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2022 Best Full Coverage Foundations (Drugstore and Department Brands)

by Sandy Taylor

If you don’t know what you are doing, full coverage foundations can be a very tricky type of makeup. If you add too much, you may end up with a cakey look. If you add too little, you may not be able to get the coverage you need.

In this post, I will go over how you should tackle this type of foundation and recommend some of the best full coverage foundations.

Best Full-Coverage Foundations (Our Top Picks)

Jolie Creme Foundation Stick

The Jolie Creme Foundation is the best full coverage foundation stick. This is a great budget foundation that is cheaper than other similar stick foundations. It’s easy to apply, provides full coverage, easy to blend, and is fully buildable. I love the creamy finish you get after the application. The foundation doesn’t feel heavy but it’s thick enough to be used as a concealer as well. It’s water-resistant and SPF 15.

Jolie Creme Stick Foundation is not fragrance-free. One mistake that most people make while applying stick foundations is not blending them properly with your fingers. Remember: the stick makes it easier for you to apply, but blending is just as important.

The unevenness of the application causes some areas to be thicker than others. This is the main cause of blocked pores and breakouts.

Vichy High Coverage Liquid Foundation

If you’re looking for a premium foundation that offers great full coverage, you may want to consider this foundation from Vichy Laboratories. This Vichy foundation is the best liquid foundation for full coverage. This product does what it’s supposed to do, and that is to provide really good coverage.

This foundation can handle acne scars, rosacea skin, birthmarks, blemishes, and other skin impurities. It has high pigmentation which means that it provides really good coverage without it looking heavy or thick. The package says it lasts about 16 hours but I’ve used it on a camping trip that lasted over 24 hours without any problems. It works great on oily skin and sensitive skin.

This is a non-comedogenic full-coverage foundation and it won’t clog your pores. Furthermore, it is SPF 30 which gives you some sun protection. Although the bottle size is only 1oz (30ml), a little goes a long way. The bottle can actually last pretty long.

Aloe Beautiful Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation

The Aloe Beautiful Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation Makeup is one of the best full coverage hypoallergenic foundations. It’s created with a hydrating lightweight formula that contains aloe to nourish your skin. It’s made with certified organic and natural ingredients like shea butter, rice, and olives. 

It doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, preservatives, or parabens. It is also free of any toxic or GMO ingredients and is one of the best full-coverage makeup for sensitive skin. It also works great on acne-prone skin. It’s a great non-cakey full coverage foundation.

This is a natural full coverage foundation that is  100% Vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free. The formula is non-greasy nourishing and non-pore-clogging. There are 8 shades to choose from. 

Btw, if you’re looking for more natural foundations. Check out my post on the best foundations for sensitive skin. I’ve also written a detailed guide on hypoallergenic makeup brands.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

One of the best full coverage powder foundations is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation.  This foundation provides a natural matte finish. This is a lightweight full coverage foundation that is great for covering redness, blemishes, and large pores.  This powder foundation is also great for oil control as it helps to soak up your excess skin oil throughout the day. 

This foundation is waterproof and can last up to 12 hours through sweat and humidity. The powder is non-comedogenic, won’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles. 

Its formula contains a unique combination of :

  • Amazonian clay – helps to ensure long wear
  • Tourmaline – helps to energize skin for a radiant complexion
  • Pearl powder – provides anti-aging benefits
  • Camellia leaf extract – a natural antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals
  • Mineral pigments – helps to soften skin. 

This foundation is also 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free. It’s worth giving it a try. 

Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Foundation

The Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Foundation is one of the best long-lasting full coverage foundations. It can last up to 12 hours and contains Neutorgena’s Tone Correcting Complex formula which is a blend of nourishing antioxidants, soy, and vitamins (A, C, E) that helps to nourish and protect your skin.

It is lightweight with added SPF 20 sun protection. This foundation is oil-free and won’t settle into wrinkles. Neutrogena claims that 100% of women showed improvement in skin’s natural tone or texture after using this foundation.

Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup

One of the best full coverage acne foundations is the Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup. This foundation is oil-free and provides a matte finish. It contains acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid that helps to prevent new breakouts while killing acne bacteria already on your skin.

This foundation works great on oily and combinations skin and is 100% fragrance-free. It provides a good 8-hour wear and is formulated without the use of parabens. This foundation is non-acnegenic, dermatologist-tested, allergy-tested, and sweat resistant.

Best Full Coverage Foundation: Drugstore

The best drugstore full coverage foundations are from companies Rimmel, Covergirl, and Maybelline.

Here are our top pics for full coverage drugstore foundations:

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

The Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation is a great drugstore full coverage foundation. It’s an oil-free matte formula that provides excellent oil control and removes shine.

Its silicone-based formula makes it silky and easy to blend. It’s formulated with gel emulsifiers to give you a soft finish. When applied in thin layers, it’s lightweight as you build up coverage. I recommend using a pea-size only to minimize cakiness.

Covergirl Outlast Extreme Wear 3-in-1 Full Coverage Foundation

The Covergirl Outlast Extreme Wear 3-in-1 Foundation is one of the best full coverage drugstore foundations with sunscreen. It contains SPF 18 and is designed for active and outdoor-loving individuals because it is transfer-free and sweet-proof.

This 3-in-1 formula (primer, concealer, and foundation) shaves your time in your application. The formula provides enough coverage for tough spots like acne and dark spots but it is lightweight enough without making your face feel cakey.

It’s a long-lasting foundation that can last up to 24 hours so that you don’t need to worry about re-applying your makeup throughout the day.

There are 21 shades to choose from. It’s cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny Certified. If you don’t know what this is, check out my guide on makeup and skincare beauty labels.

Maybelline New York Super Stay Full Coverage Foundation

The Maybelline New Your Super Stay Foundation is a non-comedogenic drugstore full coverage foundation that can last up to 30 hours.

It comes with over 24 shade options. It is transfer-free, sweat-proof, and stays in place even in humid weather.

Its silicone-based formula makes it easy to apply and blend. This foundation works great on combo / oily skin and is formulated to dry quickly.

DIY Full-Coverage Foundations

If want to go 100% natural with 100% control of the ingredients that you use in your foundation, check out these 2 DIY full coverage foundations. These are both buildable formulas that contain organic skin-nourishing ingredients.

DIY Cupuacu Butter Cream Foundation with Sunscreen
Super skin nourishing and moisturizing cream foundation made with Cupuacu Butter and Coconut Oil. 
Check out this recipe
DIY Smooth Shea Butter Foundation with Sunscreen
An easy, smooth and moisturizing foundation made with shea butter, almond oil and other organic ingredients.  It will keep your skin looking silky and protected from the sun. 
Check out this recipe

Full Coverage Foundations: What You Need to Know

What does Full Coverage Makeup Mean?

When discussing makeup, the “coverage” of your foundation refers to the opacity of the foundation. If your skin is even and has minor discoloration and blemishes, then only a light opacity of foundation is typically required. This is called “sheer coverage”.

For individuals struggling with scarred skin, dark spots, or the need to hide tattoos, a heavier opacity will be required to cover up any imperfections. This is called “full coverage”. Full coverage is also perfect for individuals that struggle with facial birthmarks, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars. Makeup for general use usually contains only 35% pigment, while full coverage makeup can have up to 50% pigment.

When Should You Use a Full Coverage Foundation? When To Avoid?

Makeup that offers full coverage is not necessarily for everyone. Full coverage makeup involves putting a larger, thicker layer of product onto your face, which can result in an unwanted, heavy-faced appearance. Full coverage is much more suitable for those looking to cover blemishes or struggle with skin scarring or other skin conditions. If you find that you have a difficult time hiding the redness, discoloration, acne scars, or hyperpigmentation, a full coverage makeup routine may be the best for your skin.

