If you've ever used makeup, or been around someone who uses makeup, you've obviously heard of the term ‘foundation’. A makeup staple that needs no introduction, foundations are, well, the literal foundations to your makeup. They say the complexion is one of the most important steps to getting your makeup right, and when it comes to foundation, we agree. But here's the thing about foundation makeup.
Whether you've been a makeup pro for what feels like eons, or are a newbie trying to navigate their way through the confusing, overpopulated-with-choice world of makeup products, you may not have stumbled across the right foundation yet. And that's perfectly fine! Personally, I never found the right foundation until 4 years after I started using makeup. Prior to that, my neck never matched my face, and I had an orange-y makeup base that could only be described as Oompa Loompa-esque. Makeup fails aside, though, if you've ever been in the same boat — or if you still are — we've got you covered. Consider this your intro to foundations, and here's your first lesson.
- What is foundation makeup?
- Different formulas of foundation
- 1. Liquid Foundation
- 2. Powder Foundation
- 3. Cream Foundation
- 4. Mousse Foundation
- 5. Serum Foundation
- Different foundation coverages
- Different foundation finishes
- How To Choose A Foundation For Indian Skin
- FAQs about foundation
What is foundation makeup?
Have you ever heard someone talk about building a house? And how they go on and on about how the base for it should be strong, or the whole house will topple over (or something less extreme)? Foundation is the same for makeup. The product lays the groundwork for all makeup looks. The right formula will help cover blemishes. The ideal coverage will even out your skin tone.
Wearing foundation makeup does, in fact, come with a lot of benefits. It can create an even complexion and cover up flaws, even making the skin look smoother and unblemished when used right. But with the wrong kind of foundation makeup, well, you can kiss dreams of a perfect, red-carpet-ready makeup look goodbye. And it's not like there's a one-size-fits-all policy for foundations either! So, how do you figure out what foundation is right for you?
We're not gonna lie, this one's going to need a little bit of self-awareness. Whether you've got oily skin or dry skin, sensitive or not, you need to have your skin type in mind when it comes to picking out your true match foundation. And while there are multiple ways to discern which foundation works for you, let's first look at the formulas to help you narrow down your search a little.
Different formulas of foundation
1. Liquid Foundation
It's in your mum's top drawer, it's in your grandma's cabinet, it might even be in your beauty bag. The obsession with liquid foundation is real! One of the most popular options for foundation, liquid foundation, is just, well, a foundation that has a liquid formula.
Available in oil-based and water-based formulas, the foundation caters to all skin types, although it's traditionally been the foundation of choice for people with dry skin.
2. Powder Foundation
To all my oily-skinned friends — you probably know the pros of powder foundation by now. Because powdered foundations are talc-based, they soak up extra oil that the skin secretes. But a warning! People with dry skin should avoid using this type of foundation since the powder isn’t able to fill in the lines and wrinkles, which are more visible on dry skin, and tends to flake and settle into the skin folds.
3. Cream Foundation
A long-lasting base for people with dry skin, the cream foundation is a savior through and through — especially the HD formulas. An HD cream foundation lasts up to 10 hours without creasing, and manages to keep your skin hydrated too. However, if you've got skin that's a little too on the dry side, make sure you moisturise before applying the foundation!
4. Mousse Foundation
We could go on for hours about the lightweight formula of a mousse foundation. Also called a whipped foundation, the formula contains microbubbles which make a foundation light to wear, and suitable for all skin types. What makes it a great pick over a cream foundation is that mousse foundations do not settle into the ridges and accentuate lines and wrinkles. However, they also don’t last as long as a cream foundation does, so there's that as well.
5. Serum Foundation
Yes, even though they're a little bit on the unheard side of things, serum foundations exist, and yes, they're pretty good. Perfect for women with oily skin, serum foundations have the lightness of a tinted moisturiser and the coverage of a foundation. With a silicone-based formula that makes them watery and thin, these foundations are easy to spread — but unfortunately, don't last as long as you might like.
While it may seem like you're already spoiled for choice, we're helping you narrow down your search even further. Ask yourself — what kind of coverage do I want with this foundation? Do I want to be camera-ready, or just wear something light for the day? Figuring out the kind of coverage you want can be a game-changer — if you're someone who's all about looking Instagram-ready all day, high coverage foundations can become ride-or-dies.
However, if you're looking for something a little au naturel, maybe opt for a light-to-medium coverage foundation? To make your choice a little clearer, here are the different kinds of foundation coverages you'll have to choose between.
