These Stick Foundations Come in a Huge Range of Skin Tones (And Price Points)

Being inclusive isn't hard.
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Tynan
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Being inclusive isn't hard.

Sometime last year, I reached up to my foundation shelf and pulled down the stick version of my favorite liquid foundation. I wasn't planning on using a stick that day, but I hadn't used a stick in a while and I wanted to see how it faired on my skin.

I put it on, did the rest of my face, and went about my day. It looked good, I was pleased, no big. 

And then, a few hours later, I caught sight of my reflection (if my face is being reflected off of any surface in a room, I will find it) and was like "OK, wait..."

My face looked like the most insane version of my face, and I mean that in a good way. Like, the Barbie Doll version, without looking caked in makeup. I looked... perfect? The liquid version of this foundation was good, but the stick was just better, for me. So that stick is the one I've been wearing since then. 

Which one is it? We'll get to that in a second. 

But let's take a moment for stick foundations. They're (usually) more durable than liquid foundations. They're certainly more portable, as they're smaller and there's no risk of spilling. There's always room in my bag for a stick foundation, and I don't have to worry about it getting all over my iPhone (as if it's not already covered in highlighter and setting spray and whiskey and god knows what else).

So I wanted to use a couple other stick foundations to see which ones compared to my favorite. Would the stick magic be the same across brands, or had I gotten my hands on a holy grail?

Which is when I noticed that many brands that make sticks don't make them for all skin tones, or even so much as a range of them. I know this isn't a new problem, but it still blows my mind that these multimillion dollar brands can't bring themselves to offer a base for everyone. It's embarrassing. 

Anyway, all of these babies are available for really wide range skin tones, because being inclusive isn't hard.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Stick

$43

$43

If you've read anything I've written in the last year, you'll know that this is the one I've been obsessing over and using nonstop. I've covered this one extensively so I'll keep it short.

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This baby is the one that started my love for sticks. The stick is dense but doesn't feel dry. It glides on, leaving behind just enough product to work with, not too little so you have to go back and reapply, but not too much so you're blending out in a panic. 

The HD stick leans full-coverage, but I always apply it to a medium, and it can be sheered out as much as you'd like. Even on days when I want just a light layer of sheer coverage, I still reach for this one. There's something about getting sheer base from a full-coverage product that makes your skin look flawless.

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Anyway. The finish clocks in somewhere between natural and glowy, never too shiny, which is always a deal-breaker. It stays where you put it all day, and plays well with everything you put on top of it. AND, it's available in 16 shades. Remember when I said I'd keep this short? I lied.

NYX Mineral Stick Foundation

$10

$10

This guy is gonna be your best bet for a stick foundation at an affordable price. Price aside, it's a great place to start with this type of product if you're not sure if you want to make the jump from liquids to sticks. Plus, it's available in 15 shades!

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The stick is very creamy, making it apply like a dream and very easy to blend out. It's perfect for light to medium coverage, but buildable to however you want to wear it. It feels nice on the skin. I wouldn't say it's moisturizing, but my skin does feel just as good when I take it off as it did in morning after I moisturized.

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I didn't experience any creasing throughout wear, and it gave me a nice glowy finish all day without ever looking slick. 

The NYX Mineral Stick Foundation is a great option to have on standby. It's affordable, it's basically the size of a lipstick, and it applies and wears effortlessly. It's kind of a no-brainer. 

Now for two new news:

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation

$46

$46

People are about this one lately, and I don't blame them.

It mirrors the Make Up For Ever option in that it's full-coverage, but can be applied however you'd like to wear it. The stick itself is creamier, though, so applied with a light hand, you can really do whatever you want with it. This one come in a whopping 26 shades!

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Foundations that are too creamy make me nervous, because I always feel like they're gonna move around, even when I set them. As I blend this one in, it feels like it transforms into a fine powder, which makes it feel like it clings to your skin without drying you out. I love how it feels when I'm done applying. It blends like a dream and looks just like skin, with a nice glowy finish. 

It's a small detail, but I really did like that the stick was a triangle. It helped me apply it right where I wanted without laying down too much, then looking caked. I'm talking specifically about the corners of my nose where I get red and need a just little more coverage in a small area, but too much will make me look flat. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation

$25

$25

Also available in 26 shades, plus two for highlight and two for contour, this one might be my new favorite. 

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This is the most dense stick I've used, and I love the natural matte finish it leaves behind. It leans full coverage, but you can pull off whatever look you want with a light hand, and I've been having a blast going from just a light touch of color to full face, all with this one stick.

It's the least creamy of the bunch. I had to spend a little but more time blending, but it's worth it. Once this shit is laid down, it's imperceptible on the skin. I'm wearing it right now, but AM I?! I even forget that I'm wearing makeup when I'm wearing it. It doesn't feel like there's anything on my face at all.

That's not to say it's hard to blend, though. It's not. You're just not going to be moving excess product around your face or thinning anything out. Sticks are usually good for this purpose, but Anastasia's is the best. It plays well with whatever you put on top of it, and it's around 20 bones less than the other luxe sticks on the list. This is one of my favorite new drops in a while.

Lâncome Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick

$42

$42

I was wearing this one yesterday and it struck me just how easy to wear it is. 

You will ask me, "Tynan, what's with the shadow on your backdrop?" Oh that? You see, I just bought a very expensive flash for my DSLR and then accidentally dropped it from just a foot off the ground and cracked it half. Currently improvising, brb.

You will ask me, "Tynan, what's with the shadow on your backdrop?" Oh that? You see, I just bought a very expensive flash for my DSLR and then accidentally dropped it from just a foot off the ground and cracked it half. Currently improvising, brb.

It's like a high-end version of the NYX stick. Creamy, easy to apply, build, and blend, and had me looking like I wasn't wearing a base at all. 

I put this one on just for a little spot coverage and it had my skin looking more even, brighter, and just really damn good. It's lightweight, oil-free, flexible and breathable. It's a nice joint to have on hand for a quick face or full glam.

honestly is my head getting bigger 

honestly is my head getting bigger 

It's great because it's one of those products that doesn't take much thought, and I mean that in the best way. I'd take it on vacation when I want to look like I didn't spend any time getting ready but still want to look well rested. 

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

$46 — and look, it's wearing a cute little gold belt!

$46 — and look, it's wearing a cute little gold belt!

31 shades! 31! Shoutout to Miss Bobbi Brown for this one.

This baby is all about looking even and natural. It gave me really nice, sheer to medium coverage. Kind of a no-makeup makeup look, if that's your thing. It's not mine, but I can get with it.

I really like base that will even you out while letting your natural color show through, and this is one of them.

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I hate it when I just want a bit of coverage, but I grab a foundation that covers up my natural flush and shadow, so I have to put all of that back in so my face doesn't look flat. I'm the king of being like "I'll be ready in three minutes" then spending 20 minutes in the mirror. Oops. 

That's never a problem with this Bobbi Brown stick. It's a little grippy when you put it on, but I always take that as good omen, because it usually means that the product isn't going to slide around your face during wear. Which is true for this one! It's glowy, it's comfortable, and it lets your skin breathe as you wear it. It's another great option for a quick, simple face that ends up doing a lot of the work for you.

  • Are you down with foundation sticks? 
  • What foundations are you using right now?
  • What are your fall beauty essentials, now that the weather is turning?