The Foundation Guide
If you’ve never worn foundation before and you’re not sure how to use it, or you don’t know which to choose, we’ve got you covered. Our Foundation Guide is here to clear up all the questions you have, from what you use foundation makeup for to how to get the look you want.
If you’ve ever wondered why your makeup routine never leaves your skin looking as flawless as you’d like, the secret is probably getting the right foundation. Here’s everything you need to know about foundation and how to use it.
What is foundation makeup?
Foundation is a type of makeup that’s used on the skin to even out the skin tone, conceal imperfections and create a smooth base for the rest of your routine. It comes in different shades, finishes and coverage to work with your natural skin tone and the type of look you’re going for.
Types of foundation
Not all foundations are created equal. There are lots of different types of foundations available – depending on your skin type, the amount of coverage you want and the overall look you’re going for. These are the main types of foundation:
- Liquid foundation - the most common foundation type. It works for most skin types and offers buildable coverage, a natural finish and has different benefits (such as being matte, adding glow or being long lasting).
- Cream foundation - cream foundation is great for dry skin as it’s hydrating. It’s usually fuller coverage but can be buildable.
- Powder foundation - this works well for oily or combination skin as powder foundations generally give matte coverage that helps to control shine. They’re generally lighter coverage but can be buildable.
- Stick foundation - this is similar to a cream foundation but comes in a stick so it’s easy to apply and carry around with you.
When we say a foundation is buildable, what do we actually mean? It means you can add more or less product depending on the finish you want. Using less will give a more natural look, whereas adding more gives fuller coverage to cover up blemishes and imperfections – it leaves more of a full makeup look. Not all foundations are buildable, and some still give the same look however much you add.
There are different types of finish that foundations can give, and the choice is down to what you like, the end result you want and your skin type. Let’s take a look at some foundation finishes and why people choose them.
A dewy finish foundation is all about achieving a fresh, luminous and radiant look. It's ideal for those with dry or mature skin, as it adds moisture and glow. This finish reflects light, giving your skin a healthy and youthful appearance.
On the other end of the spectrum is matte finish foundation. This option is perfect for those with oily or combination skin who want a shine-free, velvety look. Matte foundations offer a smooth and even look while helping to control excess oil.
Satin finish foundations are somewhere in between. They offer a subtle glow without too much shine, making them suitable for a wide range of skin types. Satin finishes provide a natural-looking, healthy complexion that's a little radiant and not at all flat. They work really well for everyday wear.
If you're aiming for a "no makeup" makeup look, natural finish foundation is your best friend. This finish mimics the texture of your skin, offering a subtle look. This is sometimes called a skin tint as it evens out skin tone while still looking natural.
Radiant finish foundations are designed to provide a youthful, lit-from-within glow. They’re often infused with light-reflecting particles that give your skin a luminous and healthy appearance. This finish is excellent for special occasions and photography, as it adds dimension and warmth to your complexion. Velvet finish foundations offer a smooth, soft focus effect that blurs imperfections and gives your skin a refined, airbrushed appearance.
How to choose the right foundation shade
Getting the right shade of foundation is key. Some people prefer to match the colour to their neck or body, whereas others prefer to match it to the skin on their face. It depends on the look you want to achieve and what you prefer. Your shade will also change throughout the year, so a shade you wear in summer might be a little too dark when you move into winter.
When you choose your foundation shade (and you’ve decided on the type of foundation and what you’re matching to), then the first step is working out whether you have a warm, cool or neutral undertone to your skin. This will help you to choose a foundation that matches the undertones in your skin.
Next, you should swatch foundation shades on your jawline to see which blends best with your skin. Try and check it out in natural light to make sure you get the right match. Don’t be scared to ask for help from a makeup artist, beauty consultant or friend that’s around when you’re matching up.
How to apply your foundation
How you apply your foundation is just as important as choosing the right foundation. You can buy a great foundation but if it isn’t applied properly, you won’t get the look you want.
Start out by using the right tools. Makeup brushes and makeup sponges are totally essential for getting a flawless, long-lasting finish and ensuring your makeup stays in place, specifically you’ll need a foundation brush. They’re also great for blending, which is the key to getting a more natural, even look. Apply makeup primer before your foundation for a smooth, even base that lasts.
You can then build up your foundation as needed to get the coverage and finish that you’re looking for. Follow your foundation with blush, setting powder and highlighter to add depth and life back into your skin. It’s up for debate in the beauty community whether you apply your concealer and contour before or after your foundation, so try both to see which works best for you.
Some foundations are designed to last all day but others might need to be reapplied during the day, so make sure you take it with you in your makeup bag in case you need a touch up.