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The Best Drugstore Foundations for Light to Full Coverage

Courtney BIrtcher
Written by Courtney Birtcher
Woman applying foundation with a makeup sponge

Your foundation is the base of your beauty routine—it lays the foundation (no pun intended) for all of the makeup applied on top of it.  While many higher-end makeup brands offer good quality foundations, they can be quite pricey, Meanwhile, drugstore-brand foundations are still an excellent and budget-friendly choice. These products get the job done, and won’t break the bank while they’re at it. After curating this list of the best drugstore foundations of 2024, we found that the classic Revlon Photoready Candid foundation is our favorite pick because of its versatility and affordability. We have plenty more recommendations down below, as well as a comprehensive buying guide to get you going.

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User’s Guide for Finding the Best Drugstore Foundations

Let's be real. For makeup lovers around the world, this is the best time to be alive. The market is saturated with countless new products and a seemingly endless supply of different brands emerging daily. While this can be great for those who love experimenting with different makeup products, it can also be extremely overwhelming—particularly when starting your makeup journey. And that's before you look at the price tag. Foundation makeup can be quite expensive, especially if you're looking at upscale brands, but here's a hack no one's ever told you: drugstore foundations can give you just as much coverage without costing you an arm and a leg.

While it's perfectly fine to splurge on makeup, there's nothing wrong with opting for drugstore options if they're just as good in terms of quality and coverage. I personally gravitate toward drugstore products when it comes to foundations, as foundations get used up faster, requiring me to buy them more often.

But with so many options out there, how do you cut through it all and find the right foundation for your skin? Keep reading for tips on how you can choose the best drugstore foundation for you.

Things to Consider Before Buying Drugstore Foundation

Here are things to keep in mind before buying a drugstore foundation:


The formula of the foundation will have a huge impact on its overall performance on your skin. You’ll want a lightweight formula that won’t feel heavy or cakey after applying. Oil-free formulas are great for oily or sensitive skin. However, those with dry skin should look for foundations that promise a “dewy” or “radiant” finish, as those foundations tend to contain moisturizing agents like oil or glycerides. If you want a slightly dewy finish, look for a drugstore foundation that mentions “luminosity.”

If you have an oily complexion or suffer from excessive shine during wear time, look for foundations with oil-control properties—these products will help absorb excess oils and minimize shine throughout the day without looking cakey or feeling heavy on the skin.


Foundations can range from sheer to full coverage. Opt for a full-coverage drugstore foundation if you want to cover uneven skin, acne, and blemishes completely. Medium or buildable coverage foundations offer more flexibility; a single layer can be used for a natural look, and you can layer it for additional coverage. Sheer foundations provide a light and natural finish, allowing your skin to show through the foundation; the coverage would be similar to a tinted moisturizer. These are great if you want a luminous, healthy look with minimal coverage.

Keep an eye out for the foundation’s wear time; these times typically range from 4 to 24 hours.


Typically, the pigments used in foundation colors are white, black, yellow, red, and brown oxides. The combination of these colors will determine what shade the foundation is, and the pigments' concentration determines the coverage level.

Shade range

The shade range of a foundation is just as important as its formula type or pigmentation level. Look for foundations that offer multiple shades within their range to find one that perfectly matches your skin tone. Many drugstore brands now offer shade ranges specifically designed for different undertones (cool, warm, and neutral), so read the label carefully before purchasing. Wearing a foundation with the wrong undertone but the right color can make your skin look green, yellow, or ashy gray. To avoid that, here are how to identify what your skin's undertones are:

  • Warm undertones: If you have warm undertones, your skin may have a yellow, peachy, or golden tint. Veins on your wrist might appear more green or a green-ish blue color.
  • Cool undertones: If you have cool undertones, your skin may have a pink, red, or blue tint. Veins on your wrist might appear more blue or purple.
  • Neutral undertones: If you can't discern what color your veins are through your skin and don't have a tinted color to your skin that can be accurately placed in the warm or cool category, you have neutral undertones.

Sun protection

When choosing a foundation, sun protection should also be taken into consideration. Look for formulas containing SPF 20 or higher to protect your skin from harmful UV rays throughout the day without feeling greasy or sticky. Additionally, opt for products with added antioxidants to help protect your skin from environmental pollutants and free radicals.

The Best Drugstore Foundations of 2024


Revlon Drugstore Foundation


  • Highly pigmented for good coverage
  • Smooth, natural finish
  • Available in various shades


  • May crease easily

Revlon’s Photoready Candid foundation is an all-in-one drugstore foundation that provides complete coverage with a lightweight feel. Full of antioxidants and other nourishing ingredients, it provides a flawless, airbrushed finish that lasts all day. The formula is sweat- and humidity-resistant, making it ideal for oily skin or humid climates. Formulated with anti-blue light technology, this foundation uses light-reflecting pigments and microspheres to help blur imperfections and even skin tone.

Available in 31 different shades, it ensures a perfect match for any skin tone, from light to deep and cool to warm undertones. This drugstore foundation has a smooth, creamy texture, so you can easily apply it to your skin without worrying about settling into fine lines. My favorite detail about this foundation is that it's very buildable, so you can use it for light coverage on a regular day or build it up to medium-to-full coverage for a full glam makeup look for special events. Because of its lightweight texture and amazing shade variety, this foundation stands at the top of the list.


L’Oréal Paris Drugstore Foundation


  • Sweat-and transfer-resistant
  • Matte finish with a natural look
  • Comes with a convenient pump dispenser


  • Doesn’t have the longest staying power

The L’Oreal Paris Infallible foundation is a classic. Formulated with high-quality ingredients, it offers buildable coverage, allowing you to customize your look. The formula is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. It’s also sweat-, water-, and transfer-resistant, meaning you don’t have to worry about it coming off during your long days.

