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The Best Foundation Sticks For Flawless, No-Fuss Makeup Application

by Sidney Burds

The Best Foundation Sticks For Flawless, No-Fuss Makeup Application
Shop Story

Liquid and powder foundations are both perfectly acceptable, but they don’t have the longevity of a foundation stick.

 

Yes they can all provide even coverage, work for a number of skin conditions, and make that zit you woke up with disappear. But have you ever had a foundation that can apply in a flash, blend in seconds flat, and comes in a case that works for all modes of travel? Not until now.

 

It’s time to give foundation sticks a try. We’re here to help with 13 of the best foundation sticks to fit your budget and personal preferences. They won’t spill in your carry-on, crack into a million pieces when they hit the floor, or show signs of wear at the end of the day.

 

Hourglass Cosmetics foundation sticks with swatches

 

 

1 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best Overall

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

Price:$46.00

Full coverage, long lasting, and the price is just right. These are just a few points that the Hourglass foundation stick excels at. Only a few dots of this product across your face, then blended out, give you a streak-free finish that looks like your real skin. It promises 12 hours of waterproof coverage and comes in 32 shades that can additionally be used to contour and highlight.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“This will be my first review on any Sephora products. Application is key when wearing this. I put about 4-6 dots. 1 on my forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. DOTS. Not streaks. I then use a damp beauty blender. Use a patting motion NOT a dragging motion with the sponge. Whenever I wear this I ALWAYS get compliments about how radiant or flawless my skin looks but people don't realize I have makeup on.”

2 of 13 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Budget

Maybelline New York Fit Me Stick Foundation

This drugstore dupe is Amazon’s best selling foundation stick! For an inexpensive, matte skin look, use this Maybelline foundation stick with a shine free formula. The core of each stick is packed with ultra-lightweight powders that dissolve oil on contact. It’s creamy, blends smoothly, and leaves your skin with a matte powder finish that’s never cakey. With over 800 reviews and averaging a 4-star rating, it’s worth a shot!

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I am amazed by this product, this is my first stick foundation because I don’t like the feel of liquid foundation I find it messy, time consuming, not good for oily skin, precise... but this product, wow. I thought it was going to be like a corrector, but this has a creamy feel that glides on your skin even without the primer. Finish the look with powder. It's easy and fast to apply and looks great!”

3 of 13 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Splurge

Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick

Price:$88.00

Spend more, get more. If other foundation sticks have failed you, it might be time to pay up for a higher quality stick like Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation Stick. You control the finished look, lightly apply for sheer coverage or build up to full coverage. The end result is smooth, natural skin with nearly undetectable makeup. This foundation stick also features nourishing ingredients that feed your skin while you wear it.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“Favorite foundation ever! I have fairly large pores and my esthetician (a former professional and commercial make-up artist) suggested I try a stick foundation. I use a primer first and then TF Traceless stick. I 'tap' rather than smooth onto skin, placing slightly overlapping stamped circles and then blend with a really good foundation brush by again 'tapping' or using short strokes (sweeping). This foundation going on beautifully and lasts really all day or evening. I do set it using a finishing powder that I very lightly dust on using a good quality fan brush. This TF foundation stick (and my seasoned esthetician) have made such a positive difference in my beauty routine. Hope you find this helpful. I am a big fan of this product and definitely recommend, especially if you are troubled with larger pores!”

4 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best for Dry Skin

Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick

Price:$36.00

Foundation that gets stuck on your face’s dry patches and creases is a no-no in our books. Powder foundations might settle in those problem areas and an average liquid formula might not cut it for you. Milk Makeup just came out with an innovative foundation stick that’s the answer to your prayers. Thanks to the ingredient marshmallow root extract, this foundation has an elastic quality that stretches and becomes one with your skin. This formula also includes blue lotus and chamomile to soothe and moisturize.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“It can be hard enough to find olive shades in regular foundation, but in stock foundations they’re nonexistent. This is a BEAUTIFUL shade for light olive skin, probably around NC 20 with more neutral undertones. The formula is also beautiful, I’m using it to spot conceal at the moment in it blends in beautifully, doesn’t cake or bunch. It’s definitely a more emollient texture so I can imagine if you have oily skin this wouldn’t be a great match, but it works for my dry skin just fine. I ended up buying golden sand and golden honey so I could do some light cream bronzing, so clearly I love this a lot.”

5 of 13 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best for Oily Skin

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation

Price:$25.00

There’s a big difference between having glowing skin versus oily skin. If your face is more along the lines of sweaty-shiny, this foundation stick by Anastasia Beverly Hills is here to save you. It’s a demi-matte and best for oily skin that wants buildable coverage with a matte finish. It does a great job of concealing blemishes and color-correcting skin, as well. So leave your oil blotting sheets at home the next time you’re out. No touch-ups are necessary with this stick.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I am a loyal fan of this stick foundation. I buy it for myself and my teen daughters. It's great for contouring and extra coverage on blemishes. This shade brightens up my face, especially around my eyes. It doesn't irritate and lasts all day.”

6 of 13 Image Credits: Ulta

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Lancôme Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick SPF 21

Price:$43.00

A spot concealer that won’t contribute to future breakouts, that’s what you’ll get with Lancôme’s foundation stick. This formula is ultra-lightweight and untraceable when applied, like a second skin. Made with ambora extract to reduce redness and porous polymers for oil absorption, this foundation stick also acts as a concealer. Apply it over breakouts or across your entire face for a full coverage matte look.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I am always in search of good foundation. This is where my search has finally ended. I have adult acne and pigmentation due to hormonal changes and this foundation covers it all. Go try it in the store before you get it. I use this and set it up with Charlotte Tilbury's airbrush powder. It works wonders. For concealer, I use Tarte tape concealer and I would recommend using an airbrush foundation brush. I use IT foundation brush.”

