Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Thoughts on all the drugstore/high street foundations I've tried

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).
Collection 2000: I picked up one of their foundations randomly (they had a 3for2 deal and I wanted to try a cheaper product). They only had three shades to choose from at the time and I got it in medium. It was surprisingly better than expected. Coverage was medium to heavy. Covered up blemishes. Floral scent was a little overpowering though. It also gave me that "mask like" effect. But for people starting out with makeup who don't have a lot of money I would suggest this. (5/10)

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)

Lasting Finish I hated. I didn't feel it did a good job covering up my blemishes. It also didn't last that long on me (only a few hours) before fading away. It's funny how the foundations that claim to last a long time are the ones that faded away quickest on me. (4/10)

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)

Bourjois is a brand that I'm the fence about at the moment. The products that I've tried (including an eyeshadow trio, blushers, a concealer and mascaras) have all been a combination of hit and miss products. I've never given up on this brand completely though. I bought the 10 hour sleep effect foundation as it was another that had excellent reviews. It did not suit my yellow toned Asian skin however. It was also very thin in consistency and didn't really cover up any of my blemishes at all. I gave it to my older sister who has pale pink toned skin with some redness but not many acne scars and it suited her ok, so I wouldn't say its an awful foundation, it just didn't suit me. (5/10)

So after that mammoth hunt what would I say is my favourite drugstore foundation?

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.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I've purchased about a dozen drugstore foundations and all I've managed to do is waste a load of money.

  2. Glad I could help, same here, I wasted loads of money trying to find the right foundation, hopefully this will help others with the same skin type as me.

  3. I just purchased your favorite foundation, the Rimmel 25 Hour, and I've got say it's pretty impressive for a drugstore foundation. But, then again, I had your recommendation for color and I have the same combination skin and I'm also Asian. Good find -- thanks very much!

  4. That's great, I'm really glad it suited you! It's a little dark on me but I've found that I tan in the summer a little anyway so it's suiting me better now. Another foundation I'd recommend is Chanel Mat Lumiere if you were ever going to delve into the high end, it's great for skin with a yellow undertone!

  5. I do love high end cosmetics, I use Chanel loose powder every day and Laura Mercier concealer. For awhile I was only using high end but that gets a bit expensive. So I use a lot of Sonia Kashuk products, some drugstore eye shadows and blushes. I've a pretty fair mix of expensive and drugstore. I wrote down the Chanel Lumiere at the same time I wrote down the Rimmel recommendation - ha!

  6. I know what you mean, high end is so expensive. I only got into Chanel this year coz that's when I started working full time, there's no way I could have afforded high end makeup on a student budget. But Chanel really is something else. I've been meaning to try the Chanel powder for a while as well as Laura Mercier's translucent powder but they're over £30 here so Im going to wait till I've finished my Rimmel and bourjois powders before going high end.


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