Best Cheap Foundations 2020 (Under $20)


When you want the best cheap foundation under $20, there are many products to choose from. While many are similar in the shade, they can be different in ingredients and in how they make you feel. The best solutions are lightweight and comfortable for your skin. They also look natural and are easy to apply.

Features to Consider in Cheap Foundations

Large and small brands now offer reliable foundations which are also affordable. When making the choice, there are a few considerations to make.


The shades are arguably the most important characteristic. They allow you to focus on elements such as your final look and depending on your skin type, you can find solutions in the affordable range. From beige to darker shades, there are plenty of great options to consider.

Some products are made with a limited number of shades. Others can have as many as 40 shades to choose from. Depending on the look you are going for, it is important to find the options which suit you the best and which are close to your natural look.


Most foundations can be applied with a sponge or a brush. Modern products can also be applied with the fingertips. However, since each formulation is different, it is important to read the recommendations of the manufacturer before applying the foundation for the first time. Even more, it is also advisable to look for the solutions which are made for the ultimate skin-friendly design, as not all formulations which are easy to apply are also safe for your skin.


The ingredients used in modern foundations are different from brand to brand. If you want to make the best choice in terms of skin health, you can also consider the foundations which come with added vitamins and antioxidants. They can play a positive role in your skin’s health, especially in the long term. With multiple ingredients which have been eliminated due to possible side effects such as lead or parabens, many products tend to be safe for your skin. Here are the leading options to consider.

Best Good Cheap Foundations Under $20

1. Maybelline Makeup Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

Why we like it: Made for a natural look with an oil-free formula, the foundation is recommended for a seamless matte finish.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Designed in a container of 30ml, the foundation is easy to apply, similarly to other leading solutions on the market. The formula and the manufacturer have been awarded the first prize for sales in the USA over the past year and the new formula now comes to enhance the trust of women of all ages.

Convenient features
There are 40 skin shades to choose from and this makes the foundation one of the most versatile solutions in its class. While the number is impressive, so are the colors. You can choose appealing colors such as Buff Beige, Cappuccino, Warm Honey or Classic Ivory. They are vastly different although some similar shades can be seen in some cases such as with the Fair Ivory and Fair Porcelain. It’s also worth noting that they come with a formulation which doesn’t dry the skin and this is why women of many ages are actually fond of the product.

After you apply the foundation, your skin will feel lightweight and natural. It also doesn’t feel flat even if it covers the pores. Of course, many women love it becomes it controls shine and it adds a layer of depth to the skin.

With an impressive range of shades to choose from, the foundation is recommended for its mature formula which is free from oil and which also controls shine.

  • 40 skin shades
  • Leaves the skin lightweight
  • Offers a medium coverage
  • Matting effect
  • Dry for some women

2. Covergirl Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Foundation Makeup

Why we like it: Reducing the appearance of fine lines, the foundation is among the recommended products for a youthful look.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Available in a 30ml container, the foundation also comes with a practical dispenser. It represents a solution which can easily be placed in a purse or which can be a lightweight solution for travel purposes when you want to limit the weight of your belongings. It can be used an all skin types and it is one of the foundations of great makeup.

Convenient features
The liquid foundation stands out with its action against fine lines and wrinkles. Of course, it also evens skin tones which represent a top priority for some women. So for example, you can cover redness and certain spots for a more even look.

It is available in multiple colors and it is up to you to define the colors which suit your skin the best. The colors include attractive options such as the classic beige or the soft honey. The colors cover the entire spectrum from light to deep and this makes the product versatile for many types of skin. It works well for both the classic look and for advanced techniques and its recommended use for all skin types means that it can work for a large number of makeup options.

With 8 shades to choose for your skin, the wrinkle-reducing foundation is recommended for most skin types.

  • Available in 8 shades
  • Practical design
  • Works with classic and advanced makeup
  • Long-wearing formulation
  • Hard to spread in some cases

3. Touch In SOL Advanced Real Moisture Liquid Foundation

Why we like it: With a lightweight profile, the hydrating foundation is recommended for a natural finish with a minimum amount of time.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Available in practical dispensers of 30ml, the foundation is recommended if you are going for a natural look. While it doesn’t come with a large number of shades, it is one of the everyday solutions to consider for a proper balance between quality and all-day durability.

