by McKenzie Dawkins via MadameNoire.com

I’ve come a long way in my makeup journey. From learning how to color-match foundations to finally understanding the importance of a good brow, it’s been a trial-and-error process from basic to beat-level application skills. I’m by no means an expert; in fact, I’m still making new discoveries every day. One of those realizations is that more expensive doesn’t always equal better.

One product has been my holy-grail foundation for the past year: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup ($42, Sephora.com). I wear the shade 4W1 “Honey Bronze” in the winter when I’m paler, and switch it out for 4W2 “Toasty Toffee” in the summer when I have a good tan. Neither of the shades has ever done me wrong, and although that $42 always hurt my pocket when it was time to restock, I never imagined straying from my beloved foundation. If it ain’t broke — you know the rest.

As the cool weather set in, however, I noticed my foundation wasn’t looking as flawless as usual. I felt like it was starting to look rather cakey and clinging onto the drier patches on my face. To be fair, I have combination skin, which means that it can be dry in some areas and normal or oily in others. For this reason, I don’t necessarily attribute the cakey look to poor performance from the Estée Lauder foundation. Sometimes our skin changes and demands different products as the weather changes or as we age. Regardless, one thing I did know was that I could not continue to shell out $42 just to look dry and flakey. No, ma’am. Knowing that I keep up with my skincare and moisture regimen, I knew it was my foundation that needed a change.

For the past two months or so, I’ve returned to one of the first real foundations I ever fell in love with: L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup ($10.99, ulta.com). At only $10.99, it’s less than half the price of my Estée Lauder baby, and I can confidently say that I love it just as much — if not more!

While both products have their benefits, I couldn’t be happier with my drugstore gem. This is by no means a “which foundation is better” post, but rather a happy reminder that there are quality options out there at an affordable price point. Whether you’d rather go drugstore or luxury, I’ll leave up to you, but I’ve listed the benefits of each product down below for your information.

FINISH

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup – Matte
The finish on this one is more of a soft-matte than a dry-paint look. Due to my combination skin, the matte finish could be unforgiving on my complexion when I was experiencing dryness or texture, but if you have oily skin, go for it!

L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup – Natural
The natural finish on this foundation is much more complimentary to my sometimes dry, sometimes oily skin. It lets my natural oils shine through the longer I wear it. This might be a turn-off for some, but it’s a major win for me. When I wear this makeup, my face looks and feels like skin, and a little goes a long way. I never get that “masked” feeling of heavier foundations.

COVERAGE

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup – Full
If you’re a full-coverage kind of girl, this is the one for you. I personally prefer a little less than a full-on beat, unless I am performing in a dance showcase. I’d definitely choose my Estée over my L’Oréal for any stage performances in order to get a flawless look.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup – Medium
Medium coverage is right up my alley for the day-to-day. If I want some extra coverage, I simply build it up slowly, using a makeup sponge. Since this foundation is medium coverage, I can also use it under my eye to lightly conceal the area instead of caking on another product.

DURATION OF WEAR

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup – 24-Hour Wear
While I don’t know who’s wearing their makeup for 24 hours besides maybe supermodels, this foundation does provide all-day wear. I don’t really have to touch it up, it doesn’t break apart around my nose as the day progresses, and it looks as good as new by the end of the day with the help of a little refresher spray.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup – Long-wear
This foundation definitely doesn’t last quite as long as the Estée, but as someone who likes to take her makeup off as soon as she gets home, it works for me. When I worked a traditional 9-5, it got me through the day just fine, but I did sometimes apply a light layer of translucent powder through my t-zone in the middle of the day to cut down any extra shine. I would say this makeup is more of a daytime foundation than an evening-beat choice, but I have worn it through several dance classes and was surprised at how well it lasted!

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