Whenever I try out a new foundation, there are three main factors that I put to the test: It needs to properly match my skin, properly cover my acne scars, and last all day long. If it fails in any of these categories, it’s swiftly tossed into the “donate to a friend” bin. But after years of swatching every sort of coverage product on the market, the one that has soared above my (admittedly high) standards is a $15 pick: the NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation ($15).
This drugstore gem delivers everything I’ve ever wanted in a foundation for less than the cost of a gourmet salad. It comes in 45 shades to match a wide range of skin tones and blends seamlessly onto skin thanks to its water-based formula. Even though this has a matte finish, it doesn’t cake or crease, and it helps to control grease and shine. As someone with generally dry skin, I tend to stay away from anything mattifying for fear that it will flake off or dry out my complexion, but this stuff (shockingly) does neither.
It’s technically a full-coverage foundation, but it feels surprisingly lightweight—to the point that it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all, even as it makes any discoloration on my skin completely invisible. And the best part? It stays put all day, even underneath a mask in 90-degree, sweat-inducing heat. I once tested it out during a hot yoga class, sans primer, and it didn’t drip off or clog my pores in the process.
The foundation can be pretty heavy-duty, so depending on what I need, I use different foundation application techniques to get various levels of coverage. For something sheerer, use a wet Beautyblender ($26); for a medium-intensity finish, use your fingertips; and for a full-coverage finish, use a foundation brush. On days when my skin is feeling extra dry or I want a more dewy finish, I’ll mix a few pumps of the product with a drop of facial oil, which thins it out and adds a bit of radiance without separating. I top it off with concealer under my eyes (I’ve found that I don’t need any extra coverage on my dark spots), and am good to go for 24 full hours.
After years of trying to find the best-of-the-best foundation on the market, my search officially stops here.
Shop now: NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation, $15
Want to up your glam for your next Zoom meeting? Follow along with the makeup tutorial below: