Foundation Sticks: Our Favorite Blendable Formulas for Flawless Coverage

The best foundation sticks may be the answer to your complexion prayers, especially if you've been longing for great coverage that doesn't cake or crinkle and that comes in a handy, spill- free, purse-friendly formula. We all know that pinning down a foundation shade and coverage level can be as challenging as finding a new pair of jeans. Then there's the formula itself to consider: Do you prefer the blendability of a liquid, the longevity of a powder, or perhaps a surprisingly versatile third option that you hadn't considered in your quest for the best foundation?

The benefits of the best foundation sticks

As we'd love to spend an hour learning how to contour or learning how to apply eyeliner, the reality is that most of us need our cosmetics to tick all our boxes in as convenient a formula as possible. That's where the best foundation sticks come to the fore.

Foundation sticks are marginally bigger than a standard lipstick, so similar to the best powder foundations, you can easily pop them in your purse for a quick touch-up when required, and the packaging means they won't ever spill. And just like lipstick, these twist-up sticks are applied directly to the skin, no brush or sponge necessary: Just swipe across your face, then blend out with your fingertips. Unlike a liquid or powder, the really amazing thing is that the foundation stick can then be used as a concealer to precisely target blemishes and dark spots with a little extra camouflage. If you're someone who suffers from acne, rosacea, or pigmentation, carrying such a product with you in your handbag can be super handy, useful, and, yes, comforting.

Foundation sticks also sometimes get a bad rap, given old formulations that tended to drag and get chalky or offer sub-par coverage. The good news is that we've come a long way from those dark ages and that there are some pretty special twist-up bases nowadays that offer maximum travel-friendliness and ease of application without compromising on beautiful, radiant coverageMilk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick nails this perfectly.

How to choose the best foundation sticks for you

If it's full-coverage you're after, look for something that suggests long-wear in the titleL'Oral Infallible is a great example of a long-lasting drugstore foundation that delivers way above its pay grade. Oily skin will benefit from a matte finish to prevent foundation from slipping and sliding, while those looking for the best foundation for dry skin should seek out water-based formulas with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin.

As for choosing the right color match, the selection of undertones and shades has never been better, with many brands offering 20+ ranges. It can be tricky to purchase a new base online, but it is possible to find the perfect foundation match from the comfort of your own home. Many beauty brands offer virtual shade- matching tools to help, and it also helps to have the best foundation brushes on hand when you can for seamless blending.

Considering the undertone of your skin is also vitally important when it comes to nailing a seamless match. Undertone is the shade within your skin tone; sun exposure can change your skin color, but your undertonecool, warm, or neutral never changes. Most foundations list the letters C, W, or N after the shade number, so it's easy to pick the right undertone. Here are a few ways to suss out yours:

  • Hold a piece of paper against your face. If your face looks rosy next to it, you're cool. If you look more yellow, you have warm tones. If you don't see a change, you're neutral.
  • Assess your sun sensitivity. If you usually burn while under the sun, you're likely to be cool-toned. If you tan, you're probably warm. If you burn, then tan, you're likely to have neutral undertones.
  • Look at the veins on your wrists. A blue tint denotes cool undertones. If they look greener, you're likely to be warm. If it's a combination of the two, you're neutral.
  • Assess your favorite jewelry. Cool undertones look great in silver jewelry, while warm undertones are flattered by gold jewelry. Neutral undertones look equally vibrant with either metal.

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