Friday, 2 January 2015

Beauty 101 | Foundation, Chosing the Right Shade, Formula, Primers and Application

Hello everyone and happy new year! Today I am talking about foundation, and how to chose the perfect one for your skin tone, type and budget. Getting foundation right is a very difficult task, does it look right in different lightings? Are you undertones correct for your skin? Should a primer be used? What type of foundation will be best for my skin type? etc etc! I still don't think I've found the perfect foundation for myself, but I've tried enough out to know what works best for me and what doesn't, and which suits my skin types the best. Carry on reading to enjoy my guide to chosing the right foundation, with a few recommendations thrown in there too...


First of all, we need to look at the type of skin we have and then figure out how different types and formulas of foundation will be suited to out skin. The most common skin types are: Dry, Normal, Combination and Oily.

Figuring out your skin type can be difficult, most foundation counters are able to help you out with what type of skin you have - but the truth is, no one knows your skin better than yourself. If you are prone to any skin conditions, its best to have a skin consultant appointment or visit your local doctors. I've had mild eczema from a young age, so looking after my skin has always been important to me. I would say up until about age 17, I suffered badly with dry skin on my face. 

My skin type would be defined as 'dry to normal' falling in between the two. Its also important to remember that different parts of your body have different skin types, for example my legs are 'normal skin type' and my upper body especially my arms are very dry so would definitely fall into the 'dry skin type' category. When finding the perfect foundation, always use the skin type your face has to figure out which is going to suit you the best.


BB Creams

It is actually argued that BB creams are best suited to younger and oily skin types and not recommended for those with dry/normal skin. But I actually think BB cream can work for anyone, the beauty of the 'Blemish Balm' is that its light coverage gives just enough to complete a makeup look without looking too heavy on your face. I definitely need to use more BB creams, as my foundation often is too heavy for certain occasions (e.g. school). I think every needs a BB cream in their life for those occasions which aren't too special but you still want to look your best. 

Many BB creams also have SPF in which protect you from sun damage, preventing aging and creases appearing on your face. Although, you do have to be careful about wearing SPF based products if you're going to be photographed. Products containing SPF often give flashback in photos making your face appear whiter than the rest of your body and often making your makeup looking, well, not good!
My favourite BB Cream is actually one I got in my goody bag from the Blog Yorkshire event last July. The 'Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream' is really light coverage and adapts to different skin tones well picking up the natural undertones on your face. It also contains SPF 30 so is perfect for summer, and will be a godsend when I visit Florida next August.

CC Creams

CC Creams are what are known as 'Colour Correcting' creams. I've never actually used a CC cream properly, I've tried a few but I've always been one for using different concealers and brightening products to alter the different tones on my face. Like BB creams, CC creams are aimed to protect skin for sun damage and provide a moisturising experience at the same time. I would recommend CC creams to oily, normal and mildly dry skin types because applying something colour correcting in liquid formula can appear flaky and patchy on very dry skin. 

I wouldn't agree a CC cream alone would hydrate skin, I am a firm believer in a good moisturiser used every time before applying your choice of base. From the drugstore I've tried L'oreal's 'Nude Magique CC Cream', which worked fine for me (dry to normal skin type) and its well known that L'oreal's face products are highly spoken of.

Tinted Moisturiser

Personally, I'm not a fan of tinted moisturiser. I've tried a few and even No.7's famous tinted moisturiser didn't work for me. I think its the fact that having dry skin is difficult to work with when it comes to face products, and with the product being highly based in moisturiser my skin just absorbs it instead of it staying put on my face. 

I would recommend using tinted moisturises however when you are false tanned, or have a natural tan as your skin pigmentation is a lot more even which makes it easier to apply and less visible to see any mishaps or sections where the product has been more absorbed than it should have.

Sheer Foundation

Sheer foundation is the foundation to go for if you want a really natural look that slightly hides imperfections and gives a nice glow to the face. This is probably one of the lowest coverage foundations to go for, and I would recommend this for those with clear skin (acne free) and not too dry or too oily. I would also recommend this to those who are older, such as women who are ageing because it does not sink into pores or lines within the face - therefore brightening and illuminating the face without appearing heavy/cakey.

