Types of Foundation: How to Find the Best Formula for Your Skin

Tired of not getting the desired result from your foundation? Discover the different types of foundation and how to find which one will work best for you.

how to choose the right types of foundation

Bobbi Brown once said, “I believe all women are pretty without makeup – but with the right makeup she can be pretty powerful.” When you need to create the perfect look, there is one type of makeup that lays the foundation. It’s foundation! Different types of foundations vary in consistency, application, and ingredients. How will you know which one is best for you?

Let’s find out!

Foundation: The Base for Makeup

Foundation forms the base of any makeup look. It should unify tone, but shouldn’t take away the individuality of the skin. Liquid, mousse, and powder are some of the types of foundation available in the market. As you probably already know, it helps to create an even, uniform complexion and masks any blemishes or spots on the face. Foundations can range from light, medium to heavy coverage.


Foundations Based on Skin Types

We all have different skin types and all foundations cannot be perfect for our skin. Different formulas work differently on different types of skin.

Dry Skin: Liquid or cream-based foundations work best for such skin type. It will not dry out the skin or make the foundation look patchy on the skin.

Oily Skin: Stick foundation and powder foundation are recommended for oily skin. The formula in them will not make the skin appear oilier. It is wise to use a powder foundation for touch-ups to give the skin a mattifying look.

Since I have dry skin, I use foundations that are best for dry skin. Similarly, you need to use the one that’s best for your skin type.

Types of Foundation

Here I have put together 8 types of foundation that are widely available everywhere and cater to different skin types. Read on to find the one for your makeup.

Illustrated by: Nandhini M.

1. Liquid Foundation

This foundation is widely used because of its easy application. It is a good choice for dry and combination skin and my personal favorite. Liquid foundation provides a maximum amount of coverage and can easily cover any dark patches on your skin that you are looking to even out.

Under this umbrella, you will find three more types of foundation to choose from, namely cream, water, and oil-based formula. The foundation is best known to give medium to high coverage so it is perfect for heavy makeup looks. Whether it is water or oil-based, always shake the bottle before using it to make sure that the color blends well.

Since this foundation caters to dry skin, Shilpa gives us a very useful tip. She says, “If your skin is extra dry like mine, here’s a pro tip I always use for my photo-shoots. Always wear a liquid makeup primer over moisturizer, concentrating the lotion on your dry zone. And then apply liquid foundation with a wet sponge to get rid of flaky-looking skin.”

How to use: Shake the bottle well, then take a few drops on the back of your hand or your palm. Apply it using a brush. Use a damp beauty sponge or foundation brush to blend the foundation well. Using a sponge gives a more natural finish while a brush gives full coverage. If you are a beginner, definitely give this foundation a go.

Our pick: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation $35

liquid foundation for dry skin
Fenty Beauty

2. Powder Foundation

Powder foundation is convenient and easy to apply. It usually comes in a compact so you can keep this in your purse. It is one of the best types of foundation when it comes to on-the-go touch-ups. Since it has a drier formula, it is very suitable for oily skin without having too many fine lines. This foundation provides a lightweight, natural appearance and gives a matt finish. You can also use it over your liquid or stick foundation for a mattifying look.

How to use: Use a brush to apply this foundation. This will give you a natural and airbrush finish. Dust off the excess before applying. Using a beauty blender will make the powder appear chunky on the face, giving an uneven finish.

Our pick: M.A.C Cosmetics Studio Fix Powder Foundation $54

types of foundation powder foundation for oily skin
Honar Beauty

3. Stick Foundation

If you have blemishes that you want to cover, stick foundation is for you. Because of its stick format, it is easy to carry anywhere in your purse or vanity bag. When purchasing this foundation, it is important to find your exact shade as it has a thick consistency. You can also apply the stick foundation as a concealer if you prefer a cream or liquid foundation. This foundation works well with oily and combination skin.

How to use: Use the stick foundation directly on the face and blend it well with a damp beauty blender.

Our pick: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick $46

stick foundation for oily skin
Bobby Brown

4. Mineral Powder Foundation

Nowadays, most of us are interested in natural and organic makeup solutions and so the option of mineral powder is a good idea to include here. It is significantly safer than traditional makeup. It is a powder-based makeup and comes in a compact or sifter. Although it is loved by many, the only downside is that it can get a little messy if not applied carefully. Mineral powder foundation is perfect for morning routine or touch-ups during the day. It gives a lightweight natural finish. It can be used for all skin types and a great choice for mature skin. I sometimes use it over my foundation for a mattifying finish.

How to use: Use a fluffy brush to apply the foundation. Remember to dust off the excess before applying it on the face for an even application.

