I Hated Stick Foundations – but This One Changed My Mind

Very few foundations make it to my favorites list. My combination, acne-scarred skin has made me the world’s pickiest base-makeup consumer, and I’m guilty of approaching new foundations with an extremely critical eye (sorry not sorry). For years I’ve kept to the same criteria when deciphering a good one from the bad: Is it full-coverage? Does it have a matte finish? Will it actually match my skin tone?

Most of the time, only liquid formulas – rarely creams . . . and hardly ever creams in stick form – check all the boxes. You see, I have a love-hate relationship with stick foundations. I love that they are portable and won’t get swiped by TSA. But I’ve found most variations I’ve tried to be too greasy, too sheer, or not as easy to blend as my go-to Estée Lauder Double Wear ($42) – that is, until I met Flesh Beauty’s new Firm Thickstick Foundation ($18).

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think these sticks would perform like my favorite liquids. But boy was I wrong. It goes against all my criteria for a great foundation, but it does so much more for me that I don’t care. For starters, the formula is available in 40 (!) shades, and I was able to use multiple on my skin tone (which can be a feat for many people of color). That means I could use shades 26 and 28 (Toffee and Cafe) for my base, shade 25 (Salted Caramel) to conceal, and shade 34 (Pecan) to contour. If my sunscreen fails me at some point this Summer, I know I can use shade 29 (Cinnamon) too.

Here, I am blending in shades 26 and 28.

Plus, the colors didn’t look ashy or oxidize to an orange tint. I expected either to look like a greasy mess or to feel overly dry, as I do with most stick foundations, but the effect was exactly the opposite: the colors blended like a dream, and my skin ended up looking like, well, my skin – but better. It has a medium coverage but is easily buildable on areas you need it, which is perfect if you have dark spots like me.

I did experience some shine after a few hours of wear, but I don’t mind my natural glow peeking through for a change. If you have oily skin, I do recommend using a mattifying setting spray or powder. Thickstick is best for “no makeup-makeup” days when you want to enhance your complexion without completely covering it. As for me, I can’t say that I’ll ditch my liquid foundation forever, but hey – at least Flesh has helped me kick my stick foundation phobia to the curb.