7 of 13 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Full Coverage

Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Stick Foundation

Price:$48.00

You already know you prefer a full coverage, oil-free foundation finish, so don’t waste your time with buildable coverage formulas. Get the coverage you’re craving, in far less time, with Yves Saint Laurent’s foundation stick. You might be worried that this all over face foundation might be heavy, but it’s actually a high quality lightweight formula made with high-impact pigments. Thus stick leaves you with an airbrushed finish in a fraction of the time.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“So, I was going on vacation to Cali, Colombia, one of the hottest cities in Latin America and was worried about my skin imperfections. I decided to purchase this stick since I use the YSL 24hr foundation, but wanted to have an easy application process. To my surprise, this stick was the miracle stick. This full coverage matte stayed all day against the craziest weather. I can’t say enough since I have oily skin, I couldn’t believe how fresh my skin looked and felt all day! Simply the best!”

8 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best for Contouring

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Visible Cover Stick Foundation

Price:$43.00

Looking to emphasize your cheekbones like a Kardashian? Make Up For Ever’s foundation sticks are super versatile and can make your cheekbones pop like Kim’s when you select the right shades. Find your skin’s shade and apply where you wish, then select a hue two shades darker, swipe along the hollows of your cheeks, sides of the nose, and forehead hairline. Blend out and voilà! Foolproof contour that will last for hours.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I have combination/dry skin, so it's very hard to find a foundation that doesn't dry me out and that doesn't 'slip' off of my face. This foundation is perfect! It blends super easily into the skin, with either a brush or a beauty blender (I use both). It doesn't stick to my dry patches, and it doesn't slip off my cheeks like most foundations. The shade 117 is perfect for my skin tone too. I always set with a powder and setting spray, so my foundation lasts throughout an 8 hour day. I would highly recommend this product!”

9 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best for Travel

Sephora Collection Make No Mistake Foundation & Concealer Stick

Price:$20.00

We’ve all been there: After a long flight you go to open your suitcase only to find a product has exploded all over the contents of your bag. Packing liquids in general aren’t worth it, they weigh down your bag and run the risk of breaking. Foundation lovers, leave your liquid and powder formulas at home, and pack this Sephora foundation stick instead. It stays protected in a tube, is compact for travel, and you won’t open your bag to find your outfits ruined when you arrive at your destination.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I'm amazed at how much I like this foundation! I'm not usually a lover of stick foundations but this one is so good! I got a solid medium coverage with this plus it's buildable.”

10 of 13 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Shade Range

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

Price:$47.00

Stop leaving the makeup store with your arms covered in foundation swatches that never quite match your skin tone. Bobbi Brown’s foundation stick is an award-winning formula that comes in 42 diverse shades. It has a unique, transparent base that color corrects and melts with your natural color. From alabaster to cool espresso, you’ll find the perfect shade that looks like it was custom made for you.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I have combination skin and have never committed to a foundation until I found this one. I have bought it 7 times now. It stays put throughout the day and is easy to use as a light medium or full coverage depending on what you want each day.”

11 of 13 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Anti-Aging

Shiseido Sun Protection Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 37

Price:$32.00

Shiseido’s Sun Protection Stick offers a tint of foundation, with the best SPF we’ve seen. This light foundation stick protects against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 37. It has a light touch of color for covering discoloration and blurring out breakouts. Unlike other sunscreens, it leaves an oil-free finish, and won’t leave behind any white residue. Wear it the next time you head to the pool; it’s water-resistant up to 80 minutes.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“Wow! I love this product. I don’t wear make up on a daily basis, because I have sensitive skin and live in a tropical climate. However, I have a fair amount of hyper pigmentation from acne scars that I like to protect from the sun and I feel more confident when they are blurred. This product does exactly that, without being caked or uncomfortable. It blends beautifully and I can wear it all day and into the night time without worrying about it irritating my skin.”

12 of 13 Image Credits: Ulta

Best Seamless Finish

Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick

Price:$28.50

You roll out of bed, slap your makeup on your face, and head out the door. Then you take a check the mirror and realize your foundation is streaked all across your face. Not a good look. Blend your foundation easily with Clinique’s foundation chubby stick. The formula is super creamy and builds from sheer to moderate coverage, so you won’t have thick heavy strokes on your face. Tap it on your face and blend it out with a beauty blender or your fingertips.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“This new foundation is wonderful. I've always liked stick foundation but they do not all measure up. This Chubby stick foundation looks very natural. The coverage is buildable from light to full coverage without looking or feeling unnatural. It covers the most difficult to cover dark spots and redness. It's portable for quick touch ups if needed. It has staying power. Very few touch ups needed. It blends beautifully with a damp sponge. If you are on the fence about trying it, just try it, you will like it. Keep one in your purse, it's quick and convenient. You may want to color match your shade, it does seem lighter than other formulas of the same color name. I love all the chubby stick products. This foundation is a winner!”

13 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best for Mixing

NUDESTIX Nudies Tinted Blur Stick

Price:$30.00

Seasons change, and so does your skin tone. From the dead of winter to the dog days of summer, you might fluctuate a lot. Instead of grabbing a separate foundation for each season, use a few of these Nudestix blenders to get your shade just right all year long. Find the blur stick closest to your shade, plus one a shade or two darker. Mix dots of both across your face and use a damp sponge to blend them together. You can also use this product for highlighting and contouring!

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I love this product! I use this all over and I bought a deeper color to contour.... it works blends like butter. Absolutely recommend this!”