Our pick: Bareminerals Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 $32

mineral foundation for sensitive skin

5. Tinted Moisturizer

Skincare is the primary purpose of a tinted moisturizer. It does not give heavy coverage and is quite sheer, so it is not ideal for masking blemishes or heavy discoloration. However, if you want to create a bright, dewy complexion, or evening skin tone, give this foundation a go. It is a great option for beginners, office or college-goers. It is also a perfect lightweight option for summer. I prefer it for a natural or ‘no makeup’ makeup look. Tinted moisturizer works well on all skin types.

How to use: A brush, sponge or a beauty blender can be used to apply the foundation.

Our pick: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 $45

tinted moisturizer foundation

6. Mousse Foundation

Mousse, also known as whipped foundation, is a liquid foundation with air whipped in it for creating a light texture. It has a weightless feel and matte finish. Although mousse foundation is usually good for all skin type it’s best for oily skin because of its smooth and non-patchy application and it does not clog the pores caused due to excessive oil in the skin. I have never tried whipped foundation but have heard great reviews about it from my friends and co-workers.

How to use: Brush and beauty blender both work perfectly well with this foundation. Always remember to use a damp beauty blender as it helps to evenly apply the product on the face.

Our pick: Beauty Blender Bounce Liquid Whip Foundation $40

mousse foundation for oily skin

7. BB Cream

The full form of BB Cream is ‘Blemish Balm’ or ‘Beauty Balm’. It is just like tinted moisturizer – quite sheer, and provides a light coverage. Although by definition, BB cream is a one-stop solution of a product that combines foundation and concealer, so it provides a bit more coverage than tinted moisturizer.

It is suitable for a wide range of skin types. BB cream has a creamy formula that helps to even out the skin tone while moisturizing it and adding a tint of color. It is popular among teens and college-goers. Personally, BB Cream did not work well with my skin but hey, it may work for you. BB Cream can be used for a mattifying effect for oily skin.

How to use: You can use a brush, beauty blender as well as your fingers to apply the product evenly on your face.

Our pick: CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream $6

BB Cream for all skin types

8. CC Cream

CC Cream stands for ‘Complexion Care’. It is similar to BB Cream as it provides light coverage with a hint of color. It has a hydrating formula and contains anti-aging ingredients and is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin. CC Cream is best types of foundation to even out the skin tone and to give a bright fresh-looking face. Although I don’t have oily skin, surprisingly it worked well on my skin. It was lightweight and made my skin appear brighter.

How to use: The consistency of the CC Cream is the same as a BB Cream. You can use a brush, beauty blender or even your fingers to evenly spread the product on your face.

Our pick: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ $39

CC Cream for oily skin
IT Cosmetics

Apply Foundation Like a Pro

These days, most types of foundation usually come with SPF, but it’s always recommended to layer sunscreen before applying makeup if you are going out in the sun. Always blend the foundation from your face to your neck to avoid uneven color and lines between the two. In fact, even go as far as you can on your forehead all the until your hairline, and your collarbones, if needed.

Whichever foundation you choose from all the types of foundation that are available, the application remains the same. Follow these steps for even application without damaging your skin:

Step 1: Moisturize: This will ensure your foundation doesn’t end up looking flaky.
Step 2: Sunscreen
Important: Step 3: Primer: This will make sure that your pores are not visible and ensure a long-lasting, even finish.
Step 4: Foundation

After the 4th step, you can choose to go ahead with your makeup. It is important to follow these steps in order so that the product does not damage your skin and the makeup glides on beautifully and lasts long.

applying types of foundation

Sometimes it so happens that the foundation does not give us the desired result even though it’s from a good brand and caters to the specific skin type. When asked Shilpa about it, she said, “What I once learned from a M.A.C. makeup artist is that applying each foundation differently will yield different results. So if you’re trying out foundation at a makeup store, and the artist uses a brush to apply it, try to emulate the results by using a brush only, not a sponge.”

How to Select Foundation for Your Skin Tone

Although it is important to know the types of foundation that match your skin type, it is also necessary to pick the right shade based on your undertone.

Look at the veins on your wrist.

A. Warm: If you have green veins then you probably have a warm undertone. Your skin has hints of yellow and gold in it. You will notice that your skin tans easily and rarely gets sunburned.

B. Cool: If you see bluish or purple veins then you have a cool undertone. Your skin has hints of blue and pink in it. You will notice that your skin sunburns rather than getting tanned.

C. Neutral: If you see both green and purple veins then you have a neutral undertone. Your skin has no obvious bluish or pink hints to it.

Knowing your undertone can help you get the most suitable foundation for yourself. Since I am more on the warm undertone side, the foundation I use has hints of yellow in it. This will make the foundation match your skin perfectly without looking too yellow or too ashen.

Another trick is to take your time when making the decision to buy your foundation. After you try it at a store, leave it on for the day, so you can check how it looks under different types of light. If it still works for you, buy it the next day!

Let us know the types of foundation you have tried and which worked best for you by commenting below. We would love to see your makeup, so do not forget to tag us on Instagram @shilpaahujadotcom.

Image source: Instagram (please refer individual handles)

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