Saint Laurent All Hour Luminous Natural Matte Foundation 24H Longwear
  • 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

The L’Oréal Paris Infallible foundation collection is a TikTok favorite, with over 209 million views and searches on the app. The range offers a wildly popular powder foundation, but we’re most impressed by the liquid formulation. The Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation provides reliable and buildable full-coverage with impressive longwear power that lasts up to 24 hours. It’s one of the best drugstore foundations for oily skin, as the formula contains three oil absorbers to resist water, sweat, and transferring. It also includes SPF 25 and comes in 40 shade options, so you’re guaranteed to find your match.

Editor testing and review notes: “This foundation is the best drugstore matte foundation I tested. 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 (the first time I applied too much and my face looked cakey).” — Style Commerce Editor Nikki Chwatt

Price upon publish date of this article: $12.94

Courtesy of Target

$16.99

Buy Now At Ulta

$12.94

$16.99

24% off

Buy Now At Amazon

$20.49

Buy Now At Target

Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless Wrinkle Defying Foundation

Best Cream Drugstore Foundation

  • Shade range: 12 shades available
  • Texture: Cream
  • Finish: Natural
  • Luxury alternative: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
  • Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
  • CVS Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
  • Target Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars

Covergirl + Olay’s Simply Ageless Wrinkle Defying Foundation has been on drugstore shelves for over a decade. Cream foundations have a tendency to apply thick and cakey, with little return on moisture, color match, and blendability. This one gets it right, because the formula is swirled with a silky and moisturizing hyaluronic complex, along with vitamin C to improve skin brightness, texture, and overall hydration. The “Ageless” component comes from its blurring finish that doesn’t settle into fine lines, along with a healthy dose of SPF 28 to protect the skin from sun damage.

Editor testing and review notes: “Skin care-infused foundations typically come with $50-plus price tags, so I’ll admit that I approached this under $20 foundation thinking it could fall short on the nourishment department. But the cream texture and even coverage of this formula left me impressed — it’s dense, but easy to blend and work into my complexion. What starts out as a dewy feel dries down to a skin-mimicking texture I full-on forgot I was wearing during the day. The only con to this compact has to do with shade matching; it took me three different options to find one that aligned with my skin tone. (Pro tip for those with fair skin: Order an extra shade in a warm, deep tone, and this also makes a fabulous cream bronzer).” — Sullivan

Price upon publish date of this article: $13.15

Courtesy of CVS

$13.15

$13.99

6% off

Buy Now At Amazon

$14.69

Buy Now At Target

$17.99

Buy Now At Cvs

Maybelline New York Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation

Best Dewy Drugstore Foundation

  • 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

The glass skin TikTok trend has attracted over 2.8 billion beauty lovers looking for a super smooth complexion that practically gleams, and Maybelline New York’s Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation is your best drugstore bet for achieving the blurred and glossy effect. Dry skin types will love how it marries lightweight coverage, SPF, and lasting skin quenching in one step. This foundation’s comfortable feel — attributed to added benefits of vitamin E, which soothes skin irritation like psoriasis, eczema, and general dehydration — will leave you looking fresh and dewy on the daily.

Editor testing and review notes: “This foundation is 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.” — Cigliano

Price upon publish date of this article: $6.91

Courtesy of Amazon

$6.91

$9.99

31% off

Buy Now At Amazon

$9.99

Buy Now At Ulta

$8.99

Buy Now At CVS

Related: Best Vitamin E Oils

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, regardless of a foundation’s price point or your skin tone. The larger a foundation’s shade selection, the more likely you’ll find your color. Some brands drugstore brands offer shades with different undertones, such as cool, warm, or neutral (often labeled as C, W, or N in the shade number), which is ideal for marrying your face makeup to your neck, chest, and the rest of your body. An easy trick to identifying your undertone is by looking at the veins through your skin. If they look blue, you have cool undertones, and if they’re green or olive, you’re warm. If the color is somewhere in the middle, you pull neutral. This is especially key when you order a drugstore foundation online, as product imagery isn’t always accurate.
  • 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. 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 foundations with luminous or serum formulas, while those with oily skin will most benefit from anti-shine matte finishes. While those with combination skin have a bit more flexibility in their selection, satin or semi-matte finishes with 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 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 is the most flexible option, as it’s buildable enough to achieve full coverage in layers. 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-wear. 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 new product releases, TikTok-viral formulations, and prominent foundations that have been customer 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:

  • 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: Unfortunately, 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

Over 20+ foundation formulations were tested among five WWD editors for this best drugstore foundation shopping guide. 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.

We also 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.

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

WWD/ Adam Mansuroglu

Why Trust WWD?

Since 1910, WWD — often referred to as “the fashion bible” — has been the leading industry voice of authority for senior executives in the global women’s and men’s fashion, retail and beauty communities, while also informing the consumer media that cover the market. Today, WWD’s breaking news and trend coverage continues to be a trustworthy resource for both fashion insiders and consumers alike. Our shopping editors continue to uphold WWD’s editorial standards and values with quality, expert-backed product selections. Learn more about us here.

Meet Some of the Drugstore Foundation Testers

Claire Sullivan is the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for WWD and Footwear News. She’s spent over five years researching, reporting on, and writing about the beauty industry for publications like Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle, and Byrdie. She’s tested hundreds of products during her time as a beauty editor, so she’s well-versed in selecting makeup products, like drugstore foundations, that make a meaningful difference in your beauty routine.

