Top 3 Drugstore Foundations for Your Skin Type

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Drugstore foundation for your skin type

Finding a great foundation can be a difficult and even overwhelming experience. Your friend raved about one foundation, but maybe another one didn’t like it. You read tons of rave reviews about a different foundation online, but when you bought it yourself, it didn’t work for you. Sound familiar?

In general, there are a lot of amazing drugstore foundations out there, but it certainly takes some digging to find them. And the key to finding the one that’s perfect for you? Skin type. It’s the reason one foundation may look amazing on one person but horrible on another. That’s why it is crucial that you assess your skin type before purchasing the product in order to have the most flattering look.

Below, I’ve broken down each of the four most common skin types, and a great drugstore foundation for each (with the exception of “normal” skin, which can wear all three foundations).

Skin Types

In general, there are four main skin types: normal, oily, combination, and dry.

  • Normal: Luckily for you, your skin appears evenly toned and you suffer from few breakouts. Your skin is not overly dry or oily. You can pretty much wear whatever foundation you want – they will all work for you, more or less.
  • Oily: If you notice that your face tends to get shiny after a short period of time, then you probably have oily skin. This is more obvious in the T-Zone area, which is across your forehead and down the bridge of your nose. Oily skin types typically don’t have many dry areas.
  • Dry: Your skin often feels tight and looks flaky. You may get dry patches especially around the nose and chin area. This usually gets worse in the winter.
  • Combination: Your skin displays characteristics of both oily and dry skin. You likely have an oily t-zone (nose, forehead, and chin), but dry patches on the rest of your face.

Now that you have an idea of your skin type, on to the foundations!

Oily Skin – Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup

Neutrogena Healthy Skin liquid makeup - best drugstore foundation for oily skin

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Foundation – $11.99

Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin foundation is perhaps the best drugstore foundation for oily skin. As a general rule, Neutrogena foundations will not clog your pores or add grease to already-oily skin. In addition, Neutrogena is known for their acne-fighting skincare products, so it makes sense that their foundations would work for problem skin. If you have a history of breaking out due to your foundation, you should definitely consider Neutrogena.

Foundation rundown:

  • Coverage: The coverage of this foundation is moderate to medium. It blends in with your skin beautifully and most importantly looks natural.
  • Biggest Pro: This foundation contains lots of great ingredients and is actually proven to help improve the quality of your skin.
  • Biggest Con: Application can be a pain with the screwtop cap – spilling is usually unavoidable, and don’t even try to get all the product out of the bottle. It’s not going to happen.

Dry Skin – Revlon Colorstay Foundation

Revlon colorstay foundation - best drugstore foundation for dry skin

Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation – $12.99

Although the package says “for combination and oily skin”, I’ve found Colorstay to be the best drugstore foundation for dry skin. Foundations for dry skin typically contain more moisturizing ingredients, and Colorstay fits the bill. In general, if you have dry skin, look for foundations that emphasize their hydrating ingredients. Also, girls with dry skin should always exfoliate before applying foundation. This will help get rid of some of the dry, dead skin cells so the foundation can go on more smoothly.

If you are looking for something a bit lighter than a full-coverage foundation, I also recommend tinted moisturizers for a hint of color minus the heavy look. For example, Covergirl’s CG Smoothers SPF 15 has the perfect ingredients for dry skin users.

Foundation rundown:

  • Coverage: The reason why I recommend Revlon Colorstay over CG Smoothers is because Revlon has much better coverage. Tinted moisturizers for the most part have sheer coverage, while foundations have medium to full.
  • Biggest Pro: The great thing about the Colorstay line is that they have a great variety of colors for all skin types. The coverage is also amazing. I used it on my friend’s sunburned skin once and you could not tell she was sunburned afterwards.
  • Biggest Con: This foundation can feel heavy on your face and sometimes looks too cakey if applied with a heavy hand.

Combination Skin – Revlon PhotoReady Foundation

Revlon PhotoReady Foundation - best drugstore foundation for combination skin

Revlon’s PhotoReady Foundation – $13.99

Combination skin can be tricky to work with. I have combination skin myself and I find that the seasons largely dictate what foundation I wear. For example, during winter, my skin can get really dry so I need a more hydrating foundation, while during the summer, my skin gets shiny the second I walk out into the heat.

If you have combination skin, you may need two foundations – one for winter, and one for summer. That said, I’ve found that Revlon PhotoReady is the best drugstore foundation for combination skin because it works well year-round: wear over moisturizer in winter and under powder in summer.

Foundation rundown:

  • Coverage: Photoready Foundation has beautiful coverage that helps even out your skin tone. The coverage is more moderate than Colorstay.
  • Biggest Pro: This foundation blends in beautifully with your skin tone and doesn’t look unnatural or too cakey.
  • Biggest Con: It does contain shimmer, which may be a problem for ladies with skin on the oilier side. Shimmery foundations can have a tendency to highlight open pores and oily areas, so be sure to use a powder on top if you’re worried about it.

Your thoughts?

I know a bunch of you requested this post so I hope it fit your expectations! Now I want to know what you think – what foundations do you guys enjoy using? Feel free to recommend any other products in the comments section, and be sure to note your skin type.

