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Understanding The Differences Between Cosmetic Foundations And What Works Best For You

Updated on September 14, 2015

Foundation is something we turn to when we want full coverage. It is capable of evening out skin tone and creating a smoother skin texture. If you are an artist, you might refer to this as getting a great canvas. A lot of foundations today also have sunscreen in them, which is added protection.

I am going to list these in order from lightest to heaviest in coverage.

  • Crème to powder or powder foundations are also known as dual-finish or a one-step product because you virtually only have one step. This product combines the foundation application and the powder in one step. These are generally minimal coverage, but differ from brand to brand. This gives a natural effect to your face.

  • Liquid is actually the most common form of foundation and the most preferred. A reason for that is because it is sheer, easy to blend and gives a natural coverage. There are two different types of liquid foundation; water-based and oil-based. Water-based foundation is more for oily skin; and oil-based foundation is for dry skin.

  • Crème foundation has a thicker and heavier consistency, which is used when additional coverage is desired. These foundations, however, require more blending than liquid foundations. The heavier consistency is what plays a huge part in the difficulty of blending.

  • Pan-stick, pancake, or greasepaint are oil-based foundations. These are used when very heavy coverage is needed. These maximum coverage foundations can be applied either with a damp or dry sponge. This make-up is primarily used for photography and the theater. They are also used for camouflage purposes, such as with scars and birthmarks.

Applying light, sheer foundation allows you to add more later if desired. A heavy, matte foundation is more difficult to adjust once applied.

Foundation Vs Time of the Year

Just as you want to wear less in the summer and more in the winter, the same applies for make-up. When it is summer time you want to wear a foundation that is more sheer. When it is winter you want to wear a heavier foundation, which offered a higher degree of skin protection from the environment, as it moisturizes during those dry winter months.


Concealers are more so used for correcting a specific imperfection, rather than cover the whole face. It fixes problems such as:

  • Blemishes
  • Dark under-eye circles
  • Dilated Capillaries
  • Dark Shadowed areas

Coverage of these areas should be done light. If heavy coverage is added you could actually accentuate the area with the issue. Concealers come in crème, liquid, pot formulations and stick. Crème and liquid give light to medium coverage. Stick concealers provide medium to heavy coverage. While pot formulations are the heaviest coverage.

Selecting a Concealer

When selecting a concealer you need to remember your goal is to neutralize the undesired color rather than lighten it or cover it. When you want to neutralize a color you must use an appropriate complementary color. If you have under-eye circles or a dark area that is relatively blue or purple then you want to use a light peach tone to neutralize it.

Powder Foundations

The purpose of the powder foundation is to set the foundation, concealer or any other make-up products. This will prevent them from streaking or rubbing off. Powder also helps to reduce the appearance of shine on the skin. Many people apply powders after their foundation, but before blush or powder contouring products.


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