Convenient features
With nude beige and natural beige, the foundation can be an option for women of all ages. Its natural appeal makes it a recognized solution when it comes to a low profile foundation. At the same time, the formulation is made with a hydration profile. It is why the foundation will not dry your skin and it will allow it to remain well hydrated, especially with extended use over time.

The creamy formulation of the product is also recommended for an even spread. It is why it can be a solution to reduce the appearance of fine lines. The feather-light foundation is also easy to remove. But at the end of the day, it might also help your skin with glycerin, urea and sodium PCA.

With a very lightweight profile, the foundation doesn’t stand out in its number of shades. However, the enhanced natural look and the hydrating profile recommend it among the leading options in the price range.

  • Contains glycerin
  • Hydrating formula
  • Practical dispenser
  • Creamy texture
  • Two shades only

4. Revlon ColorStay Liquid Makeup

Why we like it: With a natural shine which lasts all day, the foundation is recommended for its oil-free formulation.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Available in standard 30ml dispensers, the foundation is great for your purse and your makeup tools set. It represents one of the recommended options when it comes to the ultimate freedom and with a large selection of shades, it becomes a strong contender for the considered foundations in terms of versatility for all skin tones. With standard shades such as natural beige or rare shades such as rich ginger or rich tan, it offers a solution for all women, regardless of their age or skin type.

Convenient features
With 19 natural shades, the foundation is recommended for all types of skin. Toffee, sand beige, and toast are among the unique choices to consider. It must be said that all of these colors leave your skin soft, with a slight matte finish. This is partly due to the oil control formulation which uses salicylic acid.

With a 24-hour wear, the foundation is recommended to prevent shine and oily skin. Since it is also formulation without any oil, it won’t clog your pores and it will allow your skin to breathe. Another convenient aspect is that the product comes with a practical pump. It means that it can be applied with a regular brush, a sponge or directly with the fingers. Women also like how it performs in difficult areas, such as hiding dark spots. For its versatility and oil-free formulation which lasts all day, it can be considered for various types of skin.

With a practical design and a formulation free from oil, the breathable foundation is recommended for all-day wear.

  • Designed with a practical pump
  • Plenty of shades to choose from
  • Oil-free formulation
  • Controls shine
  • Dark shades in some cases

5. L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation Makeup

Why we like it: With a wide range of shades, the foundation is recommended for warm, neutral and cool undertones.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Available in compact 30ml bottles, the foundation represents one of the recommended products for various skin undertones. With various shades of beige, soft sable, deep golden and other shades, it manages to offer a solution for all skin undertones. The undertones are the colors from underneath your skin which make its color unique.

Convenient features
The foundation is recommended for warm undertones, with yellow or gold hue. It works with neutral undertones with an olive hue. But it also works with cool undertones which work with rosy, pink or blue hue. Its formulation allows it to be super blendable and easy to apply. It diffuses imperfections such as wrinkles, dark spots or uneven tones.

The convenient formulation of the foundation also allows it to be freely applied to various methods. You can do this with your regular brush, with a sponge or directly with the fingertips. If you are considering its use for the long term, you need to know that it also comes with Vitamin A and Vitamin C which nourish the skin. With a light to medium coverage, it can be used for all-day wear for various skin types.

With a formula which is easy to blend and which includes nourishing vitamins, the foundation is recommended for its vast range of shades.

  • Made with added vitamins
  • Easy to blend
  • Large selection of shades
  • Diffuses imperfections
  • Too light for some women

6. Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless 3-in-1 Liquid Foundation

Why we like it: With a 3-in-1 formulation, the liquid foundation can be considered by women who also want to combat the effects of aging.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
The 30ml formulation is easy to use and easy to carry in your makeup kit. It is made to be a versatile product which can be used every day. At the same time, it comes with an anti-aging formula which is recommended for all women. At its core, it remains a foundation. It is why it has been formulated with 13 shades which include beige variations, primer, and honey options.

Convenient features
The foundation combines the effects of 3 products into a single practical product. It has a cool effect of reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It hydrates the skin stopping it from dehydration even after a long day. But the product also improves the tone of the skin, as a quality foundation.

Its convenient design also allows it to be easy to use. You can simply dispense 1-2 pumps of liquid on your fingers or a sponge. A dot of the formulation can be applied on your forehead and on your cheeks. It is then spread evenly over your face. Areas which require extra focus include the hairline and the jawline. The anti-aging formulation is now liquid and this makes it easier to apply and better when it comes to combating dry skin.

