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A Definitive Ranking of All of the Foundations I Have Ever Used

Foundation is, debatably, a necessary evil in my life. In high school and honestly, most of college, I felt like I had to wear foundation. It was less of a conscious choice because I enjoyed it and more of a  purposeful effort to his my problematic and, to me, horrifying skin from everyone that came in contact with me. Because of this, I have high expectations for foundations, but also very rarely strayed out of my comfort zone because I didn't want to spend money on something I repurchased every six or so weeks because I went through it so quickly. Because of this, I had only worn about three different foundations until my junior year of college when I finally allowed myself to venture out of my comfort zone and try some higher end foundations.

Still to this day, I rely fairly heavily on foundation, but not because I feel like I have to hide my true self from the world. It's mostly because I love makeup and foundation is exactly what it is called: the foundation to my full makeup look. Since I finally branched out, I figured it was worth ranking all of the foundations I've tried to date (which doesn't seem like a lot to me but in actuality it probably is a fair amount), similar to what I did with my eyeliners (which, by the way, the top liner has been dethroned, which I will do a post about soon).

For some background on my preferences and situation, I just want to give some context to this rating.  My skin is pretty normal with occasional tiny dry patches if I'm using products to combat acne and, obviously, acne-prone. I have a little bit of redness from some faint scarring from a decade of picking at zits and a few small whiteheads from time to time.

Here's what I personally tend to look for in a foundation for my normal, acne-prone skin:
  • Buildable medium to full coverage
  • Dewy to matte finish, preferably demi-matte
  • All day wear (minor touch-ups after a long workday okay)
  • Formula that's easy to apply with a beauty sponge
Now that we have all of that covered, let's dive right into this post, shall we?

1. Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation

Price: ~ $11 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Full
Finish: Natural
Shade I wear: Ivory, Classic Ivory, or Creamy Natural depending on the time of year
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: Seriously, too many times to count. 25+ times, at least.
Comments: This might be a shocking number one, but also at the same time, it shouldn't be. This has been my ride-or-die foundation since senior year of high school and I'm not letting it go any time soon. I still wear this foundation with concealer because 3-in-1 is a weird concept, but I've worn this foundation to every single possible life event: high school graduation, college graduation, every single wedding I've been in over the course of the past two years, and just on the regular day to day moments. I wear foundation every day, so I go through it fast because I have a big head and like to have medium to full coverage for my problematic skin. It's nice to have my all time favorite foundation be affordable so I don't break the bank for the literal foundation (duh) of my makeup.
Featured in... "Recent Beauty Empties | Makeup, Skincare, and Haircare," "2018 Beauty Favorites," and "Holiday Makeup Look"

2. Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation

Price: $36 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Full
Finish: Natural
Shade I wear: 1
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: I know, I know, for something that ranked second on my list, I, in theory, should have repurchased. But alas, since moving to the city, I've only repurchased my CoverGirl foundation. I was kindly sent two foundations from my pal Hannah who works at Sephora and got a few Urban Decay foundations from work that have allowed me to test out some new foundations in the meantime without having to spend the extra $25+ for something that isn't my CoverGirl foundation. Don't be fooled though, every time I pass by this foundation in Sephora, I think of our time spent together. This was one of the best shade matches I've been able to find, it wore beautifully during the warm weather, and just had the perfect natural finish that wasn't too matte or too dewy. It was incredibly comfortable to wear and paired really well with my concealers and setting powders. We will be reunited again some day soon when my finances are in order.
Featured In... "Makeup & Skincare Empties," "Five New Additions to My Beauty Collection," and "My April Favorites"

3. Dior Airflash Spray Foundation

Price: $62 for 2.3 oz
Coverage: Medium to Full
Finish: Radiant
Shade I Wear: 1 Warm
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: I hate that I love this foundation, mostly just because of the price. This would be number one if I knew that it was something I could sustain financially. I save this foundation for special occasions until I'm ready to repurchase. It's incredibly lightweight, yet offers buildable coverage that coneals my redness and any pesky active acne spots that I may have. I like to spray it directly onto my beauty sponge versus on my skin to apply and it leaves me with a radiant, demi-matte finish.
Featured In... "Two New Foundations In My Collection: Dior Airflash and Too Faced Peach"

4. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

Price: $49 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Full
Finish: Matte
Shade I wear: Mont Blanc
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: Similar to the Smashbox foundation, I just can't get myself to spend nearly $50 on a foundation at this stage in my life. I loved this when I had it, let me tell you! Another great shade match (my skin is tricky to match) and a really comfortable formula to wear. The one thing that I noticed and I've heard from other sources is that this foundation does tend to break apart around your nose though, even if you conceal. It's not insanely noticeable, but you'll probably notice it. I just try to make sure I apply a little extra concealer and set it extra well when I was wearing this foundation and that helped! Even still, it's in my top five for sure.
Featured In... "Things I'm Loving"

