A Few Fab Foundations for Flawless Skin This Fall

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Makeup

Foundations for a Fab Fall

This post is part of a series sponsored by Walgreens.

As much as I love easy, breezy makeup and tinted moisturizers in summer, I always look forward to fuller coverage products, darker colors and matte textures each fall.


There’s a season for everything, and for me, fall means dressy, dramatic, and oh so much fun — like moody lipsticks, darker nail polishes, cozy fragrances and seductive smokey eyes.

Here are a few drugstore foundations to go with your fabulous formal makeup looks this fall.

1. L’Oréal Visible Lift Smooth Absolute Instant Age-Reversing Foundation SPF 17

Because it gets hotter here in summer than Ryan Gosling’s rippled abs, I usually wear sheer, lightweight makeup like tinted moisturizers and face tints, but when fall rolls around and the temperature drops, I like to switch to liquid, cream and powder foundations (and sometimes stick) for coverage from medium to full.

L’Oréal Visible Lift Smooth Absolute Instant Age-Reversing Foundation SPF 17 ($15.99; available in seven shades), one of my favorite drugstore liquid foundations, offers long-lasting, medium-to-full coverage that doesn’t look like cake, and I also think it photographs really well.

TIP: Because you can’t always test foundations at the drugstore, pale pretties might want to look for colors labeled beige or buff; gals with medium skin tones should opt for warm, medium or golden shades; and darker damsels should seek out colors labeled tan, sable or chestnut.

Sand Beige (left) and Sun Beige (right)

2. Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup SPF 15

For dressy looks and dramatic nights on the town, cream foundations like Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup SPF 15 ($12.99; available in nine shades) are another great way to go. Many of them provide medium-to-full coverage and work well if you’re trying to cover pimples and/or large pores.

I like Revlon’s New Complexion because of how easy it is for me to blend and apply. Plus, a little goes a long way.

I think it works better, though, for combo and dry skin types than it does for gals with super oily skin (where it may slip off), so if you have uber oily skin, you might want to go with a powder foundation instead.

TIP: Many cream foundations come with a sponge applicator, but I prefer to apply them with a foundation brush (I think they’re less apt to streak). I also think they tend to produce a more polished look.

Medium Beige

3. Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation SPF 20

Powder foundations like Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation SPF 20 ($13.99; available in eight shades) generally offer medium coverage and work really well on oily skin. Finding the right shade can be tricky, though, particularly if you have very oily skin, as powders can appear to darken as the day wears on. If foundations tend to darken on your skin over time, consider going with a color one or two shades lighter than you normally would.

Apply them with either a sponge applicator for more coverage or a kabuki brush for less.

TIP: To find a good foundation match, stand near a window in the store to see how it looks in natural light (assuming you’re able to try it on).

Honey Beige (left) and Tan (right)


Swatches from the left: Neutrogena Minerals Sheers Powder Foundation in Honey Beige, Neutrogena Minerals Sheers Powder Foundation in Tan, Revlon New Complexion On-Step COmpact Makeup in Medium Beige, L’Oreal Visible Lift Smooth Absolu in Sand Beige and L’Oreal Visible Lift Smooth Absolu in Sun Beige

Do you tend to wear fuller coverage foundations in fall, or do you stick with the same face products year round?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


Don’t miss these other posts in the Fall in Love with Your Skin series…


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So far, 47 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Vonvon says:

    Since I have been using BB Cream a lot this year, it has been with me throughout Spring, and Summer. So I think I will continue to use BB Cream through Fall and Winter for daily makeup. foundations for parties and special occasions, perhaps. But some BB creams also have good (full) coverage.
    Vonvon recently posted … Look: Pink Lids & Smokiness With Singapore Sling & Green Martini From Sleek Curacao Palette – FAILED!

  2. Laurina Esposito says:

    Since the cooler weather has come around I have been reverting back to my Cargo Oil-free liquid foundation. All summer I had been using Tarte Smooth Operator Tinted Moisturizer.

  3. Nina says:

    oh i want to try that new complexion compact by revlon! i really need to find a light, easy to use foundation for weekends since i foresee a lot of out of town roadtrips for fall!

    its really much too hot to roadtrip around here during the summer so we go for it during fall/winter!

    • Karen says:

      Fun, Nina! Where are you guys going this fall? Will the fur kids be coming? 🙂

      I wish we could take Tabs on road trips with us, but he HATES riding in the car.

      • Nina says:

        we’re starting off this weekend with a trip to New Orleans, next week, its the RenFest.

        then we’re off to visit the hubs’ parents. 🙂

        the list goes on.

        the kitties stay at home, and the puppy stays with my sister. 🙂 its like a little sanity break from being furparents for us!

