Choosing a foundation is one of the hardest parts of getting a flawless makeup routine. There are so many moving parts involved in choosing one, including your skin type, your preferred primers, and even the rest of your makeup! Many makeup websites will have this information, and Sephora will even sort their foundations on their website by these different factors.
Taking all of these things into account will help you find a foundation that works for you.
Skin type is the first and most important thing to consider when choosing your foundation. The most common types are dry, oily, normal, and combination. Dry and oily are fairly self explanatory, as is normal. Combination is a mixture of those. If you’re not sure what your skin type is, Tatcha has these two great methods to try to figure it out! I tend towards dryness, which impacts my foundation choices significantly. Matte or oil controlling foundations don’t usually work for me, and can make my skin look dry and flakey.
This impacts your choice of shade of your foundation. The three main undertones are cool, warm, and neutral. Warm undertones tend towards yellow, peachy, or golden. Cool ones are pink, red, or blueish. Neutral is a mix of those two. This cool guide from Stylecaster gives you several different tests to see what your undertones are (including the age old jewelry trick).
Other Skin Concerns
This is where you address concerns such as sensitive skin, dry patches, or acne. Often you handle most of those with skincare. However, you should keep an eye out for whether or not a foundation you’re interested in will cater to those issues. Many foundations are formulated with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, retinoids, or salicylic acid to help with those.
Primers and Foundation Base
The type of primer you use will make a big difference in your foundation choices as well. Silicone based primers such as Maybelline Baby Skin, Benefit Porefessional, or CoverFX Blurring primer are best with silicone based foundations. Water based primers such as the Too Faced Hangover Primer, Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water, and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer work best with water based foundations. If you try to mix the two, it can cause your foundation to separate and get cakey on your skin.
So this is looking at things like mineral foundation vs stick foundation vs liquid foundation. This just depends on how your skin reacts. Often, stick foundations settle into fine lines and don’t perform as well on dry skin. Mineral foundations tend to work well on sensitive skin. Liquid foundations, particularly those without a mattefying effect, don’t work as well on oily skin. Now there are always exceptions, so be sure to research the foundation(s) that you’re interested in!
Lastly, you want to decide what kind of finish is your favorite. Some people really like their skin to look smooth and matte. Others love a fresh and dewy skin. That’s definitely personal preference above anything else, but again, some things you may have to use other products to achieve. With my dry skin, I can’t really use many mattefying foundations. So I use a mattefying powder instead. If you can’t use dewy foundations, then use a matte one and be generous with your favorite highlighter.
My current favorite foundations are the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Hydrate (moisturizing, medium-full coverage) and the Maybelline Superstay (full coverage, long wearing). What are your favorite foundations? Let me know in the comments!