Choosing the Right Type of Foundation for Your Skin
As if finding the right shade of foundation wasn’t hard enough there are also a huge number of different formulas to choose from. From powders to liquids, dewy to matte as well as different coverages, just how do you find that perfect one for you?
There are three main factors to take into account when choosing foundation: skin type, skin colour and coverage needed. Taking colour out of the equation for now, let's look at the formula and finish of the product.
The whole idea of foundation is to even out your skin so it looks smooth, clear and blemish free. You face should look better after applying foundation than it did without and it should always look natural. If this is not the case, or the foundation appears flaky, caked on or looks like a mask, then you are using the wrong one.
Tinted Moisturizer: If you have dry or normal skin and already have a good complexion then this is the one for you. It gives a lightweight, sheer coverage that allows the natural skin to show through. It will even out skin tone and give you a dewy finish for that totally natural look. You can often find these with added finishes such as illuminating, anti-ageing or sunscreen properties.
Liquid Foundation: By far the most popular form of foundation as it comes in so many different formulas allowing most skin types to find one suitable for them. Because it is liquid it is moisturizing and hydrating making it ideal for dry skin. They can be oil-based, water-based, silicon-based and can be in any consistency from lightweight to full coverage. If you have oily skin you can still use a liquid foundation as many are many made specifically for oily or combinations skin - make sure they are oil-free with a matte finish. Many will also include sunscreens, illuminators or anti-ageing properties.
Cream to Powder Foundation: These creams come in a compact and are very rich and creamy, sometimes looking greasy. The magic happens after you apply the cream as it will blend in leaving a powdery, matte finish. Coverage is medium to full and is ideal for dry to normal skin as well as mature skin. However, oily skins should avoid this type of foundation as it is very rich and will exacerbate oiliness.
Stick Foundation: Essentially the stick form of cream to powder foundation, so has medium to full coverage. Sticks tend to be thicker than creams so will give a heavier finish. Again not for oily skins, only dry or normal skin types should use this formula.
Mineral Powder: This is available in either a pressed or loose powder and is only suitable for oily skin as it is too drying for dry or normal skin types. It gives light to full coverage and will cancel out shine and leave a powder finish. It can also be applied over a liquid or cream foundation and used as a setting powder. Care needs to be taken using this type of powder as the powder can change colour (oxidize) leaving the skin looking dirty or streaky. You cannot use cream blush, bronzer or contour with this product, only powder versions.
Mousse or Whipped Foundation: These are basically liquid foundations that have been whipped making them lighter. There are formulas for most skin types and can be useful for uneven skin as it has smoothing qualities.
BB Cream: These foundations originated in Asia and have now taken the world by storm. The BB stands for Blemish Balm. They tend to be heavier than tinted moisturiser but lighter than liquid foundation. Depending on the brand you choose they will have added benefits such as sunscreen, anti-oxidants or primer. Choose one suitable for your particular skin type.
CC Cream: Colour Correcting creams, yes that’s what it stands for, are slightly different to BB creams as they are made to correct things such as redness or sallow skin. They are lighter than BB creams and come in a range of finishes to suit most skin types.
As you will see most of the foundations are made with different formulas to suit different skin types. However, if you have oily skin you should not use tinted moisturiser, cream to powder or stick foundations as these will make your oiliness worse. Likewise, if you have dry to normal skin you should avoid mineral powder.
Be aware that you skin will change with age and with season, so you may need to change the products you use to account for this. You will most definitely need a couple of different shades to take into account changes in skin colour from winter to summer, unless you are lucky enough to live in a stable climate.
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to finding your go to foundation, it really is a matter of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to ask for samples and try them out before committing to a particular one. If you can get a makeover at a local store, even better. Tell them your skin concerns and they will match a product for you. Don’t be tempted to buy the product there and then though, wear it for the rest of the day, see how it feels and how it wears. Look at it in daylight as it will be different to the lighting in the store, only when you are sure it is the right one for you commit to buying.