Different foundation coverages
1. Sheer Coverage
If you're going for soft, ‘no makeup glam, a light or sheer coverage foundation can do wonders. It'll help even out your skin tone, but won't really hide or cover up imperfections. If you want a minimal, dewy look that's also buildable, opt for a sheer foundation.
2. Medium Coverage
Medium coverage is like the sweet spot between OTT and not enough foundation. Concealing some imperfections, while still managing to look like real skin, medium coverage foundations are ideal if you want to look date-night ready while still keeping it casual.
3. Full Coverage
If you've decided to go full-blown flawless with your foundation preferences, full coverage foundations are here to help! By hiding all imperfections, blemishes, and dark spots, full coverage foundations will leave you with a blank canvas that's spotlight-ready. If you need further proof, BTW, the right full-coverage formula can even hide tattoos!
Now that you've (hopefully) got your coverage down, there's only one thing left to do. No, not buy or apply the foundation. Figure out what kind of finish you want! The right kind of finish — especially based on your skin type — can make all the difference between how your final makeup look turns out. But we're here to help make the final decision for the kind of foundation you need.
Different foundation finishes
1. Natural Finish
Neither matte nor dewy, natural finishes are a popular choice because they most closely resemble your skin. Plus, they tend to work for most skin types and can be played around with. For instance, if your skin is generally on the normal side, you can opt for a natural finish. On days it feels drier, mix in a bit of moisturiser to add a more dewy finish to the foundation. Easy peasy!
2. Matte Finish
If you have oily skin, then you know the drill. You apply your longest-lasting foundation, wait an hour or two, and lo and behold, it’s all washed off. This is where a matte foundation comes to your rescue. A shine-free option that's revered by those with oily skin, matte foundations never go out of style.
3. Dewy Finish
Dewy foundations are great when you have dry skin that's in dire need of a radiance boost. They are generally enriched with hydrating ingredients and have brightening and evening qualities, thus giving the appearance of a glowing complexion.
How To Choose A Foundation For Indian Skin
We get this a lot, so we're going to answer this right here! First up, Indian skin is generally more warm-toned than cool-toned, so when you're choosing foundation makeup for Indian skin, always make sure that it's a little more yellow-toned than pink-toned. Secondly, match the foundation to your neck!
The skin on the neck gives a clearer picture of your overall colour, since some areas of the face may be more discoloured or pigmented than others –– this will help you ensure the right shade for you.
Finally, make sure that the shade you choose is your shade, and not two shades lighter or darker –– do an in-person trial, or check out samples to help with this. The rest of it of course, depends on your skin type, and the kind of coverage you're going for.
And remember — no matter what you pick, make sure it's the right combo for you! There's a bunch of different permutations and combinations you can make out of this list, but at the end of the day, makeup is all about having fun (and looking good, but that's secondary). Figure out what you love, what makes you feel good about yourself, and remember — your face is your canvas! Happy foundation-hunting!
FAQs about foundation
Q. Is foundation and concealer the same?
A. Simply put, no! Foundation is used to help you build a base for your makeup and help you get an even tone on your skin, while concealer is used to cover up dark circles, dark spots, and any imperfections on your skin. Foundation has different kinds of coverage, while concealers are generally high coverage and are more intense.
Q. What is the difference between foundation and makeup?
A. We know we used the term 'foundation makeup', but don't let that confuse you. Makeup includes all sorts of products ranging from eyeshadows to lipsticks to contour to highlighter that you use to 'make up' your face, while foundation itself is a type of makeup.
Q. Is it bad to wear foundation every day?
A. As long as you have a proper skincare routine in place, you're using a decent primer or moisturiser as a base, and you take it off every night before you go to sleep, no! It's completely okay to wear foundation makeup daily, but you should know exactly what you're putting on your face, and be mindful of taking it off too.
Q. What can be used instead of foundation?
A. If you aren't comfortable with wearing foundation, you can dip your toes in the realm of evening out your skin tone with CC creams, BB creams, or even tinted moisturisers that will give you a sheer coverage and feel near-weightless on your skin. Alternatively, you can also put concealer in areas with imperfections, and go bare-faced otherwise.
Q. Why is foundation used in makeup?
A. Foundation, as mentioned before, is used to build an even base for your makeup. Think of it as the building blocks to your makeup routine –– you need to have a strong base in order to have a good tower, right? The same way, your foundation helps you build an even base, takes care of your skin tone by making it one shade, and overall evening it out.
Written by Nishtha Bhalla on Oct 07, 2021
Nishtha is a freelance writer who loves all things beauty, fashion, culture, and lifestyle. With content covering a variety of topics, she brings a holistic, nuanced perspective to her writing. In her free time, she can be found watching reruns of The Office, reading anything she can get her hands on, and experimenting with astrology.