With a complex formulation and 12 shades to choose from, the anti-aging foundation is a hybrid product recommended to combat wrinkles and fine lines.

  • 12 shades to choose from
  • Recommended for skin hydration
  • Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
  • Evens skin tone
  • Thicker than a regular foundation

7. BECCA Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation

Why we like it: With a simple beige shade, the foundation is recommended for an even skin look which looks natural.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Made with a dewy texture, the foundation was formulated as a real alternative for everyday products. Applied correctly, it can last up to 8 hours. The design of the container is somewhat limiting as there is no pump dispenser.

Convenient features
With a dewy texture and being made for light to medium beige skin undertones, the foundation is recommended for most women. It comes as one of the leading options when considering hiding delicate areas. These could include spots and uneven tones. Being formulated with ingredients which are easy to blend, it can be applied with a brush, evenly, across the entire surface of the face. Tapping with a damp beauty blender is also recommended. This is due to the fact that some brushes simply leave streaks. The application method is up to you. The luminous and natural aspect of the skin makes it a recommended solution among big brands in its class.

With a unique beige appeal for light and medium undertones, the foundation is recommended for most women seeking an alternative to the dominating brands in the niche.

  • Made for light and medium undertones
  • Properly hydrates the skin
  • Luxurious fluid texture
  • High concentration
  • No included pump dispenser

8. Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Foundation

Why we like it: The affordable formulation is recommended for its lightweight texture and added vitamins which make your skin look better within 3 weeks.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Available in 30ml containers with an included pump, the product is designed to be easy to use. It represents a solution which is easy to use and which allows you to have an even application which makes the skin look more natural.

Convenient features
Formulated with antioxidants and vitamins, the foundation is recommended when it comes to a healthier skin in weeks. Antioxidants fight free radicals and the effects of aging. They are beneficial when it comes to fighting oxidative stress, reducing wrinkles and generally combating the effects aging has on the skin.

The lightweight formulation is also easy to apply. To do this yourself, you can follow the following steps. First, you apply the foundation to the chin, forehead nose and cheeks. Then you blend it with a sponge or with your fingertips.

With a lightweight composition and a design which is easy to apply, the foundation is recommended for all skin types. The added vitamins and antioxidants also improve the healthiness of the skin over a longer period of time.

  • Easy to apply
  • Made with vitamins and antioxidants
  • 16 shades to choose from
  • Made for all skin types
  • Not best with wrinkles

9. Covergil Outlast All-Day Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation

Why we like it: With a formulation to last the entire duration of a day, the foundation is recommended for busy women who need to look sharp all day long.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Made with an included pump, the foundation is very easy to use. It represents one of the most interesting solutions when it comes to the foundation which doesn’t dry the skin. Similarly to other products from the manufacturer, it also nourishes the skin but it has the main advantage of lasting longer. If you decide to go out after work, it can be one of the solutions to consider as it will last longer than a regular foundation.

Convenient features
As you may expect from the manufacturer, there are 13 shades to choose from. Including ivory and beige variations, it represents one of the recommended solutions for all skin tones. Since it comes in a liquid formulation, it is also very easy to use. You can apply it using a beauty blender or a brush with pressed powder from the manufacturer. The effect is a matte look with a smooth and natural coverage which is not too heavy. Most importantly, the look will be maintained for the duration of the day.

With a unique formulation which makes it last longer than its alternatives, the foundation is also easy to apply.

  • Recommended for long days
  • Great for all skin types
  • 13 shades
  • Quick to apply
  • Not the best for pores

10. L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Liquid Foundation

Why we like it: With a paraben-free formula and multiple shades to choose from, the product is recommended for its versatility and reliability.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
Made with a practical pump design, the foundation is easy to apply. It can serve as a solution to use at home, on the road or at the salon, and it can also be one of the products which are used on multiple types of skin since it is formulated without parabens.

Convenient features
There are 16 shades to choose from, the depending on your skin. Beige, bronze, porcelain, coffee, warm caramel or toast are just a few options to consider. Even more, the formulation is made with added antioxidants to improve the natural appearance of the skin over time. The lightweight formula is made specifically to be used for the entire duration of the day, without making the skin feel too heavy. With a satin dewy profile, it is recommended for an even skin look.

