how to choose the right foundation for your skin

How to choose the right foundation for your skin

Foundation 101

While plenty of makeup products are forgiving and versatile on a multitude of skin types and colours, foundation (or any kind of base product) needs to be just right or it can look unnatural and masky. Not to mention highlighting all of those signs of, erm, wisdom you’d rather hide and giving you the skin tone of a vampire or Oompa Loompa (or something in-between).

Below I’m breaking down the different kinds of bases you’ll find in stores so you can make an educated decision on which is best for you and your lifestyle. I talk more about my favourite brands in the free #READYINTEN course and the private Facebook group, so be sure to sign up for those if you want to dig deeper!

High or Full Coverage Foundation

As the name suggests, this stuff is designed to cover everything from spots to freckles, discolouration and more. The downside is it can look heavy and unnatural in real life situations (on camera it can be a godsend) and for those of us with particularly sensitive or acne-prone skin, the lack of “breathability” might be an issue too. I’ve also found that the older I get, the more obvious heavy foundation looks on my skin, so I try to apply mine with a light touch and only for special events or video shoots.

TIP: If you already have some high coverage foundation in the right colour and don’t want to waste it, try diluting it by mixing 1 part foundation to 1 part moisturiser (or moisturising primer) next time you do your makeup.

Medium or Buildable Coverage Foundation

This is a nice compromise if you like a fair amount of coverage but want more control over exactly how much. Medium coverage foundation is more likely going to allow your freckles to show through, but will hide redness and discolouration. Often we’ll have an area of our face that requires more coverage, so you can apply extra product here and use a smaller amount on the areas that don’t need much help (for instance, I tend to use the least amount of product on my forehead followed by my cheeks, but my chin, nose and eyes I need more).

Sheer or Light Coverage Foundation

Designed to give you a translucent layer of coverage, this is perfect for evening out skin tone in a really natural way. It won’t cover any pigmentation or extreme redness, but it will help you to look fresh & dewy and is a lovely everyday foundation, especially if you have fine lines you don’t want to exaggerate by wearing a heavy base. To solve the issue of discolouration, you could use a green pigmented colour correcting product, for under-eye circles, a brightening concealer, and for temporary spots, I like to use a matte solid concealer as it looks the most natural and helps to hide bumps (where light reflecting products make them more obvious).

BB & CC Creams

While they’re not quite the same thing, BB (standing for “Beauty Balm”) & CC (“Colour Correcting”) Creams are fairly similar and are simply a lighter option to a foundation, often featuring some extra ingredients that promise to help with dryness or spots. You will generally find these have a level of SPF coverage in them (although as per most base products, not enough that you can skip the sunscreen) and the finish is often dewy and moisturising. If you’re a low-maintenance kinda gal, using one of these with a tiny bit of cream blush & a splash-proof mascara is the perfect formula for a 5 minute “no-makeup-makeup” look.

Tinted Moisturisers

The lightest of the bunch, a tinted moisturiser is simply moisturiser with a hint of colour. If you’re not worried about coverage, these are fine to use, but I’d still start with a standard moisturiser with natural ingredients (I personally love Sukin) as there’s a good chance the moisturising properties have been compromised due to the extra colour that’s been added to the formula. That said, it doesn’t hurt to keep one of these in your gym bag if you want to slap something on after a workout so you don’t have to run errands with a naked face on your way home.

Other foundation options

Mineral Foundation

Technically, most makeup could be classed as “mineral” makeup, since the majority of ingredients are from minerals, however true mineral makeup is free from the nasty additives that can be harmful to your skin and body. Because of the lack of those ingredients (parabens, fragrance, talc, preservatives, oil, other harsh chemicals), mineral makeup is a safer choice for sensitive and break-out prone skin. Be sure to read the ingredients, however, as not all mineral makeups are created alike.

Powder Foundation

Some brands have loose and pressed powders classed as foundations as they are pigmented and provide real coverage. They can double as setting powders (handy if you don’t have enough coverage in your liquid foundation) and are perfect in your handbag touch-up kit. My all-time favourite is the LEESA BARR Multi-Tasking Pressed Powder Foundation (Australia only), followed by Kat Von D’s Lock-It Powder Foundation & MAC’s Studio Fix Powder Foundation. Be sure to start by moisturising and priming and really work them into the skin so they don’t end up with a powdery finish.

What’s your go-to base product? Let me know in the comments below!


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