As a curious beauty editor, I always wonder what celebrity makeup artists buy from retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and even the drugstore. After all, they might be masters at their craft, but I often forget that they're buying and using the same products that we are—just in a much better way.
As usual, that curiosity was piqued, and I reached out to celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon to give me the scoop on what exactly she would buy at Ulta. For starters, she's always stocking up on sun protection, specifically, Supergoop! products. "I'm a sunscreen enthusiast and wear it daily to avoid immediate and long-term damage to my skin," she says. "As a makeup artist, the selection of finishes Supergoop! makes are key for creating specific looks while [also] protecting my clients' skin." What I really wanted to know about, though, is what foundations from the retailer she thinks are the best buys. Because all great makeup looks start with a proper base, right? Aharon happily provided some solid picks. If you're curious about which Ulta faves she keeps in her kit, keep scrolling.
Best Overall: L'Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation
"It's one of my favorite drugstore foundations for natural coverage and has a fantastic shade range for all skin tones!" — Aharon
Customer Review: "I love how lightweight this is. It feels like a serum rather than a foundation, but the coverage is nice. My skin looks so dewy and healthy when I wear this. I will definitely be repurchasing in the future."
Lancôme Idôle Ultra 24H Longwear Matte Foundation
"I love this because it does what it says and is super long-lasting. It leans matte but still leaves the skin with some life. The fragrance-free formula is also great for sensitive skin types." — Aharon
Customer Review: "This foundation is my ride or die. The coverage is perfect, and you can build it without it looking cakey or flakey. [It] blends so naturally with your skin and is long-wearing. It looked like I had just applied my makeup after four hours at the pool. Great for everyday wear but also can glam up for a nighttime look. Highly recommend!"
No. 1 de Chanel Revitalizing Foundation
"This is a great clean foundation option that leaves a beautiful luminous finish. It feels and looks really light on the skin." — Aharon
Customer Review: "This is one of the best foundations I have ever used. My normal issues involve dry patches, separation, and creasing. This foundation avoids all of those things! I actually prefer applying it by patting it into my skin with my fingers. That gives me the most buildable coverage and even finish. That said, it's a light-medium coverage and cannot be built to full. The light cream texture and smooth, satin finish are lovely, and I actually feel like my skin is conditioned with use. Will repurchase when I finish my bottle!"
It Cosmetics CC+ Cream SPF 50
"I love that it gives variable coverage, and even at its fullest, it still looks natural. It's also super hydrating for dry skin types." — Aharon
Customer Review: "This product is insanely good. I have pretty bad acne, scarring, and redness, and this foundation makes it vanish. My skin could be absolutely awful, but if I use this foundation, I'll get the 'your skin looks so good!' It is the catfish of foundations. It'll last you so long, and you don't need a ton to cover. Plus, it's buildable anyway. Use a brush to apply! Sometimes it's a little shiny, but that's what powder is for. Has been one of my staples for over two years now."
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick
"This works as both a foundation and a concealer. I use this for such a large range of options—touch-ups in small areas, all over the face blended in lightly over moisturizer, or at its fullest for skin that needs that coverage. It's also amazing for sensitive and allergy-prone skin types." — Aharon
Customer Review: "This is a keeper. I have the [shade] Warm Almond. It's a perfect match for my skin tone. It glides on easily and provides full coverage without looking heavy. Make sure to choose a color a tad lighter than your actual complexion and blend slightly with a brush. Or however you choose to apply your foundation. This foundation gave me a smooth finish and a beautiful tone. It's definitely one to keep."
BLK/OPL True Color Skin Perfecting Stick Foundation
"This was the first foundation for darker skin tones that I ever had in my kit, and it's incredible! It leaves a smooth, flawless finish, minimizes the appearance of pores, and the shades are beautiful." — Aharon
Customer Review: "I can't praise it enough! For two decades, I have been a devotee. It delivers on every level: coverage, protection, price, and consistent quality. Two colors—Heavenly Honey and Kalahari Sand—do it all. High-end foundations don't have colors for my skin and are absurdly priced. Bravo! Keep it up."
More Foundations at Ulta We Love
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
This foundation is a favorite of mine because it's noncomedogenic, lasts all day, and leaves a fresh matte finish but never dries out my skin. It also has a pretty good shade range and doesn't settle into fine lines (something I'm now noticing the older I get).
Customer Review: "I have a hard skin tone to match, [and] I have always struggled with finding a good makeup for my oily-combination skin. After trying many brands and creams, I was told to try this product. I went in to get a tone match and found the perfect one. This stuff stays on all day, and I hardly have to touch it up anymore. It is really good for my uneven skin tone as well. Definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a good coverage foundation!"
Too Faced Born This Way Undetectable Foundation
This oil-free, medium-coverage formula from Too Faced can be built up for full coverage and looks fresh for up to 12 hours. Other lush ingredients like alpine rose and hyaluronic acid in the formula help give the skin a more youthful appearance and improve its overall health.
Customer Review: "My favorite foundation. It doesn't settle into pores or wrinkles and looks natural with medium coverage. My skin looks glowy and smooth but not cakey. Important for us older women. Highly recommend."
Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 Foundation
Clinique's dermatologist-formulated foundation provides such natural-looking coverage and even has a bit of sun protection in it. It's creamy, hydrating, and even helps reduce the appearance of dark spots, acne, and sun damage over time.
Customer Review: "Last year, I took a makeup class and began doing lots of tutorials and research. I wanted a more advanced, mature look, and I wanted better quality makeup to properly care for my skin. Foundation was the first place I started. I went to almost every makeup kiosk in the department stores and got lots of foundation samples to try. Among them were Estée Lauder, Chanel, Origins, Laura Mercier, and, of course, Clinique. I tried every single one at least a few times, but in the end, I kept coming back to this one. It's lightweight, evens my skin tone greatly, is so smooth, and didn't bother my skin at all. I'm sorry, but there was no contest. The others just did not stand up against this one."
Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation
I love all things Anastasia Beverly Hills, from Brow Wiz to the eye shadow palettes and, of course, foundations. This formula is super lightweight, gives your skin a healthy-looking radiance, and doesn't oxidize, so it's true to color.
Customer Review: "I have dry skin, so finding a foundation that doesn't look cakey is typically a struggle. I previously used a different foundation specifically made for dry skin, and it doesn't hold a candle to how great ABH's worked for me! It definitely held up to medium coverage (could also be used for full if another layer is applied), and it stayed on my face evenly from the time I applied it in the morning (7:30 a.m.) until I took it off at night (around 9:00 p.m.). I'm not sure how this product works for other skin types, but I highly recommend it to anyone who has dry skin. It has been a miracle for me!"
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.