5. Too Faced Born This Way

Price: $39 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Full
Finish: Radiant, demi-matte
Shade I wear: Pearl
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: Can I just copy and paste these comments from the Smashbox and NARS foundations? In reality, I like these three foundations basically the same so ranking them really doesn't mean anything. If I could repurchase all three tomorrow, I would, no doubt. I really loved the packaging on this one especially. It was super sturdy and easy to dispense the product from. I loved the finish this foundation gave me and really enjoyed my time using it.
Featured In... "Foundation First Impressions: Too Faced Born This Way & Tarte Amazonian Clay"

6. BareMinerals BarePRO™ Performance Wear Liquid Foundation

Price: $34 for 1 oz
Coverage: Medium to full
Finish: Matte
Shade I wear: Fair 01
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: This foundation took me a while to fully test out, but now it's a permanent fixture in my daily makeup routines. I reach for this more often than not due to the fantastic color match, easy to blend formula, and lightweight feeling. While it can definitely give you that full coverage look you may want, I find that this foundation sheers out very well with a beauty sponge if you prefer a more light to medium look. Just use one pump of foundation and really bounce the product into your face to blend out.

7. Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation

Price: $49 for 1.35 oz
Coverage: Light
Finish: Radiant
Shade I wear: 1 Fair
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No (just purchased two weeks ago)
Comments: I hate the shade range of this foundation. 10 shades in 2019 is pretty unacceptable IMO, which is partially why this isn't as high on my list. That being said, this is a great light coverage foundation. My skin has–knock on wood–been behaving recently, meaning I've been using less of my more medium to full coverage foundations and blending them out as much as possible. Hannah from The Cleansed Review recommended this to me for a radiant light coverage foundation and, like usual, she predicted properly that my skin would enjoy this.

8. Too Faced Peach Perfect Comfort Matte Foundation

Price: $36 for 1.6 oz
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Matte
Shade I wear: Snow
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if set properly
Repurchased: No
Comments: This foundation smells amazing. I love the packaging and the pump is so handy. For a matte foundation, this really isn't that heavy. I don't reach for it as much as my lighter weight foundations, but when I have worn this, it was still very comfortable if I made sure to blend it out evenly.
Featured In..."Two New Foundations In My Collection: Dior Airflash and Too Faced Peach"

9. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

Price: $46 for 0.25 oz
Coverage: Full
Finish: Natural, matte
Shade I wear: I have Vanilla right now, but I'd likely be Porcelain
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: So, this is the only stick foundation that I've ever used and I really enjoy it. I broke my rule of only applying foundation with a beauty sponge to use a dense buffing brush (the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, to be exact) to apply this foundation. This shade is like, mostly my shade but is also just like, half a shade too dark for me but it's chill. It's really comfortable to wear, which surprised me a lot. I thought it'd be super heavy and that I'd feel it, but the "feeling" goes away after like, two minutes of having it on your face. It's pretty easy to blend out and layers nicely under concealers. I also like that it's not a massive foundation stick either so it's easy to navigate around your face and make more precise strokes wherever you need to place it.
Featured In... "Three New Foundations In My Collection | Hourglass, Urban Decay, and Becca"

10. Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation

Price: $40 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Full
Finish: Natural
Shade I wear: I have 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0
Lasting power: Solid 10+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: So this is a foundation I've heard mixed things about but overall have a pretty good experience with! Sometimes I notice if I haven't prepped my skin properly or just was in bad environmental conditions (humidity, namely) then this can break about around the mouth and chin area a bit, but it's not an every day or really even a regular occurrence for me personally. If you have textured skin or fine lines, this probably isn't the best foundation for you, as it will definitely accentuate those and settle into places you don't want it. However, compared to the Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation, which I only sampled, I prefer this one. I felt that the Naked Skin, ironically, was too heavy for my skin and felt like I was wearing a ton of makeup. To each their own though! I would recommend checking out the Sephora, Ulta, and Influenster reviews before purchasing if this foundation piques your interest at all!
Featured In... "Three New Foundations In My Collection | Hourglass, Urban Decay, and Becca"