This drugstore foundation has a lightweight formula that seamlessly glides on the skin for precise application while leaving your face fresh and flawless all day long. It also contains SPF 25, so you can be sure your skin will be protected from the sun while snapping pics. Available in 40 different shades, this vegan option is ideal for all skin types. Whether you need a matte foundation for oily skin or a hydrating foundation for dry skin, you can find the perfect one for you. 


IT Cosmetics Drugstore Foundation


  • Hydrating and moisturizing formula
  • Contains SPF 40 for sun protection
  • Natural, radiant finish


  • Shade matching may be tricky

The IT Cosmetics foundation is the ultimate beauty product for all skin types. The lightweight foundation is infused with moisturizing hyaluronic acid, aloe vera extract, and Vitamins E and B5, helping provide hydration while gently nourishing the skin. After using it for just two weeks, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness.

This drugstore foundation is available in various shades, making it easy to find your perfect match. The coverage is buildable, so you can go with a lighter application if you’re looking for something more natural-looking or add more layers for full coverage. It has a matte finish that doesn’t look too heavy on the skin. It also lasts all day without fading or feeling greasy. With this foundation in your makeup bag, you’ll have a foolproof way to cover up skin imperfections and look flawless all day.


Wet n Wild Drugstore Foundation


  • Provides airbrushed finish
  • Lightweight, non-greasy formula
  • Adapts to natural skin tone


  • Some users don’t like the scent

The Wet n Wild Photo Focus foundation is an excellent product for those who want flawless skin and still look natural. It features a light-adjusting complex formula and is tested under seven different lighting conditions, so it won’t make your skin look pale or washed out in low-light situations. From espresso to soft ivory, it's available in a wide range of shades that will perfectly match your skin tone.

This drugstore foundation is very long-lasting and oil-free, so it won’t clog your pores and cause breakouts. It has a lightweight feel to it that won’t weigh down your skin, even though it provides great coverage. What really sets it apart is that it can help conceal blemishes and imperfections, so you can confidently rock your natural beauty. Best of all, it’s free from harmful chemicals and vegan-friendly, so you feel good about applying it daily. Personally, I think that the foundation's applicator also deserves a special mention. If you're not a fan of pumps, this foundation's easy-to-use wand makes applying foundation hassle-free. 


Maybelline Drugstore Foundation


  • Lightweight, crease-resistant formula
  • Provides matte finish
  • 24-hour wearability


  • Not suitable for oily skin

Looking for a foundation that won’t budge after a full day of hiking or running errands? Try the Maybelline Super Stay foundation. The formula is designed to stay put through heat, humidity, and cold temperatures without caking, cracking, or fading throughout the day. It's the most resilient foundation I've ever tried, and it's perfect for events where you'll be wearing makeup for extended periods of time. It also boasts a lightweight, high-impact coverage and a smooth, creamy texture that glides onto the skin seamlessly.

Unlike other foundations, this one gives you a matte finish for a no-makeup makeup look. It also comes in different shades so that you can find the perfect shade for yourself. Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, this drugstore pick is ideal for all types of skin, especially those with oily or combination skin types. It doesn't clog pores or cause breakouts, making it suitable for everyday use. The range of formulas, including liquid, stick, and cushion foundation, ensures you have the perfect product to create any look.

People Also Ask

  • Q: Do I need to apply powder over a liquid foundation?

    A:While this is not a requirement, you can apply powder over your liquid foundation if you want extra coverage or a matte finish. Doing so will help keep your makeup in place and provide extra staying power throughout the day.

  • Q: How can I keep my foundation from looking streaky?

    A:Foundation can look streaky if applied unevenly or if you have used too much product. To reduce or eliminate streaking, use a small amount of product and blend it into your skin using gentle, circular motions with a makeup brush or sponge. This will help the foundation look more natural and prevent it from caking on your skin. You can also try using a different application method, such as applying foundation with a damp makeup sponge or with your fingertips instead of a brush.

  • Q: How can I ensure my drugstore foundation lasts all day?

    A:To ensure that your foundation lasts all day, start by prepping your skin with an oil-free primer or moisturizer before applying makeup. Then, use a setting spray made for extended wear before applying your foundation for extra staying power. Lastly, apply a light layer of translucent powder after applying your foundation to help it stay in place longer.

  • Q: How do I find my perfect shade of drugstore foundation?

    A:Finding the perfect shade of drugstore foundation can be tricky, but it's important to match your skin tone accurately for the best results. Lighting can drastically change your skin color, so make sure you're shade matching in well-lit, preferably natural lighting. If possible, test out various shades by swatching the product on your hand and comparing the color to your cheek, jawline, and neck area. Try swatching several shades side-by-side for better comparison, and pick out what looks most flattering on you. If you're unable to physically test the product, hold up the bottle to your face and see how close the color match is.

  • Q: Can drugstore foundations offer the same coverage and wear as department store makeup?

    A:Yes! Drugstore foundations can be just as good as higher-end foundations—and sometimes even better. There are plenty of affordable options available that offer excellent coverage, beautiful color, and long-lasting wear.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Courtney BIrtcher

By Courtney Birtcher

Courtney is a lifestyle commerce writer specializing in health, fitness, fashion, and beauty topics on Us Weekly; she currently writes similar review and how-to articles for Blissmark and The Supplement Institute in addition to being a social media influencer on Instagram and content creator on TikTok. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, adventuring with her three dogs through her home state of Ohio, and spending time at her gym.

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