top of page

Makeup Master Class: Foundation

Foundation is the most important piece of makeup you will ever purchase. It can make your skin appear flawless and natural, with a healthy glow. It can cover imperfections and blemishes and smooth out uneven skin tones. The right one looks like you’re wearing nothing; the wrong one looks like you’re wearing a mask. The right one can erase years; the wrong one can add years. Wearing foundation correctly can do more for your appearance than practically any other makeup product. It can also be one of the most difficult to choose correctly.

When making your foundation choice, there are two things to consider. First, match your skin tone and depth so your foundation looks natural. Second, match your skin type with the correct foundation formula. For example, if you have oily skin, the oils can mix with the product and make your skin appear blotchy and uneven, so you need a foundation with oil absorbers in it. If you have dry skin, you need a foundation with moisturizers in it so it helps your skin look supple and fresh and keeps it from looking blotchy. Wearing the correct foundation formula for your skin type can help your foundation stay on longer and your skin look even and flawless.

My advice? Treat yourself to the best foundation you can afford. Higher priced foundations usually contain higher quality pigments that last longer and appear much more flattering. They also usually contain higher quality moisturizers and oil absorbers, helping them perform better. Cheaper foundations contain fewer, inferior pigments that usually don’t wear as long.

Your skin is the most important part of your makeup look, and making it look the freshest and most flawless is so important. Foundation and powder are the bases of flawless-looking skin, so you should try to buy the best.

You have a lot of options when it comes to foundation formulations. Thanks to modern technology, many foundations can appear almost invisible. There are all kinds of new light-reflecting ingredients in foundation that will hide your flaws without piling on lots of product. There are all kinds of new pigment technologies making it an almost pure pigment that adds straight coverage with no weight or texture. If you want more coverage from your foundation, choose one with more pigment in it rather than using more of the product. Choose from a variety of textures and formulas that will give you different coverages and finishes. A product’s consistency and the way it goes onto the skin is the key to even, flawless coverage.

The real goal is for your foundation to look as if you’re not wearing any at all. You simply give the illusion of having healthy, glowing, flawless skin. Your skin changes with the seasons and as you age, and you must change your foundation as well if you want to continue looking flawless and fresh.

Liquid Foundation

This is the most popular foundation and is suited to most—if not all—skin types. It is available in every type of formula, from oil-free, oil-absorbing for oily skin to moisturizing for dry skin. Liquid foundation gives varying degrees of sheer to medium coverage, depending on the brand and the formula, so you can choose the amount of coverage you want. Most can be layered to create more coverage. You can purchase it in a bottle or a tube. It gives you more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, but less than a crème or stick foundation.

Liquid Pigment

This liquid foundation is almost pure pigment, giving you great coverage without weight and texture. It can be used alone or added to other products such as moisturizers, primers, tinted moisturizers, bb creams, or other foundations. The more drops you use, the more coverage you get; you completely control the coverage. It’s great for all skin types, and it’s one of my favorite formulas for coverage and natural appearance.

Crème Foundation

Smooth and creamy, crème foundation is specifically formulated for normal to very dry complexions. It’s one of the most moisturizing formulas you can use. It gives the skin a natural finish while offering one of the highest of all coverages. It’s also versatile—even though it tends to have a thicker and heavier consistency, it can be made sheerer if you apply it with a damp sponge (which also allows you to control the coverage). Crème foundation is great for dry skin. However, if you have flaky skin, it can look cakey, and the result can be slightly dull and heavy-looking.

Mousse Foundation This is a crème foundation that has a whipped consistency. Mousse foundations are formulated for normal to dry skin. Mousse generally comes in a jar rather than a compact, and it is usually lighter and sheerer than its compact counterpart. It evens out the skin tone without appearing heavy. Usually high in pigment and low in viscosity, it gives you great coverage while appearing almost invisible on the skin. I use mousse-textured formulas a lot because they seem to sink into the skin rather than sit on top of it. They give great coverage that appears very natural. They are fabulous on mature skin because they do not collect in fine lines like heavier crème formulas.

