I’ve always been really grateful for the beauty selection at drugstores. There have been way too many instances in my life in which I’ve had to dart directly into the nearest CVS or Duane Reade or whatever to grab an emergency concealer/mascara/lip balm/brow gel… the list goes on. Because you just never know when an impromptu monster zit will decide to show up, or you lose your chapstick and are suddenly empty handed yet in need of something from the shelves immediately.
In terms of foundation, I’ve actually been really impressed by the vast array of solid finds that are lurking in the drugstore aisle. A lot of people shy away from getting decent cover-up at a place where you can’t try things on or swatch the color out, but we’ve tapped makeup artists for how to get around that (hint: natural lighting and the inside of your wrist!). First off, many drugstore cosmetics brands have expanded their shade ranges (it’s the Fenty effect, y’all) to match a broader range of skin tones. Which is absolutely key. Then there’s the fact that you can get so many amazing drugstore foundations for less than, like, two days’ worth of oat milk lattes. Behold, our fave drugstore foundations that don’t cost over 15 bucks.
This foundation is almost like a CC cream—it’s got a medium level coverage, but it’s breathable and buildable, so you can wear it however you want. It’ll last whether you’re dining al fresco after work or going to the gym—seriously, it lasts forever and resists humidity and sweat like magic. Plus it comes in 22 shades.
I’m all about that dewy skin look, and this foundation is one of the easiest ways to get it. I just swipe it on and immediately look like I have a post-facial glow. The best part, though? It’s also got sunblock in it—SPF 18, so you can get protection along with a radiant complexion.
If you’re looking for more of a heavy coverage, this one’s great. It’s in between a matte and dewy look, and is particularly great because it doesn’t irritate any pimples that you may have–just covers ’em up.
Neutrogena’s Skin Liquid is the perfect, seamless way to get light and silky coverage that doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing any makeup at all. It looks uber-natural, and has mineral-based sun protection (titanium dioxide!) inside it so you’re moisturized, covered, and have your SPF down all in one fell swoop.
I’m a major fan of this CoverGirl foundation because it’s actually transfer-resistant—so it’s practically the only item in my makeup bag that won’t stain my shirts (and sheets and towels and boyfriend’s shirts). If you’ve got oily skin, it’s also good at mattifying that shine.
It’s hard for me to do my own makeup and make it look professional, but using this foundation comes close. The coverage is so good, everyone will think you got your face done. It truly lasts all day and covers up e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Save mad money by opting for this e.l.f. foundation that comes in 40 different shades, each of which will give you creamy, buildable coverage. It’s not sticky or cake-y, and has a little SPF in it for some sun protection (I’d still use a stand-alone sunscreen with it, though). It’s, like, your best drugstore foundation bargain at 6 bucks a bottle. You’re welcome.
While you’re there, don’t just stop at foundation—these are the absolute best drugstore mascaras that will make your lashes pop. And here are some brilliant drugstore beauty hacks to try that’ll cut down your primping time.
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