I have always been skeptical about drugstore foundations but I have to say I really liked Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Foundation ($6), a gem I discovered when I was in college.
The foundation contains caffeine to perk up your skin and micro-pearls to give your skin a more radiant look. It felt very moisturizing on my dry skin and has a super creamy, blendable texture. Coverage is medium to heavy and the SPF 18 is also a huge plus.
The only downside is the color range. While the foundation comes in 12 shades, I have to mix Classic Ivory and Sandy Beige to get the right shade for my NC30 skin. Despite that, I would still repurchase.
With a built-in brush attached to a liquid foundation, Yves Saint Laurent Perfect Touch Radiant Brush Foundation ($52) is the first-ever brush foundation to deliver a flawless finish in a simple and unique way.
The brush design is not only genius and easy-to-use, but it also saves you from getting your fingers dirty and helps to achieve that airbrushed look in no time and with no streaks!
The foundation itself is very creamy and dries super fast to a semi-matte finish without ever looking cakey. I use #Sand for my NC30 skin and the coverage is medium with decent staying power. The result is super natural, just like real skin with a subtle glow. No wonder this foundation was voted as Editor’s Pick for Best Foundation by InStyle magazine! Highly recommended!
Containing “moisturizers infused with vitamins and whey protein to encourage supple, healthy skin”, Stila Illuminating Liquid Foundation ($35) is one of my favorite liquid foundations to brighten up a pale complexion during the winter.
The foundation comes in a heavy glass bottle that is cute but not very practical. For my MAC NC30 skin, I use 30 watts, a yellow-based shade suitable for light to medium skin tones.
The texture is slightly thick for a liquid foundation and can feel a little heavy, even on my dehydrated combination skin. But it is packed with tiny shimmer particles that create such a pretty yet natural-looking glow! Coverage is also light to medium and plenty enough for me.
Definitely a great foundation for the colder months!
Max Factor Pan-stik ($5) used to be my go-to concealer back in my college days. It is a cream foundation that comes in an easy to use, swivel-up stick.
The packaging is slightly tacky but the product is da bomb! The texture is very creamy and it provides light to medium coverage. On my good skin days, I could just apply this under my eyes and around my nose, blend and I would be good to go.
Highly recommended if you are looking for something simple, cheap and effective!
Available in 20 yellow-based shades to fit a wide variety of skin tones, Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick ($28) is a cream-based foundation that comes in a stick for easy portability.
According to the Bobbi Brown website, this is not recommended for very oily skin and I can totally see why. My skin is on the drier side yet this still feels oily and heavy on me.
The color I have, Sand, is also a little too yellow, even on my warm Asian skin. I ended up using this only as a concealer.
MAC Studio Finish Satin Foundation ($20) was my first liquid foundation and is now discontinued. It is water-based, emollient-rich and comes with a SPF value of 8. The ma told me this contains a derivative of Vitamin E and would be good for normal to dry skin but it accentuated my flakes and made my face look really dry. It is also supposed to deliver “a fresh, velvety finish with light to medium coverage” but it did not cover well for me either. Thumbs down for this one.