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Make Up Basics: Foundation

Foundation is pretty much something that is in everyone's make up collection.  There are so many choices and formulations out there when it comes to foundation.  Here are most of it:


Foundations with a watery texture are of course known as liquid foundations.  Some may have a thicker consistency and therefore aren't as runny as others.  There are different formulations of liquid foundation that are suitable for either Combination/Oily skins or Normal/Dry skins.  This is generally the most widely available type of foundation in the market.  Packaging for these types of foundation ranges from bottles with (or without pumps) to squeeze tubes.  The actual coverage provided by these types of foundations vary and depend on the product itself.  Normally you can expect a medium coverage and the either a satin/dewy or matte/powder finish.


Cream foundations are most suitable for dry skin types.  However, for normal to oily/combination skin types, it is best to wear it on top of an oil control base/primer and to set it after with a translucent or oil absorbing powder to avoid looking greasy throughout the day.  If you'll be in an air conditioned room/area chances are shine will be minimal.  This type of foundation is very easy to apply and blend due to it's creamy consistency.  You can expect medium to full coverage.


Gel or mousse formulations offer medium to full coverage as well and are generally of a thicker consistency than liquid foundations.  The product itself when applied does not feel thick or heavy on skin.  Gel foundations can be either water or silicone based depending on the brand's formulation. As for mousse textures, the finish is usually more of a satin or dewy sheen.


Mineral foundations are becoming increasingly popular these days especially because of it's natural/mineral ingredients.  These are available in various forms (i.e. loose powder, pressed, liquid) and usually offers sheer/light coverage.  Since these types of foundations are less chemically laden, it is suitable for sensitive skin types as well as all other skin types.  Due to its mineral properties, you can expect a soft sheen finish when applied and buffed onto skin.


Another widely available type of foundation is powder foundation or sometimes labelled as "2-way cake/foundation".  Some of these foundations are formulated to complement it's liquid counterparts either as a foundation on it's own or to add coverage.  These are in pressed form and vary in finishes based on the product formulation.


If you don't need the extra coverage but something that can even out your skin tone, tinted moisturizers can be a safe bet.  Alternatively, you can mix a little bit of your liquid foundation with your regular moisturizer to make your own tinted moisturizer.


Largely popular in Asia and has now made it's way to western shores, BB creams are a cross between tinted moisturizers and liquid foundation (although there are now BB creams in pressed powder form).  These types of products offer light to medium coverage depending on the formulation and offer a host of skin treating properties as well.  Prolonged use of these creams are said to improve skin texture, radiance, redness, lines, tone and helps retain skin moisture.  There are so many types of BB creams available in the market offering different benefits so choose one that is closest to your needs.  Often these products comes with some sun protection as well.


It is very important to select the shade of foundation that matches your skin the best.  It shouldn't be a shade lighter or darker.  Here are some simple guidelines on identifying your shade:

  • Swipe the shade that you feel matches you best on your jaw line.  Then try the shade lighter and darker on your jaw line just to be sure.
  • The one that blends effortlessly into your face and neck's skin tones is your shade.
  • For powder form foundations, try getting a shade lighter if you have combination/oily skin since the color will oxidize throughout the day and appear darker.
  • Choose a formulation that works best for your skin type (Normal/Dry/Combination/Oily/Sensitive).


  • Brush : Use a make up brush that works best for you be it a regular filbert, duo fibre, flat top kabuki, paddle or regular kabuki brush.  Suitable for all foundation types.
  • Clean fingers : The warmth of your fingertips will help the foundation to melt a bit and glide on smoother and blend quicker.  Suitable for applying liquid, gel, tinted moisturizers and BB creams.
  • Sponge/Beauty Blender : Dampen the sponge, squeeze out any excess water and pick up some of the foundation and apply to face and blend. Suitable to use with most foundation types.

A general tip when applying foundation is to work from the center outwards.  Dot the foundation on your forehead, the apples of your cheeks, tip of your nose and your chin.  For formulations that tend to dry quickly when applied, work in small sections of your face to ensure the product is properly blended. Don't forget to blend the foundation into your hairline, towards your ears and into your neck for a more natural finish.

It is not necessary to apply foundation on your entire face on a daily basis if your skin is in fairly good condition.  Apply only on areas you want more coverage on and blend out.  Personally, I apply my foundation on the apples of my cheeks, nose and above my brows to even out my skin tone and diminish any redness and blend the foundation outwards.  For tinted moisturizers, I just apply it liberally all over my face since it has SPF in it.


  • Setting your liquid/cream/gel/mousse foundation with a pressed powder or a powder foundation provides additional coverage.  However, don't cake on too much to avoid any patchiness throughout the day.
  • Setting your liquid/cream/gel/mousse foundation with a translucent powder helps absorb any excess oil and ensures your foundation stays at it's best as the day progresses.  To avoid looking too powdery, lightly sweep a clean powder brush on your face 5-10 minutes after the powder to remove any excess.
  • Mineral foundations don't necessarily require setting because the product is buffed directly onto skin.  That said, if you like, sweep a light setting powder such as a mineral veil after your foundation for an added glow.

Foundation is normally applied before eye make up is done but if your eye make up is prone to fall outs or if you're doing a dark eye look, I'd suggest to do your eye make up first and then foundation.  This way, you can easily dust off the fallouts and clean up any dull edges without having to worry about ruining your foundation.

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