The 6 Best Foundation Sticks of 2021 That'll Have You Retiring Your Liquid Foundation
At the mere mention of foundation sticks, you might be immediately struck by memories of the drying, chalky, dense, dull foundation sticks that used to be reserved only for stage performances. Well, foundation sticks have quietly come a long, long way since your 6th grade dance recital. Now, you can find foundation sticks that stand up against any liquid foundation out there.
The beauty of using cream foundation sticks over other methods is that you get full control over the product when applying—and one stick can last you a long time. The same stick can be used to create a breathable, lightweight finish using your fingers to blend, as well as a poreless, mattified, full-coverage finish that won't wear off even after a day of tailgating. Buy a shade lighter or darker for contouring, or use sparingly as a trade for concealer. Not to mention, foundation sticks are cleverly portable, which means you can throw it in your purse for on-the-go touch-ups without risking any spills just as easily as you can toss it into your carry-on without having to deal with TSA-approved packing.
From hydrating, natural formulas to long-wear, pore-blurring finishes, these are the six best foundation sticks to try out this year.
Favorite Overall: Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Skin Finish Buildable Coverage Foundation Stick
With this foundation stick, you get customizable coverage that veers from sheer to full (depending on how much product you apply to your face and which application tool you use), a filter-like finish that still looks like your skin, and a really competitive shade range that ensures everyone can find the perfect color and undertone. Use fingers for an ultra-lightweight finish, or a flat foundation brush for fuller coverage.
BUY IT: $39; sephora.com
Favorite, Runner-up: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear 5-In-1 Foundation Stick
Here, 5-in-1 stands for conceal, contour, cover, highlight, and blend. This handy, on-the-go foundation stick comes equipped with its own kabuki brush applicator on one end, and it somehow magically doesn't absorb any product when you're blending it out — which means you won't be stuck with tons of excess, old product every time you go to use it. The oil-free formula is friendly for most skin types, and the soft matte finish is great for those who don't want anything too drying. The only downside is that the shade range is a little lacking.
BUY IT: $43; nordstrom.com
Best Budget: Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation Stick
This super creamy formula made with argan oil and sunflower seed oil helps to nourish and moisturize skin while you're wearing it, making it great for those who deal with dry skin. It also allows this travel-friendly stick to be incredibly blendable and buildable in terms of coverage. If you're new to sticks, this might be a convincing wallet-savvy option to start out with.
BUY IT: $4.99; ulta.com
Best with SPF: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick SPF 25
Streamline your routine with this foundation stick with built-in sun protection. The water-based formula is wonderfully breathable and lightweight on your skin, which is why it's known as a fabulous option for those who deal with blemish-prone or sensitive skin. Or anyone who prefers a super natural finish! It's also one of the more hydrating sticks on the list.
BUY IT: $33; nordstrom.com
Best Shade Range: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Can we get a round of applause for any face product that comes in over 40 shade options? That means you're already more likely to find the most perfect match of your life. (Remember it's always a good idea to ask for help from a beauty professional at Sephora, the department store, or wherever you're shopping to color-match!) This formula is designed to look and feel like skin, and it's formulated with a blend of emollients including olive extract and shea butter to help moisturize skin wherever it's dry. The result? A natural look that you'll forget you even have on.
BUY IT: $48; nordstrom.com
Best Long-Wearing: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick
This longtime-loved foundation stick really rakes in rave reviews from those who are in it for the fuller-coverage, long-wear, mattified finish. Basically, if you're looking for a heavy-duty foundation to create a smooth, flawless base, this one's got you covered every time. For a more everyday approach, just use a light hand and blend out using your fingers or a damp Beautyblender.
BUY IT: $46; sephora.com