11. Becca Ultimate Coverage 24 Hour Foundation

Price: $44 for 1.01 oz
Coverage: Full
Finish: Natural
Shade I wear: Porcelain
Lasting power: 8-10 hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: So, I neither hate nor love this foundation. There's really nothing wrong with it. The finish is beautiful, it's super comfortable to wear, and the coverage and lasting power is pretty decent. There's just something about the blending process that I don't love. It could be my particular shade or the way I'm applying it, I'm not quite sure, but it always takes me double the time to blending this foundation in than the rest that I use (aside from the lightest shade of the Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation). I also find that this occasionally breaks apart around my mouth, chin, and nose depending on the day, which is something I like to try to avoid. However, I'd definitely be interested in trying this out in a different shade and with the new packaging as well.
Featured In... "Three New Foundations In My Collection | Hourglass, Urban Decay, and Becca"

12. Origins Stay Tuned Balancing Foundation

Price: $27 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Natural
Shade I wear: Fair
Lasting power: 7 to 8 hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: I wore this foundation in high school when I was on my Origins kick. I struggled with my skin since middle school and before I finally went to see a dermatologist, I think I was just so upset and had exhausted all of my drugstore options that my mom drove me to the local mall and treated me to way too many Origins products, likely because she felt bad for me because if I know my dramatic self, I was probably pathetic. We got a bunch of skincare products, but she also let me get a foundation, concealer, and maybe powder? Regardless, this foundation was great for that period of my life. It was great for sensitive hormonal teenage skin and wasn't too heavy. I would probably not repurchase today. The lasting power wasn't really that great because it was a more lightweight and low coverage dewy foundation. The shade range is also incredibly disappointing. I'm obviously towards the lighter end of the spectrum, but I prefer to wear and recommend lines that can cater to a wider audience and consumer base.
Featured In... "Origins Haul" - This post is not at all informative and is from literally ages ago, I just forgot how long this blog has existed. Please read if you'd like a good laugh!

13. Revlon PhotoReady Airbrush Effect™ Makeup

Price: ~ $16 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Medium to full
Finish: Natural
Shade I wear: Ivory or Vanilla
Lasting power: 8 hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: I'm pretty sure I bought this specifically to wear to prom because I was like "PhotoReady? I'm sure as hell going to be in photos!" because that's how my thought process worked back then. This was a pretty average foundation for me. Wasn't bad, wasn't my favorite. But if I'm getting anything from the drugstore, it's always going to be the CoverGirl 3-in-1.

14. Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation 

Price: ~ $6 for 1.0 oz
Coverage: Light to medium
Finish: Matte
Shade I wear: Soft Ivory
Lasting power: 4 to 5 hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: I loved the color match of this foundation, I loved how it applied, but it just did not wear well on me at all. It continuously broke apart on my skin no matter what I did to prep it or how I set it. I was super bummed out because I saw Tati (GlamLifeGuru) recommending it, but it just did not work out for my skin. I also hated that it had no pump and had an awkward scraper attached to the bottom of the lid.
Featured In... "Testing Four New Drugstore Makeup Products"

15. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

Price: $39 for 1.7 oz
Coverage: Full as hell
Finish: Matte
Shade I wear: Fairly Light Beige
Lasting power: Forever, probably. Just kidding. 12+ hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No + didn't finish (gave away to family)
Comments: This foundation was, as the kids would say, not it, chief. It was so thick and impossible to blend and felt like I was wearing a silicone mask around. I know people who love and swear by this foundation so if you love full coverage af foundations and don't mind the feeling of wearing makeup, this is probably the #1 foundation for you.
Featured In... "Foundation First Impressions: Too Faced Born This Way & Tarte Amazonian Clay"

16. L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Foundation

Price: ~ $13
Coverage: Light
Finish: Natural, dewy
Shade I wear: Porcelain Ivory
Lasting power: 3 hours, if properly set
Repurchased: No
Comments: Look, maybe this foundation works for someone, but that someone was not me. I knew it was light coverage going into it, but that wasn't my issue with it. This foundation ceased to exist on my face after a few hours. I've never seen something disappear and break down so quickly before. I loved the finish this gave for, you know, the first hour of wear. It was, as it says, luminous and gave me a lovely healthy glow. It got to the point where I'd just use a half pump or pump of this with my other foundations to add a tiny bit of luminosity so it didn't go entirely to waste. Even if you like light coverage foundations, I'd probably recommend looking elsewhere to save yourself the trouble of having it disappear only a few hours into the day.
Featured In... "Testing Five New Products from Caudalie, CoverGirl, and L'Oreal" and "TGIF | Weekly Favorites" (don't be fooled, it was not a favorite)

And not that I ever post on YouTube anymore, but if you're interested, I have a video featuring five or so of these foundations. For all my verbal learners or listeners out there who might not have wanted to read all of this but still made it to the bottom, here's a video for you. Or if you just want more details about some, you've come to the right place.


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