Choosing a Foundation

Choosing a foundation

Choosing a foundation can be one of the most daunting events ever and is one of the questions I get asked most about from my followers and friends. This post will help you choose a suitable foundation for your skin and provide some suggestions for foundations I have tried and recommend. I have dry skin that often becomes combination in the summer. So, I can recommend products for these skin types. The other skin types I have researched and asked friends for their recommendations.

If you are looking for a high end more expensive type of foundation you can always visit the makeup counters in department stores and ask for their advice and get a sample to take away and try. BUT for most people who are just looking for an everyday foundation that is not too expensive, you more than likely will visit your local chemist or drugstore and be overwhelmed with a huge selection of foundations. Each one promises a different amazing ‘selling point’ and a wide range of shades, so where do you start?!


What Type of Foundation is Best for Me?

Choosing a Foundation

There are lots of types of foundations on the market: Liquid, Powder, Gel and Cream tend to be the most popular.

You firstly have to identify what skin type you are. My post Skin Care Basics & Skin Types will help if you are unsure of your skin type as it goes in to more detail. The main skin types are: Normal, Oily (either oily all over or just in the T-Zone), Dry (dry patches and skin can feel tight), Sensitive (easily irritated and often red), Combination (a mix of oily and dry patches) and Mature (skin can be quite dry with fine lines and wrinkles). Certain foundation types suit the different skin types.

Liquid foundations are quite runny in texture and absorb into the skin when applied. They can be applied by sponge, brush or your fingers and are best buffered into the skin. They are suitable for all skin types and come in a variety of finishes such as matte, dewy, glowing etc. The key thing is to pick a finish to suit your skin type. For oily skin choose a matte finish. For dry skin, you want to look for one that has a dewy, luminous or glowy finish.

Powder finish foundation are great for quick makeup and can be applied using a brush or powder puff. They help mattify the skin and people with really oily skin can use a powder foundation on top of their liquid foundation to help keep it matte. Powder foundation is good for using as a touch up throughout the day. It is not really suitable for dry skin as can dry the skin out.

Cream finish foundation has a much denser texture and is not as runny as liquid foundation. Can be applied with a brush or a damp sponge works great. They provide more moisture to the skin so good for dry or mature skin.

Oily skin:

A matifying liquid foundation is good for oily skin topped with a pressed powder.  People with oily skin tend to opt for a long-lasting medium to heavy coverage foundation. I would also recommend applying a primer for oily skin before your foundation. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant pore eraser primer is fantastic.


  • Maybelline Fit me Matte Foundation
  • L’Oreal Infallible 24H Pro-Matte Foundation (read full review here)
  • Revlon Coulourstay Makeup for oily skin
  • Nivea BB Cream


  • Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation – The lighter version is great if you like a lighter finish (read full review here)
  • MAC Studio Fix foundation
  • Clinique Stay-Matte Oil Free makeup
  • Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation
Normal Skin:

You have a lot more choice as you can pretty much go for any depending on what type of finish you like.



Dry Skin:

Dry skin works best with hydrating foundations that help nourish the skin. You may try a cream finish for a heavier coverage.


  • Rimmel Wake me Up Foundation
  • Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation for a heavier finish
  • Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum for a lighter finish (read full review here)


Combination Skin:

This type of skin can be hard to choose foundation for. You may find it better to apply two foundations, an oily one in your T-zone and one for dry skin in drier areas. Be careful that the shades match though.


  • Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation
  • Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Combination Skin
  • Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation


  • Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
  • Clinique Even Better Makeup
Mature Skin:

Mature skin tends to be quite dry with fins lines and dark circles. So, you tend to want a hydrating foundation that has anti-ageing qualities.


  • Avon true Colour Flawless Liquid Foundation
  • Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
  • Neutrogena Halthy Skin Anti-aging Perfector
  • Rimmel Fresher Skin Foundation (read full review here)


  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation
  • YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint Foundation
  • Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus All-smooth Makeup



Choosing a Foundation

Picking a shade is so hard as there are so many and each brand has a complete different colour system. When choosing a high-end foundation, I would always recommend you go to the counter and get the assistant to choose your shade. In a drugstore however, you have to choose for yourself.

Firstly, you need to work out your undertone. There are 3 undertones: Cool, Warm and Neutral. You can work out your undertone by looking at the colour of your veins on your wrist and considering how jewellery looks against your skin:

Cool: Pale, light tone. Undertones are pink or blue red colour. Silver jewellery looks best on your skin and your veins appear blue/purple.

Warm: Often darker skin, undertones tend to be yellow. Gold Jewellery suits your skin better and your veins look green.

Neutral: Neither pink or yellow undertone. Bothe silver and hold look equally good on your skin. You cannot really tell whether your veins are blue or green.

Some foundation brands are helpful and their colours/shades are split into W, C or N. Which is a great help. Once you have worked out the type of foundation you want, do a bit of online research. Rimmel and other similar brands have great charts online where you can see which shades suit which undertones, so when you go to the shop that narrows down the most suited shades for you. If you have paler skin you will often find ivory and lighter shades are for cool pink undertones. So, can start with them. I have warm yellow undertones to my skin. I tend to go for a medium, beige colour. All brands tend to have a beige colour so I work it from there and try a couple of shades either side of it until I get the right one.

When you have worked out your undertone, look for the shade nearest your skin colour. Use one of the samples and blend a bit on your jawline. Never select from the colour it looks in the bottle as this is not always a true indication of the colour inside. Test three of the nearest looking shades on your skin until you see the best match. Then look at it outside too as it may look darker when in natural light. It is also helpful to leave it for an hour or so to see if it oxidises. Some foundations go darker after they have been on the skin for a while.

I hope you found this post helpful. Over time you will start to work out the correct type of foundation that works for you and roughly the best shade for your skin. Then it becomes easier when you go foundation shopping. You will know instantly if the foundation is going to suit you. I know if I see an advert for a fabulous new matte foundation that it will not suit my dry skin so don’t bother looking at it. However, if it says a new hydrating dewy foundation that it is worth me trying it.

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Thanks for reading!




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