Makeup Artists Share Their Picks for Best Drugstore Foundations

A woman puts on makeup.
Alexandra Vincent/The Penny Hoarder

In the past, you had to spend a small fortune to find a good foundation, especially one that didn’t leave streaks, clumps and flaky spots.

Those days are long gone. Today, you can find incredible foundation formulas right in your drugstore for a fraction of the cost of the foundations available in makeup retailers.

And here’s a secret: Some makeup artists swear by drugstore foundation. We talked to a few of them and asked them to share the best drugstore foundations, and these are their favorites.

Note: All prices are accurate as of June 29, 2020.

The 7 Best Drugstore Foundations, According to Makeup Artists

L’Oreal True Match LUMI foundation

Cost: $10.99 at Target

Best for: A versatile foundation

Why we like it: This foundation is considered to be medium coverage, but it is also able to be sheared out for a lighter application,” said Michaeline Becker, a Los Angeles-based hair and makeup artist.

Becker also loves that LUMI really rives up to its name of luminous: it offers a natural glow to the skin. “I love the satin finish of this formulation,” she said. “It applies beautifully, and has a soft texture.”

Finally, it’s in a pump, so you aren’t accidentally contaminating the product when you use it, which is a huge plus.

Cruelty free? No

L’Oreal Infallible 24-hour Fresh Wear Foundation

Cost: $11.99 at Target

Best for: Long work days

Why we like it: This drugstore foundation contains three types of oil absorbers that prevent sweat, water and other stuff from getting under your makeup and onto your skin. You’ll look as fresh at the end of the day as you do at the beginning, even if you may not feel that way.

Plus, this foundation truly hides blemishes, said Tiffany Ascensio, a beauty blogger based in Kansas City. “I prefer a full coverage, matte, long-wear foundation,” she said, and this drugstore foundation is one of her absolute favorites when it comes to that.

Cruelty free? No

Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation

Cost: $5.39 at Target

Best for: Natural, light coverage

Why we like it: Kristen Bazet, a New Orleans-based writer and editor for Beauty for Us, said this gives her even, glossy coverage without the greasiness.

“I find it a great alternative to Glossier’s Skin Tint,” she said. “It’s just a bit thicker.”

If her skin is being particularly problematic, Bazet adds Maybelline’s Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Powder on top for a look she describes as “flawless.” Since the price is right, she has two at all times: one in her car and one at home.

“It’s truly one of the products I swear by the most,” she said.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Cost: $7.99 at CVS

Best for: Oily skin

Why we like it: “It’s actually called ‘the perfect dupe’ for many luxury foundations,” said Kryz Uy, a life, style and travel blogger based in the Philippines.

“This whole line from Maybelline is actually a long-time cult favorite, and the Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation is one of the brand’s most raved products,” Uy said.

Uy said she likes this brand because it’s perfect for those with oily skin, making it suitable for those with acne. She also likes it because it dries with a seamless matte finish. Another reason for its popularity is its extensive shade range.

Cruelty free? No

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

Cost: $9.99 at Walgreens

Best for: Full coverage

Why we like it: Milani is a cruelty-free brand that’s widely popular and super affordable, according to Niamh Jordan, creator of Kind Beauty Buys.

“Their pro coverage is a liquid foundation that offers full coverage while remaining lightweight with a creamy formula,” she said. In fact, it provides enough coverage that it can act as a concealer, too (and we love two-in-one products for obvious reasons!)

This drugstore foundation is especially excellent for those with melanin-rich skin, as it comes in a wide range of gorgeous deep skin tone shades, including three undertone options, Jordan said. Truffle is the deepest shade offered.

Cruelty free? Yes

Neutrogena SkinClearing Liquid Makeup Foundation

Cost: $10.59 at Walgreens

Best for: Acne-prone skin

Why we like it: Neutrogena formulated this foundation specifically for those with oily skin. It has salicylic acid, which prevents breakouts and is non-comedogenic, making it ideal for acne-prone skin, according to Uy.

Uy said she likes this drugstore foundation’s lighter coverage, which allows for a more natural blend, making this good for an everyday makeup routine. It’s also got an SPF of 20, which is always a plus, and it’s hypoallergenic.

Cruelty free? No

Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus Foundation

Cost: Starts at $4.98 at Walmart

Best for: Selfies

Why we like it: This foundation was formulated to work in different lighting conditions with no flashback, so it’s super selfie-friendly, said Margina Dennis, a makeup artist in New York.

It offers medium coverage that’s buildable, and comes in three finishes: stick, matte liquid and dewy liquid. Each formula comes in at least 20 colors, and they aren’t the same light and dark range for each, so it has a decent range of skin tones.

Cruelty free? Yes

Danielle Braff is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.