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How to Choose a Foundation that is Right for Your Skin

Updated on June 27, 2014


Hello my cake-face ladies! I'm joking about the cake part.

In this hub I will help you to find the perfect foundation for your skin type, colour and what will fit best on you. One foundation that is fine for someone may not be good on you, we all have different needs and we all require lighter or more powerful foundations.

What Skin Type do I have?

Your skin type is what type of skin you have, whether it is; oily, dry, normal or combination. It is very common to have combination skin which is a mixture of oily and dry, normal and dry or oily and normal. Combination skin doesn't mean pimples or blackheads. In the bottom section we will be covering the myths and facts of wearing foundation.

How to know if you have the normal skin type:

The normal skin type consists of skin that is neither dry or oily. The skin tends to be very smooth and less prone to blemishes than other skin types. Sometimes you may get a little dryness around certain times of the month and this is not caused by skin type, this is hormonal.

How to know if you have the oily skin type:

Oily skin is as it says on the tin. It is oily. Oily skin doesn't have any dryness and may only be moderately oily or severely oily. Most people with oily skin find they become shiny or appear to be sweating often with/without makeup on and often find their fringe or hairline around their face becomes very greasy very quickly. Oily skin can also be determined by having to blot the face, it feeling thick or slimy when bare with a baby wipe it continually shows yellow stuff on the skin even after makeup has been fully removed.

How to know if you have dry skin type:

Dry skin is just skin that can be dry, it may appear flaky, dull, caked or skin may appear slightly cracked or as though it is peeling, especially when cream, mousse or powder foundations are applied. Dry skin is also prone to breakouts, marking and roughness e.g. skin looks "fluffy" with flaking, bumpy or very uneven. Skin may not feel "dry" but you will see when you apply most types of foundation.

How to know if you have combination skin:

Combination skin is a combo of two or more skin types e.g. oily and dry, normal and oily, dry and normal, etc. Some areas of the skin e.g. the forehead, nose and apples of the cheeks may be very dry but other areas like the jawline may be normal or oily. You could have skin with a very oily t-zone and it's normal/dry everywhere else or you may have fluctuating skin that seems to change.

What foundation is best for which skin type?

Finding a foundation that is perfect for your skin can be a long and painful road. We have all bought a foundation that is advertised as flawless or perfect coverage and used it and we looked terrible, it happens.

Oily Skin:

Oily skin is best suited to a cream or mousse foundation. These are often air light and reasonably dry, but not to the point they will dry your skin out entirely. Before applying, wipe your skin over with a baby wipe, moisturise lightly and apply it carefully using a brush. You want to be sure to set your foundation heavily with a loose powder, this will help to soak up any oils, sweat, etc that will appear throughout the day. After applying one layer of powder, you can use your blush and powder or cover other areas again. You can also use mattifying powder to help take away shininess. Avoid: liquid foundation, it will make you oilier, sweaty and it may slip off of your skin.

Dry Skin:

Dry skin can be the hardest to cater for as most foundations on the market are not tailored to it. Dry skin requires liquid foundation, even if you have breakouts, you NEED to buy liquid. Cream, mousse and powder will suck all moisture from your skin giving it that dried out, flaky appearance. You may find you need a concealer as well as often liquids are not very heavy. Before applying, wash the face with a baby wipe, moisturise with a body lotion (think of the essentials one with the bird) and allow it to dry in. Apply foundation and then quickly apply a mattifying powder, this will help to smooth over liquid and cover your skin better. Avoid caking powder on too heavily, yes it will even out your foundation, but it may also sit on your dry skin making you look powdery or dry. AVOID: cream, mousse or lone powder foundation.

Normal Skin:

Normal skin can wear almost any foundation type, it can wear liquid, cream, mousse or powder with little problems. However, you still need to moisturise before applying your foundation and your powder to avoid dryness and aging. For you it is best to just try a few and use the one you like best.

Combination skin:

Combo oily-dry:

Oily/dry skin combo can be very hard. Your best choice is to either use two separate foundations or go for a liquid. There is usually a cause for combo oily/dry skin e.g. menstruation or fluctuating hormone levels, don't worry, this is common. You want to apply your liquid properly after washing the face and moisturising all areas, set it with a nice powder and use a mattify powder on the oily areas. Avoid: too much powder or a cream/mousse foundation on dry areas.

Combo normal/dry:

Normal-dry is best with liquid foundation and a setting powder. Normal/dry skin is mostly normal with some touchy dry areas that need a body lotion to moisturise. Avoid using cream foundation on this skin type as cream, mousse or pure powder will make it look dry all over and draw attention to your dry skin areas. Avoid: cream, lone powder or mousse.

Combo normal/oily:

For this skin type, you are best off with a mousse or a cream. These will help cover the skin without being too moist or too dry. Most mousse contains powder elements which can help to stop the grease in its tracks. Set with a layer of loose powder. Avoid: liquid foundation

How do I know what colour to get?

Foundation can be very tricky, especially for the lightest skin types as many brands don't cater to needs, this is also include within darker skin tones of a middle range, it can be hard to match.

You should really look in store at the makeup before purchasing as you can tell the pigments.

Blue veins on the inner wrist/arms with Light blue, dark blue, light grey or black eyes indicate a cool skin tone which means you should opt for colours that a blue-based, cooler, and do not contain "bronzing" agents. Mix the blue veins with the copper in the bronze and it will look murky and unnatural. Women of darker skin can also be a cool but it is less common.

Blue-Green veins on inner wrist and arms. You will have a little more gold pigment to the skin and green, blue-green or hazel eyes. This means you're neutral, you have a very light natural glow, you're more of a blonde, a caramel or a chocolate for hair than an ebony or a redhead. You should opt for a warmer foundation, but if you are pale don't go overboard. Pick out something that has slight bronzing agents or a more sandy, golden glow to it.

Green veins on inner wrists. You're more olive-toned with dark eyes, black eyes and you tan very quickly. Your skin is filled with red, gold and green pigments which means you should go for a slightly darker, warm foundation, think of thick and rich colours especially golden or copper tones, these will work best with your skin. You are a warm.

For exceptionally pale skin:

Ivory is often too dark for us ladies with very white skin so look for brands that make a "porcelain" ivory or a "004-001 rather than a 010 or just plain Ivory, the pigments are too thick and heavy. There are lots of brands that make them. You can always set with a very light powder or a matify which can help. Don't go darker because it won't match and it will dull down the skin tone (see cool-toned because this is most likely what you are) and you will be the least versatile for foundation colours, and your skin less forgiving if the colour is even a little wrong.

The Myths and Facts of Foundation.

MYTH: Foundation gives you pimples/acne.

FACT: Foundation will only give you blemishes if you are using one that is too suffocating for your skin, you are allergic or you do not wash the face correctly at least once a day. It is scientifically proven that makeup, when used correctly, will not cause spots.

MYTH: Foundation is only needed if you have bad skin.

FACT: Foundation is made for everyone to disguise blemishes from pimples to freckles and can be worn on any skin tone/type, it is also used to even out skin tone and make you glow.

MYTH: Foundation causes early aging.

FACT: Foundation itself does not age the skin, lack of care, too much sunlight and ill treatment of the skin will cause premature aging.

MYTH: Some skin types/colours just aren't meant to have foundation.

FACT: There are foundations catered to ALL skin tones and types, it's purely a game of hit and miss until you find the right one and apply it correctly.


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