Is Liquid or Powder Better For Full Coverage?

Liquid foundation and powder foundation can both be used to achieve a full coverage look. The best foundation for you depends on your skin type. One may work better than the other when it comes to hiding those pesky unwanted blemishes. I have detailed the pros and cons of full coverage liquid foundations and full-coverage powder foundations below so you can find the best fit for your makeup routine!

Full Coverage Liquid Foundations – Liquid full coverage foundations are popular because it works well with almost every skin type, whether it’s dry, oily, sensitive, or normal. Liquid full coverage foundations are made with highly pigmented formulas to help conceal even the most stubborn of skin imperfections.

However, like with all liquid foundations, full-coverage liquid foundations do have a tendency to look wet and shiny on the skin, especially if you’re prone to perspiring through the day, or have oily skin. The added moisture and oil can get into the lines of your face and any textured blemishes, which will result in an unflattering, cakey appearance.

Full Coverage Powder Foundations – Full coverage powder foundations are generally pressed rather than in loose jars. Pressed powder can deliver a more buildable coverage to achieve a full coverage appearance. Full coverage powders are great for those with oily skin, as it works to absorb any excess oil that may accumulate throughout the day.

Avoid using full-coverage powder foundations if you have dry skin. Powder foundations can make your skin appear flakey and dry as the powder settles into the parts of your face that have dried out, which can be very noticeable after application.

How Do I Apply Full Coverage Foundation Without It Looking Cakey?

When applying full coverage makeup, your makeup will be heavier than your average makeup, and it can be difficult to avoid ending up with that frustratingly awful cakey look that can result from it.

You must take care of your skin. Prep your skin well before applying any foundation, and learn how to properly build your coverage. Additional tips include using the correct tools to apply your foundation and using a setting powder to set your makeup after you’ve applied your base coat of foundation.

1. Slowly build up your foundation to achieve the coverage that you want. A common mistake people make when applying their foundation is applying a large amount of product all at once, and spreading it all across their faces. The trick to a flawless finish is layering your foundation slowly and leaving a few minutes between each small application of product to let the foundation settle onto your face.

2. Although there is no one right way to apply your foundation. Popular techniques are with a makeup sponge, a foundation or powder brush, and even just your hands! The key to applying your makeup is choosing the right tool and making sure you are blending your makeup properly. Makeup can appear caked on if it is not evenly distributed across your face.

When using a makeup sponge, dampen it a little with water to give off an even and blended finish. If you’re using a brush, use small amounts of product to build up to the right coverage. Be sure to avoid leaving streaks by changing the direction of the application if using a liquid foundation. If you prefer just applying your foundation with your hands, first rub the product between your fingers before pressing it into your skin to allow it to emulsify.

3. Taking good care of your skin is just as important to your makeup routine as the makeup itself. All the tips, tricks, and techniques that are out there will not work unless you’re taking good care of your skin. Be sure to cleanse and moisturize your skin daily, use sunscreen when going out into the sun, and remove all makeup and excess dirt from your face before going to bed at night. We also recommend taking some time to research your skin type to find the ideal methods to take care of it. Before you start applying any makeup products, consider purchasing a facial primer to help prep your face for your other products.

4. Set your makeup with a translucent powder or setting spray. Full coverage foundations are heavier and can move around throughout the day. Translucent powder or a setting spray will keep your makeup locked in place, and take away any shine (from the liquid foundation) or dryness (from powder foundation) that can result after application.

How to Get Full Coverage with Liquid Foundation

If you’re using a liquid foundation that isn’t “full coverage”, you can still use it to achieve full coverage results providing that it’s a “buildable” foundation. If you’re a follower of this blog, you may have seen posts where I mention the term “buildable” many times.

Essentially, “buildable” means you can apply additional layers of the foundation to trouble areas that require more attention. This will help to ensure you have those areas covered better without any cakey or thick feeling. Use your fingers to blend the edges for the best results.

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