19 thoughts on “Top 3 Drugstore Foundations for Your Skin Type”

  1. Yeah I tried the Neutrogena (based off of this post and other reviews) and did not like it. I have combination/oily skin and it 1. Was annoying to put on because of the packaging.. which is weird because loreal true match does not have a pump but the consistency or something is easier for me to apply/get out of the bottle. 2. Made me more oily. and 3. Made me break out! I returned it (yay CVS!) and now use the Covergirl 3-in-1 foundation with the blue top and it has been AWESOME!! Truly controls the shine and good staying power.

  2. oh and i have the Neutragena one, but for some reason I like it better as summer foundation. Feels kinda weird in the winder on my skin.

  3. Hey, I was debating on wether or not getting the Revlon colorstay??? I have the Maybelline SuperStay and i love it!!! I have heard that it is really simliar to Revlon Colorstay and have been kinda thinking about trying it. But the only thing is i have pretty normal skin for the most part. Definatly don’t have dry skin, but i think i might be just a little oily in the T-zone like after school. But other then that i don’t get oily ever. So i am confused on which one i should get.But i am wondering which one would be better for me? If someone could give me more details Colorstay oily vs. dry that would be great…thanks 🙂

  4. I tried a tinted moisturizer based on the advice here- I only wanted sheer coverage to even out my skin tone- and I LOVE it! Couldn’t find the CG so I got Physicians Formula Organic Wear. Good stuff, I highly recommend it. Thanks for the info!

  5. @ Cat,
    I have very sinilar skin issues as you and I’m thinking about trying ColorStay for its coverage. You didn’t mention how its working for you. Id be really curious to know. Particularly w reference to pores, coverage, shininess, but as much info as possible would be great.

    I’m using ALMAY Cclear Complexion w .6% salicylic acid which btw, I think has really GREAT coverage for anyone wantin to cover light-moderate acne/pigmentation. Just hope they hav a color that suits you cus the selection’s slim & runs light. (For all u pale ladies, I hear its great. Tho I can’t say how the coverage is in lighter tones as I’m medium) Google reviews. It comes pretty highly recommended.
    Anyway, thanx a lot guys. Def influenced my next purchase.
    Anyway, thanx a lot Nicole

  6. This post was very helpful! i currently use the Revlon Colorstay with my combination skin. i am open to try the Photoready! especially since it has a pump! i just hate useibg two diff. colors to get my shade.

  7. I have really dry, flaky skin, and I would NOT recommend the photoready makeup. The coverage is amazing, but I can only use it as a concealer for undereye circles because everywhere else it flakes off and puts my pores in a spotlight! Not cool. This dry-skinned chica may try the revlon makeup…still looking for a good foundation.

  8. Hi! I have the Revlon Color-stay active foundation! It’s the winter now, and my skin gets severely combination. I know this sounds weird, but my cheeks, chin, and forehead get so dry that they flake, But my nose is still oily. I don’t want to use the photo-ready foundation, because my skin flakes, i have marks because i used to suffer from acne, and i have large pores. if you have any comments, please help!!! and this page is great, BTW!!! (:

  9. I have dry skin and constantly break out, but after an hour of wearing foundation and setting it with powder, my cheeks get crazy shiny. I’m constantly trying new foundations and have yet to find something that doesn’t leave my face crackly or shiny. I’m going to try Revlon Colorstay in hopes that it’ll work!

  10. I agree with the other posts that the Neutrogena Healthy Skin is not a good foundation for oily skin. My face is crazy oily and this stuff made it look even oilier. It also felt continuously wet and sticky, and didn’t provide any coverage. It was pretty gross! Luckily CVS has a good return policy and I took it back.

    Almost no drugstore makeup works for me but if I had to use one I would choose Maybelline’s Liquid Minerals. It’s gentle, provides ok coverage, lasts a long time, and doesn’t add to the oiliness. I wear it with my trusty Mattify Ultra Powder and that helps a lot with the oil problem.

  11. I have a slightly oily t-zone and there has been a noticeable decrease in the overall oiliness of my skin since I started using the pH Balanced Moisturizer from Made from Earth skincare line. I would recommend this and a face wash in conjunction if you have oily skin.

    I use my face wash in the shower and then apply the PH Balanced Moisturizer when I get out.

  12. yay!!! Thank you!!!

    Im so happy you made this post. Im going to go out and try your recommendations right now 😀

    I love collegefashion

  13. I was recently recommended by a dermatologist the Jane Iredale mineral foundation and I love it. It’s a little pricey, but for something that’s going to stay on your face all day long I think it’s totally worth the money!

  14. Do you have to wear foundation? I never wear it; the one I have makes my skin break out and it feels better without it, and also I’m already pale, so foundation makes me look white as a ghost. But you have to wear foundation with concealer right?

  15. My problem with Drugstore foundation is not that the coverage is bad, but that I am incredibly pale (translucent) so nothing is my skin tone. I must say for canadians, the Annabelle Liquid Foundation is really lovely, semi-matte and very smooth and natural.


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