I was recently reminiscing on the fact that I used to have only one foundation in my makeup collection. It was Makeup Forever HD and I applied it by smearing it all over my face with my fingers like a lotion.
I miss those days. I wear less foundation now than I used to, I prefer a tinted moisturizer for daytime. But I'm still skin-obsessed, and foundation is something that brands are constantly improving on. So over the years, and during the search for the *perfect* foundation, I've accumulated a good number of foundations. Seven, to be exact.
As you'll see, I prefer foundations that are undetectable on the skin and don't feel heavy. I also have a now-obvious penchant for L'Oreal.
Honorable mentions that I don't have at the moment: Makeup Forever HD, Wet N' Wild photo focus [$6, undetectable on the skin, beautiful].
For reference: my skin tone is light to medium, with an olive undertone.
Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 in Vanilla ($8.99)
If you don't like the feeling of makeup on your skin you won't like this. It has amazing coverage and the finish is satin. It looks flawless on the skin. But it feels heavy and leaves the skin with a tacky finish. The only word I can use to describe it is "makeup-y" and as soon as I put it on I want to take it off. I keep it for the same reason I keep a purple maxi dress in my closet despite having worn it twice. If you want a cheap full coverage foundation for nighttime, it's a good one to check out.
L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte in 105 ($12.99)
This is one of my favorites from the drugstore. It feels completely weightless on the skin, and has a semi-matte finish that's really flattering if you have any sort of texture on the skin. I tried this again the other day and was surprised at how flawless and almost undetectable in natural light it looked. It's a medium, build-able coverage. If I ever want a matte finish, this is what I go for. The shade is also nice, it's my summer shade and has a golden undertone.
L'Oreal True Match in w4 ($10.99)
Another summer olive golden shade from L'Oreal. This has a much more fluid, silicone-y feel. It's a pretty basic foundation that would work well for most people. Medium coverage.
L'Oreal Lumi Cushion in w2 ($16.99)
I really loved this in the winter. It's very glowy, so probably a pass if you have oily skin. But for an everyday light coverage it's really beautiful. My skin was really dehydrated this winter, and I repurchased this twice because it was the only product that didn't make my skin look completely parched. I used it with a dense brush rather than the cushion they give you. Only downside is that it's pretty expensive for not a lot of product.
Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in 20 Beige ($50)
This foundation I save for special occasions because it's expensive, but also because it is really beautiful. It's undetectable on the skin, feels lightweight, and has the most blurring effect out of any foundation I've tried. The only time I wouldn't use this is if my skin was very dehydrated or dry, because it can emphasize that. Oh, and it smells like Chanel and I can't say I hate it.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Light in 2.0 ($39.50)
This is a recent purchase and I would give it a solid 8. The coverage is light to medium and the finish is a natural semi-matte. It feels lightweight and is mostly undetectable on the skin. The main selling point of this is that it's great for summer because it's long-wear. Without being sticky or tacky you can feel that this adheres to the skin.
It Cosmetics CC Cream in Light ($38)
Saved the best for last. I've repurchased this 3 times and will definitely buy it again when I run out. It has amazing coverage with a natural skin finish that can look glowy, or not, depending on how you apply it. It's very moisturizing and has a physical sunscreen (SPF 50) that has never irritated my skin. It's a good staple because with the amount of coverage it has you can use it with a beauty blender for sheer application, your fingers for a little more, or mix it in with a moisturizer or oil for an even lighter base. Smells like lemons.