Gone are the days when you had to spend big on your base. Now your local chemist or supermarket could be housing your dream foundation, at a much more affordable price.
But finding your perfect foundation can still be a challenge, so I've compiled this guide to 10 of the best inexpensive foundations I've found. I've also included a video so do take a look! For reference, I'm NC20 in MAC and my skin is combination, with an oily t-zone and normal-to-dehydrated forehead and cheeks.
Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream, €13.99
The best inexpensive CC Cream I've encountered; although the coverage is light, there is still plenty of pigment and it magically corrects redness, ashiness and dullness in the skin for a lovely, healthy, real skin finish. It comes with SPF 15, is available in three shades and I wear the lightest. Read my full review.
L'Oreal Nude Magique Eau De Teint, €12.99
With a similar formula to Armani’s Maestro and Lancôme’s Miracle Air de Teint, this is a great introduction to this interesting new breed of liquid foundations. They're basically a blend of pigments in oil that give a very lightweight veil of coverage to the face. This feels like you're wearing no makeup at all, while making skin look naturally perfected. It comes in 6 shades and I wear the lightest, shade 100. See it in action here.
Maybelline Fit Me Foundation €11.99
Drawing comparisons to Chanel's Vitalumiere, this is a lightweight, oil free and water based foundation that provides sheer, natural coverage and will work really well for normal/dehydrated/combination skintones. If you are very oily I would steer clear but I am a fan for the luminous ‘real skin’ finish it provides. They've also put some effort into the shade range - 12 of 18 are available here and they're divided into three categories for fair, medium or dark skin, both catering for pink or yellow undertones. Mine is shade 130, Buff Beige.
Rimmel Match Perfection €9.95
When I reviewed this medium-coverage foundation for another site I called it the Goldilocks of bases - not too dewy, not too matte, but offering the perfect, my skin-but-better type of look. For €9.95, this foundation offers you a lot: colour adaptive technology, radiance enhancing properties, a longlasting, comfortable satin finish and SPF of 18, to boot. There are 10 shades and mine is the lightest, 100, Ivory.
Bourjois Happy Light Foundation, €16.99
Another great all-rounder, this is a good pick for all skintypes and looks very fresh and flattering to wear. More of a satin finish, it has a light-to-medium formula that lasts well and gives skin a pretty, natural glow while keeping my oily tzone firmly under control. I'd like to see more shades as there are currently only six available; I wear shade 50, Porcelain, which is the lightest in the range.
Boots No 7 Stay Perfect Foundation, €18.25
A very under-rated product but a lovely daytime pick that I wear to work quite often. A good pick for all skintypes except the very dry, this is an easy wearing, longwear formulation that isn't drying on the skin. The finish is semi-matte and this offers coverage that's on the lighter side of medium with a fresh luminous finish. There are 17 shades - mine is Cool Ivory - and it comes with SPF 15.
Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation, €7.99
Ideal for combination to oily skin this has a thick, velvety finish that gives medium to full coverage without looking or feeling caky or heavy on the skin. The shade choice isn't great but if you can find yours from the six available, it's well worth a try; my shade is #200, Soft Beige.
Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation, €12.99
This lightweight but longlasting base is more hydrating than you might expect from a mousse foundation, making it a good pick for most skintypes. I wear #50, Natural, and there are 6 shades in the range. The texture is lovely and easy to blend, resulting in a demi-matte finish and medium coverage that controls shine and stays in place all day.
Max Factor Facefinity All-Day Flawless 3-in-1, €14.99
Great for normal to oily skins - if you're dry I'm not sure how it would work for you - this is a longwearing, demi-matte formula that gives a flawless finish without looking cakey or overdone. I'd describe the coverage as medium and the formula, which is Cover Girl's 3 in 1 Foundation in the States, actually reminds me of one of my favourite high end bases, Chanel's Perfection Lumiere. I was initially given Light Ivory which was too pale but have since picked up Warm Almond, which is currently perfect for me.
Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation, €21
For bad skin days or when you want a totally perfected finish - I'm thinking presentations, interviews, reviews - this stuff just can't be beaten. It's sweat and sebum resistant so it won't budge, no matter how nervous you get or how oily your skin is and, because it's technically a camouflage makeup, the coverage is insane, hiding everything from spots and red patches to tattoos and scars. It comes in five shades and the lightest shade works best with my skintone.
If you've tried any of these I would love to know your thoughts!