The best drugstore foundations – great complexions shouldn’t cost you

If spending a tonne of money on make-up isn’t your thing (and who could blame you?) do not worry, because on the market now are some of the best drugstore foundations we’ve ever tried. These days more affordable make-up formulas are so good that they can rival their pricier designer counterparts. Spending around £10 is more than enough to bag yourself the best foundation.

As beauty editors we know there’s a common misconception that higher price points equal better quality. Whilst that might be the case for skincare (for example, the best face serums tend to be where you should spend the most of your money in your skincare routine) it’s not the same when it comes to purse-friendly make-up.

Don’t believe us? Well, you’ve clearly not tried some of our favourite drugstore foundations that have made it onto our list. Products like Maybelline Fit Me Foundation and L’Oreal Infallible Foundation are incredible formulas that will give you happy and glowy complexions, without going too much into your disposable income.

The beauty team were more than happy to get their hands on these affordable foundations to test them out. They paid close attention to what was being promised and whether the formulas were delivered. No empty promises here, please.

Best drugstore foundations 2022

1. Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation – best for oily skin

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation, £7.99 | Lookfantastic
Now available in 35 shades, this matte formula contains micropowders that keep shine at bay and absorb excess oils, so it’s a great match for oily types who find they get greasy throughout the day. This isn’t just one of the best drugstore foundations, the beauty team believe this is one of the best foundations for oily skin, because of the lovely matte effect it has on the skin.
‘I don’t have oily skin,’ says Senior Beauty Editor Katie Thomas. ‘But anytime my oily-skinned friends need a foundation recommendation, I send them a link to this and they’re never disappointed.’

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2. L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24hr Freshwear Liquid Foundation – best affordable full coverage foundation

L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24hr Freshwear Liquid Foundation, £11.99 | Lookfantastic
The L’Oréal Paris Infallible make-up range was built to last, no matter what your life throws at it. And this full coverage foundation is one of the best long-wearing that we’ve come across. It’s waterproof and transfer-resistant, perfect for busy on-the-go people. Plus, it’s been developed to feel weightless on the skin, which we can say from testing is exactly what it felt like.
Senior Beauty Editor Katie Thomas recommends those with oilier T-Zones to pair this with a pressed powder for extra longevity.

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3. The Ordinary Serum Foundation – best affordable foundation

The Ordinary Serum Foundation, £6.40
If you’re after a natural, everyday foundation then we cannot recommend The Ordinary’s Serum Foundation enough. For a mere £6.40 this silky serum base gives really lightweight coverage that allows your skin to shine through. It’s so good that when it first launched, the brand couldn’t make enough to keep up with demand. If you’re after something with more coverage, the brand’s Coverage Foundation (£6.90) is just as good and just as well priced.
‘I love The Ordinary foundations,’ says Katie. ‘Whenever anyone is looking for a budget-friendly recommendation, it’s the first place that I send them. Great formulas, brilliant shade ranges and excellent prices.’

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4. e.l.f cosmetics Flawless Satin Foundation – best for natural radiance

e.l.f cosmetics Flawless Satin Foundation, from £7.20 | Beauty Bay
e.l.f.’s Flawless Finish formula is a go-to for beauty junkies on a budget all over the world. It’s super buildable, meaning you can get excellent coverage when you need it and a lighter finish on the days you want something more toned down. Either way, you’ll have a super healthy-looking and smooth complexion.

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5. Sleek Makeup Lifeproof Foundation – best drugstore foundation for dark skin tones

Sleek Makeup Lifeproof Foundation, £8.99 
This is the best high street foundation for darker skin tones thanks to the brand’s 24-strong shade range. The medium-to-full coverage formula is equally worth shouting about because of its longevity powers. It’s reliable and works wonders at blurring imperfection. As it’s oil-free, it is also a good choice for those with greasy tendencies.

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6. NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Powder Foundation – best drugstore powder foundation

NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Powder Foundation, £15 | Lookfantastic
NYX Cosmetics is constantly delivering incredible make-up products that affordable prices. Powder foundations get a bad rep for being cakey and heavy on the skin. Not this one. This one is as light as a feather, whilst also giving really decent coverage. As it’s in powder form, it’s obviously going to be better suited to those with oilier skin as it delivers a matte finish.
Katie says ‘You can easily wear this as your foundation because it gives brilliant coverage. But I also like to carry it around in my handbag for on the go touch-ups.’

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7. EX1 Cosmetics Invisiwear Liquid Foundation – best for affordable A-List skin

EX1 Cosmetics Invisiwear Liquid Foundation, £12.50 | Amazon
You might not have heard of EX1, but Hollywood certainly has. Whilst you’d think that celebrities might prefer designer brands for their appearances, this brand has proven otherwise. Margo Robbie has worn this foundation on many a red carpet and Adele is also known to be a fan. The reason they love it? It’s non-comedogenic, gives a flawless super glowy base and we can only assume that they love a beauty bargain too.

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Found one that suits you?

Times are tough at the moment, so we hope we’ve helped you save some money this month.

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