As promised, my edit of the best budget (high street/drugstore) foundations. This has been a long, long time in the making – I’ve tried some really shockingly bad face bases and some excellent ones and the four that follow are, I think, outstanding. I hope that there’s something for everyone – prices range from £7.99 to around £16 for the Effaclar BB Blur (worth every penny) but nearly all of the products I’ve featured have some sort of offer running that make them even more affordable.
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation: All Skin Types, Dewy/Fresh Finish, Medium Coverage
My absolute pick of the bunch, though Effaclar comes a very close second, the Healthy Mix Serum (£10.99 at Boots here) stands up to even the most luxurious foundations. Light, juicy, fresh, it’s non-greasy and nicely hydrating so suitable for just about every skin type. The very oily or very dry might want to prep and prime accordingly – either an oil-absorbing primer (Laura Mercier, Urban Decay) or a rich moisturiser depending on circumstances. Though I’d say that prepping the skin is important before using any base, if you have particularly oily or dry and flaky skin. (Stay tuned for a video on that very subject. I’ve been primer-testing!)
Effaclar BB Blur: Oily/Combination Skin, Flawless/Airbrushed Finish, Medium Coverage
I say “medium coverage” but that’s only because it’s the fairest way I can think of to describe the way that La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar BB Blur (on offer for £11 instead of £16 here) works. Really, in terms of pigment, coverage here is quite light, but the way that the BB magically blurs imperfections and gives this sort of miraculous airbrushed finish means that the final result is similar to one you’d get with a heavy coverage foundation. Except that the product is almost entirely weightless – a soft, fluffy mousse that just glides over the skin, smoothing over lumps and bumps and making the skin appear flawless. Watch the video to see exactly what I mean – there’s also a post with before-and-after pics here.
Max Factor Face Finity 3 in 1: All Skin Types, Velvet Finish, Full Coverage
A three-in-one wonder from Max Factor that primes and conceals as well as providing a full coverage foundation. Great for oilier skin that tends to see makeup sliding off or going patchy throughout the day, but I wouldn’t rule this out at all if you’re drier – I have always found this to be quite nourishing in feel despite the velvet finish. Find it at Boots here – it’s £9.99 at the moment, £3 off.
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Matte: Oily/Combination Skin, Matte Finish, Full Coverage
This is a great little find – just £7.99 at Boots here, a neat tube that’s easy to cart about and a radiant, full-coverage finish that reminds me a lot of Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere Velvet. I’ve said suitable for oily skin, but mainly because it is so good at keeping shine at bay – it’s perfectly OK on normal-dry skin too, so long as you’re adequately moisturised. Very dry, flaky skin perhaps not, but I have to say that I’ve had no problems with this around my nose or on my chin where I tend to get red and dry. Again, take a look at the video to see this being applied.