The Base Basics

A great base is essential for a polished make-up look. Foundation comes in endless forms, textures and shades. So how do you choose the right one for you? Take into consideration the following:

Skin Type

Different skin types may suit different formulations, for example a creamy liquid foundation would work well on a dry skin, while a powdery compact foundation would better suit an oily skin.

  • For dry skin, opt for liquids and creams.
  • Normal skin will be able to handle most different foundations.
  • Combination skin will benefit from lighter textures like liquids and powders.
  • Oily skin is best suited to mattifying formulas, and powder foundations.


Before you go out searching for your perfect foundation, think about what kind of coverage you like. Do you wear a full face of make up every day? Or do you favour a natural look? Some products will be a lot heavier than others, so be aware of this when purchasing. Many modern foundations are versatile, and coverage can be built up in layers.

  • BB and CC creams and tinted moisturisers offer light, natural cover.
  • Mineral powder foundations offer light to medium buildable coverage.
  • Liquid foundations are usually medium coverage, and can be made sheer with the application of a dewy primer or moisturiser prior to application.
  • Powder foundations tend to be medium to high coverage, depending on application.
  • Compact cream foundations are medium to high coverage.
  • Cream foundations are also medium to high coverage.

All liquid and cream foundation coverage can be adapted with application; try buffing your foundation on with a stippling brush to create a super flawless, natural finish.



Post-application, the overall look is called the finish. The latest trends are seeing a super fresh, natural skin finish coming through, with lots of highlights. Finish can be adapted; using a loose translucent powder through the t-zone will keep it matte, while allowing for more of a dewy look on the rest of the face. It comes down to personal preference.

  • A matte finish is totally shine-free, and gives a velvety look.
  • A satin finish is natural; not too shiny, and not too matte.
  • A dewy finish is fresh and moist looking.



Perhaps the most vital part of choosing a foundation is the colour.

If you can afford it, it's a great idea to purchase two shades; one light and one slightly darker. Through winter the complexion may be lighter, and the during summer the darker shade can be blended in to the lighter one for the perfect match. If you self-tan, you will definitely need a darker option for the face after you've applied your tan.

In general, most women will suit a yellow based foundation, not a pink based one. Yellow based foundations are great as they tone down any natural redness in the face.

Top Tips for choosing your perfect foundation

  • Go out shopping with a bare face so you can try the product on your skin. Test a foundation on your jawline (not your hand). If the colour disappears into the skin, then you know you have a good match. It should blend into the skin on your face and neck. The neck may be lighter in tone; a bronzing powder is a great tool to marry up the face and neck.
  • Visit a specialised make-up counter like Bobbi Brown, MAC, Benefit or Phoenix cosmetics. The make-up artists on counter will be able to point you in the right direction, and help with shade selection.
  • Check the colour on your skin in natural lighting. Bring a small mirror or compact with you and check the foundation outside in daylight. If it matches your skin tone in natural light, it will look perfect in any other lighting. Some lighting in stores is dim, and your product may look completely different once you take it home.
  • If possible, book a makeover at a cosmetics counter (they will usually do these redeemable on purchase). This way you can see what the foundation will look like on, and what it will feel like on your skin.
  • Go out with plenty of time to spare, and be prepared to test a few different brands before finding your perfect product. Ask for a take home sample if you're not sure about a product.

Application tips

  • Your skin is a canvas; the better it is, the better your foundation will look. Careful cleansing, toning and moisturising all help application. Wait 15 to 20 minutes after moisturising before applying make up.
  • PRIME. There are many fabulous primers out there, and if your budget allows it, use one of these little beauties before applying your foundation. Primers work by creating a smooth base for the foundation to be applied on. Some primers also work to keep your make up on for longer (a must on special occasions like weddings).
  • Treat yourself to a foundation brush. Although sponges and fingers work well for applying make up, a foundation brush makes application super easy and fast. Pour a little bit of your foundation on the back of your hand, and pick up a small amount with your brush. Start in the middle of your face and blend out. Use fingers to pat over and finish areas like under the eyes and around the nose. Not only will using a brush save you time, it will also save you money. You will use much less of your product this way.
  • You don't need to cover your entire face. Just use foundation where you need it, or apply a light layer all over and blend it out. You can always add more product, or pat on a concealer over areas that require extra coverage.
  • Double check. If possible, apply your foundation in natural light next to a window, and always check that you have blended thoroughly. Tricky areas like the hairline and the jawline can always benefit from a little extra blending.