Shopping for a foundation is hard. Colors that look good in the store can look awful in natural light – or anywhere, for that matter. Brands can come in limited shades that all seem to be the same variation of beige. Formulas can be too greasy, too cakey, too drying, too oily, too patchy. An application can range from a sponge to a brush to fingers – but, if the product is no good, sometimes nothing works!
Entering into a makeup mecca like Sephora can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done your research. With all those bright lights, endless shelves, and infinite varieties of the same thing, it’s hard to know where to begin! If you’re not willing to talk to a cast member (what they call Sephora employees), you might find yourself turning right around and walking back out, content to try a drugstore brand because at least you won’t be shelling out the big bucks!
That’s where we come in!
Combing through Sephora reviews, we’ve chosen 10 of the worst-rated and 10 of the best-rated foundations the beauty business has to offer, so you can go in next time armed with a little bit more knowledge about what you’re looking for, thanks to learning what other people are saying!
Most Marc Jacobs products are pretty highly rated but, in the case of this foundation, it scored a meager 2.9/5 stars.
That's a pretty poor score when you consider its 1.08 oz costs $56 CAD!
The issues abound with this foundation, with one reviewer saying that it was “not long-wearing at all”, and many more describing it as “cakey”, “dry”, and “IMPOSSIBLE to blend”. Not exactly what you’re looking for when you’re shelling out the big bucks. Even those who were fans of the product admitted that it’s something you either love or hate, and no skin type was immune: dry, normal, and oil types all gave it 1 star! Yikes!
While perhaps not a household name, Natasha Denona is an international makeup artist who, according to Sephora’s About the Brand “has become synonymous with glowing skin.” Tell that to her 3.1 rating for her Face Glow Foundation!
One reviewer wrote that it was the worst foundation she’d ever tried, and sat heavily on her skin, despite attempting to apply it with a brush, a beauty blender, on top of hydrating primers, and glowing primers, and nothing worked!
In addition to the poor formulation of the product, a few reviews skewered the undertones of the shade range, calling them “grey” – a shade that isn’t very common on healthy skin!
Speaking from personal experience, I love Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Face Primer (although you can find drugstore dupes with ease). However, I have not tried the POREfessional Pore Minimizing Makeup.
And from the reviews, I don’t think I want to try it!
At $40CAD a pop (for half an ounce and in only one shade), you might expect something better than a product that rates only 3.2 stars and about which reviewers say “leave[s] incredibly terrible patches and streaks”, “watery”, and “an embarrassment”. Of the 103 reviews left, almost half of them were under 3 stars. Perhaps Benefit should realize that there’s more to makeup than cute packaging?
bareMinerals has earned cult status over the years thanks to its mineral makeup, particularly its Original Foundation, which has been a Reader’s Choice winner at Allure for 10 years! Unfortunately for the brand, their bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation didn’t earn nearly the same amount of acclaim.
While it was awarded a Reader’s Choice Award in 2016, consumers had other things to say, describing the foundation as “oily” and emphasizing pores, while women of color lamented the shade range, which, at its darkest, is called “Bare Caramel”. Another gripe for Sephora customers was the packaging, which allowed the product to “[ooze] out before [I] could squeeze the bottle.”
Urban Decay began as a brand that built itself upon vibrant, daring eyeshadows, bold lip colors and gritty packaging. They’ve still kept to those features, but have also expanded into including face makeup, like foundation.
Too bad for them, their All Nighter Liquid Foundation only earned them a 3.4 from Sephora reviewers!
Many unhappy customers described the foundation as “thick” but, perhaps the more horrifying complaint was that it oxidized on their faces, leaving them looking two shades darker than their neck or, in the case of some, a sickly orange color! Definitely not what you’re looking for when you’re buying something for almost $50!
Another foundation that inexplicably has only one shade available, the Laura Mercier Moisture Supreme Foundation is meant to over medium coverage while being lightweight and hydrating but, unfortunately, it’s more like “spackle”!
Formulated to reduce signs of aging, those who left negative reviews said that instead it “made every wrinkle and pore more prominent” – not what you want when something is said to do the exact opposite. It seems that no type of primer, no method of application, and no setting spray or powder could make this product look anything other than “patchy”, “blotchy”, “greasy” and, ironically, “drying”. We’d say it definitely earned that sorry 3.4-star rating!
