Foundation has always been one of my favourite makeup items of all time since I have always been obsessed with having clear skin (or the semblance of it). I thought I'd just generally talk about all the foundations I've tried over the years since I've tried so many and made so many mistake buys. I haven't listed specific prices since prices change so often but I know that they are all under £10.
Background on my skin type and what I look for in foundation: I'm somewhere around NC30/NW20, combination/oily skin, tend to get shiny on my t-zone pretty quickly. I like foundations that cover blemishes without looking trowelled on (Medium coverage).
I had OK to good skin as a teen - some days I'd get spots but in general when I drank loads of water and maintained a sort-of healthy diet my skin would improve. But after 18 my skin seemed to go through belated changes (of the spotty, blotchy and oily kind) so that's when my fascination with foundation began.
Just before I turned 19 I bought a Rimmel Mousse foundation. It was on sale for £6 and I had no previous experience with choosing a foundation so I picked up a shade I thought was suitable. At the time I thought it was okay - covered up any blemishes and evened out my skin tone. But now that I think about it, it was far too pink toned for my skin and a little unnatural looking. So that Rimmel foundation was rubbish but it paved the way for better foundation buying days. (Overall 5/10)
Next foundation: Maxfactor Colour Adapt. Texture was rather waxy. It was a little too solid for a liquid foundation. I think it may have started off life being smooth in texture but after literally just a month it changed to that waxy state. Dislike. Secondly, the colour match wasn't so great. The shades I tried were either too dark or too light for me. Didn't really "adapt" as it claimed to. (They all seemed a little grey or brownish in tone rather than yellow or pink). Coverage light or medium (buildable). Didn't hide blemishes but did make them look a little less noticeable. Wore off on me within around 4 hours. (4/10)
Loreal Infallible: First off the colour match was pretty good as I have yellow-toned skin so I felt it did better than the pinkish Rimmel or too brown Maxfactor. It also blended really nicely with my skin and just looked FLAWLESS. Coverage suited me perfectly (medium) but it was enough to hide my blemishes. Sounds like the perfect foundation right? Alas, it was not meant to be. Infallible looks good the minute after you've put it on. But the name of this foundation seems to be an absolute joke - it doesn't even last 3 hours, let alone all day; It certainly is NOT infallible. Basically it wears away super duper quick. And it gets shiny within a couple hours (or less depending on your skin type. But I bet even dry skinned individuals would have trouble with this). If you were going out for a short while or taking pics, I think this would be an outstanding foundation. But as most people want their foundation to last more than 2 hours, this would be useless to the majority of foundation wearers. (6/10 for how nice it looks after application but can't rate it higher since it doesn't last).
I revisited Rimmel after hearing great reviews about their foundations. By this stage people were uploading reviews on youtube so I was beginning to research through the internet before buying. Two Rimmel foundations stood out in reviews: Stay Matte and Lasting Finish.
Firstly Stay Matte was one I was immediately drawn to as it didn't contain parabens. That was an interesting point to note as most drugstore foundations are packed full of them. I used my Stay Matte till I had used up the whole tube as I wanted to use a paraben-free foundation but overall it was thoroughly disappointing for me. The coverage wasn't right for me (it was a little light) and it didn't even out my skin tone or hide my blemishes at all. I hate the "mask like" effect but at least when it's thick you don't have any scars showing through. But with Rimmel Stay Matte I felt very self conscious of my less-than-perfect skin. (5/10)
Revlon Colourstay had developed quite a following by this stage (roughly 2 years ago) and I was keen to try a foundation that lived up to its claims. I liked the fact that its available for different skin types. I picked up one for oily/combination skin. One thing I wasn't prepared for is how much I hated it. Firstly it did last for quite some time. In fact, it's probably the longest lasting foundation I've ever tried. But! (Here starts the list):
- It was far too pink in tone for me (I didn't feel many of the shades fit my fair medium-ish Asian skin tone)
- It was sooooo heavy it felt like I had an actual Halloween mask on my face (and it looked like it too, even after I used the lightest and thinnest layer possible)
- It dried out my skin and actually caused flaking around my nose
- Smell is so artificial and strong
This was my worst drugstore foundation EVER. (3/10)
I went back to Maxfactor at this point and tried Miracle Touch foundation. I love the texture of this foundation, it's like a cross between a liquid foundation and mousse foundation (more on the mousse side overall as it's solid). When I bought this the limited shade range meant I picked up a shade too light for me. It's a little grey toned and ashy looking overall. The darker shades are too brown for me. It doesn't have the greatest lasting power either. For me it lasted around 4-5 hours. I think for people with pale, normal to dry skin, this would be a good foundation. (6/10)
It's Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour foundation. This formula is so much better than any of their previous foundation formulas. I can't say it lasted 25 hours on my oily skin - I don't expect that much from any foundation! But it is the longest lasting foundation I've ever tried. I'd say it lasts about 5 hours before I need to powder and doesn't fade away till at least 8 hours into wear. For those with normal or dry skin it would definitely last all day. I like the coverage, its on the heavier side of medium (but it's not cakey or heavy). It covers my blemishes pretty well too. The only thing I disliked about it is the shade range (only 6 to choose from apparently!) I bought it in the shade 200 (Soft Beige) which is slightly (emphasis on slightly) on the orange side for me, but its still wearable and apart from myself and maybe a hawk-eyed makeup artist, no one would know its not a perfect match. I'm very happy with it though, and at £6.99 I also think its a bargain. That concludes my list of favourite drugstore foundations. Overall these days I prefer high end foundations or BB creams but I still think the Rimmel 25 Hour foundation is the best high street foundation around.