The formula is recommended for the entire day and its lightweight profile with antioxidants recommends it for use over longer periods of time.

  • Free of parabens
  • Lightweight formulation with antioxidants
  • 16 shades to choose from
  • Luminous effect
  • Oily for some skin types

Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Foundation

There are so many variables when choosing a foundation that finding the right product can seem impossible. At the same time, due to skin particularities, products can act differently from person to person. If a product works well for your friends, it doesn’t mean that it will also work great for you. At the same time, a few proven formulations are the way to go if you don’t want to risk with new products. The market is somewhat saturated with foundations. But even if you don’t have the largest budget you would still be able to find a reliable solution which can be used every day and which doesn’t harm your skin.

Lightweight formulations

One of the problematic characteristics of cheap foundations comes with their weight and formulation. The heavier the formulation, the more it will affect your skin and its comfort. At the same time, lightweight formulation might not cover the pores and wrinkles as you would expect. It is why there is a balance which needs to be met. For many women, it means that they have the ability to work with various products which are made for their type of skin. For example, dry skin can benefit from the oil-based formulation, but these can be heavier. Lightweight formulations are always in high demand. All feedback of such formulations starts with the impressive comfort and the natural feel of the skin.

Parabens, metal, chromium, and lead

With so many ingredients to consider, it is even difficult to remember what works and what is potentially harmful to your skin. There are a few ingredients such as glycerin which is used in many products. But ingredients which are not recommended include parabens, metal, chromium, and lead. These heavy metals can be harmful over long periods of time. Furthermore, they are even banned in some countries. Staying away from such ingredients is recommended for most women.

But at the same time, it is even a priority if you have sensitive skin. If you have experienced redness or irritation from other products before, it is time to take these ingredients seriously. If you’ve experienced the same issues before, it is a signal that you should discuss the issue with your dermatologist. When you purchase a new product, you should pay attention to how your skin reacts.

There are a few ways in which the skin can react. The easiest way to check for signs of irritation is to look for different colors in the area you’ve applied the foundation. If you feel rashes, itchiness or tingling sensations, you should also stop using the product. Sometimes, these signs are not visible at all. Also, it is important to consider that some of the damages done by the low-quality foundation are not visible at the beginning. A cautious approach is recommended even with proven premium products.

Paraffin, mineral oil and phthalates

Other ingredients might not be harmful, but they can impact the results you can expect from your foundation. Paraffin is used in many beauty products for skin and hair. But its nature makes it an ingredient which is not recommended for large pores. Since it can clog pores, similarly to mineral oils, it needs to be avoided if you know you have the issue yourself.

There are many other alternative ingredients which are recommended even if you have large pores. The issue doesn’t need to be minimized because it is often women with large pores which apply too much foundation and then they have a heavy skin which looks and feel unnatural.

Antioxidants and vitamins

Most ingredients have real value when it comes to skin health. At most, they can be selected as to avoid skin damage over the long term. But since times are changing, even foundation products are now starting to come with antioxidants and vitamins. It is where you have the ability to choose the solutions which work for you and which allow you a great overall experience when it comes to skin health.

Over the long term, it is yet not clear to which extent the vitamins can help. But if they get absorbed into the skin, they could potentially come with extra benefits. Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E are sometimes found in foundation products.

Antioxidants have a different role. They are primarily sourced through food and nutrition. But even before you start eating more complex foods, it is highly unlikely you will get enough antioxidants to combat the effects of aging. It is why foundations can also come with added antioxidants. These antioxidants fight free radicals. The free radicals are responsible for cell damage, even in the skin. It is why if you want to fight the effects of aging, such products are highly recommended.

Some of the best sources of antioxidants come from foods and this can only be a positive spin for foundation formulations. Green tea is one of the strongest sources of antioxidants as it can also be harvested organically. Berries can also be a good source of antioxidants. In many cases, they can be added to the beauty products with no effect at all.

But if you are using the products every day, for long periods of time, then it makes sense to take care of your skin from this perspective as well. Some other antioxidant treatments can also be recommended when you want to combat the possible side effects of the products used in the skin beauty industry. Apart from using safe products, having a natural treatment from time to time is also highly recommended.

