Foundation is notoriously one of the most difficult makeup choices a person has to make. With nearly infinite choices in shades, formulations and finishes, it can be nearly impossible to know which one will work best for your skin. We’re breaking down the different types of foundation, plus tips, tricks and product recommendations to help you decide which foundation will work best for your complexion.
How do you know which foundation is best for your skin?
The goal in choosing the best foundation for your skin should be finding a formula that enhances your natural skin tone. An expertly chosen foundation creates the perfect canvas for additional makeup and can really take your look to the next level. If you’re unable to set an appointment with a makeup professional or prefer to shop online (because, who doesn’t?), don’t worry, you can still find that perfect foundation without ever leaving your home.
Here are a few pointers:
Choose a shade that matches your skin’s undertones. If you have skin with warm undertones, choose a shade with yellow tones. If you have skin with cool undertones, choose one with pink tones. Not sure what your undertone is? Take a look at the underside of your wrists. If the veins appear blue/purple you are a cool tone. If they look green, you are warm. If the veins appear blue/green, then your skin has a neutral tone.
Know your makeup style. If you’re more of a “quick look” person, don’t choose a foundation that needs the benefit of a primer and setting powder to look good. Pick something less fussy, like a tinted moisturizer.
Know your skin type. Today’s foundation formulas include creams, liquids, powders and more, and knowing your skin type can help you decide which to choose. Typically, dry skin benefits from cream foundations and oily/combination skin benefits from powder formulas.
Don’t neglect skin conditions. Mineral makeup is an ideal choice for anyone with skin conditions as the minerals are designed to sit on top of the skin, creating a natural barrier against aggressors like dirt and pollution. For those with skin conditions like rosacea, eczema or acne, we checked in with board-certified dermatologist and LovelySkin founder and CEO Dr. Joel Schlessinger, to get his take:
“It can be tempting to cover up acne with foundation, but be careful, as choosing certain foundations can make the condition worse. If you want to wear makeup and have existing breakouts, always choose a breathable, mineral formula. I recommend Oxygentix Acne Control Foundation to my acne patients because it also contains 2% salicylic acid to treat existing pimples. If you have eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, the Oxygentix Oxygenating Foundation is the best choice, as it allows skin to breathe and contains an oxygen complex that encourages healing in the skin. Plus, both Oxygenetix foundations are now formulated with SPF 30 to help protect your skin.”
Here is a breakdown of various foundation types and which skin types they should be paired with:
Liquid foundation formulas are a great option for just about any skin type. They typically offer buildable, blendable formulas for customizable coverage – ranging from light to full and can leave a dewy or matte finish. Oily skin types should avoid oil-based formulas and instead benefit from water-based formulas. Dehydrated or dry skin can often tolerate oil-based formulas, as they add an additional layer of hydration to the skin.
Take a look at the ingredients to determine the base of your foundation. Oil-based foundations can include ingredients like argan oil, mineral oil or coconut oil, among others. Water-based foundations will not have any oils or silicone derivatives included in the ingredients lists.
Pro Tip: Liquid foundations often benefit from a setting powder to lock in the look. When ordering online, choose a translucent formula to ensure it matches your skin tone perfectly.
For the ultimate customizable foundation, look no further than this Dermablend formula. It contains 33% pure liquid pigments (so a little goes a long way) and features a silky, velvety texture that blends smoothly onto skin. It can be worn alone or mixed with skin care, making it easily adaptable to any regimen.
This serum-infused foundation is a perfect choice for those who are serious about their skin care. Formulated with neuropeptides and daisy flower extract, this glow-inducing foundation provides a natural finish while actively correcting dark spots and uneven skin tone.
If you tend to get a little shiny throughout the day, or if you deal with oily skin, a powder foundation formula with a matte finish is best for you. They are easy to apply and actively help absorb shine and oiliness while providing a flawless finish. As a rule, mature skin should avoid powder formulas as it can settle into creases, accentuating fine lines and wrinkles.
This mineral-based powder foundation is perfect for those who want a matte, yet natural-looking finish. This formula also contains antioxidants and mineral sunscreens to actively protect skin from sun damage while calming existing inflammation.
Want a little more coverage to conceal imperfections and correct redness? This mineral powder formula is the perfect choice. It’s loaded with antioxidants like green tea and vitamin C to keep skin looking radiant and healthy.
Cream foundations are ideal for those who have mature or very dry skin. Cream versions often feature richer, more nourishing formulas to provide extra hydration while offering medium to full coverage. Cream formulas often provide a dewy finish and are ideal for those who may have noticeable scars or discoloration they’d like to conceal.
Pro Tip: If you want your foundation to stay on longer or if you’re after an airbrushed look, use a makeup primer first. They help to smooth skin and blur imperfections, creating a flawless canvas for your foundation.
This nourishing cream formula contains organic coconut oil, organic cocoa seed butter and organic jojoba to intensely hydrate skin, leaving a dewy, natural finish. It helps to conceal imperfections while enhancing the natural beauty of your skin.
This foundation is Dr. Schlessinger’s ideal choice for very sensitive skin or if you have eczema, psoriasis or rosacea. It features a breathable formula that delivers oxygen to skin’s cells, healing cells. It offers full coverage to conceal imperfections and contains sunscreen, keeping your skin perfected and protected with SPF 30.
Not a makeup maven? No worries. If you want an easy, no fuss application, but need a little coverage and extra hydration, a tinted moisturizer is the way to go. They apply like a normal moisturizer and typically work well with most skin types. Most advanced formulas also contain additional benefits like sun protection and anti-aging ingredients, further simplifying your morning regimen.
This tinted, sunscreen moisturizer is a complex 4-in-1 skin care product that prevents sun damage, actively improves signs of aging, conceals imperfections and hydrates the complexion. It features a dewy finish, conceals light imperfections and brightens skin for a natural, radiant look.
This sunscreen-infused whipped foundation doubles as a moisturizer because it featuring ceramides and milk lipids to add a touch of luxurious hydration to skin. It features a dewy finish that blends naturally into skin for a healthy glow.
Stick Formula Foundation
Stick foundations work best on normal to dry skin types and can easily be stowed in a travel bag or purse, making touch-ups a breeze. Stick foundations offer a thicker, denser consistency, so they can also double as a concealer or contouring stick. However, it’s important to know that you shouldn’t apply stick foundation all over your face. Apply a few swipes on the high points of your face like the cheeks, upper forehead, chin and down the nose. Use a blending sponge or brush to blend the coverage.
This blendable foundation stick is infused with sunscreen to protect skin while providing a naturally radiant finish. It’s a water-based formula with hydration benefits, so it never appears cakey or splotchy.
Achieve your most glowing look yet with this combination foundation and highlighter stick. It provides sheer to medium coverage with a matte finish while adding just a shimmer of radiance to skin.
Have a favorite foundation? Let us know in the comments below or let us know in the comments below or share with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest!