top of page

Foundation 101

The most common question I get asked as a makeup artist is - what is the best foundation? I think I frustrate a lot of people when I answer them with more questions back. "Well..that depends..tell me about your skin, what is it like? What coverage do you prefer? Do you have any skin issues you'd like to resolve or cover with your foundation? What do you want your skin to look like?"

Hence the reason for this post. I wanted to dispel some myths, clear up some common mistakes and give you the best tips and advice that is truly tried and tested.

Tell me about your skin

Your skin type and condition is the first thing you should consider before you jump into using a new foundation. Is your skin dry, normal, combination or oily? Do you have any skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis or acne? Once you determine what your skin is like you can then identify what you want your foundation to do.

The biggest mistake I see people make is buying a foundation because their friend loved it. While it may work beautifully for your friend it might end up looking too dry or oily on your skin. It might even start to get patchy after a few hours and you will disappointingly be stuck with another foundation in your cupboard that you don't use. I can not stress this point too much - you need to know what your skin type is and how it looks during the day. For example, does your skin get more oily during the day or do you have combination skin with some dry patches?

If your skin falls into the more dry side of the scale you might like to consider what you are preparing your skin with before you put on foundation. Using a nourishing moisturiser might be all your skin needs before you apply foundation. For others using an oil based foundation will help hydrate and plump the skin.

What if you have a skin condition like rosacea? What added ingredients can help? You might want your foundation to be able to cover the redness and at the same time be gentle and calming to the skin. Soothing ingredients like camomile and Vitamin E can help while turmeric provides added anti-inflammatory benefits. Foundations with sunscreen can also protect the skin from sun damage which is known to possibly worsen the skin condition.

Light to full coverage

A lighter coverage look can be achieved by mixing your moisturiser, face oil or illuminator with foundation for a lighter and more dewy finish. Other great products are BB creams, tinted moisturisers or CC creams which are often lighter than general foundations.

For medium coverage try using a lighter foundation and then concealing where needed. This will help your skin to still look natural without the cakey effect that too many layers of foundation can bring.

These days many people prefer a full coverage. While this type of coverage can easily cover over imperfections and even out skin tone, just make sure that you don't use products that are too mattifying, drying or look too cakey on the skin. Especially not a great look for bridal, TV or film where HD cameras will show up everything. These days more natural makeup is being used for TV, film and editorial as higher definition resolution is being used to photograph, film and view.

What does it look like?

What do you want your overall face to look like? Dewy, natural, velvet, matte? As mentioned above, adding a few drops of your favourite face oil to your foundation can transform your skin into dewy perfection. Using a hydrating foundation with only a little powder where needed can also produce a beautiful glow. And don't get me started with highlighters/illuminators! Simply add a few drops to your foundation or blend in over the top to create a subtle or not so subtle glow to the high points of your face. Let your inner beauty shine!

Another thing to consider is how long will you have your makeup on and is it a special event? During the day your skin produces oils which will start to come out and mix with the foundation. What started as a matte foundation for some may end up being a dewy look after 4 to 6 hours. So if you want your matte foundation to keep the matte finish you should carry blotting paper and some powder to touch up during the day.

One of the common myths out there is that you only need one foundation if you don't go out in the sun much. Even if you get a little sun your skin does change colour as the seasons come and go. You might even find that you need up to 3 different foundations. One for winter, one for summer and one for when you tan (bottle or island holiday!)

Finding the best colour match

Try swatching a few stripes of foundation on your face as close to the centre as you can and swipe down to the neck. The colour that fades into skin so you can't see any obvious lines will be the right shade.

Make sure you match the foundation to the chest and upper arms if you are a different shade due to tanning or wear SPF on the face regularly. This is really important for special events where you are wearing a dress or outfit that shows more of your upper body. You want your skin to look uniform and the same tone, not 3 different shades.

I always recommend testing your foundation out for a few days before you buy so next time you are in your favourite beauty store don't be shy to ask for a sample pot to try the foundation out before you purchase!

Would you like some foundations reviewed? Comment below if you are interested and I will get cracking on some makeup reviews (sorry for the Aussie slang!)

23 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page