How to Pick the Right Drugstore Foundation

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Have you tried to go into a drugstore and purchase a foundation lately? It’s like the wild west in the makeup aisle because anything goes when you’re trying to shade match without testers. And we all know how different every formula, color, and brand can be, making choosing the right shade really difficult. But you don’t always have to go to a high end department store to find the best shade for you – here’s my tips and tricks I’ve learned after shopping around for the best of drugstore foundations:

How to Pick the Right Drugstore Foundation

How to Pick the Right Drugstore Foundation

Look at that mess. ? Would you believe that all of those shades are the first or second lightest shade in these brand’s ranges? Insanity. See if you can guess which of these foundations actually matches my face – hint, it’s not the Milani Conceal + Perfect!



So what I mean by this is you want to pick the shade that’s going to be invisible on your skin because that’s the one that matches you the most. If I’m having trouble deciding, I’ll line them up, just like I did above because then it becomes really apparent what matches you and what does not.


Matching to your arm is so convenient and almost any makeup artist will tell you not to match to your arm because it’s naturally darker than your face. My solution has always been to match to the inside of my forearm where is my skin is naturally lighter and closest to the color of my face. This way I don’t have to walk around the beauty aisles at Target with a thousand colors on my face!


Most foundations are clear or have a window where you can see the product inside. Most of the time, I can hold it up to forearm and see what’s going to match me. This doesn’t work 100% of the time, as in the case of the CoverGirl Tru Blend foundation – it looks like it’ll match me but it comes out almost white on my skin!


No, I don’t mean “light”, “medium” or “dark”, I mean if your skin has natural tones of red, yellow or neutral like me. This is something you should figure out on your own at home because lights in departments stores or drugstores will make your skin seem much more yellow than it is. That’s how I thought the Milani foundation might have matched… big mistake! If you’re having a lot of trouble, grab a cheap concealer palette or different toned cheap concealers and use them to help decide exactly which undertone your skin has.


Figuring out how to pick the right drugstore foundation can be pretty tricky but these are my go-to tips! And hey, I eventually found the right out: ELF Acne Fighting Foundation in Porcelain set with the Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Powder in Porcelain.

How to Pick the Right Drugstore Foundation

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Thanks for reading,
Kelly xoxo

Kelly Baum

About Kelly Baum

Kelly Baum is the founder of A Thing of Beauty, a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog founded in April 2011. Kelly is a designer and photographer and freelancer in her spare time.

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