Stick Foundation

Stick foundation is essentially a neatly packaged crème foundation and concealer in one. Best for normal to dry skin, it is a good option if you want more coverage. It offers ideal maximum coverage for imperfections, as well as covering ruddy and uneven skin tones. Stick foundation will give you quick coverage, but it can look a little heavy on clear skin, on which a lot of coverage is not needed. The beauty of this formula is that you can dot it where you need it rather than applying it to your entire face. Then you can simply blend powder in and go.

tip: If your skin tends to flake, make sure you exfoliate to get rid of that top layer of dead, dry skin before applying a crème foundation

Crème-to-Powder Foundation. This is quick and simple! Formulated for normal to slightly oily skin, it has a creamy texture that dries to a powder finish; usually no additional dusting of powder is needed to set it. These formulas are kinder to oily skin than their crème counterparts because the powder helps cut down on excess shine. Once again, because it is a crème at heart, it will give you more coverage. It offers a little less coverage than its moisturizing crème counterparts (crème and stick), but more than a liquid or tinted moisturizer.

BB, CC, and DD Creams

These are lightweight, low coverage versions of a foundation with lots of treatment. We started with bb (beauty balm) creams, which were designed to brighten and lighten the skin while moisturizing and providing sunscreen. Then we got cc (color corrector or coverage control) creams with light but better coverage and built-in primer, brightener, and anti-aging properties. Some boast as many as twelve functions in one product. Now dd (daily defense or dermatologically defining) creams provide additional long-term anti-aging benefits with the increased coverage that we got added from our cc cream. I’m sure the alphabet will continue on as innovations in science and beauty emerge.

Tinted Moisturizer

This is moisturizer with a little color added. This formula works best on normal to dry skin and gives you sheer, lightweight, breathable coverage with a fresh, nearly naked finish. It gives you the sheerest coverage of all the foundation formulas, and it’s ideal for use during the summer months when you feel like wearing next to nothing. It evens out your skin tone and is the easiest to apply due to its sheerness. Many brands contain sunscreen, which means one less step in the morning.

Powder Compact

This dual-finish powder foundation gives a quick and convenient sheer-to-medium coverage and is packaged in a nice neat compact. It is formulated for normal to oily skin; on dry skin, it will just look chalky. It goes on like a pressed powder but gives you slightly more coverage, because it contains emollients and pigments. It’s a great choice for young girls because it is low in oils and moisturizers, so it does not clog pores, cutting down on the risk of breakouts. Also, it is all the coverage that most young girls need and is easy for them to apply. You control the coverage by choosing your tool of application. Applied with a brush, it gives you sheer coverage. Applied with a sponge, it gives you more complete coverage.

Pigmented Mineral Powder

Loose powder that adheres to the skin, pigmented mineral powder provides sheer to medium coverage. It is formulated for normal to oily skin; on dry skin, it will appear too chalky. In addition to giving you coverage, it also contains vitamins and minerals, which make it great for sensitive skin. It works much like a dual-finish powder foundation and is simple to apply with a brush or a sponge. Applied with a brush, it gives you sheer to medium coverage. Applied with a sponge, it gives you medium coverage (and if you apply enough layers, full coverage). With any tool, the more layers you apply, the more coverage you will get. Be careful, though: too much of this formula can look cakey, due to its powder consistency. It usually does not contain any preservatives, and like tinted moisturizer, it may also provide sunscreen.

Airbrush Foundation

This is foundation sprayed on the skin using an airbrush instead of being apply with conventional tools such as your fingers, a sponge, or a brush. It is a liquid and is released in a fine spray from the end of the spray gun (airbrush), giving the entire face complete coverage. This formula is known for its long wearability. Some formulas are water-resistant and some are waterproof. Because of the complete coverage aspect of it, it can create a mask-like effect.

Aerosol Spray Foundation

This formula comes in an aerosol spray can. It gives you maximum coverage with staying power. Most formulas work on all skin types and are water-resistant. It was created to mimic what professional makeup artists call airbrushing (using a machine that sprays a fine mist of foundation). You simply spray it over your face, and it releases a mist of foundation, giving you complete coverage. After you spray it on, you can use a sponge or a brush to blend it in and help it look more natural. But it tends to look less natural and heavier than many of your other foundation options.

I am affiliated with the brand ads in this article. What does that mean? It means that if you click on this link and make a purchase then I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. This allows me to maintain this website and provide for my babies.

bottom of page