So you decide it’s time for a new foundation and you walk into Sephora or Ulta or your nearest drug store and you are immediately overwhelmed. There are so many different brands, different colors, different product claims – how do you know which one is right for you? This article won’t be able to tell you the exact brand or exact shade that is right for you, but it will give you 5 steps to help narrow your search so you know exactly what you’re looking for.
- Skin Type – Determining your skin type can be a main factor in choosing the right foundation match. There are three main skin type categories that most people fit under, either dry, oily, or normal. DRY: If you have dry skin, your face may feel tight and your skin may sometimes be flaky. It may seem as though you can never moisturize enough. You may have dry patches that foundation can tend to cling on. A lot of people’s skin can tend to get dryer in the winter, but if it seems that your face hardly ever gets oily, even in the heat, you probably have dry skin. OILY: If you have oily skin, you probably have overactive glands that produce a lot of oil that can leave you feeling greasy. It may seem that your foundation never sticks to your face because the oil causes it to melt away. You may be tempted to use products that strip away the oil on your face but it is also important to moisturize. If you are constantly stripping away the natural oil, it can trick your skin into thinking it need to produce more oil, making your face even more oily. NORMAL: Normal skin tends to get slightly oily in the t-zone after a couple of hours (imagine a lower-case ‘t’ drawn on your face; the horizontal line would go from inner cheek, across the bridge of your nose, and to your other inner cheek; the vertical line would go from your forehead down to your chin). You probably notice oil around your chin, forehead, nose, and insides of your cheeks, but you may be dryer around the perimeter of your face. This could also be similar to COMBINATION: which is a mixture of oily spots and dry spots, often depending on the weather. You want to choose a foundation meant to control and manage your skin type. If you are oily, look for an oil-control foundation. If you are dry, look for a moisturizing foundation.
- Skin Tone – There are also three main types of skin tones. PINK: If you have a pinkish tone to your skin, you have a cooler undertone. People with fair skin and people who burn easily in the sun tend to have pink undertones. If you look at the underside of your wrist and your veins appear blue/purple, you are most likely cool toned. You want to choose a foundation that has pink undertones to best match the rest of your skin. OLIVE: If you have more of a yellowish undertone to your skin, you have a warmer undertone. You probably are naturally more tan or dark complected, and you probably tan very easily as well. The veins on your wrist probably look green. If you are warm toned, you want to choose a foundation with a yellow or golden undertone. NEUTRAL: If your skin tone is neutral, you probably don’t feel as though your skin looks very yellow or very pink. You are probably right in the middle. You will also have difficulty in determining if your veins look either blue or green. This means you want to choose a foundation that has a more neutral undertone – not too warm and not too cool.
- Finish – There are also three main types of foundation finishes as well. DEWY: If you want your skin to look very fresh and glowing, you probably want to go for a more luminous foundation. These foundations tend to be very moisturizing – almost making the skin look wet. I recommend luminous, dewy finishes for people with very dry skin. It adds moisture and makes their faces look fresh and glowy. MATTE: If you want to go for a look that is less shiny, matte finish is the way to go. It can look very flawless and airbrushed. It usually tends to be more drying on the skin, so I recommend matte foundations to people with oily skin. It will help them control oil by giving their skin a dryer look. NATURAL: If you don’t want your skin to look too dewy or too matte, I recommend a natural finish. This finish just looks like natural skin. It looks fresh and youthful without adding too much moisture or without being too drying. This is perfect for normal skin types as it will look the most natural and skin-like.
- Coverage – There are a wide range of different coverages depending on what you are comfortable with. SHEER – Sheer coverage is just a light layer of foundation. It feels very light and natural on the skin, and it allows freckles to peek through. That being said, it also can let blemishes peek through. So, if you don’t conceal them, a sheer coverage may not hide them as much as you want. Sheer coverage is perfect for day-to-day wear. It is breathable and easy to apply. MEDIUM – Medium coverage is often a little thicker than sheer coverage. It does a better job at concealing blemishes without feeling heavy on the skin. If you have some redness on your face that you would like to conceal day to day, medium coverage may be exactly what you need. FULL – full coverage is often the thickest of the three. It does a really nice job of concealing any blemishes or redness and can look very flawless. You are not going to see your natural skin through this foundation, which some people like. Keep in mind, foundation is buildable. If you want a sheer coverage from day to day, you can use the same foundation as a medium coverage by adding a couple layers. If you purchase a medium coverage foundation for day to day, you can build it up to a full coverage for special events, or just days where you need more coverage. The important thing to remember, though, is that you get a good quality foundation, especially if you plan on building coverage. Some foundations can go from looking nice to looking cakey very quickly, which we do not want.
- Formula – Lastly, you can choose your formula based on what you’ve already determined about your skin needs. LIQUID: Liquid foundation is the most common. It can come in the forms of BB creams, tinted moisturizer, sheer coverage, medium coverage, and full coverage. It can be matte or dewy, oil control, or moisturizing. It can be applied with a brush or a beauty blender. CREAM: cream foundation tends to be for a higher coverage. It is thicker and better at concealing blemishes. It can feel heavy on the face and may be harder to blend out than a liquid. POWDER: powder foundations usually offer the sheerest coverage. They typically don’t last very long on the skin, but can feel very light. STICK: Stick foundations offer the most coverage. They are very thick and easy to apply. WHIPPED: whipped foundation is similar to liquid, but it offers an airy finish that is less likely to settle in fine lines.
Hopefully with this information you will have a better idea of what foundation is right for you. When you go into a beauty supply store, you will be able to know exactly what to look for. For example, I would look for a foundation that was meant for 1. normal to oily skin, 2. neutral undertone, 3. natural finish, 4. medium coverage, and 5. liquid formulation. With this information, I am much more likely to find one that fits my needs!
I hope this helped you!
xo, simply jess