Here's our edit of the best budget brands whose cheap foundations are as good as (if not better than) their high-end counterparts, because when it comes to achieving flawless foundation, you don't have to spend big to win big
Wind back the clock a few years and the difference between an expensive foundation and high street or drugstore foundation was staggering. Cakey, oily and just plain useless, the cheaper versions didn’t begin to scratch the surface on the possibilities of those such as Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana or Lancôme.
Nowadays, however, the technology of makeup and skincare has advanced rapidly for both the high-end and high-street market - so much so, that often two vastly different brands will use similar ingredients that work to the same effect. The result? Shelves and shelves of complexion-perfecting foundations that work as well as a designer douzy but cost less than a lunch from Prêt.
So, whether you’re looking for some serious coverage, a radiant dewy complexion, or a way to help fight that midday shine, there’s a low-cost option for all. Here’s our edit of the best cheap foundations from bargain brands that pack a serious bang for their buck.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation, £5.70 & The Ordinary Coverage Foundation, £5.90
One of our favourite budget beauty brands in terms of intelligent formulation and inexpensive price point, this new duo of daily cover-ups provides a great selection of finishes to choose from. Read our full review of The Ordinary foundations here .
Boots No7 Hydraluminous Foundation, £15
A new front runner in the race for dewy skin from a high street brand, we loved No7's antioxidant packed formula with added vitamins A and C. Glowy in finish, this won't leave you with cake-face or settle into fine lines, making it a winner for more mature skins. The drawback is that the shade range is pitiful, although Boots promise to release a full range of 25 shades. Read our full No7 Hydraluminous foundation review here .
Revlon Colorstay Foundation combination/oily skin, £12.99
Having a combination or oilier skin type can be tricky when looking for a foundation that will stay put without an unsightly shine, but Revlon have earned cult status with their budget option, Colorstay. Ideal for more problematic skin with its medium buildable coverage, this foundation does what it says on the tin. They have added a pump after much uproar, rejoice!
Collection Lasting Perfection Foundation, £5.99
After the huge success of their Lasting Perfection concealer, Collection released the equally great foundation of the same name. You can achieve good coverage with this, just ensure you properly shade match, get into natural daylight and wait a few minutes as the formulation can oxidise a little deeper than initially applied. We're not arguing with that price point though, and the texture is that of a more high-end lightweight formula.
L'Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation, £9.99
L'Oreal's number one selling foundation became an overnight cult classic for its blendable, buildable coverage and satin finish. An excellent option for those with drier skins, the formula won't settle into creases or go patchy throughout the day; if you're oiler you may need a setting powder to touch up as shine develops. The shade range caters to warm and cool tones with 28 shades available, claiming to suit 98% of the population's skin tones.
L.A Girl PRO.Matte HD Longwear Matte Foundation, from £8.50
If you struggle with extremely oily skin and foundation slides off within a few hours, this could be a purse-friendly foundation for you. The water-like consistency goes on smoothly, but will dry to a matte finish - so if you have any flakey patches, ensure you moisturise! But if you're on the hunt for a base that stays put and lasts all day with a matte, medium-full coverage, this is one of our favourites.
Max Factor Face Finity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation, £13.99
When talking about value for money, this Max Factor 3 in 1 beauty has to come up top trumps. Overtaking all the others in terms of technicality and superior performance, this foundation works by priming the skin with a flexi-hold technology that creates a strong, yet lightweight film on top of the skin. Next, micro-correctors within the formula operate like little mechanics to defend against external influences such as sweat and sebum, while the added presence of SPF20 delivers a perfectly protective, matte finish. The result? A marvellous multi-purpose product that acts as a primer , concealer and a foundation. Oh and did I mention it smells divine?
KIKO Liquid Skin Second Skin Foundation, £18.99
As a slightly more expensive option, this KIKO foundation may require you to dig a little deeper - but the results I found were worth it. Jam-packed with smart technology and powerful ingredients such as hyaluronic acid , vitamin C and resveratrol , it works equally well as both a skincare saviour and a perfecting piece of makeup. Ultra-fine and leaving skin with a velvety, silky finish, it’s the ideal option for those looking to achieve modelesque complexion clarity. (And, if you’re really trying to be frugal - the pipette dropper means over pumping too much product becomes a thing of the past, allowing this pot to last a lifetime).
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