When it comes to makeup, I’m all about the healthy glow. So when my skin is acting up due to dryness or dehydration, I always have to adjust what foundation I use. Dry patches can easily show through an overly matte foundation, while slathering on a hydrating formula only makes me feel like it’s sinking into an abyss.
These days, I’m all about saving money – which is why I’ve spent countless hours looking for the best drugstore foundation for dry skin.
Below, you’ll find a list of my top choices. There’s something to please everyone!
What is a drugstore foundation?
A drugstore foundation is a cheap and accessible makeup product that costs less than $10 and can be bought from pharmacies or high street shops such as Target or Walmart.
Drugstore foundations (for dry skin or otherwise) are of average quality – they tend to have more silicone in the formula than high-end alternatives, so they generally feel lighter on dry skin and last longer.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking for a drugstore foundation for oily skin? We got you fam.
Full coverage foundation vs medium coverage foundation
A full-coverage foundation is a type of makeup that provides complete, yet natural-looking flawless coverage. This is usually achieved with higher levels of pigments in the formula and less silicone, so the skin doesn’t appear too “plastic.”
If you have bad skin or scars to cover up, then a heavy-duty full coverage foundation might be for you.
A medium-coverage foundation is a type of makeup that provides light to medium, natural-looking flawless coverage. This is usually achieved with a healthy mix of pigments in the formula and silicone so dry skin doesn’t appear too “plastic.”
If your skin isn’t too bad (only a few scars), then a medium coverage foundation is usually best. You can always just add a little setting spray afterwards if you want to use less foundation, too.
Full coverage foundations tend to be slightly thicker and harder to blend, while medium coverage ones are lighter and more breathable.
How to choose a foundation for your skin tone
Everyone has different skin tones, and choosing a foundation that matches yours can be difficult – especially if you’re on the paler side.
I find that the best drugstore foundations are often more natural in color (and not so dark, as I have lighter skin) – but the options don’t always have a great deal of variety.
To pick a foundation for your skin tone, you need to find a shade that’s as close to your natural skin tone as possible. After you’ve got the correct foundation, it can be easy to spot where there are gaps or areas such as the jawline and neck (that need some extra blending).
Should I use a tinted moisturizer, too?
A tinted moisturizer is a type of foundation that provides medium buildable coverage and can be worn both on its own and under a full-coverage product. It’s basically a hydrating, oil-free cream that has the lightest touch of pigment in it – perfect for when your dry skin needs some extra moisture, but you don’t want to go all out with a full foundation.
One popular option is to use a CC cream to help balance out the color from your foundation. CC stands for “color correcting” – and is commonly used to balance out the skin tone after applying foundation.
Do these drugstore foundations work for acne-prone skin?
There are a lot of drugstore foundations on the market that claim to be ideal for acne-prone or sensitive skin. Unfortunately, I find that most tend to either make my dry skin break out further (with more tiny red bumps) or it simply looks flaky and dehydrated.
A makeup product’s job isn’t just to provide coverage – it has to work in tandem with you (especially if you have dry skin) that everything looks natural and beautiful.
So if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, it’s important to avoid excessively thick foundations, drying or comedogenic (formulated with lots of oil) – as these are the kind of foundations that will only make it worse.
Remember: the best drugstore foundations are moisturizing, oil-free, and non-comedogenic.
Covergirl Outlast Extreme Wear 3-in-1 Full Coverage Liquid Foundation
This is an illuminating liquid foundation that provides full coverage and it’s actually oil-free, making it great for those with dry skin. It also has an SPF of 20 – so if you don’t have any sun protection in your daily routine, this might be the perfect product to add to your regime.
The best thing about Covergirl Outlast 3-in-1 is that it’s a liquid – meaning blending and coverage can be done easily, without any hassle.
A lot of full coverage foundations tend to feel heavy on the skin – so if you generally breakout from those kinds of products, this is a great option.
Dermablend Cover Creme Full Coverage Cream Foundation
Dermablend is a great option for anyone that’s looking for a healthy foundation that will leave skin flawless. It’s called the “creme to cover crème” and claims to have been tested on mature skin, so it should suit all skin types.
This product has been described as a full-coverage version of a tinted moisturizer, providing a solid buildable coverage that’s completely smudge-proof.
If you’re looking for a foundation that will stand the test of time and keep your skin through out the day – then Dermablend is perfect for you. It also has SPF 15, so it provides great sun protection too!
Maybelline New York Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation
If you’re searching for something that says “dewy”, then this Maybelline foundation might be the perfect product. This is foundation that offers buildable coverage that promises to leave skin with a radiant glow, whilst mattifying areas of your face.
This foundation is great for oily skin types because it’s oil-free and contains ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and E – all of which are known to keep skin hydrated.
One bottle contains 1 fl OZ (30 ml) of product – so if you’re only in the market for a small amount of foundation that will give you just enough coverage then this might be perfect for your needs.
L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation
This foundation from L’Oreal promises to provide a medium-to-full coverage with a “glow from within” finish. It’s oil-free and contains hyaluronic acid – which means it should work great for those that have dry skin.
One of the best things about this foundation is that it claims to look natural – so if you’re someone that wants a natural finish without going for a tinted moisturizer – this might be the perfect fit.
COVERGIRL+OLAY Simply Ageless 3-in-1 Liquid Foundation
If you’re not a fan of drugstore foundations that are on the heavier side, then by all means opt for this 3-in-1 foundation from COVERGIRL. It promises to give your skin a flawless finish, while also evening out blemishes and other imperfections.
