Foundation stick is an oft forgotten option for base makeup that deserves a bit of attention. While in the past stick foundations seemed to suit only stage actors and drag queens due to their high coverage, these days there are so many different options for foundation sticks that they absolutely deserve their own guide.
Foundation stick gives a speedy makeup application, and it can easily double as a concealer or a contour stick. No matter your skin type, tone, or personal preferences, I assure you that there is a foundation stick out there that will make your morning routine and on-the-go touch-ups a breeze.
I’ve listed the 15 very best foundation sticks out there, and I give each one a review so you can see what makes them unique. I explain exactly what foundation sticks are, what makes them so great, and how they differ from liquid and cream foundations.
I’ll help you choose the best foundation stick for you based on skin tone and type, and I’ll also give a step by step guide on how to use foundation sticks. To cap things off I have a few extra tips and tricks to make this incredible multi-use foundation even more useful!
Foundation Stick Makeup Guide: Contents
15 Best Foundation Sticks to Get
First things first, these are the best stick foundation options ideal for every skin type you should consider getting.
1. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick
You can never go wrong with a complexion product from Hourglass. This stick foundation has a pointed, triangular shape that is easy to apply precisely. It is one of the best foundation sticks for those who prefer full coverage but without an overly matte or dewey finish. It’s a great choice for all kinds of skin types as well as skin tones, since it is available in 32 shades at Sephora.
2. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation
When we picture dewey skin, it is usually a tinted moisturizer that comes to mind, but some days you want that healthy, glowy look while your skin needs serious coverage. That’s what makes this one of the best foundation sticks, especially for those with dry skin. The stick itself is round and fairly large, so an application can be very quick, and you can find it in 20 shades at Sephora.
3. NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick
If you have oily skin and need some mattifying control, then this is the best foundation stick for you. If you have more of a combination skin type, you can skip the powdering with this foundation stick: just apply it and blend with the convenient blending sponge at the top of the stick! The light yet matte finish also makes it phenomenal for contouring. You can order your best match out of 20 shades through Net-a-Porter.
4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation
What is most unique about this stick foundation is that it is not full coverage – it gives a light to medium coverage on first application and can be built up. It has a natural, demi-matte finish that can work for most skin types, except for the very dry. It is a unique formula that doesn’t work for everyone as foundation but is perfect for contouring! It is available at Sephora in 30 shade options.
5. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
This unique foundation stick is made for all skin types but especially those with combination skin, offering a natural-looking medium coverage. It keeps the skin looking and feeling moisturized all day long and is super easy to apply. This foundation comes in 30 different shades at Sephora.
6. Tarte Clay Stick Foundation
This is another one of the best foundation stick options for those with combination skin who want a balanced finished and natural-looking coverage. This foundation stick doesn’t settle into pores or fine lines, and it keeps the skin nourished with a collection of vitamins. The only drawback is the sparse range of colors, with 12 shades available at Sephora.
7. NYX Mineral Stick Foundation
As usual, NYX proves that excellent makeup products don’t have to be expensive. The medium coverage of this foundation stick can be built up and blended easily, while the shade range makes this one of the best foundation sticks for contouring. It looks like these are being discontinued, so snatch one up from Ulta Beauty before they’re gone!
8. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick SPF 21
This velvety, high-coverage foundation works for all skin types. It is the best stick foundation for those who want something quick and easy – swipe it on, blend, and you’re good to go. You may choose to forego setting powder if your skin is on the dry side, or if you want a glowy look. It works great as a highlighter or contour stick as well, so choose the best shade for you out of the 30 sold at Sephora.
9. Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick
If you look for luxury in your beauty routine, then this is the best foundation stick for you to try, and the price certainly reflects that. This unique formula is buildable, with a matte finish thanks to a touch of oil-absorbing kaolin clay. If you have problems with product settling into pores or fine lines, then this perfectly blendable foundation should be your go to. You can buy your favorite of 19 shades at Sephora.
10. Makeup Revolution Fast Base Stick Foundation
This is another affordable option you should totally try! Despite the price, this is one of the best foundation sticks, and the rose gold packaging is really gorgeous to boot! It has a medium to full coverage, and a natural finish that might require powdering. It wears well for many hours, and is a perfect choice for anyone on a budget. These are sold at Ulta Beauty, with 18 shades available.
11. Nudestix Nudies Tinted Blur Stick
In a way, this is the brand responsible for the resurgence of stick foundations as multi-tasking products for foundation, concealing, contouring and highlighting, so they certainly deserve a mention. This is the best foundation stick for those who like a very light coverage and easy blendability – this is why the word “tinted” is in the product name.
If you find it hard to blend out cream contour, then this product will make it easy, and if you want just the barest hint of coverage on the go, then this will be perfect for you. Find the Nudestix at Sephora in 10 different shades!
12. Smashbox Studio Skin Face Shaping Foundation Stick
Why buy just one foundation stick when you can have two in one? Smashbox created a stick that has an excellent, buildable coverage with a natural finish on one side, and another shade just a touch darker on the other side for quick contouring. If you’re low on space, then this will be the best foundation stick for you. Ulta Beauty sells these duos in 14 different shade options.
13. By Terry Nude-Expert Foundation & Highlighter Stick
If you like a foundation that gives a strobing effect, then this is the best foundation stick for you. While I do find the half and half design of the stick gimmicky, it is undeniable that the buildable coverage is lovely and that blending it into a lovely, radiant look is easy as pie. This is a great option for anyone with dry, normal, or combination skin who wants to glow. You can order your favorite of the 10 shades available from Nordstrom.
14. Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick
These fun stick foundations from Clinique really look like big crayons! These go on easily, giving the skin a medium to full coverage with a velvet finish. They last quite a while with minimal powdering and work well for all skin types. They come in 6 shades at Sephora.
15. YSL All Hours Stick Foundation
This is another stick foundation that’ll make your makeup routine feel more luxurious, with its classy golden packaging. The coverage is matte and a little fuller, so it’s a great choice for those with oily and combination skin. It feels lightweight on the skin and can double as concealer perfectly. You can buy it from Sephora, where it is available in 20 shades.
What Are Stick Foundations?
Imagine an extra large tube of lipstick, but instead of being filled with a reddish cream, foundation stick is filled with a thick cream foundation. That is essentially what foundation sticks are – cream foundations in a tube.
These foundations are quick to apply, since you just have to swipe them on and blend. Their shape makes them super easy to carry in a bag and use throughout the day for touch-ups.
You do not have to worry about any spills or mess! They tend to have a higher coverage than most liquid foundations, and their thicker formula makes them an excellent two-in-one foundation and concealer.
Stick Foundation Benefits
• Foundation sticks are easy to carry in the purse and apply on the go.
• Higher coverage and thick texture means that stick foundation can double as concealer.
• A darker shade of stick foundation makes for excellent and easy cream contour!
• A lighter shade of stick foundation is perfect for highlighting, especially if you prefer a matte or subtle highlight.
• The application process for stick foundations is clean and easy, as you just swipe them on and then blend with your tool of choice.
• A foundation stick cannot spill or make a mess, so it’s perfect for anyone a little clumsy!
Liquid vs. Stick Foundation
Liquid foundation is the most popular kind of foundation. This is not surprising, because liquid foundations can come in a very wide range of finishes and coverages, which means that they can work for anyone. They are also very easy to formulate – all a company has to do is make a colored liquid and put it in a bottle.
Stick foundations, however, are a more specific product. A stick foundation has a thicker, more waxier texture, and it…