Rant & Rave: Stick Foundations

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Stick Foundations

I love how creamy and high-coverage they can be, but they’re often harder to spread out and can feel a little thick. Plus, they seem to contain less product and can get used up faster than a liquid foundation!

— Christine

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

The Lancôme Stick is the only one I love! Feels light as air with amazing coverage. Most others are so heavy, or patchy, or way too creamy and don’t set. What did you think of the Lancôme I’ve?

I think one of the most common misconceptions about stick foundations is that you should swipe it a bunch of times on your face. In reality, you should try to pick up the product with brush or a sponge if possible. People complain about stick foundations always looking cakey and emphasizing texture and it’s usually because they’re swiping SO MUCH product on their face. A brush or sponge usually helps to layer and spread the product better. Just watch makeup artist David Razzano’s video with Sephora on How To Get The Most Out Of Your Makeup. His technique with stick foundations completely changed my opinion on how to apply them

Or swipe them as much as `beauty gurus` apply them in make-up videos. 😆
With most stick foundation I find that a small swipe on the forehead and two somewhat longer swipes on the cheeks are more than enough; and all my swipes are fast, I don’t drag a lot of product. When I see people on Youtube swipings 4 times on the cheek, one time on the chin and drawing trees on the forehead… I cringe.

I personally like stick foundations applied with fingers, the warmth seems to help me blend better the product. Each has it’s own technique depending on preference, skin type, other products used, but a little less foundation is something to try (Wayne Goss was the one who changed my opinions on foundation and concealer application, and how much is really needed).

Couldn’t agree more!
Pros: high-coverage, creamy formula, easy to store/travel with.
Cons: Harder to blend, can appear thick/cakey, run out faster.
Consensus: I stick to liquid or powder formulas.
If I had to use a stick, the MUFE HD one was my favourite until I switched to cruelty-free.

I’ve only tried one stick foundation (Bobbie Brown). It went on beautifully and I love how portable it is. But I tried wearing it three times over the course of a few months, and I broke out each time. I rarely have break -outs, so I know it had to be the stick foundation.

My favorite foundation formula is a thicker-sticky cream; I definitely can’t do powder or cushion foundation, and I hate too liquid formulas.
I personally would have believed I’m not a stick foundation girl, but I tried a couple of them (e.g. MUFE Cover stick, Tarte Clay Stick) and it wasn’t that bad.

– They never seem to set on my skin, even when well set with powder.
– They can easily look cakey.
– I don’t get too much use out of them, I finish stick foundations very fast (3-4 times faster than the `equivalent` in liquid/cream formula for similar price).
– The formulas seem to oxidize more than liquid/cream foundations.

– They look great from afar (and in photography).
– They provide good buildable coverage.
– Because they are creamier, they are easy to apply and blend out.
– Because they are creamier, they don’t emphasize dry patches and undereye wrinkles.

Haven’t used stick foundation at all since I was a teenager swiping my Mom’s Max Factor stick foundation to throw on for higher coverage, lol! And it broke me out even more than what I was trying to cover…that was enough to turn me off to them forever, I believe.

I will always love liquids and cream foundations the most but sticks are convenient, easy to transport and generally quite easy to apply, even if blending them takes a little bit more work. They can sometimes look a little cakey, particularly if you try and layer for more coverage and they never seems to set properly, in my experience. Some these days actually look amazing on but longevity can sometimes be an issue.

I like them for when my skin looks good (pigmentation issues, adult acne), for vacationing or when a quick slap and go no makeup makeup effortless involved look is on the cards.

I’ve only used the MUFE stick. When I first started to use it, I made the mistake of doing it the beauty influencer way, by swiping way too much all over my face. It looked cakey and made my dry skin look even dryer. I was not a fan. And I couldn’t return it because I bought it at a makeup show. So I had to experiment with different ways and techniques till I found what worked best for me. First I make sure my skin is really well moisturized. Then I swipe once across my forehead, a dot on my chin and nose and 1 1/2 stripes on my cheeks. Then I liberally spray my face with a facial spray, like Skindinavia primer or MAC Fix +. Then I use a damp sponge to blend it all in. I haven’t looked cakey since 🙂

RAVES: I like how quick and easy they are to use. They’re really nice for travel, because they don’t spill and they’re less likely to break than glass bottles. They take up less room, too.

RANTS: There aren’t as many options in my skin tone as there is with liquid , or even powder, foundation. They melt or dry out in hot weather, so I can’t always travel with them in the summer.

I don’t, and never have, used a stick foundation because, as you have said Christine, they do seem rather thickish and I think they would be harder to apply evenly. I also think they would dry up more quickly too. There is probably an art to applying them correctly as well.