Shades and hydration

The shades a product comes with is determined in its manufacturing and marketing process. Some shades are simply too much. But most women can appreciate a good selection of shades such as the beiges with its endless variations. But since all products are different, even the way in which similar shades appear on the skin can be different from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Depending on your skin type, there are a few shades to consider. Among them, you can try the shades on your wrists first, this will give you a good indication of what to expect. At the same time, it is also important to consider the options you have when it comes to proper maintenance and daily routine. For example, light shades are different from a season to another. During the summer, your skin can be tanned or it can come with more freckles due to the sun. It is also important to know that you can find the same product looking slightly different during winter time.

Many women simply fail to find the right shade, for years at a time. But this can be an indication that you need to switch manufacturers. If multiple products from the same brand don’t offer you the shade you need, it is time to switch. Since most products are highly affordable, it is worth investing in multiple solutions to see how your skin reacts to them.

The shade can also be influenced by the quantity of foundation you apply. The better you get at it, the less foundation you will need to apply. The instruments used for this have a role as well. A sponge is different to a brush in terms of the quantity which can be applied and even in terms of distribution.

3-in-1 vs normal foundation

The different formulations on the market can confuse many women. They are far from being simple solutions for those seeking a foundation to wear. Now, they offer anti-aging benefits or even hydrating benefits. But are they really as good as they claim?

Complex formulations can be good, but at their core, they need to remain foundation products. It is why there is a need for proper functionality. In many cases, it is important to understand that you have the ability to choose a solution which is easy to use but at the same time, a solution which helps with the health of your skin.

Dry skin immediately benefits from extra hydration. At least, the foundation you use should not dry the skin any further. In other cases, it is also important to understand that the actual advertised benefits might take time to see. In some cases, they are not seen at all. There are endless stories of women telling how their wrinkles don’t disappear even with anti-aging products used every day.

In reality, the quality and quantity of antioxidants have an impact, but maybe not to the extent which is often advertised by manufacturers. Some other added vitamins can also help the skin maintain its elasticity, and most importantly, maintain its natural collagen production.

But even with the best formulas, you should still allow your skin to breathe from time to time. Days with no makeup are highly recommended for this purpose. Healthy foods and avoiding bad habits can help you get there faster. A foundation can work wonders when your skin is healthy, this is why smoking and drinking cannot be overturned even by the best foundation.

Some products also offer more complex formulations which promise to change the tone of your skin. However, they are rarely trusted as this is always a professional treatment and which is not recommended at home. However, the final results might also be too small to consider. Regardless of your choice, the main role of the product is to be a reliable foundation, all other benefits are secondary.


The packaging of the foundation is another characteristic worth taking into consideration. It represents one of the most important indications of what you will experience every day. In most cases, the best designs come with an included pump. It allows women who want a clean product to have a fast and easy experience. Squeezing alternatives are certainly not as popular as they used to be. They tend to be messy and they are not the best when it comes to traveling needs.

The pump dispenser proves to be one of the most interesting options when it comes to practicality. While it also costs more, it is a small increased and it still allows the products to be fairly priced and affordable. But even with the pump, there are a few things to consider. You should not leave your foundation out in the sun or next to a heating source. You should also avoid leaving it unused for months at a time as it can dry out.

Final Words

The best cheap foundations are safe to use. There is no need to compromise the healthiness of your skin for more affordability. The great news is that the products above are reliable, especially if you don’t have any skin conditions. In most cases, they can be applied with ease, they are not too heavy and they are also made to be quite dependable for multiple hours per day. It makes them attractive for a wide range of skin types.

When you choose the foundation for your skin, you should always try to follow the indication of the manufacturer for the best results. Starting with small quantities is recommended regardless of your product of choice. At the same time, it is also important to note that you can find improved results when your skin is healthy and when you are rested. Even if the foundation can cover some wrinkles and fine lines, it comes with limitations as well. In many cases, it is also important to note that you can find reliable solutions when it comes to quality ingredients.

With added vitamins and antioxidants, modern foundations are made in a way in which it allows your skin to benefit in the long term from a health perspective. Taking a look at the various shades are also recommended. Many of them are really similar and the difference can be small. It is why the products with a large number of shades might also be the most confusing, especially if you have not tried them before. Other products are only made with a limited number of shades but the best decision is always the one based on what is naturally closer to the shade of your skin.