        • Karen says:

          How fun! My friend visited a while back and she said it’s a great foodie town. I hope you have your restaurants picked out. 🙂

          So… I think I remember you saying something about your in-laws living in San Diego? Or am I imaging things?

  4. hazakaza says:

    I have to say, I LOVE those neutrogena mineral sheers! It’s been my go-to powder for quite some time. Alone, it evens out my face; combined with tinted moisturizer or another bit of sheer coverage, it gives me a perfect canvas without turning my face into a flat, one-color powdery mask. Plus, no talc! There are probably more finely milled and more decadent powders out there, but this one is so perfect that I just don’t care to look.

  5. Nikki T says:

    Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact is my all time favorite drugstore foundation. I’ve been using it off and on for 10 years. I some times deviate from it to try higher end foundations but find myself always coming back to this.It covers everything. Even though you don’t have to, I still use a powder over it just for some extra coverage. The only downside is that you don’t get very much product in the compact.

  6. Twyla Munden says:

    Thanks to my dad genes, I tan really quick & easy in the summer so my makeup routine is simple eyes & gloss w/ maybe a touch of blush… However, come fall my mothers genes kick in and I fade to the look of the ‘undead’.. So I stick to Bare Essentials ID MIneral Foundations so I can mix shades from Light, Med Light to Med to get the perfect tone for me.. add in eyes, blush & gloss and I’m ready to go… Just takes an extra few minutes in the morning for all day!!

    PS. I tried the Bare Essentials loose powder eyeshadows I own with the Nars Primer and I love it now!! it really sticks to my eyes for all day wear!! thx…

  7. Kim says:

    I’m not a big product switcher, so I plan to stick with my Tarte Smooth Operator year round. Hopefully my winter skin will still like it this year. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim,

      Ahh, good ol’ Tarte Smooth Operator. I can’t remember — do you usually use something to set it with?

      • Kim says:

        I know – I’m the picture of predictable! 🙂 No, I just apply (with fingers, of course) and go. I haven’t really found a powder that I like, but it’s probably because of my bad application. I feel like it’s sitting on my skin for the first hour and then just soaking into, and clogging, my pores. It’s like going from too matte to oily with no happy medium. What do you think? Like most everyone, I’m aiming for a dewy glow. 🙂

  8. Ruchita says:

    I generally use the same foundation year round, but I do use tinted moisturizer more in the summer when I’m feeling lazy and just want to do a quick face.

    I might have to try the Revlon or Neutrogena foundations, b/c they would be good options for traveling.

    • Karen says:

      Ditto on the travel-friendly factor. Those itty-bitty plastic bags kill me! El Hub gives me grief every time we take a trip because usually I can barely close mine… whatev, I’m a girl that needs her products!

      What foundation are you using these days?

      • Ruchita says:

        I’ve been loving the Makeup Forever HD foundation b/c it’s a great match for my skin tone.

        My plastic bag is usually filled to the brim! It’s like a puzzle trying to fit everything in just right. 🙂

  9. Marian says:

    I generally use a powder foundation in the summer. It’s very hot and humid here in Maryland. I use Bare Escentuals matte or Lancome Dual Finish powder foundation. In fall/ winter, I use Chanel Pro Lumiere. I am recently using Vitalumiere Aqua and loving it!

    • Karen says:

      I haven’t tried Pro Lumiere, although I love, LOVE Mat Lumiere. Maybe I’ll give it a go soon. Your new hair looks super cute, btw!

      • Wendy says:

        Isn’t the Pro Lumiere being discontinued? Marian, You might want to stock up if this it’s one of your must haves. I was told it was being replaced by the Perfection Lumiere. From what I heard, the Pro Lumiere is more moisturizing than the Perfection Lumiere.

  10. BCBev says:

    I use Vichy NormaTeint year round although I have to switch between Nude 25 and Sand 35 as the seasons change. I also love the DermaBlend Concealer in Medium 30. The biggest reason I choose these products is that they are lick-proof… I am a dog groomer! They also survive the sweating that takes place in the humid salon. I have very sensitive skin and these have never bothered me in any way. The coverage is perfect, and I never need to set with a powder. Even on my ultra-oily skin, they don’t move around or change colour, and they never collect in the fine lines.

