I'm going to let you in on a huge, crazy, shocking beauty secret: Expensive doesn't always mean better. 'Tis true. Just because that diamond-and-angel-tears-infused concealer costs $350, or that $1,200 face mask is made from dust off the floor of the Sistine Chapel, it doesn't mean they'll actually be more beneficial for your skin.
But while you blame society for making you think that feeling good comes at a hefty cost, I'll be over here quietly making a list of the absolute best, cult-favorite drugstore foundations that don't just hold their own against their pricier counterparts, but blow many of them away. So while you're totally free to spend your rent money on three drops of gold-laced foundation, I suggest trying one of these kickass formulas, instead.
L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation, $13
When naturally oily skin leaves you shiny no matter how many blotting papers and powdery primers you use, switch to a mattifying foundation, like this creamy, longwear formula. It stops oil from breaking through all day (allegedly for 24 hours, but you're realistically looking at about 12-hour staying power), and it won't melt into a patchy mess, no matter how hot it is outside.
Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation, $13
For most people, a powder foundation conjures images of the matte, pasty skin their mom had in the '90s. But today's powder foundations, like this ultra-sheer formula from Neutrogena, are so lightweight and blendable, they look exactly like your actual skin—except, you know, brighter, smoother, and more even. Just dip a powder brush in the foundation, tap off the excess, and gently swirl it over your face in concentric circles.
E.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation, $6
This medium-coverage foundation is infused with both witch hazel and tea tree oil, making it the holy grail for anyone with oily skin, acne-prone skin, or both. The witch hazel acts as a natural astringent to mattify oily skin, while the tea tree oil softens and clears out clogged pores without irritation. There's even a dose of calming camphor in the formula, which means you’ve got a true acne-fighting powerhouse in a tube.
Maybelline Dream Cushion Fresh Face Liquid Foundation, $16
If you're one of those magical people who can apply a full face of makeup on a crowded train or a swerving bus, then 1) teach me your secrets, and 2) are you using this all-in-one foundation? The mirrored compact houses a squishy cushion that's soaked with a moisturizing, surprisingly full-coverage foundation. Stamp it and stipple it across your skin with the enclosed sponge, and boom—you're done.
Black Opal Even True Flawless Liquid Foundation, $12
Though it's 2018 and every makeup line should cater to a wide range of skin colors, that's sadly not (yet) the case. Thankfully, Black Opal's focus on darker shades has made it easier for women of color to find makeup that really, truly flatters their skin tones. Our favorite of their eight formulas: this medium-coverage liquid foundation that's filled with skin-brightening vitamins A and E and smoothing dimethicone. No matter how many layers you blend on, your skin will never look ashy, orange, or pasty.
Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme Makeup, $10
This foundation may look like a creamy, whipped, yummy dessert, but please don't eat it, or you'll deprive your skin of the magic that is this formula. It's crazy lightweight and airy, so it's a breeze to blend over any skin type, and, thanks to its mouse-like texture, it'll never adhere itself to your dry patches or flakes.
W3ll People Narcissist Foundation Stick, $29
The only thing more low-maintenance than a stick foundation is a foundation that gets dabbed on your face by your personal makeup artist each morning, because you are also Beyoncé. But, seeing as you are a mere plebeian, your next best option is this sheer, crayon that glides easily over dry patches and fine lines, without creasing or slipping.
The formula is also completely organic, so if you're living that green life, you can now cover your dark circles and zits without stressing about what you're slathering on your face.