To its credit, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation does come in tons of shades and has over 500 5-star reviews. But, just as there are fans of anything, there are also haters, which brought the product’s Sephora rating down to 3.4.
Why, you might ask? Well, for a lot of reasons, actually.
A few reviewers claimed that the “oily” and “greasy” stick caused them to break out just a day or two after using it, while others said that the formulation magnified their pores and was “patchy”. Even those who purchased a couple shades to act as a contour and highlight were disappointed by the lack of longevity, advising potential customers to go for something from the drugstore instead.
With a designer name like Givenchy, gorgeous packaging, and a price tag of $62CAD, you’d expect the TEINT Couture Cushion Portable Fluid Foundation to be a slam dunk! Too bad it only merited 3.5 stars!
With a minimal range of shades just a touch or two off of beige, the product promises “even and moisturized skin” but, according to users who bestowed upon it a dismal 1-star rating, it is “very patchy”, offers “no coverage”, “gives dryness”, and “causes breakouts”. If you’re looking for something glam to add to your makeup bag, maybe steer clear of this Givenchy product and opt for something a little more well-received.
Powdered foundation has earned a bad rap over the years for being too drying, enhancing wrinkles, settling into pores, and creating a patchy look. As makeup technology has advanced, more women are finding themselves drawn to gel, cream, and liquid formulations. However, for someone who suffers from oily or acne-prone skin, a product like Clinique’s Acne Solutions foundation might do the trick.
Nope, wrong again!
Complaining of “orange undertones” among fairer- and darker-skinned ladies alike, the product doesn’t seem to hold true to its promise of covering blemishes – unless the idea is to make your entire face the same shade as the zit!
With 21 different shades covering three separate undertones (neutral, pink, and golden), Cover FX’s Cover Click Concealer + Foundation should be a product that provides two services in one. While the size is small (0.2 oz), the price tag is also moderate – at least by Sephora standards, clocking in at $24.
Unfortunately, for those dissatisfied enough with the foundation to give it an average 3.5 rating, it just wasn’t enough.
Complaining of it looking “cakey” and bemoaning the tiny size, many said that the formula felt like lipstick in its thickness, which might be okay for a concealer but as a foundation, you’re better off leaving this on the shelf.
Unlike Cover FX’s product mentioned above, which had customers complaining of its travel-size amounts, women who bought this Estée Lauder foundation found that they were still using it three years after first purchasing it!
The Double Wear Stay-In-Place Powder Makeup does exactly what it promises to do – stay put – without settling into fine lines, creating dryness, or causing breakouts.
In fact, one reviewer who has sensitive skin even wrote that the foundation didn’t cause an allergic reaction, which is a rare feat when it comes to luxury makeup! Said to cover “as well as a liquid”, this is the first product on our list to actually break the 4-star barrier at 4.4!
For a brand that was created by a painter and sculptor (Dany Sanz, before becoming a makeup artist), MAKE UP FOR EVER has never had a shortage of shades, especially when it comes to their lip products and eyeshadows.
While their Duo Mat Powder Foundation has only 10 shades, that hasn’t stopped reviewers from giving the product a solid 4.5 stars! Many of the reviewers stated that they had oily skin, and so having a powder that didn’t feel heavy but still offered buildable coverage was a must, with one happy customer calling it the “Holy Grail”, saying her skin looks Photoshopped, it’s so good at what it promises!
In all fairness to other products that were squeezed out of a good rating due to the sheer amount of reviews, this Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Powder Foundation may not be sitting so near the top after more customers review it.
It only has two on the Sephora website!
One reviewer was extremely pleased with her purchase, saying that she didn’t need to touch up her face at all throughout the day, while the other agreed, citing “fantastic coverage and wearability”. The only reason it didn’t get into coveted 5-star territory? Apparently, the fragrance of the foundation isn’t something everyone is keen on!
With 4.5 stars and an 87% recommendation rate, shu uemura’s Lightbulb Essence Essential-Oil-In Foundation is close to a knockout – if only it had shades darker than “Medium Beige”!
