Choosing the right foundation for your skin type is like shopping for the perfect pair of So Kate nude pumps. Before splurging, you give them a test run to ensure they fit, feel comfortable (well, comfy enough) and work with your skin tone. The same goes for foundation. We look for the one that’s just right in terms of coverage and color matching. But, do you also test for finish and texture? Do you know when to use liquid or powder? And what are the best ways to apply each? Read on for the answers.
While liquid foundation is not exactly a one-size-fits-all, it does work for just about every skin type. That all depends on the ‘finish’ you’re looking to achieve—lightweight to full coverage and dewy to matte. Whether you have dry, oily, normal or sensitive skin, liquid foundation works to conceal imperfections and create a clean slate for the rest of your makeup application.
If you prefer heavier coverage, look for a liquid or cream formula that offers full-coverage, while a lightweight or weightless formula will provide a natural look and feel. If you want skin to look radiant and glowing, select a dewy finish foundation, while matte formulas will leave you with a porcelain finish and zero shine.
Those with oily skin should avoid dewy-finish foundation. However, you can still master a dewy glow with a light dusting of translucent powder to reduce shine.
There’s no one right way when it comes to liquid foundation—you can use your hands, a makeup sponge or a foundation brush.
When using hands, rub the product between your palms to emulsify it then press into skin for a natural, second-skin appearance. A damp sponge will also give off a natural, blended finish, while a brush allows for the application of fuller coverage—just be sure to blend!
Foundation Recommendations: Matte: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation, Dewy: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation, Full-Coverage: NYX Professional Makeup Invincible Fullest Coverage Foundation, Lightweight: Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup
As with liquid, powder foundations can have a variety of finishes as well, including sheer, lightweight, full coverage and even illuminating.
Loose powders come in jar form and are made from smaller, finer particles for a lightweight finish. Pressed powders, on the other hand, deliver more buildable coverage for a soft and smooth finish. Choosing one is based on preference and coverage needs, but both work to even out skin tone and absorb oil.
Those with severely dry skin should avoid powder foundation, as it will settle into areas of dryness or scaling, creating flakes and dry patches, which not only detracts from the overall makeup look but is (gasp!) aging as well.
A fluffy brush or makeup sponge is the traditional method used when applying powder foundation. A wet sponge will provide more coverage. If you want the finish to look more natural and glowy (the risk with powder formulas is that they can look cakey), spritz your skin or brush with a complexion prep spray beforehand.
Foundation Recommendations: Matte: NYX Professional Makeup Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation, Maybelline Dream Wonder Powder, Illuminating: Lancôme Ageless Minérale with White Sapphire Complex Foundation, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Compact
What type of foundation do you use for your skin type? Share your favorite formula in the comments below!
About the Author: Diana creates on-trend beauty content for Makeup.com readers. She stays up-to-date on the latest beauty news and product launches and tests every makeup item that comes through the door. As an employee of L’Oréal, Diana writes stories about beauty products across the entire brand portfolio.