“What’s your favorite foundation” If I had a dollar for every time I was asked this question…
I think this is the most loaded makeup question I get because there is not one foundation that will work for everyone. My favorite foundation may be the worst foundation you’ve ever tried. For example, I personally tend to wear thicker, fuller coverage foundations and not everyone likes that. So if you asked me my favorite foundation I can almost guarantee it wouldn’t be your favorite. It takes a lot of trial and error to find the perfect base for you. What works for one person’s skin doesn’t always work the same way on the next persons. It’s a very individual thing choosing a foundation but today I’m going to try to give some tips for helping to find that foundation.
This is the very first question I ask every client before starting makeup application or anybody who asks me about foundation. Are you dry, oily, normal, or combination? Knowing this is so important in choosing the best foundation for your skin. If you’re oily you probably won’t want the super luminous and dewy type foundations just like dry skin doesn’t vibe well with matte finish foundations. However, if you have normal skin you can go either direction with the finish on your foundation it just all depends on personal preference for you. If you have combination skin, does it lean toward combo dry or combo oily? If your cheeks are super dry and flakey but you get some oiliness throughout your T-zone you would be combination dry. If you are all over oily but have a few patches of dry you’re combination oily. Is this making sense? I hope so. Once you know and understand what works best with your skin type this will lead you to make the best decision on what products are right for you.
Powder, cream, liquid. There are 3 main formula types when it comes to foundation: powder, liquid, and cream. Each formula gives a different finish and amount of coverage. Let’s start with powder. Powder foundation is a great option for someone looking for something light and easy. Unlike a setting powder, an actual powder foundation is a finely milled powder that’s highly pigmented. Powder foundation application is pretty effortless and feels weightless on the skin. This type of foundation is great for young girls or anyone wanting something sheer and foolproof. Oily skin types will also like the mattifying powers of a powder foundation. I wouldn’t recommend it for people with dry skin or for very mature skin. Powder can settle into fine lines and dry spots and can easily look, well “powdery” if you aren’t careful with application.
Next, liquid foundation. Probably the most popular formula for foundation and has the most options available. There are so many wonderful liquid formulas for all skin types, tones, and ages. You can get really sheer, lightweight formulas for just a touch of coverage. Or you can get a thicker, fuller coverage liquid for a completely flawless complexion. The possibilities are endless! There are options for every skin type so everyone can benefit from and love a liquid foundation. Liquid is definitely my favorite formula type because I can really customize it to give myself and my clients the perfect application.
And then we have cream. Cream formulas are what old-school Hollywood and theater actors used to create a long-lasting base while on camera or on stage under lights. A cream formula is kind of similar to liquid but comes in a semi-solid formula usually in a compact or stick packaging. This formula is good for mature skin or dry skin because it won’t settle into fine lines or dry spots. It helps add coverage while making the skin look hydrated and smooth. It can feel a bit heavier on the skin but the formula provides long-wearing results. I wouldn’t recommend a cream to those who are oily because it may slip around the face and not achieve the same long-lasting results.
We have 3 options when it comes to how much coverage you would want out of your foundation: light, medium, and full. Now, some foundations are going to be light to medium or even medium to full. This just means these foundations are buildable and can be applied in different ways to give different coverage. I think with pretty much any foundation if you use different application techniques you can get achieve a lighter or fuller coverage but for the most part, all foundations are going to fall under one of these 3 coverage options. Light coverage is going to be your most sheer formulas. Think BB/CC creams or really liquidy (is that a word?) formulas. These types of formulas are best for someone wanting a more natural look with just a light touch of coverage.
Medium coverage is the most popular level of coverage because it’s light enough to look natural but still provides enough coverage to conceal flaws. You can build up a light coverage foundation to a medium coverage by building up thin layers until you achieve the amount of coverage you desire. In most high end cosmetic retail stores or websites, foundations will be labeled by the amount of coverage in it. Or you can just tell your sales girl you are looking for a medium coverage foundation or whichever level of coverage you’re looking for.
Lastly, there is full coverage foundation. Most people don’t love full coverage foundation because those tend to be the thicker or heavier formula types. However, at the same time a lot of people who think they need full coverage (for acne, age spots, etc) actually don’t. They just have a small area of their skin that really needs the full coverage but not the entirety of their face. So often in my time in makeup have I seen young girls especially cake on a full coverage foundation all over their face to hide their acne when in reality they can wear a lighter coverage foundation and just build up the coverage in the areas it’s necessary. Full coverage is definitely not going to be the most natural of options but it does provide very flawless and long-lasting results. If you aren’t careful with the application it can easily look overdone. I personally enjoy full coverage foundations because it gives me the most flawless base for creating the rest of my look but most people like something a little more natural.
We only have two options when it comes to tools to use for foundation application, either a brush or a beauty sponge. A foundation brush is going to give you a more full coverage application. I think using a brush to apply really sheer and liquidy products is the best application tool because since the product is so thin it could be easily absorbed by the sponge. A brush will definitely give you the most flawless results in my opinion. There are many, many different brands of amazing foundation brushes ranging from high end to drugstore. Once you have a foundation brush as long as you care for it, it should last you for years. Just find one that works for you and take care of it!
A beauty sponge will sheer out your product a bit and give it some more hydration because you wet the sponge. The only beauty sponge I swear by is the Beauty Blender Original. They have a patent on the type of sponging material they use and after trying the cheaper options I can promise you this one is the best and worth every penny. Sponges do need to be replaced every 4-6 months depending on how often you use it and how you care for it and clean it. Sponges are great for thicker, fuller coverage formulas because it will ensure you aren’t applying too much product and looking overly made up.
I beg of you to never put your foundation on with your hands! I’m pretty sure every time someone applies their foundation with their hands a makeup artist falls down dead somewhere.
However, there are a few exceptions such as a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. If a product is like a skincare product with a bit of coverage you can use your hands. But a full-blown foundation should never be applied with your hands. Your application will be streaky, not blended correctly, and you will waste your product because your hands will absorb it. JUST DON’T DO IT! OKAY? Alright sorry didn’t mean to yell.
Overall, finding the best foundation for your skin type and your makeup style can be a little tricky and require some playing around. It’s almost impossible to find the best match on your first try without trying out some other options. Don’t be discouraged though! The perfect option is out there for you. Utilize the knowledge of the salespeople in your local Sephora and Ulta, they are there to help! At Sephora you can even get free samples of foundation to take home and try before you buy, just ask nicely 😉 Some people get turned off by foundation thinking it has to be heavy and noticeable on the skin and this is not the case at all. Experiment with different formulas and products until you find what suits your needs. I could go on and on about foundation but hopefully, I summarized it up well enough that you have a place to start. I would love to know what some of your favorite foundations are!