Nikki Chwatt is the Style Commerce Editor for WWD and Footwear News, where she both writes and edits stories on the latest clothing, accessory, and shoe must-haves. As a New York City resident, she’s garnered a love for handbags, shoes, and garments as well as beauty and skincare products that will keep her skin protected during the changing seasons. As a result, she has tested many drugstore beauty products, including drugstore foundations, to see which ones work agree for her beauty goals, and which may work better for others with different needs.

Tara Larson is the editorial assistant at Footwear News. She mainly covers trending news from celebrity style to new footwear launches and collaborations as well as exclusive interviews. She attends events like red carpets and premieres on behalf of the brand and creates social media content for FN’s Instagram and TikTok accounts. Prior to joining Footwear News, she interned for Esquire and worked as an editorial apprentice for Traditional Home. She earned a B.S. in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University. Larson regularly wears drugstore foundation, so she has a keen eye when it comes to choosing the best formulas.

Meet the Author

Olivia Cigliano is the Commerce Writer and Producer at WWD and Footwear News. She is a New York City-based fashion and lifestyle writer, riding the pulse of trends and digital culture. Her previous bylines can be found on CR Fashion Book and Elite Daily. When she’s not writing shopping content at WWD and FN, she can be found searching for a holy grail in a Brooklyn thrift store, surveilling newsstands for fashion magazines, or scrolling TikTok to discover top-rated beauty products like drugstore foundation to incorporate into her base makeup routine.

Shopping online can be a little iffy sometimes. It’s hard to know exactly what you are buying until you receive it in the mail! But it’s so easy, convenient and time-saving, so the benefits almost always outweigh the risks (as long as you’re shopping somewhere reputable, that is). When it comes to one of our makeup staples, how do you find a foundation online that is perfect for you without testing it first? To help us out, Seattle-based makeup artist Kat St. John dishes on how to buy foundation online, giving us her best tips for successful shopping.

1. Figure out your skin tone. 

The first step in picking a foundation is understanding your skin tone. This will help you pick a shade of foundation that is best suited for you. Start with figuring out if you are cool or warm toned. “To figure out if you are cool or warm toned, think about what neutral shades flatter you best,” says St. John. “If your skin, eyes and face look best in bright whites and stark black hues, you are cool toned. If you look better in ivory, off-whites, creams and brown/tan shades, you are warm.”

Pay attention to your hair and eye color. They can also help you decide what your tones are. “Often, folks who are ‘cool’  have blue, gray or green eye color with blonde, brown or black hair. ‘Warm’ folks typically have brown, amber or hazel eyes with strawberry, red, brown or black hair.”

Another way to identify your coloring is if you tan or burn when in the sun. “When you are out in the sun, does your skin turn a golden-brown, or does it burn and turn pink first? If you tan, you’re warm toned. If you are cool toned with fair skin, you tend to burn. Side note: Fair-skinned ‘cool’ girls will simply burn, while medium-skinned cool-toned girls will burn then tan.”

Related: Top Colors for Cool Skin Tones & Best Colors for Warm Skin Tones

2. Determine the type of finished look you’re going for.

The next step is to identify what kind of look you want. “For example: A pin-up/rock-a-billy gal is more likely to go for a matte look,” says St. John, “while a more boho-chic gal would be piling on the blush and illuminator, almost teetering on ‘tin man.’ I love that look!”

3. Find your brand. 

“What brand speaks to you?” says St. John. “Are you an artist or quirky and love sleek packaging to show off your product? Are you a vegan or cruelty-free type?” Kat suggests figuring out what is important for you to include (or not include) in your makeup. “We tend to surround ourselves with items that represent us and who we are. It sounds cheesy, but look for a brand that best represents you! Then you can start to narrow down the coverage nitty-gritty from there.”

4. Pick your formula and coverage. 

“This is a pretty personal decision,” says St. John. “Oily-skin folks tend to stick with more of a matte finish and veer towards a powder foundation or pressed powder. They already have so much shine, and are not into ‘illuminating’ their skin.” For shine control, powder foundation or pressed powder is your answer.

If you have combination skin, Kat loves to use a cream foundation. “Cream is nice because you can build coverage or dilute the cream with a moisturizer to thin it out and make a tinted moisturizer for those drier days. My skin tends to be dry on my cheeks and a bit oily on the nose and cheekbones. This allows me to be flexible. I can have coverage on my face where I need it without drying out my skin.”

If you have dry skin, it’s all about hydration. “Use a tinted moisturizer, cream or liquid foundation. And remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!” If you have dark marks on your skin from hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, etc., seek out full-coverage foundations to cover those troubled spots. Sheer coverage is perfect for adding tint, creating an even surface and providing a solid base for your other makeup products. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, reach for the mineral foundation options. While full coverage works great in the winter, mineral foundations are ideal for summer!

5. Read the reviews.

“Shopping online for anything is so hard for me,” says St. John. “I am a hands-on type of gal and am turned off by weird textures and smells.” She explains that everyone is different, but, regardless of your preference, you need to pay attention to reviews. “Read the reviews and make sure to filter out the ones where the person has nothing constructive to provide. Angry reviews or ones left with heightened emotions should be ignored. Some people are just grumpy.”

She says if you are still unsure after reading the reviews, to Google your favorite professional makeup artists. “Professional makeup artists like Lisa Eldridge and Wayne Goss are great resources for finding great makeup products.” She also cautions to “stay away from ‘influencers,’ as there is a distinct difference between a career artist and someone whose artistry is heavily influenced by the companies who support them.”

The Best Places to Buy Foundation Day Online and In-Store

How to Buy Foundation Online: 5 MUA Tips

Comments
Comments

0/2000

Get in Touch
Guest Posts