Finding the right stick foundation

I am the proud(ish) owner of 3 stick foundations. This may not sound like a lot but it is probably 3 more than the average person.For reference I have normal to dry skin and am as fair as they come! I have the HD stick foundation by Make Up Forever, the Revolution stick foundation and the Hourglass Vanish Stick.Β By now, I’ve realised there are a few things to consider in the search for your perfect stick foundation.


Obviously this is going to play a large role in choosing your foundation. Not everyone is able to afford high end makeup, but the availability of stick foundations in drugstore brands is starting to increase. You’ll probably find they are more prevalent in the high end (Bobbi Brown, MUF, Hourglass, Nars ), but you can also find versions for a much more affordable price (Revolution, Revlon, L’Oreal, NYX). I have tried more high end than low end, and what I would say is that with these three formulas, you can certainly tell which are inexpensive. The quality of the Revolution one just didn’t really compare to the other two, and the look on the skin was quite disappointing. However, I’ve only tried one drugstore brand and that’s certainly not to say that all brands would be of a lower quality based on price.

Your skin type vs the texture of the foundation

All 3 of my stick foundations have completeeeely different textures – let me explain.

The Hourglass texture is on the drier side, and can be a little difficult to blend out even when skin has been primed and has a smooth base (or is even still a bit wet from the primer). I find it a little frustrating sometimes that this is so dry because it’s such a great colour match on me and gives me nice coverage while still showing my forehead freckles. I find that it often picks up on dry patches on my nose that don’t exist except with this foundation. I normally use more of my Make Up Forever Step 1 primer in Hydrating and the Marc Jacobs Dew Drops to give my foundation the best chance of blending out! As it is so dry, I don’t really need powder with this one.

The Revolution one is the complete opposite – it’s overly oily and feels incredibly greasy on the skin. It is very thick and takes a whole heap of powder to set it (and you can still feel the wetness under the powder). It feels very wet on the face and I hate this (sorry, but honest).

The Make Up Forever is probably the happy medium – it goes on easily and blends out easily. It required a fair amount of powder to dry down, but no where near as much powder as the Revolution one.


Stick foundations do tend to be buildable, but generally speaking one swipe will give you a pretty decent amount of coverage. Some of these are more highly pigmented than others (though not necessarily in a bad way) but can be used for sheer coverage too. If you were to put on the same amount as you would a liquid foundation, you may find that it looks far too thick and cakey. Use a lighter hand with stick foundations to begin with until you know the kind of coverage you like. The Hourglass one tends to offer a more ‘your skin but better’ coverage, but can certainly be built up to a full coverage (but I think that it looks quite strange as full coverage). The MUF stick is very highly pigmented and a little bit will go a very long way (as it blends very easily). The Revolution one actually does offer very good coverage, but you are at risk of overdoing it with this and the MUF one because they are so thick.

Colour range

This one is partially linked with cost. The higher end brands tend to have a much wider shade range than the drugstore brands. However, the Revolution stick foundation does have a pretty decent shade range for one so inexpensive. If you are at either end of the shade spectrum, you may have to turn to the high end to find a shade that suits your skin tone and undertone (though this is getting better – I did find my shade in the Revolution stick foundation). I was able to find my shade in the Revolution foundation, which I was actually quite surprised about. They are constantly expanding their shade range, particularly towards the medium-deep-deep dark end of the spectrum – which is fab! I will often turn to the higher end to ensure that I am getting my exact shade (or close enough) rather than just settling for the lightest shade that a high street brand can offer, which may still be a few shades too dark for me. I’m pretty sure I have the lightest shade in the MUF one and it is still too orange for me, so it does require quite a bit of shade searching.

Overall opinions

Love: Make Up Forever
Like: Hourglass
Hate: Revolution

To have more than one stick foundation may not be necessary for most people, but if stick is your favourite type of foundation then keep collecting! It is worth noting here that I used these foundations at very different times in my life and with very different skin concerns. The Make Up Forever Stick Foundation was the first stick foundation I ever used and wanted a very full coverage product to cover my severe acne. I wanted a base product that completely covered up and neutralised any redness and I did NOT want my natural skin to show through. I was totally embarrassed by it and wanted to create the illusion of a smooth base. This did it for me and made me feel normal again.

I recently started using the Hourglass one a few months ago when I had my makeup done at an Hourglass counter for my boyfriend’s graduation. I bought it as an impulse buy because it was such an amazing shade match. Now my skin is perfect, I like to go for a sheerer coverage so my freckles can show through. This would be the perfect foundation if it were just aΒ touch creamier.

I bought the Revolution one when I first started my blog as an alternative to high end makeup. I had heard good things about it, but unfortunately it just wasn’t right for me. It felt very heavy on the skin and just oozing with oil. I have dry skin and it was too much for me, so I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone with oilier skin.

Hopefully this will help you in your search for your perfect stick foundation. Please remember what didn’t work for me, may well work for you. Happy hunting!


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25 year old Beauty Writer Instagram - @smalltownbeautyaddict

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