Best Drugstore Foundations Clean Beauty Edit

I’m a big believer in the clean beauty movement and watching the ingredients you use on your skin, BUT I also am aware most clean beauty is not the most affordable. Today, I want to share three beautifully performing clean beauty foundations for all different skin types and coverage needs. Consider this the best drugstore foundations – clean beauty edit.! Let’s do this…

Best Drugstore Foundations Clean Beauty Edit hero


To be totally transparent, these foundations cannot compare to brands like Beautycounter, Ilia, Kosas, etc. in terms of ‘clean beauty.’ There are a few ingredients in all of them that wouldn’t make the cut for some other companies.

But, I believe in progress over perfection and I think these are SOLID choices that will cost you significantly less, while also *minimizing* your exposure to some chemicals that are best avoided.

Recently, a good beauty blogging friend of mine spoke about her issues with the term ‘clean beauty’ and brands that it represents. She felt that a lot of the marketing around clean beauty can be fear-mongering (yes, it can and I personally despise that), and most of the brands that do ‘clean’ properly, are pretty expensive. So you’re leaving a vast majority of the population unable to afford safer products while making them feel badly about it. Big turn off. I get it.

But until the personal care industry is more regulated by our government (last major federal law for personal care was passed in 1938!), it will remain a bit inaccessible until two things happen:

  1. ALL brands are required to use cleaner ingredients so the economies of scale make it more affordable for them to do so, and
  2. Consumers ‘vote with their dollars,’ and only purchase from brands that use safer ingredients and more sustainable business practices, thus forcing more brands to do the right thing.

Now that I am off my soapbox… let’s discuss the makeup 🙂

Best Drugstore Foundations – Clean Beauty Edit.

I picked three foundations after scouring clean beauty databases for brands/formulas that scored on the safer side, but also simultaneously had good customer reviews on multiple websites.

Then, I put the formulas to the test myself for a couple of weeks.

For safety scores, I rely the most heavily on the EWG Healthy Living app (the Environmental Working Group). It is a third party agency that vets products from personal care to other consumables (like foods) to disclose potentially harmful/not safe ingredients.

It gives products a rating from 1-10 for safety in allergy, cancer and developmental concerns. The highest seal of approval for safety is their EWG Verified stamp. Those products are free from EWG’s chemicals of concern and meet their highest standards for health and transparency. It’s pretty hard to meet those standards, so I always aim to keep things as low on the rating scale as possible.


I have dehydrated/oily and sensitive skin and I’m currently 36 years old. I typically prefer a medium coverage with a natural finish (think: your skin, but better).

Best Drugstore Foundations Clean Beauty Edit L'OREAL Infallible Pro Matte, L'OREAL True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum, NEUTROGENA Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint Brighter Darling

If you like medium coverage with a radiant/glowy finish…

Try the L’Oreal True Match Nude Hyaluronic Acid Serum Foundation.

The name of this foundation is absolutely ridiculous. WHO at L’Oreal thought we needed that many words to describe a foundation!?

If you’ve been here awhile, you may remember YEARS ago before I was into clean beauty, I raved about the OG L’Oreal True Match foundation as one of my favorite drugstore foundations of all time. However, I dropped it once I learned of a few ingredients in the formula that made it not as ‘clean.’

So I was VERY pleased to learn that this Nude Serum formula scored safer, yet reminded me a lot of the OG version.

The worst thing about this foundation is the stupid dropper applicator. It is highly unnecessary and very messy. A pump or just plain bottle would have been better.

This comes in 14 flexible shades, retails around $19.99, and markets itself as a makeup + skincare hybrid due to the 1% hyaluronic acid content for plumpness and hydration.

I use shade 3/4 Medium.

EWG Safety Score: 3/10.

L'Oreal True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum Review

If you like light/medium coverage with a natural finish…

Try the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Skin Tint.

This one totally shocked me because I see NO ONE in the beauty blogging world talking about this! Yet, it may be my personal favorite out of the bunch.

This does have one of those annoying giant doe foot applicators which make for a very unhygienic application, but if you are always applying this to your clean face, I guess it’s fine… -__-

This is truly a skin tint… not a lot of coverage here, but I find it buildable and extremely natural looking.

This is an oil free formula, and one that actually leaves my skin feeling softer when I wash it off at night.

BIGGEST CON: the shade range is trash. It only comes in 10 shades. Retails around $12-13. I wear shade 60-Natural Beige and it’s a perfect match for my medium olive skin tone. But I guess since it’s a tint, you have some flexibility even if it’s not a perfect match.

EWG Safety Score: 2/10.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint Review Shade 60

If you like full coverage, long wearing with a matte finish…

Try the L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation.

This one is definitely not for me for every day because when they say ‘matte,’ it’s NO joke.

It’s amazing how our skin can change over time. I used to be a full coverage, matte girl for YEARS in my twenties. It’s just not as flattering on my face anymore. However, I know many love a good full coverage, matte look.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte promises 24-hour wear, with a medium/full coverage matte finish and comes in 21 shades, retailing around $10-14. I’ve been using shade 105 Natural Beige (runs very yellow); I should have went down a shade to 104 Golden Beige for a more neutral undertone.

This is a great option for special events particularly when mixed with a luminous primer, as it softens the matte look but maintains the long wearing finish. I mixed it with the Beautycounter Glow First Priming Serum (water based, hydration boosting) this week and it was my favorite way to apply this foundation.

EWG Safety Score: 2/10.

That does it! Those are my official BEST DRUGSTORE FOUNDATIONS – CLEAN BEAUTY EDIT for 2022! Remember, these three are the best in terms of safety rating AND overall consumer reviews on multiple websites, so I’ve done all the homework for you 😉

Do you think there are others I need to try? What about another best-at-the-drugstore, clean beauty edit category? Comment below or find me on Instagram @brighterdarling to let me know what other best drugstore foundations you think more people need to know about.

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