    On non-work days, I’ve used Jane Iredale for years but have begun to feel it has lost its punch for me. I used Physician’s Formula Happy Booster Face Powder instead this summer, and loved it for the fragrance, which didn’t irritate my skin at all. But it didn’t last through doggy kisses, sadly…

  11. Amanda says:

    I’m really interested in trying the Revlon New Complexion!!! I’ve been using Revlon Colorstay and I love it but this would be perfect for on the go! What’s your favorite foundation brush to use?
    Amanda recently posted … NOTD: Candy Corn!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amanda,

      I end up using my MAC one. I got it years ago… 2002, I think! It’s held up really well for all these years.

      I’ve heard good things about Colorstay. What powder do you use to set it?

  12. Amanda says:

    Smashbox Sheer Focus tinted moisturizer had been my go to this summer until I tried the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind foundation. I love the coverage, look and feel of it.
    Amanda recently posted … Birchbox – October 2011

  13. Natasia says:

    I think I will check out the mineral sheers. Sephora stopped carrying my brand of powder foundation and I have NEVER found a liquid fountain that didn’t feel like overkill.

  14. Wendy says:

    I opt for a tinted sunscreen during the summer months. I just switched over to a foundation this week. So far, I’m liking Chanel’s new Perfection Lumiere in 40 Beige. The color matches my skin and stays put a lot better than my MAC Select NC30 foundation.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendy,

      Chanel makes some great foundations. Have you ever tried their Mat Lumiere? It’s pricey, but excellent.

      • Wendy says:

        No, I haven’t. I asked the saleslady about it. She thought the new foundation would work better for my combo skin. It dries to a powdery finish when first applied and softens up to a natural, dewey (not greasy) look soon after.

  15. JenJ says:

    I wish I could find a drugstore foundation that would work for. Deeper skin tones get the shaft when it comes to drugstore foundations :/

    • Karen says:

      Hi JenJ,

      Believe it or not color selection used to be worse! I remember not being able to find anything remotely close to my skin tone in the early ’90s.

      Have you ever considered L’Oreal True Match or Revlon Colorstay? They both have a pretty wide range of shades.

  16. PS says:

    I have been using Loreal Visible Lift w/ retinol & vitamin c. Love it and I’m going to stick with it. It also doesn’t have that funky brush on it. I use this in combo with smashbox 15 hour wear foundation. I put smash box in the areas that I typically highlight. This comobo seems to work best for me.

    I also like Revon photo finish make-up. It has a very pretty finish.

  17. Nika says:

    Oh my gosh, I really wanna give the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers one a try. Thanks for this post, Karen! 🙂

  18. JoElla says:

    I really like the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers! Very easy to use with a big ole buki brush and as someone said, doesn’t give you that powder mask look! I also really like the Healthy Skin liquid foundation as well.

    I only have the usual players for department store counters (clinique, Estee, Lancome, finally got a MAC counter) and it never fails.. the SA’s always want to put me in something totally wrong for my coloring. I am a weird light olive with yellow undertones and they always want to put me in a tan color. So I stick with the drugstore brands. I don’t think I have ever finished a bottle of foundation, so this route works for me.

    Currently I really like the Maybelline FIT ME foundation/powder/consealer. I needed to replace my liquid foundation and thought why not. I found the color matching quite easy and it actually worked! It blends in easily and doesn’t offer tons of coverage, but gives a great finish (think your skin but better)
    The consealer is a light coverage, nothing heavy duty, but on a ‘good eye’ day works well. I also use Smashbox Second Skin, or Benefit erase paste.
    The powder is just enough.

    The big test for me was.. wearing this during a full fun day at our local fair. This stuff stayed put, didn’t melt and never morphed into another color on me. It was hot and sunny and for a dirt cheap foundation, really impressed me!

  19. Chelsea says:

    Karen – I’ve been eyeing that Loreal Foundation… what kinda of powder do you usually set yours with?

  20. LoveVex says:

    Hmm…I’ll have to try to the minerals sheers. I’ve been using Physician’s Formula Mineral Face Powder. I apply with a sponge/puff for coverage and then buff it out with a fluffy brush. I like it because it absorbs the oils and makes me look dewy rather than like a oil slick. I still need to use a mattifying primer first though.

  21. Vy says:

    Hi Karen,

    What would you recommend for sensitive skin ladies?!

  22. Doortjes says:

    I wear the Revlon colorstay daily. I love the matte finish and it looks flawless at least for 24 hours! It doesn’t melt down like most foundations do, not even on a hot, sweaty or a rainy day.

  23. Yelena says:

    where can i find the revlon compact? i have not seen it anywhere. i’ve been looking out for it ever since i read this article

  24. Yelena says:

    you know i have been on the look out for this revlon one step cream foundation and haven’t been able to find it anywhere. grrr….

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