Guide to Choosing the Perfect Foundation

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With so many foundations on the market it can be hard to find the one that’s perfect for you.  It can be even more difficult when you don’t know what properties to look for. Here are the things you should consider when choosing the perfect foundation.


Learning your skin type is a good place to start when considering the formula you want to look for in a foundation. Whatever formula you choose should counteract your skin type to allow for easy application. Someone with oily skin should choose a foundation that is oil free. They are usually water based, so if it doesn’t tell you on the bottle check the ingredients to see if water is the first ingredient. Someone with dry skin wants to opt for something that is moisturising. In this case you want a foundation with oils in it. Liquid foundations come in both oil and oil free formulas. Creme foundations are more likely to be oil based and powder foundations will be oil free.

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This is the way the foundation will look on your skin. A ‘dewy’ finish is one that looks youthful and fresh. This finish looks good on mature or dry skin. A ‘matte’ finishes is soft and shine free. This finish suits oily skin and is long lasting. A ‘satin’ finish is somewhere in between matte and dewy. However, you can alter the final finish of your foundation using setting powders and finishing sprays. So, someone with oily skin could get a dewy finish by using a matte foundation and a dewy finishing spray and someone with dry skin could get a matte finish by using a dewy foundation and a mattifying finishing powder. It sounds more confusing than it is, I promise! You want the formula to suit your skin type but you can play around with finishes to your personal preference.



Undertones are the base colours in your skin. They can be cool toned, warm toned or neutral. Cool tones are red and pink undertones, whilst warm undertones are yellow and golden undertones. Neutral is a mix of both e.g. olive undertones. Finding a foundation that matches your undertones will help you get the perfect colour match.  A quick test for undertones is to look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they look blue then your undertones are cool toned, if they look greenish, you are warm toned. I always suggest when colour matching foundation to get samples of a few shades before you commit to one. If a shop has testers test a small patch and go shopping. Check your little test patch throughout your shopping trip and then go for the one that matches the closest.




This is literally how much the foundation will cover. It helps to think of it in terms of blemishes. What do you want the foundation to cover? Light/sheer coverage doesn’t cover very much. I recommend this for people with almost perfectly clear skin. A light coverage will also work for someone who doesn’t want to wear a lot of product, as they are usually lightweight. Heavy/full coverage will cover everything. This may be preferable for someone with lots of scarring and imperfections. Using a high coverage foundation means you don’t have to wear so much product and helps you avoid looking cakey whilst still covering everything. Medium coverage is somewhere in between. This is a popular choice in coverage as it is usually buildable. That means that it can be applied in layers to make it more full coverage. This is useful for someone who’s skin goes through phases of being clear and then phases of breaking out, or for someone who has mild imperfections.

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It may feel like a lot to remember and truthfully it is, but once you find the perfect foundation it is worth it. A good foundation gives a good base for any look. If you’re still finding it difficult to figure out what you’re looking for I suggest having a look on YouTube for foundation reviews. Search for things like ‘foundation for oily skin’ and start from there. Alternatively ask for help at a makeup counter. You don’t have to buy their products, just ask for advice.

Amara Lawrence