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  • Writer's pictureM. Bairnstock

The Foundation of Great Makeup: Choosing and Applying Your Base

Updated: Jun 13

young woman applying makeup foundation

Hey fabulous makeup lovers! Welcome back to our little corner of the internet where beauty magic happens! Today, we’re talking foundation - liquid, stick, cream, mineral - how to choose the best formula and how to apply it. Before we start, if you don't know which skin type you have, take a moment to check out our blog on how to identify your unique skin type. Once you know your skin type, choosing your ideal foundation formula will be a breeze!


First Things First: Know Your Foundation's Base Ingredient

Remember in chemistry class when we learned that oil and water are like cats and dogs feuding over territory? They will never mix together well! Well, this principle applies to your cosmetics too. Knowing whether your foundation is made with an oil, water, or silicone base is imperative to ensure that you don't mix different formulas that may repel each other. Choose one formula, and stick with it for all the products you're using.

There are different benefits that can be attained from these various ingredients, which will influence which type of foundation formula you choose:

Water-Based Wonders

Perfect for oily or acne-prone skin, water-based foundations are lightweight and won’t clog your pores. They give you a fresh, natural look without that greasy aftermath.

Oil-Based Beauties

Got dry or aging skin? Oil-based foundations are your new BFF. They’re extra hydrating and provide a fresh finish that puts the moisture back where it's needed.

Silicone Slickers

Silicone-based foundations are great for all skin types and work wonders at filling in fine lines and wrinkles.

Woman with makeup and disco ball reflecting light

Second: Choose the Perfect Finish

Foundation finish is just as important as the formula. Here's a quick rundown of the main types:

Matte Finish

Matte foundations are ideal for oily skin types as they help control shine. They offer a flat, shine-free finish and are perfect for creating a flawless look.

Dewy Finish

Dewy foundations give your skin a hydrated, luminous glow, making them great for dry skin. They leave you looking fresh and radiant. Just be sure to exfoliate before applying; noone wants attention drawn to dry, flaking skin.

Satin Finish

A satin finish is the middle ground between matte and dewy. It gives your skin a soft, natural sheen, suitable for most skin types.


Thirdly: Choose Your Foundation Formula

Liquid Foundations: The Smooth Operators

Liquid foundations are like the Swiss Army knives of makeup – versatile and ready for anything. They come in a range of coverage options from a super sheer BB cream to a light or medium coverage. It's generally difficult to get a heavy coverage from a liquid foundation. So, if you like a fuller coverage, this may not be the best option for you.

Application Tips:

  • Brush: Use a foundation brush for a flawless, airbrushed look.

  • Sponge: A damp beauty sponge can give you a seamless blend.

foundation makeup in tube squeezed onto finger

Crème Foundations: The Coverage Kings

Crème foundations are one answer to those “I need more coverage” days, without going over the top. They’re thicker than liquid foundations and offer a fuller coverage, making them ideal for hiding blemishes, scars, and uneven skin tone.

Application Tips:

  • Sponge: Use a damp sponge to apply crème foundation for a perfect finish.

  • Fingers: Your fingers are great for applying crème foundation because the warmth helps blend it seamlessly into your skin.

woman applying foundation makeup with fingers

Stick Foundations: The Heavy Duty Heroes

These foundations are the overachievers of the makeup world. Stick foundations are heavily pigmented and can cover anything! They are often used as stage makeup as they hold tight and go the distance.

Application Tips:

  • Sponge: For stick foundations, you can sheer them out by using a small amount of product and a wet sponge. Otherwise, for a heavier finish, apply the product directly with your sponge.

Pro Tip: Sticks are perfect for contouring too! Use a darker shade to define your cheekbones, jawline, and nose.

woman applying stick foundation

Mineral Foundations: The Natural Beauties

Mineral foundations are the health nuts of the makeup aisle. Made from finely ground minerals, they’re great for sensitive skin and provide a natural, radiant finish. Plus, they’re usually free from harsh chemicals, dyes, and preservatives. Be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure no chemical fillers have been used.

Application Tips:

  • Kabuki Brush: This flat bottomed brush is your best friend for mineral foundations. Swirl it in the powder, tap off the excess, tap the flat bottom on a table top to disperse the product throughout the brush, then buff onto your skin in circular motions.

mineral makeup pots with kabuki brush

Fourthly: Learn Foundation Application 101 - The Basics

No matter which foundation you choose, the application is key to achieving that flawless finish. Here are some universal tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose the Perfect Colour Match: This is a whole science in itself! Because there is so much to learn we have created a separate blog post on choosing the right foundation colour.

  • Start Small: Begin with a small amount of foundation and build up as needed. It’s easier to add more than to remove excess.

  • Blend Downwards: Always blend in a downwards motion to lay any facial hairs flat.

  • Avoid Eyebrows and Hairline: Be cautious around these areas to avoid makeup catching in hairs.

  • Jawline and Neck: Don’t forget to blend over your jawline and down your neck. You might not see it in the mirror, but trust us, others will!

woman applying concealer under eyes at makeup table

Next: Hold Your Base in Place All Day Long with Concealer and Setting Powder

While this post is all about foundation, we can’t ignore the importance of concealer and setting powder in your routine. Remember to ensure your concealer matches the foundations base ingredient: oil, water or silicone. After applying your foundation:

  • Apply Concealer: Use it to cover any remaining blemishes or under-eye circles. Check out dedicated blog on how to choose and apply concealer correctly.

  • Apply Setting Powder: Lightly dust with setting powder to lock your foundation in place and control shine.

Stay tuned for a more detailed blog post on powders coming soon!


And Finally... Admire Your Perfect Base in the Mirror

And there you have it, beautiful people – the ultimate guide to foundation types and application tips. If you found this guide helpful, don’t forget to check out my detailed guide on skincare for your personal skin type.

Until next time, keep glowing and stay fabulous!

Feel free to share your thoughts or any foundation tips you swear by in the comments. Happy blending!


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