Limited range aside, reviewers seem extremely happy with the foundation, with only 1 review (out of 15) under 4 stars. Describing it as the “best foundation ever” that will make skin “look incredibly healthy while still providing buildable light-medium coverage”, people also love the glow it gives – which is perfect when you’re buying a product that calls itself “the lightbulb”! Worried about looking too shiny or overly dewy? This one may not be for you.
Like the shu uemura foundation we just mentioned, this offering from Burberry is all about faking that natural glow without the greasiness! Promising to last all day with the added help of a primer, fans of the foundation described it as having a “beautifully light texture” that offers a “perfect color match” while still being hydrating and gliding perfectly onto the skin!
It’s still a pretty expensive foundation – $62CAD for one ounce.
But, with a designer brand name and glowing reviews that match the product itself, it’s clear that this gorgeously packaged little number has definitely earned its 4.6 stars!
A cult favorite that has won the Reader’s Choice Award from Allure magazine for the past 10 years, this bareMinerals must-have boasts over 19k reviews – and it STILL earned over 4.5 stars! Converting even the staunchest critics of powder foundation, the bareMinerals Original Foundation looks “flawless” while allowing users to feel like they’re wearing nothing at all!
Plus, thanks to the mineral formulation, you can expect a natural glowy look without looking shiny or oily! Fans of the product with sensitive or dry skin have touted its benefits and have refused to ever purchase anything else again! If that’s not a “glowing” set of reviews, we don’t know what is!
“Once you try these products, nothing compares,” reads one review.
“Worth the money!” raves another.
“Wow, finally!” gushes yet another.
Clearly, Giorgio Armani Beauty can attach a $72 price tag to something if it earns a 4.8 rating and gets fans like this!
Not for those watching their budgets, this foundation provides medium coverage and, while it applies dewy, it dries matte, preventing too much shine or excessive oiliness. As an added bonus: Older women declared that it didn’t settle into fine lines and still felt lightweight! Reviewers explained that, while they tried to find similar products for a cheaper price, they kept coming back to this one each and every time.
Another Allure Best of Beauty Award winner, Dior’s Nude Air Serum Foundation is described by its fans as feeling “lightweight” with “the most beautiful finish ever.” With a moderate shade range (hopefully more brands catch up to Fenty Beauty), this Dior offering has earned raves for being a more sheer formula. And while it feels great on the skin, it doesn’t pick up dry patches!
Another designer brand with an appropriate price tag, this foundation – like most of the highly-rated ones and like all of Sephora’s products – is going to set you back a bit but, judging from these reviews, it’s totally worth it!
With a name like “Cashmere”, you’d better believe that this foundation feels silky smooth! The first of only two foundations to get a perfect 5-star rating from reviewers on the Sephora website, the weatherproof formula delivers a flawless complexion that still stays on without looking cakey or dry, even on oily skin.
Like most powder foundations, this Burberry product promises full coverage.
However, while not mentioned in the reviews available, the “signature blend” of rosehip, tea, and lavender might irritate sensitive skin or dry out those who are prone to allergic reactions to scented cosmetic products.
Over 1300 people have “loved” Guerlain’s Lingerie de Peau Cushion Foundation, with 100% of reviewers recommending it and the foundation itself earning a perfect 5-star rating!
In addition to its luxurious packaging, this Guerlain foundation provides a sophisticated fragrance too, with notes of violet and rose – but it’s really the coverage, wearability, and longevity that have its fans falling in love.
Giving you “natural and fresh-looking skin” without making your face “cakey or oily”, this foundation is said to have a finish between matte an dewy that is flattering on all faces. As a product that is still relatively new to the market, we can only hope Guerlain will add more shades to what is arguably its best product!
References: sephora.com/marcjacobs, sephora.com/natashadenona, sephora.com/benefit, sephora.com/bareminerals, sephora.com/urbandecay, sephora.com/anastasiabeverlyhills, sephora.com/givenchy, sephora.com/clinique, sephora.com/coverfx, sephora.com/esteelauder, sephora.com/makeupforever, sephora.com/kevynaucoin, sephora.com/shuuemura, sephora.com/burberry, sephora.com/bareminerals, sephora.com/giorgioarmanibeauty, sephora.com/dior, sephora.com/burberry, sephora.com/guerlain