ulta beauty foundations
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa Battle

Summer 2019 is in full swing, and I should have gotten my proper foundation routine together by now, right? Nope! Every winter and fall, I enjoy my favorite foundation and concealer — Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation ($40, MAC Cosmetics) and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30, Sephora),but in the summer? The heat and humidity team up with my eczema, requiring me to adjust and readjust the foundations I use. 

I honestly have to adjust the complexion products I use to suit whatever my skin is going through at the time and whatever city I'm in. For the past two weeks, I've been splitting time between New York (heatwave!), North Carolina (just plain old southern heat), and Georgia (rainy, rainy Georgia). 

Of course, that meant I had to figure out the best makeup products to wear in each climate. My travels gave me the perfect opportunity to try three drugstore brand foundations from Ulta to figure out a more solid summer beauty routine. 

I chose three foundations that were all under $20! 

ulta foundations for dark skin
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa Battle

I selected the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation ($8, Ulta) in the shade Deep Golden, Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Full Coverage Foundation ($12, Ulta) in the shade F16, and L'Oréal Infallible Fresh Wear 24 HR Foundation ($15, Ulta) in the shade Deep Golden. 

As you can probably glean from my shade names, I have deep-dark skin with warm, golden undertones. I chose each of these foundations because they all had my match but also because they had formulas (oil-free) and finishes (matte and pore-minimizing) that work with my oily skin. I decided to try each foundation on three different extra hot days that I knew would be moving around a lot.

I was most excited to try the L'Oréal Infallible Fresh Wear 24 HR Foundation ($15, Ulta) just because it's meant to last all day. 

photo: Revelist/Marquaysa Battle

I had a long, hot car ride to take from New York to Massachusetts. Call me cheap and country and crazy, but when I have a highway drive, I tend to ride without my A/C on. It saves gas (or so I'm told) and I've done things this way since I got my first car at 17. I also love the idea of riding with my windows and sunroof open to let the breeze come through. Since living in New York doesn't offer many chances to do that, I decided to give myself that nostalgic ride. The only catch is that I needed to have a beat face for the meeting I was headed to and had no idea how much time I would have to do makeup before the meeting started. That's where L'Oréal's 24-hour oil-free foundation came in. 

This GIF shows how my no-makeup makeup looked at the start of my trip. It's the result of a five-minute routine which involved me applying the foundation, setting it with a Black Radiance Pressed Powder ($4, Target), and swiping on my trusty Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer ($18, Sephora) in the shade Fenty Glow. I LOVED this finish, and the shade was a flawless, gorgeous match. 

Here's how the L'Oréal foundation looked after a ride that was supposed to be two hours and 45 minutes turned into three hours and 30. 

photo: Revelist/Marquaysa Battle

Riding through the grass and trees and traffic was fun because I had the music to get me through. Still, sitting in traffic made me break down and flip on my A/C several times. It was just incredibly hot, and I needed it. Despite the A/C blowing straight on my face, the L'Oréal foundation just didn't really survive. As you can see, I'm much oilier in this photo than I was in my original video. My T-zone and upper cheeks are incredibly oily even after setting the makeup with powder. 

The makeup looked so freaking beautiful when I first applied it, but the New York heatwave was simply too merciless. The foundation definitely shifted and you can especially see the smudging near my lip. I'll still give this a foundation during the fall and winter when my skin drips less. I may even give it another try when I have to attend an event that's taking place inside of a building. 

Next, I tried the Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Full Coverage Foundation ($12, Ulta) in front of super hot lights for a photoshoot. 

makeup revolution dark skin foundation
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa

I had to show you this cool foundation applicator! I'm used to the doe-foot applicator with glosses, lipsticks, and even concealers. This was my first time using it with foundation. I loved that it made the application easier, but was also skeptical about how sanitary it will be over time because you have to put it on your face and stick it right back into the tube over and over again. I guess it's an incentive for us all to make sure we start with a 100% clean face every single time. 

This is how my makeup looked during the photoshoot and several hours later.

makeup revolution foundation
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa

I ended up wearing the Makeup Revolution foundation for the shoot, but it held up so well under the hot lights that I decided to just keep my beat face for the rest of the day. The second photo shows what the foundation looked like at the very end of my night before I did my makeup removal and nighttime skin-care routine.  

My skin looked oilier, but it wasn't bad considering I'd worn it eight whole hours with zero touch-ups. I'll be using that Makeup Revolution foundation A LOT more, but I would also touch it up more if I were to wear it to work or some other occasion. The formula also spread very well on my face and I was able to get full coverage without using too much product. It looked like my actual skin, which I really appreciated.

Lastly, I tried the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation ($8, Ulta)

maybelline foundation
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa Battle

At first, I was a bit turned off by the Maybelline foundation because of this bottle. I prefer my foundation to have a pump because it's less messy. This simple twist-off bottle means you have to dump it on the back of your hand or directly onto your brush or sponge. I prefer to use the least amount of product to avoid caking my face, making a mess on my bathroom counter, and using up the product too fast. Let's hope that Maybelline considers a better bottle design in the future.

Despite the annoying bottle design, this foundation held up beautifully.

maybelline fit me foundation
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa

The right side shows how the Maybelline foundation looked one second after I applied and set it. The photo on the left show how it looks after an eight-hour workday in humid New York, a few drinks at happy hour, and two scorching hot walks to and from the subway station. Once again, I didn't touch up my makeup once to really see how it fared through a sweaty day in the city. I was most impressed by the Maybelline foundation because it looked matte to start without making my face look dry. It simply looked like my skin which, duh, that's the goal! Had I touched it up throughout the day, the makeup would have looked even more perfect. 

Maybelline is the hands-down winner of my sweaty day of foundation challenge! The best part? At $8, It's the cheapest foundation on my list of three.