Since my review of drugstore mascaras seemed to go down well, I thought I’d do a similar post about foundations and BB creams that are budget friendly (N.B. I haven’t tried any CC creams yet)! As with my post on mascara, this is all about finding what works best for your skin and makeup preferences, and sticking with the best-performing options to avoid throwing out un-used and un-loved products.
I’m fairly flexible when it comes to my face base. I usually use some sort of foundation any time I leave the house, but tend to opt for light coverage. I do have a few favourites in the full coverage category though! My skin is combination, with dry patches around my nose and I get oily on my forehead. I have a light complexion and I tend to go with ivory or light beige shades. A neutral undertone works best for me as salmon/pink undertones leave me looking orange. I tan a bit in summer, but I prefer to go lighter with my foundation and match my tan with bronzer, rather than getting an orange face with a pale neck.
I look for a foundation that’s breathable and weightless, sinks into the skin (no streaks or cakey patches please!), and doesn’t irritate (no strong scent). I prefer a dewy finish because matte makes me look cakey, and I also don’t like glitter particles. If I’m choosing a foundation (as opposed to a BB cream or tinted moisturiser), I aim to get one that’s as long wearing as possible since I’m out of the house for 10-12 hours a day. My biggest annoyance with foundations is when they oxidize — this seems to happen a lot!
As with my mascara post, some of these foundations and BB creams I’ve been trying out this year, and others I’ve either tried previously or are firm favourites that I’m never without.
I hope you enjoy this post and find my suggestions helpful. As always, please share your favorites!
I only really started wearing foundation when I moved to Saskatoon in 2009. Before that, I stuck to compacts like the Covergirl Fresh Complexion Cream Compact (blue container), and the original pressed powder. The only foundation I remember using in Saskatoon is the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear, and this lasted me until probably 2012-13 when I decided it was time to throw it out. I remember liking it, but my preference now lies with liquid foundation for it’s airbrushed finish.
In alphabetical order, here are my reviews on common drugstore foundations available in the UK and North America!
Healthy Mix Serum: My favourite foundation hands down! It’s a gel foundation with 16hrs wear time and gives light coverage with a healthy glow. I wear the shade 52 vanilla. You will never see my makeup drawer without this foundation!
Healthy Mix Anti-Fatigue: A good runner-up. Again, this promises 16hrs wear time, and it is a medium coverage with hyaluronic acid and vitamins for hydration.
SkinActive BB Original: When this tinted moisturiser came out in 2010-11 I’m pretty sure you could only get it in medium or dark. I found that the medium shade oxidized on my skin and made me look orange and shiny, but it’s a best seller so it must work for some people! They now have many variations and shade options and I think I’d like to try the 90% natural origin version next.
SkinActive BB Light: This is actually quite confusing because the product I have is French (bought it at Superdrug so goodness knows why I have a product that doesn’t seem to be available in the UK). In any case, I really like this light version! I featured it in my summer essentials post because I prefer to wear tinted moisturiser in warm weather.
Nude Magique BB Cream: I don’t even think they make this version any more but when their BB cream originally launched I was intrigued by the white cream that changed to match your skin tone. I bought one bottle of this and it was great and then the second time I purchased it, the formula oxidized terribly on me and I had to throw it away. I’ve linked the new version in case you’re interested in testing it out (hopefully they’ve improved the formula).
Dream Matte Mousse: Cakey and orange and drying and just awful for my skin. I’m also not a fan of any foundation that comes in a pot.
Fit Me! Anti-Shine Stick: This foundation proved to me that I’m definitely a liquid foundation woman. It was terrible! So pastey and streaky and when I applied too much pressure the whole tube just smushed into a paste —I threw it out.
Super Stay: A lot of people rave about this foundation for its full coverage, and I agree that it covers well and lasts a long time. My issue with it is that the shade range isn’t great and the “ivory” shade that I purchased has a pink undertone that doesn’t match me. I end up looking orange in the face compared to my neck. I probably wouldn’t re-purchase. I also have the powder compact and I find I have the same problem.
A budget range available at Boots. I’m pretty sure I tried the tinted moisturiser rather than the foundation. Either way, it did not perform well. The product sat on my skin and was patchy. Looks like they’ve improved their formula and packaging so it may be worth a go if you’re on a tight budget…
Colorstay: The last time I used this was before they re-designed the package to include a pump. I enjoyed using this foundation, particularly when I had to apply full coverage for dance performances. I really want to get another bottle of this once I’m finished with the Superstay.
Rimmel is the brand I favour when I’m looking for medium-high coverage. It’s been hit and miss with their products, but I’ll always go back to lasting finish and match perfection.
Fresher Skin: This product only came out a couple of years ago and I really liked the lightweight, breathable consistency and cooling texture. It smelled great and applied well. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the jar (although at least it could be recycled!). This was a good option for summer and I’m tempted to buy it again.
Wake Me Up (orange cap): As with the Maybelline foundation, I found their shades too pink in undertone and the “ivory” was too dark. I also didn’t like how much glitter was in this; it was more like disco ball than radiance.
Stay Matte: Absolutely horrible on me. It was cakey and left dry patches and was patchy in general. It also oxidized.
Lasting Finish: I really like this foundation for days when I want full coverage. It smells nice and has SPF 20, and, similar to the Bourjois products, it contains a serum for hydration and comfort. Applies easily with a beauty blender and doesn’t clog my pores.
Match Perfection (blue cap): Honestly, I think the formula is pretty similar to lasting finish, the only difference being it comes in a better range of shades to suite a spectrum of skin tones. Again, would re-purchase.
Favourite everyday foundation: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum
Favourite high coverage: Rimmel Lasting Finish
Favourite BB Cream or tinted moisturiser: For now it’s Garnier…
Want to try:
- The Ordinary foundation
- L’Oreal True Match
- Body Shop CC Cream
- Garnier 90% natural origin BB cream
- Revlon Colourstay
- Cushion foundation
I’m currently testing organic makeup and I’m trying the Benecos Natural Light Fluid Foundation, Pure Bio Sublime BB Cream, and a sample of Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation. I’ll do an update on these products soon!