Full-coverage foundation for many of us is a daily go-to, so finding a cheap yet good-quality version is like finding a beauty holy grail. Yes, the skin trend du jour may be all about super-dewy, luminescent skin with all but a whisper of foundation sprinkled over the top. But the harsh reality is that this idea of ethereal, otherworldly, low-maintenance skin just isn't achievable on the vast majority of us—especially when you take late-night-induced dark circles, pesky patches of pigmentation and irritating spots into account. And as party season is on the horizon, we don't really have time to reach flawless skin through a skincare overhaul—although you'll find that a brightening face mask will help. The answer? Dial up the coverage of your foundation.
Before you start setting aside a mini trust fund to buy a foundation strong enough to get your skin in check in time for your Christmas party, we have news for you: It really doesn't have to cost the earth. In fact, the best cheap full-coverage foundations have just enough oomph to knock back blemishes, smooth out the complexion, last all night long and cost in the region of a tenner, which means even if you switch back to your lighter formula come January, you won't have wasted a chunk of cash.
Keep scrolling to discover the five best cheap full-coverage foundations formulations that team Byrdie swears by.
It's seriously watery, but weirdly enough, this foundation gives super-strength coverage that melds into skin rather than sitting on top of it. Plus, the 21-shade-strong spectrum covering all manner of undertones is truly impressive.
Nyx's foundation contains clever peptides that perk up the skin while you wear it, meaning you'll need less coverage in the long run. The finish is that of a brushed cotton duvet—smooth and soft—with an almost creamy texture.
The problem with many long-wear foundations is that they can feel quite stiff on the skin and as though any minor facial expression will crack its outer shell. Not with CYO's: It contains vitamin E that nourishes skin, providing an element of comfort to the wear.
The three-in-one claim refers to the fact that 3ina's foundation contains a primer that clings to skin, a concealer that will hide dark circles and blemishes as well as a really good foundation. It's creamier than most but melts down to provide what looks like a veil of coverage, so no one need know what you're hiding.
While we love sleep too much to have ever tested out the 24-hour claim, we can promise that this foundation will last a sweaty tube journey, a full day of work, a stressful interview, another sweaty tube journey and dinner prep in a steamy kitchen. That kind of longevity can be attributed to its hyaluron complex, which quenches skin's thirst so it doesn't start sucking your foundation into pores. (FYI, that's what happening when your foundation starts to look a bit streaky.)
This full coverage, cream to matte foundation stick comes complete with a handy inbuilt applicator sponge, that's great for blurring and concealing blemishes. It's perfect for touch-ups on the go and lasts for hours without clagging or looking cakey.
Next, these drugstore mascaras further prove our point that good-quality makeup doesn't have to cost a tonne.