The best drugstore foundations that cost less than $40
A beautiful base with an even better price tag
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / June 10 2019
Foundations are a super important player in our makeup kits (it really is all about that base), so we are all for investing in the best of the best. But guess what? There are some REALLY good drugstore foundations getting around the aisles at your local chemist (and supermarket) that compete with the most expensive of them.
We’ve found more than just a few for you. These are 12 ones that we consider real contenders for the best drugstore foundation in Australia. All coming in at under $40, we’d say they’re an absolute steal.
#12 / Rimmel London Lasting Finish 25H Foundation With Comfort Serum
As the name suggests, this is a long-wear foundation that will see you through from morning to night (and then some!). It stacks up in high heat and humidity, and even oily skin types will find it long-lasting.
The review: “Rimmel London Lasting Finish 25H Foundation With Comfort Serum has a beautiful creamy slip to it. My skin tone is evened out, my imperfections blurred, and the formula is long-wearing as promised.” Nicole, SUPERcrew member
#11 / Revlon Age Defying 3X Foundation
A foundation that tackles the signs of ageing in mature skin, hydrates like a moisturiser, smooths like a primer, and delivers a beautiful natural coverage that’s long-lasting, all for less than $40, is a winner in our books. The formula contains a Triple Lift Complex to target sagging and a loss of firmness, and feels weightless and breathable on skin. Plus, it has SPF 20.
The review: “This is a very good foundation for the low price asking. I am seriously surprised how good this foundation performs and outlasts most. It gives my face perfect coverage, and I find it is a really good colour match for me in Honey Beige. The Revlon Age Defying Foundation lasts easily throughout a 9-hour work day, and beyond even that. There's no settling into lines or pores, which is certainly my goal these days. The unique age-defying foundation has an SPF to protect my skin from environmental factors. It also comes with a handy pump dispenser, so it doesn't over give on the foundation nor dries it out.” Rebecca, SUPERcrew member
#10 / L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation
This matte foundation received four stars by our Review Crew® - what they loved about this medium to full coverage drugstore foundation was its lightweight feel, non-cakey finish and long-lasting formula. Also worth noting is the perlite technology, which helps absorb excess oil and water for a waterproof, sweat-proof and steam-proof coverage. Basically, it ain’t gonna budge no matter what your day throws at it. We recommend this one for oily skin and combination skin.
The review: “L’Oréal Infallible Matte is great. It has a medium/full coverage [and] is very long-lasting. Makes the skin look beautiful. It does have a mattifying effect for a couple of hours, too.” Anita, SUPERcrew member
#9 / COVERGIRL + Olay Simply Ageless Instant Wrinkle Defying Foundation
The best cheap foundation to not only even your skin tone but also smooth fine lines and wrinkles with continued use thanks to the addition of Olay’s anti-ageing serum, this one really goes above and beyond for its mere price of $25.95.
The review: “I love the COVERGIRL Ageless (compact version) because it is hydrating, has anti-ageing skin care benefits and covers imperfections beautifully. Comes in a handy compact with a sponge so it's perfect for travel and touch-ups on the go.” Kylie, SUPERcrew member
#8 / Maybelline New York Dream Satin Foundation + Hydrating Serum
If your dry skin makes a patchy mess out of most foundations, you’re not going to recognise yourself with this cheap find. Besides a full coverage that still manages to feel lightweight, this oil-free foundation imparts a radiant finish, plus 12 hours of moisturisation thanks to hyaluronic acid in the formula. Our Review Crew® gave it 4.5 stars!
The review: “For the best affordable foundation, I would have to say the Maybelline Dream Satin Foundation + Hydrating Serum. This foundation is a great match for my skin tone, and I know that some people may struggle with drugstore foundations for this very reason. One pump is adequate to cover my face, and I really like that it comes in a clear glass bottle with a clear cap to match. You'll get medium coverage from the foundation, and the consistency is light and airy. It wears well throughout the day, and doesn't get heavy or cakey.” Leah, SUPERcrew member
#7 / Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation
This vitamin-rich formula looks after your skin - both immediately (hello even skin tone and radiant glow) and long-term. The gel texture blends beautifully and it banishes dullness and signs of fatigue to leave skin looking naturally healthy.
The review: “This is my favourite drugstore foundation for winter because it provides you with a solid medium coverage without feeling heavy and it adds a bit of moisture back into my very dry winter skin. Plus, the formula contains ingredients with added skin care benefits like vitamin-rich fruit extracts that help to protect against pollution.” Briar Clark, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
#6 / Nude by Nature Natural Mineral Cover Foundation
The best drugstore powder foundation for those looking for a mineral formula (or simply those who prefer powder over a liquid), Nude by Nature’s Natural Mineral Cover Foundation has had a cult following since pretty much the day it launched. It has 369 five-star reviews on the brand’s Australian website and gets a lot of praise for feeling weightless on skin, its natural-looking light coverage that can be built up, and the healthy glow it delivers.
The review: “I started using this product when I first started wearing foundation and I’m still obsessed. The formula is incredibly soft and finely milled so it can be built from a sheer wash of colour to a fuller coverage finish. I love using it on the weekend when I’m popping out for brunch but don’t want to bother putting on a heap of makeup. It’s also made with natural ingredients like kaolin clay and jojoba esters.” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Junior Beauty Writer
#5 / L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Glow
Are you all about the glow? Because if so, you need to race out and get this budget foundation, *immediately*. Our Review Crew® gave it 4.5 stars and gushed about how healthy and radiant their skin looked after applying this liquid foundation, and how the glow stuck around all day. This hydrating formula is best suited to normal to dry skin types.
The review: “This is by far my favourite drugstore foundation I've ever used. With buildable medium coverage, the foundation itself is thin in consistency, which makes it easy to disperse over the face. It has a lovely glowy finish, but isn't overly glowy to the point of looking oily. Longevity wise - the product lasts ALL day. After a couple hours of wear, I've found that the product sinks into the skin and actually looks more radiant - giving off that healthy appearance. Definitely a must-have in your makeup kit!” Alex, SUPERcrew member
#4 / Maybelline New York Dream Liquid Mousse
An oil-free foundation that has an air-whipped texture that feels luxurious and creamy on skin, its finish looks natural and softly radiant on every skin type - dry and oily alike. Currently every single review on our site for this foundation awarded it five stars.
The review: “I’ve actually never met a Maybelline foundation I didn’t really like - it’s my go-to brand for affordable foundations. I tend to alternate between the Dream Liquid Mousse and the Dream Cushion cushion compact, depending on how my skin is and the look I’m after. I love Dream Liquid Mousse for a dewy finish, higher coverage (I’d call it medium but it can be built up to full coverage with a beautyblender; or on weekends I like to mix it with moisturiser for a lighter coverage), and all-round healthy radiance it gives to my skin." Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
#3 / Flower Light Illusion Liquid Foundation
If you like your foundation to give your skin a gorgeous natural glow, you will adore this one. The coverage feels light on skin, but does a stellar job of concealing imperfections while still allowing your freckles to shine through. It’s win, win, win!
The review: “My latest find for best affordable foundation is Flower Light Illusion Liquid Foundation. I love it because it gives great coverage without looking cakey, it feels like a luxury foundation and it gives the skin a lovely dewy finish. Aneta, SUPERcrew member
#2 / NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Drop Foundation
If you’re after a good drugstore foundation that is a dream to blend, this is it. It has a velvety matte formula that can be built from sheer to full with every drop you add, coating the skin in a soft-focus finish. It’s a vegan foundation and we love that it comes in 30 shades.
The review: “This winter, I’ve taken a liking to velvety foundations as opposed to bases with a luminous finish, and this one has tickled my fancy. Besides being really easy to use (I like to use the pipette directly on my face), you can also control the coverage – it goes from being really light to packing more of a punch in just a few drops.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#1 / Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
Who wouldn’t want an anti-fatigue foundation in their life?! The finish is semi-matte and the coverage is medium. Besides the gorgeous glow this foundation gives the complexion, it also works skin-deep to fight the signs of ageing and hydrate skin. The real difference between this Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and the one that took out our #7 spot is the texture - this one is creamier and more on the dewy side. It basically gives the skin an Insta filter IRL, which we are *all* about.
The reviews: “I always have a few foundations on rotation, but this one is ALWAYS in the mix. I love how natural and radiant it leaves my skin looking, and it gets a big workout during winter when my skin needs a little more pep and hydration (I have normal/combo skin so it’s not a great one for me during the hot and humid months). The coverage is really decent and lasts for a good few hours.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
“This is great value and perfect for normal to dry skin types. It lasts all day and covers up my dark circles and red cheeks without the need for concealer. Medium coverage but without the thick cakey look or feel!” Georgia, SUPERcrew member
Are you more into a stick foundation formula? Then you need to check out this innovative packaging-free foundation from Lush.
What’s your favourite cheap foundation? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.