Which foundation stick is best?
Foundation sticks are great options for those who usually apply makeup on the go or simply don’t have the patience for a long routine. They’re convenient and often high quality, with excellent coverage. Our top pick for the best foundation stick is the BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick, a skin-hydrating, long-wearing foundation with excellent coverage.
What to know before you buy a foundation stick
There are multiple skin types, and all have different needs for their foundation. Knowing your skin type can help you make the best choice for what you need in terms of coverage, ingredients and finish in your foundation.
- Oily. A foundation that’s oil free and won’t exacerbate oily skin is a good bet. Matte foundations work better with oily skin, as they’re meant to dry and absorb.
- Dry. Dry skin needs moisture, and will benefit from hydrating ingredients and oils. Stick foundations are often a good match for dry skin because of their moisturizing ingredients.
- Combination. Combination skin usually results in some dry and some oily patches. A well-balanced foundation is key here, to protect the skin while giving it a fresh appearance.
- Sensitive. Sensitive skin can be reactive to certain ingredients or products, so it’s best to play it safe. Avoid anything with fragrance and check ingredient lists closely. Patch testing on a small piece of skin before applying it to the whole face is a good idea.
Foundation sticks come in many different formulas, even if they have similar textures. Foundation worn all day can be hard on the skin, so many have ingredients added to nourish the skin. Because of the thick texture, stick foundations often have oils or butters to help the foundation smoothly cover the skin without drying it out.
What to look for in a quality foundation stick
Traditionally, most foundation dries to a matte finish. A dewier look recently has become a popular style. Matte finishes generally are longer lasting than dewier looks because the foundation is fully dry and not tacky. Because stick foundation is usually sheerer and more moisturizing, they may not have as matte of a finish or be as long wearing.
Knowing your skin tone is important for color matching, but so is knowing your skin’s undertones. All people, regardless of skin color or tone, have undertones that lean either warmer or cooler. For a perfectly matched foundation, you must know your skin’s undertones. If the veins on your wrist are clearly visible, note if they appear more blue or more green in color. Blue veins mean cooler-toned skin, while greener veins mean warmer-toned skin.
Stick foundations tend to be very full coverage due to the creamy, thick texture of the product. Depending on your desired makeup look, there are multiple options for stick foundation, from totally opaque to more sheer coverage. Stick foundations can also be blended out or used as concealer or contour if the coverage is too heavy.
How much you can expect to spend on a foundation stick
Foundation sticks can cost as little as $10 for cheaper drugstore brands or as much as over $50 for more expensive name brands.
Foundation stick FAQ
How long-wearing is a foundation stick?
A. Most stick foundation is not excessively long wearing because it’s meant for a more natural look. If you want fuller coverage, look for a stick foundation that’s advertised as all-day wear or that has a matte finish.
How do you find the correct shade?
A. The most accurate way to find your shade is to have it matched in person by a professional, but you can do some color matching online. Look for reviewers with a similar skin tone to yours when shopping, and be aware of how lighting can change the appearance of a product.
Is a foundation stick vegan? Is it cruelty-free?
A. It depends on the brand and style. Many stick foundations are vegan, as they don’t usually contain the more common animal-based ingredients found in many makeup products, such as carmine, beeswax and lanolin. But check the ingredients closely. Brands that are cruelty free will usually be clearly denoted as such.
What are the best foundation sticks to buy?
Top foundation stick
What you need to know: This high-end foundation stick comes with a built-in brush and dries to a matte finish.
What you’ll love: It’s the perfect choice for people with oilier skin, as it’s a true matte foundation. It can be used as a foundation, concealer, highlighter or contour depending on the shade selected.
What you should consider: It doesn’t come in a large variety of shades for darker skin tones. It’s also not cheap.
Top foundation stick for the money
What you need to know: A moisturizing foundation stick, it has added botanicals for healing and protection.
What you’ll love: It’s slightly more affordable than other name-brand foundations and extra hydrating for dry skin. It’s a lightweight formula with SPF for extra sun protection.
What you should consider: Reviewers with oily skin found it to be a little too hydrating.
Where to buy: Sold by Ulta
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a sheer, long-wearing foundation stick for a subtle, comfortable makeup look.
What you’ll love: It’s long wearing and water-resistant without being cakey.
What you should consider: It isn’t the most full coverage foundation out there.
Where to buy: Sold by Sephora
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Arabella Matthews writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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