What do women want in a foundation? A flawless, natural-looking coverage that evens out their skin. Today, foundation comes in many different textures, consistencies and formulas. Finding the right foundation is like finding the perfect fitting jeans.
Types of Foundations
1. Oil-free and matte liquid foundations
Has a smooth finish with no shine or dewy appearance. How long foundation lasts usually depends on how oily your skin is. It is therefore a good idea to always set your foundation with a light dusting of loose powder. Most oil-free and matte liquid foundations provide sheer to medium coverage. They are best for oily skin type as they have minimal shine and leave a smooth matte look.
2. Ultra-matte foundations
This foundation offers medium to full coverage. It does not shift or move on the skin. It comes in a liquid formula but dries quickly on the skin. It works great on seriously oily skin and is also good for people who live in a humid climate or for those who like to exercise with their make up on.
However this type of foundation has some disadvantages. It’s difficult to blend it evenly as it dries quickly. It may leave the skin feeling dry and taut. It is not the best choice for women of color as it tends to look gray and ashy on darker skin tones. Because it outlasts most foundations, it is difficult to wash off.
3. Standard liquid foundations
These foundations are water-based. They are perfect for women with normal to dry skin. They provide light to medium coverage and have emollients in them. They blend effortlessly and evenly on the face. Since they leave the face with a bit of shine, they are not the best choice for those with oily or combination skin. This type of foundation is also a great option for women of color. To control shine, add a light dusting of loose powder.
4. Oil-based foundations
Oil-based foundations have oil as their first ingredient and water usually as their second or third ingredient. They feel greasy and thick, look and go on greasy, yet can blend out quite sheer. They are formulated for women with extremely oily skin and wrinkled skin. The emollient ingredients help the skin look very dewy and moist, which can minimize the appearance of wrinkles. They offer medium to full coverage. Because they are greasy and thick they have to be blended well onto the skin. Adding powder to set the foundation can cause the face to appear heavily made up. It is therefore better to use cream based eye shadows and blush over this type of foundation.
5. Pressed powder–based foundation
They come in a compact and are applied like a pressed powder. However they offer light to medium coverage and are able to stay put. They have a creamy, silky feel, but when applied to the skin they blend on as easily as any pressed powder.
Powder-based foundations are great for women with normal to oily or combination skin. They’re convenient, blend on easily, and feel light on the skin. They are not recommended for dry skin types because of their powder base. For those with very oily skin, powder based foundations tend to thicken as oil resurfaces on the face during the day.
6. Cream-to-powder foundations
They are a cross between a pressed powder and a creamy liquid foundation. They come in a compact and have a very creamy, almost greasy, appearance. Cream-to-powder foundations blend on quickly and easily and provide a semi-matte or powdery finish. They work well for normal skin types. This type of foundation doesn’t require powdering after you apply as it may leave you with a caked heavy look. They don’t work well for someone with oily skin because the cream components can make skin look more oily. For dry skin, the powder element can make the skin look dry.
7. Liquid-to-powder foundations
Have a gel-like wet feel, apply easily and dry to a satiny-smooth, slightly matte finish. They typically contain water as the first ingredient, along with a slip agent such as glycerin. In contrast to cream-to-powder foundations, liquid-to-powder foundations feel lighter on the skin. They are great for combination and oily skin as they tend to last longer. No need to powder after application. Be sure to keep container tightly closed as the water component tends to evaporate.
8. Stick foundations
These foundations are essentially cream-to-powder foundations in stick form. The main difference between stick and cream-to-powder foundations is that stick foundations come in formulas that range from full to sheer coverage with either matte or creamy coverage. The coolest thing about stick foundations is that they can do double duty as a concealer. They are therefore great for those with hyperpigmented skin or with acne scars as they perfectly camouflage the scars.
9. Sheer Foundations and Tinted Moisturizers
There are foundations and tinted moisturizers that provide very sheer coverage(barely perceptible on skin). Tinted moisturizers offer a touch of color along with moisture. Many of them double as sunscreens also. They are excellent options for normal to dry or slightly oily skin that does not need significant coverage.
Sheer foundations and tinted moisturizers are extremely easy to choose and use as the shades are so sheer that getting the color exactly right is not essential. Definitely not a great product for those whose flaws are more apparent.
The reason why we wear foundation is to even out our skin tone, so it’s important to test your foundation in order to find an exact match to your skin tone. The idea is to find one that blends into your skin exactly so that when you put it on, it makes your face look smooth and flawless and as though you are not wearing foundation at all. In addition the right foundation will make the rest of your make up look perfect. A foundation with a yellow tone is the way to go for any skin tone as it warms up the skin. The darker you are the more yellow-toned foundation becomes a must. However, there are many foundations that have a reddish, orange or blue tone mixed with the yellow that works for dark skin. Also make sure the formula is the right one for your skin type. Finally a foundation with a matte finish is best because it tends to stay put. Never buy a foundation to alter skin color because in daylight or office lighting, it will appear completely unnatural.
Tips on how to pick the right foundation
- First, make sure you know your skin type
- Make sure your face is clean and fresh. No foundation on.
- Then pick three shades to try. One that looks about right, a lighter color and a slightly darker one
- Swipe each one on your jawline
- The shade that disappears or perfectly matches your skin is the one.
- Compare the shade to your neck and make sure it matches.
- Test your foundation shade near a light source or in a well lit room. Test it in daylight if possible to get the perfect match.
- Make sure the foundation does not run, separate or get dry, patchy or oily.
Applying foundation is easy. These instructions are mainly for use with liquid foundations as it is the most common. The best liquid foundations provide beautifully smooth results that provide coverage yet maintain a fresh finish that blends with skin. Foundation should never look like an obvious layer of make up sitting on top of your skin.
Dot it all over your face, then blend it in with a make up sponge using a down and out motion. A make up sponge is better than blending with your finger because it is able to absorb excess foundation as well as blend easily. Use the edge of the sponge without foundation or turn the sponge over to the clean side, to dab or buff away any excess product. Do not apply foundation on the neck or under the chin. Don’t put too much foundation all at once. Build it up until you are sure you have enough coverage. You can choose to apply all over your face or just in spots that need some coverage. Make sure the foundation blends seamlessly.
Sometimes foundation may slip and shift into the fine lines and pores of your skin. This is caused by applying too much moisturizer or putting on too much foundation. Most beauticians will recommend blending your foundation with your fingers. This is not the best way as your fingers are not able to absorb the excess foundation thus risking slippage. Always use a sponge to blend. Finally, set it with powder.
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Prisca Mwangi is a Beauty Consultant at The Color Palette Company. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.