We Reviewed The Best Drugstore Foundation For Your Buck!
10 Under $20: We Reviewed The Best Drugstore Foundation For Your Buck!. (Photo Credit: Instagram via @melwhitemakeup).

Finding the right foundation can be dubiously hard, particularly when you can’t try the products on in-store. But department stores and expensive makeup counters can be…well, expensive. And who really has the money to consistently pay for a $55 foundation that will last just a few months? There

 are so many amazing brands from the drugstore that you can try (as well as 1 from a pretty unexpected place)!

(Related: How Ta Find The Right Foundation For You: 10 Tips From An Expert)

Whether you are looking for a mousse, airbrush makeup, liquid, or a tinted moisturizer, this list has got you covered. From sheer to full, soft to thick, we tell you what works (and what doesn’t) from popular, inexpensive brands starting at just $5. Plus, because there are so many more skin tones than just mine — and because I do not want everyone to get as sick of my face as I am certain you all already are — I utilized my lovely coworkers’ faces, including folks from Crushable and Gurl, to review these foundations and let me know what they thought of each product.

(Related: The 10 Beauty Brands That Offer The Widest Range Of Foundation Colors)

As always, if you have any questions, you would like me to answer, product reviews you want to read, or tutorials you are interested in seeing in the future, email me or drop a comment. And be sure to tell us what your favorite inexpensive foundation is!

1. CoverGirl & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation

This formula is ultra-creamy which makes it really blendable. A little goes a long way, so you don’t need a whole lot to get your desired effect, so it does offer buildable coverage, and that is always a nice timesaver for base products. It also comes in a large variety of shades, which is great considering so do humans.

  • Pros: Creamy, buildable, moisturizing, large shade variety
  • Cons: None, yippee!
  • Coverage: Medium-Full
  • Texture: Creamy, smooth
  • Overall: 5/5

 2. Revlon Photoready Airbrush Mousse Makeup

Rather than spraying this product directly to your face, as many airbrush makeups are applied, spray a bit onto the back of your hand and then apply using a sponge or fingertips (I chose the latter, as I typically do).

I personally really liked the foundation’s appearance and texture on my skin. It’s light and airy, but it can look heavy very quickly if you layer it on more than a little bit, so just make sure to only apply as much as you need.

  • Pros: Buildable, silky
  • Cons: Comes out of the bottle quickly, can look overdone
  • Texture: Light, airy
  • Coverage: Medium-Full
  • Overall: 4/5

3. Almay TLC Truly Lasting Color 16 Hour Makeup

I’m not a fan of this foundation. While it looks plenty natural, its coverage isn’t buildable, so my skin practically looks the same all over, with redness, spots, and uneven patches showing through. Plus, it feels a little sticky, which I am not a fan of.

  • Pros: Looks natural (really, really natural)
  • Cons: Not buildable, sticky
  • Texture: Slightly sticky, watery
  • Coverage: Light
  • Overall: 2/5

4. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20

The texture of this is so fantastic. It’s soft, if that makes sense, and makes my skin feel really lovely. While this isn’t the absolute perfect shade for me (it’s a teensy bit too dark, which I probably could’ve predicted, given that I am freakishly pale), I would recommend this foundation to just about anybody if they can find it it it their shade. The coverage was nicely buildable without looking cake-y.

  • Pros: Buildable, smooth, silky, SPF
  • Cons: Not in my freakishly pale skin tone
  • Texture: Smooth, silky
  • Coverage: Medium
  • Overall: 5/5

5. New York Color Smooth Skin Liquid Makeup

NYC is always a great brand if you’re looking for a good deal for your money. This foundation is nicely blendable and easy to apply, but it is so difficult to get out of the bottle. I had to use my finger, which was a little annoying; it just feels more like a thin cream rather than an actual liquid foundation, so its packaging should reflect that.

  • Pros: Easy to apply, blendable, non-greasy
  • Cons: Not particularly buildable, f’ing impossible to get out of the bottle
  • Texture: Creamy liquid, smooth
  • Overall: 3/5

6. Black Radiance Color Perfect Oil-Free Liquid Make-Up

I had never tried this brand before (which makes sense, given that it’s primarily made for women of color, and I am approximately as pale as cream cheese. It has a fantastic applicator and a smooth liquid formula that doesn’t feel sticky or unpleasant on your fingers after you apply it to your face. Plus, it comes in tons of shades that are often neglected by major brands.

  • Pros: Excellent packaging and applicator, blendable
  • Cons: Not very buildable
  • Coverage: Medium
  • Texture: Silky
  • Overall: 4/5

7. Physician’s Formula Organicwear Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15

Physician’s Formula is a fantastic brand (remember their amazing mascara?) for anybody who likes natural products. This particular tinted moisturizer is great if you want a base makeup that is 100% free of parabens and synthetic preservatives.

  • Pros: Natural, SPF, hydrating
  • Cons: Flows out of packaging too quickly
  • Coverage: Sheer
  • Texture: Slick, soft
  • Overall: 4/5

8. L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Makeup SPF 17

Another product I used to use in high school! This one is great because L’Oreal makes it in a large variety of undertones and hues, so it can be even more well-matched to your skin tone (always a good thing when it comes to a product that is supposed to look totally natural).

  • Pros: SPF comes in a variety of shades and undertones, is blendable
  • Cons: Not very buildable
  • Coverage: Medium
  • Texture: Smooth
  • Overall: 4/5

9. Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse

I used to use this foundation in high school. It’s nice, and I think they have improved the formula since then, but I’m not particularly fond of the texture. I know a lot of people who absolutely love the whipped aspect, though, so if you’re keen on products with that type of formula, check this one out for sure. It’s infinitely less expensive than most brands’ whipped options.

  • Pros: Light, airy, whipped foundation, easily blendable
  • Cons: Isn’t light enough, feels grainy on fingertips
  • Texture: Whipped, airy, grainy
  • Coverage: Medium
  • Overall: 3/5

 10. Rimmel Match Perfection SPF 18

This is an inexpensive option with a smooth finish. If you want sheer to light coverage in a liquid foundation, this one could definitely work for you.

  • Pros: Smooth finish, easy to apply, SPF
  • Cons: Not buildable
  • Coverage: Light
  • Texture: Very liquid-y, blendable
  • Overall: 3/5

BONUS: Lush Jackie Oates Colour Supplement

When I heard that Lush had a foundation-like cream, I was genuinely surprised. They’ve been such a staple of my skincare, haircare, and vacation routines (bubble baths 4evr) for so long, that I was thrilled to see that they were making base makeup.

To be fair, this isn’t a drugstore brand, but it is fantastic, and it’s under $20, so I thought I would add it in as a bonus!

I really like how it feels, as well as its smell, which is a light but soothing scent. Plus, it’s one of the few base makeups that actually run light enough for my skin tone.

  • Pros: Fresh scent, good color, natural
  • Cons: Drying on the undereye area
  • Coverage: Sheer
  • Texture: Creamy
  • Overall: 4/5
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