Rant: They can appear quite dry on my already dry skin so I have to super moisturize before using them. So I have more prep to do before just putting them on. While there is suppose to be an equivalent amount of foundation in them I seem to go through them much quicker. I find that they oxidize a lot on me and since I am so fair it is hard to find one that is light enough to account for later oxidation. They are expensive given the amount of product and usage. Some feel very sticky on the skin even though they are drying??

Rave: I like that they are travel friendly. I like the convenience although not the ease of using them. I like that I can apply a small amount, sort of like a concealer, in areas that I need more coverage and then go over with my usual foundation and it bumps up the coverage. I find that I prefer blending with my fingers when using a stick and I don’t mind that.

I love stick foundations. I take them with me when I travel. I have the Tom Ford one and the YSL one. When I’m in a rush, I do grab one of these. I do agree that some stick foundations can be thick and hard to spread. The two I use are very easy to spread and the coverage is more opaque and even. I

As an oily-skin gal, I generally stay away from stick/cream foundations. But I did try one recently. The color isn’t quite right, as the shade range was rather ‘meh’ and needs expanding. It wasn’t terrible, I suppose, but I still prefer liquid right now. Sometimes I use it as a highlight when contouring, instead of concealer. I carry it in my purse for a quick touch-up in a pinch if necessary, along with some pressed powder. If I try one again, it will probably be Colour Pop or maybe the new one from L’Oreal since the shade ranges are much more expansive.

Huge fan of stick foundations. So portable, less mess, and I like the buildable coverage offered by a stick that in general, I’ve not really gotten from a liquid. Though to be fair, the only foundation I really ever truly loved was the Almay Smar Shade Mousse foundation that came in a small tub. Never had a problem with that in any way! Until it was discontinued. Sad!

I have found that with stick foundation, what I use on my skin first makes a huge difference in how easy it is to spread and blend out, and how well it “settles down” into my skin and looks like.. my skin! Instead of something sitting on top of it.

I use the Clinique Chubby in the Nude stick foundation. When I use just my normal regular face lotion under it, no problem spreading or blending, unless the lotion itself is just too heavy or if I haven’t allowed it to absorb enough before applying the foundation.

However, if I apply it over something like a salycylic acid serum/peptide & HA serum/light moisturizer-type of routine; and my skin doesn’t have a lot of (or any) “slip,” the foundation stick will drag and skip and the foundation itself will sit on top of not just my skin, but also on top of the serums. All day!


I have learned to not only apply certain products in vastly smaller amounts than I previously had been (I’m notorious for operator error, full disclosure!); but also to apply Mario Badescu’s rosewater spray to my face both before applying the foundation, and right after/right before I’m ready to blend. And when I do blend, I start at my eyes and work my way out, and will re-spray the moment I feel anything start tugging or just feeling not as “cooperative.”

So, long story not remotely short; of course we all know that different products require a different approach and application. But I’ve also learned to keep in mind how the products under the products effect each other; and to figure out ways to mitigate those issues along the way.

I’ve never been tempted even to give them a try. I guess I remember the “old days” of Pan Stick and that stuff looked so heavy and like polyfilla. I’m sure the new ones are much better but just thinking about the wax or hardened oils they must use to achieve the “stick” form – that alone puts me off. I am much happier with a liquid or powder foundation.

I overall like them. No mess on my hands. I find the best way to get them to look good on my normal-to-dry combo skin is swiping it on my face (one each: forehead, nose, cheeks, chin) and using a damp, almost wet, sponge to blend. I have tried and liked both Hourglass and Colourpop.

And yes, they do run out faster, although not as fast as cushion. I tend to go through foundation pretty quickly though, 2-3 months per bottle.

I’ve only ever used one stick foundation (ColourPop’s matte stick), so I can’t rant and rave, but I will say that I kind of hated it when I tried to use it full coverage. One day when I was feeling ornery enough to go out without covering my rosacea completely, I decided to use it as spot cover and it worked brilliantly — I was able to cover distinct areas of my face well enough to make my rosacea look like blush, but it was low-effort because of how I applied it, and because not going full-face let me average my own skin color in ways that left me needing liitle-to-no additional makeup. I’m hooked.

I failed to make my point — standard liquid and cream foundations only look right on me when applied with sponges, which would be tough to use in a spot-cover way as I did with the stick. The stick holding its shape as I selected areas to cover (to dot it on directly or to transfer with a smaller concealer brush from stick to skin) made all the difference, and this specific CP formula just looks nice IMO.

Not really a fan, except I like them for contouring. Thought they’d be great for summer wear and find them heavy and gritty feeling. Maybe I just haven’t found very good ones.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!