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundation has been a firm favourite of mine since I started wearing makeup at the young age of 12. I've had my ups and downs and very bad makeup looks throughout my teenage years of learning about makeup. When I was 14, I used to get through a bottle of liquid foundation every week, I know - grim! Liquid foundation is a favourite because it is suitable for every skin type, you may think that oily skin wouldn't work with it but liquid foundation is perfect because it can be set by all different kinds of powders and work for your skin type.

Using a liquid foundation on dry skin acts moisturising but still gives a flawless coverage, and for those of you who have oily skin, you can pair it with a translucent setting powder so you aren't thickening the look of your base.

My favourite liquid foundations by high end: MAC Studio Sculpt, MAC Studio Fix Fluid & NARS Sheer Glow Foundation.

Mineral Foundation

Those allergic to makeup fear not, mineral foundation is perfect for those with sensitive skin, hence the name. I would recommend the brand 'Bare Minerals' for products with cater to those with allergic-prone skin. I wish they would make mineral false tan as I keep having problems in that department!

Cream Foundation

When I think of cream foundation it always reminds me of my Grandma as she always used to wear on by Max Factor. Cream foundation is suitable for those with dry, normal and combination skin but I definitely would not recommend it for those with an oily combination, purely because it will just slide around your face. 

I love cream foundations they work well with my dry/normal skin type and are high in coverage, not to mention how flawless they look on! My favourite has to be the Max Factor Miracle Touch Foundation, although it does run out fairly quickly.

Powder Foundation

Powder foundation is something I think really does not class as a foundation, I own the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation but I really just use it as a powder over my foundation if I want a really long lasting finish. I think powder foundations are good for holidays in extreme weathers and work nice with a tan. However they aren't great working alone on dry and dehydrated skins.


When it comes to using a primer, I think it really is down to individual choice and whether you think it makes a difference to your makeup. I am a huge fan of eyeshadow primers and I think many are brilliant and do actually work, however face primers I've never been quite sure.

I think primers are an excellent base as they lubricate your skin and make it a flawless base to apply foundation too, and if they improve the overall look of your makeup then why not? However do we splurge and spend loads of money on a beauty treatment that might possibly not work?

The trick with learning about primers is to get loads of different samples, high end and drugstore. I've tried the Benefit Porefessional which everyone seems to love and not found it that great. But I've also used the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser and absolutely loved it, unlike many - see review here.

I would say that primers in general work better on dry skin as they will lubricate and open up the tightness of your face ready to apply foundation, however Smashbox do a huge range of primers which cater for all different skin types and problem areas - if you're looking for an expensive high end primer to try then I would definitely have a look on their website.


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I would definitely say that foundation application is all down to the brush/applicator you are using. Here are my favourite brushes to use and which work best with different types of foundation.

BB / CC Cream & Tinted Moisturiser - I like to use my fingers best for BB/CC creams as they are light coverage foundations. Using a foundation brush, or a stippling brush for example would only thicken the base and defeat the object of using a light coverage product in the first place.

Mineral Foundation & Powder Foundation - For mineral and powder foundations I would suggest using powder brushes. I would use a large powder brush for the base of my face and then use a smaller powder brush such as the new 300 Tapered Blush brush from the Bold Metals collection by Real Techniques. Using powder brushes provides buildable coverage and enable you to achieve your desired look for your base.

Cream Foundation - The beauty blender and the Real Techniques Miracle Sponge are perfect applicators for cream foundations because they give a flawless and light finish without using too much of the product.

Sheer Foundation - I think stippling brushes are perfect for sheerer foundations as they don't pack the foundation on heavily but provide even coverage. Two perfect stippling brushes are the MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush and the Real Techniques Stippling Brush (a cheaper alternative).

Liquid Foundation - With liquid foundation, there are many different applicators which give a flawless base. It all depends on what you prefer to use and which liquid foundation you are using. I love to use the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush as it gives really high coverage and an even tone across the whole face, its also really soft and isn't bristly against your skin which is perfect for really buffing and blending the product in. The Beauty Blender and the Real Techniques Miracle Sponge are also great use with liquid foundations, along with the paintbrush style foundation brush which are both perfect for a flawless finish. 

Foundation is a hard thing to get right, I've tried many and loved them but I am always on the search for a newer and more flawless foundation. Hopefully my guide helped and will enable you to find your skin type and which type of foundation suits you the best.

Which are your favourite types of foundation? Do you have a favourite brand when it comes to base products? What's your favourite foundation applicator?

Happy New Year!
Katherine x