I always take foundation application for granted, not realising that though the 20 something years that I have been applying it I have gone though so many trial and error situations that I am only now really able to say that I am 100% comfortable with it. It is the base for your whole make up look. Regardless of whether your daily routine is only to use a bit of concealer here and there, a light tinted moisturiser, or what I like to call the ABC creams (BB, CC and yes, now an EE), or a “proper” foundation there are a few things that I can share with you. Little tips that will make choosing your foundation and the tools you use to apply it easier. This is by no means a super in depth foundation overview, I will try to keep it as uncomplicated and as usable for everyday foundation use as possible.
There are three basic things you need to know about foundation: coverage, finish and application. That is how simple I will keep it. I will cover coverage and finish in this post and I will cover application and my favorite tips and trick in a video. Oh yes, and I covered tools in a previous post.
Coverage tells you how much evening out of skin tone and how much cover your foundation will give you. When buying foundation this is something that you need to look, and ask for. Keeping in mind the ground rule of foundation application and that is that foundation is meant to even out the skin tone rather than do heavy camouflaging (that is what concealer is for), medium to light coverage is what I would recommend for every day use. If you want to go for high coverage then, to err on the safe side, apply a thin layer of high coverage foundation rather than layering on layer after layer of a medium coverage one. There are great medium coverage foundations that you can layer, but layering can be tricky, so just opt for a coverage that is appropriate to what you are trying to achieve.
When speaking of finish learn to read the bottle – you’ll find things like matte, luminous, silk, radiant, glow, long wearing (although this is technically not a finish). Speaking very broadly anything that is luminous, silk, radiant or glow is going to leave your skin with a more dewing finish, while anything that is matte, long wearing, or 24 hours is going to leave your skin, you guessed it, with a more matte finish. Overall I would say that finish is down to your own personal preference, but there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind, and the most important two of those are skin type and season.
If your skin is more on the oily side, or combination, dewy foundations are likely not to last as long as matte or semi matte ones. You may need to powder more often during the day, or if you are like me, you will be better off using them in the cooler months of the year, or in situations when you don’t need your foundation to last all day. There, I’ve covered both things in one sentence :).
Long wearing or matte foundations may be a bit more drying on dry skin, and if your skin is in need of tender love and care or is dehydrated it may not be your best choice because it tends to cling to dry patches. You can apply a moisturising primer underneath if that is your problem, but be careful that you don’t apply too much. If you have very dry skin but want a matte finish I have found that using a non matte foundation (so something more radiant) and then applying a light dusting of powder works better.
To give you a practical example, I have combination normal skin, oily t-zone with normal cheeks. I use a matte or long wearing light to medium coverage foundation in the summer, and a luminous, semi matte, light to medium coverage foundation in the winter. I powder both through my t-zone. I rarely opt for very glowy and moisturising foundations because I just feel they add to the overall shine and at best last me only a couple of hours.
I did a whole post on what tools to use when applying foundation, so you can read that post here. To add to what I have written, because I focused mostly on coverage in that post, here is my two cents on application with different types of foundation. Overall I think that using a wet Beauty Blender of Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is the most foolproof and will work well for beginners. It also works well for most foundation types regardless of coverage but is an absolute star for applying those long lasting, usually quick drying foundations.
A buffing brush is my second choice.