Creamy in consistency, the foundation should blend seamlessly into skin – without leaving a cakey or muddy finish.
It’s also great if you have mature skin, as it promises to work well with all types of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.
Maybelline New York Dream Satin Liquid Foundation
This is one of the best drugstore foundations on this list if you’re looking for something that’s lightweight and promises to give your skin the “perfect natural finish.” It comes in 24 different shades, so there will be one out there that suits you perfectly.
This product also claims to be ideal for oily skin types because it’s oil-free, meaning it won’t clog your pores or contribute to any breakouts.
It also promises to last for 12 hours – so if you don’t want to worry about your foundation wearing away, this might be the one for you!
Dermablend Quick-Fix Body Makeup Full Coverage Foundation Stick
Looking for a hydrating foundation that won’t budge throughout the day? This one from Dermablend is perfect if you need your face to stay as flawless as possible. It’s designed as a lightweight formula, which makes it ideal if you have mature skin.
One of the best things about this foundation is that it’s waterproof and sweat resistant, so you won’t have to worry about your foundation wearing away if you’re going through a particularly sweaty day.
It also claims to provide a full coverage all over the body – so if you need something for larger areas such as legs or arms then this could be perfect for you.
Dermablend Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Foundation Makeup
This is another hydrating foundation from Dermablend, but this one comes in a liquid formula. If you prefer your foundation to be lightweight and non-cakey then this would be perfect for you, as it’s made with weightless pigments.
It also provides a flawless finish without looking heavy or cakey – so if you have a big event coming up and need a foundation that will stay in place for hours, this could be the perfect one for you.
One of the best things about this product is that it sets to a matte finish – so if you have an oily T-zone then this might just be the ideal choice.
Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation for Dry Skin
If you have dry skin and need a foundation that won’t accentuate your dry areas then this one from Dermablend is perfect. It promises to provide hydration throughout the day, while also providing a smooth finish.
It’s also made with Vitamin C and E – which means it should give your complexion a boost of antioxidants which should work well if you’re looking for something that will reduce fine lines.
One of the best things about this foundation is that it claims to wear for up to 16 hours – so even if it’s your big day you won’t need to worry about touching up your face.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint with Hyaluronic Acid
Thanks to its high hyaluronic acid content, this foundation from Neutrogena offers a lightweight and fluid formula with a dewy finish – giving you the perfect base for your complexion. This product does promise to hydrate – so if you have dry skin, this is probably the best option for you.
One of the things that we love most about this foundation is that it’s made with hyaluronic acid – so not only should it hydrate your skin, but should also leave you looking refreshed throughout the day.
Revlon PhotoReady Candid Glow Moisture Glow Anti-Pollution Foundation
Looking for a lightweight foundation with an illuminating finish? This one from Revlon is perfect for those who want to look radiant without looking too made up. It promises to hydrate, prime, and illuminate – so it’s perfect if you have dull skin that you need a pick-me-up for.
One of the best things about this foundation is that it’s designed to work with your skin’s natural oils – so you shouldn’t need to worry about this clogging up your pores or making your skin look greasy.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Sensitive Skin Serum Foundation with Pro-Vitamin B5
This serum foundation from Neutrogena is designed for those with sensitive or dry skin – so if you have a delicate complexion, this might be the perfect one for you. It’s also oil-free and fragrance-free, making it ideal if you need something hypoallergenic to help reduce irritation.
One of the best things about this foundation is that it’s infused with antioxidants – so you should notice a reduction in blemishes and signs of aging as well as an improvement in your complexion.
If you’d rather use a separate serum, you can find our list of recommended facial serums here.
Maybelline Dream Radiant Liquid Medium Coverage Hydrating Makeup
If you’re looking for a foundation that offers sheer coverage then this one from Maybelline might just be the best choice. It gives your face a boost of hydration, so it’s perfect if you have dry skin – plus it promises to have an illuminating finish without being too greasy.
One of the best things about this foundation is that it’s oil-free, meaning it should work great for oily skin (if you can handle the illuminating finish, of course). If your T-zone is prone to oiliness, this could be the perfect choice for you.
KRISTOFER BUCKLE Triplicity Perfecting Foundation Stick
This foundation from Kristofer Buckle offers a dewy finish and it’s designed to give your skin a smoother appearance. This foundation claims to be buildable, so you can apply more for fuller coverage – which is great if you’re looking for something that will cover any blemishes.
What we love about this foundation is that it’s designed to specifically target dark circles and puffiness – so if you’re an insomniac, this might be the perfect option for you.
L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Up to 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation
If you’re looking for a foundation that will last throughout the day then this one from L’Oreal is perfect. It’s designed to provide up to 24 hour coverage – so not only should it give your complexion a boost of hydration but it should help control oil and shine too.
One of the best things about this foundation is that it’s oil-free, which means you shouldn’t have to worry about blemishes or irritation. It also promises to be lightweight – meaning you can apply more without worrying about looking cakey.
Choosing the best drugstore foundation for dry skin is no easy task – it involves a lot of trial and error.
Although they all promise to hydrate your skin, there are some differences between the foundations we listed here that you should consider before purchasing.
For instance, some foundations are designed to cover up any blemishes and signs of aging while others will give you a dewy glow without looking greasy.
If you’re still not sure which foundation is best for your skin type then we recommend making a list of your priorities and finding the best option that suits them. Good luck!