Product Series: Foundations

by Sarah

Hi beauties! Having started a new year, I thought what better way to continue our Product Series than with flawless skin; and hence Foundations. There’s so much to cover (no pun intended) so lets jump right into it, including some of my favorite tried and tested foundations…

Product Series: Foundations

Product Series: Foundations


Foundations are designed to provide coverage over the skin to help achieve a smooth and even skin tone and balance any problem areas or color variations. Over the years, the technology used in creating foundations have evolved so much that there are hundreds of options to choose from, whatever your needs may be.

Although for the sake of innovation, companies try their hand at different formulations from time to time, there are 4 basic formulas which stand the test of time.

1. Powder Foundations 2. Liquid Foundations 3. Cream Foundations 4. Tinted Moisturisers



Most people confuse powder foundations with setting powders but they’re different. Powder foundations are designed to provide maximum coverage just as their liquid and cream counterparts. Mineral powders are a part of this family as they’re finely milled which are buildable to achieve full coverage yet still allowing the skin to breathe. They come in loose or pressed powder form. Personally I’m not the biggest fan of powder foundations, especially on dry skin. They can look cakey, muddy or chalky if not used correctly (or settled into the skin with a binding spray such as MAC Fix+). Nevertheless, if you have sensitive skin or don’t like the feel of other formulations, these powder foundations are the best in their field:

Click on the product pictures below to be taken to the stores; except DS=Drugstore


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MAC Studio Fix / Bare Minerals Original Powder Foundation / Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage / Makeup Forever Pro Multi-Use / MAC Studio Tech Cream to Powder

**I’ve also added a ‘cream to powder’ option by MAC (last compact) which I keep at hand for quick applications. This is a cream texture but turns into a matte powdery finish when applied. It’s great for touch ups or travel and more nourishing than plain powder formulations. It provides perfect coverage in just one swipe.


Liquid foundations are possibly the most common formulation people reach for, including myself. They can vary from the lightest/sheer formulas to heavy lotion consistencies depending on the coverage you’re after. Another advantage of liquid formulas is the flexibility in the finish they provide. You can choose healthy glowing options or flawless matte coverage which not only helps with skin type and issues but also to change up your look seasonally as well as for day/night time looks. I have quite a lot of personal favorites in this category which have been (and still are) in my makeup kit that I alternate. *Majority of these products have their dewy/matte alternatives to choose from.

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NARS Sheer Glow / MUFE HD / MAC Studio Fix Fluid / Laura Mercier Silk Creme / Loreal True Match (DS) / Rimmel Stay Matte (DS) / Revlon Colorstay(DS)

**HD Foundations (such as the Makeup Forever) are designed to provide the most flawless/airbrush look on camera (photos or videos). Colorstay formulas (such as Revlon) are designed to set on the skin and provide long lasting coverage for hours. These are great if you don’t like setting your foundation with extra powder or you’re after long wearing formulas which won’t budge on hot days or special occasions.



Cream foundations provide the heaviest coverage as they’re the closest consistency to concealers (in the pots). Unless you have specific skin issues which require such heavy coverage, or you prefer full coverage for special occasions or photography, cream foundations can look and feel ‘too much’ for regular use. Before HD cameras took over, we would resort to cream foundations for photo shoots and editorial work as they performed the best in terms of coverage. Now, we use cream foundations more for specific jobs or for contouring and highlighting purposes. Whether in a pan form or stick form, these are some of the brands I can vouch for:

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Bobbi Brown Skin Stick / CoverFX Total Cover / Kryolan HD Micro Cream / Graftobian HD Glamour Creme

*When it comes to cream formulas, other than the Bobbi Brown and Cover FX which are store brands, I’ve only ever used pro brand formulas. Brands such as Kryolan, Graftobian, Ben Nye and RMK make the best cream formulas as we use them for full coverage in theatre, film and TV work.



Althought tinted moisturizers are considered half makeup, half skincare, some tinted moisturisers have come a long way in terms of coverage that I feel I should include it as a part of this post. Tinted moisturizers are basic face moisturizers mixed with a hint of foundation to provide some coverage whilst hydrating the skin. Some of the formulas can be quite patchy or leave a streaky residue behind depending on your skin type but the below options work beautifully without causing such issues. The Laura Mercier one is my all time favorite.

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Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer / Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer / Clinique Moisture Surge / Urban Decay Naked Skin / Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer (DS)



As with foundations evolving over the years, tools for makeup application have also come a long way. There are so many different brushes and sponges to choose from but the below options are the few I always reach for, particularly the Beauty Blender. It really does settle the product into the skin giving it an airbrushed look. Next in line would have to be Real Techniques Core Collection featuring 4 base brushes which are amazing to take care of all your foundation/corrector/concealer needs. Dense yet fluffy buffing brushes work best in diffusing the foundation over the skin for an even, streak-free finish.

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Beauty Blender / Real Techniques Core Collection Set / Real Techniques Expert Face Brush / Sigma Flat Kabuki F80



This is possibly the most daunting part of the foundation process and deserves a post all in its own right which I will do, but in summary:

* Wherever possible, you should always take home samples of the foundations you’re interested in before committing to purchasing the full product. Not only can the lighting in stores be totally deceiving, how your skin will react to the formula, how long it may last on your skin, whether it will oxidise (change color once it blends with the natural oils of your skin) and how it will perform with the rest of your makeup products can only be determined by wearing the product over a few hours. So don’t be afraid to ask the makeup counters and stores for samples of different shades and formulations. They’re there to help you and I can assure you, they’d rather you come back and buy the product for the right reasons, than to buy it and return it cos it wasn’t the right option for you once you took it home.

* In terms of what color/shade to go for, understanding the undertones of your skin (whether you’re warm, cool or neutral) is a great starting point. I also get asked a lot about what part of the face or body you should match the foundation color to. As most of us have either lighter or darker color on our face than body, it’s important to take into account the color of our neck and chest area. This will help avoid the foundation looking like a mask. Application is also key and it’s important to fade the foundation down the neck into the décolletage area – again to avoid that mask-like obvious lines.

* When applying foundation, the trick is to start with a small amount, blend and continue to build up as needed. This will not only help the product settle into the skin, it also helps avoid that muddy/cakey look, prevent excess oil and of course give you the most natural finish. Foundation should sit as a fine veil over the skin to tie everything in. If you have issues with discoloration or specific skin concerns, using correctors and concealers will help with achieving the most flawless finish possible. Check out my previous product series on Correctors and Concealers.

What are some of your foundation concerns or questions? xx

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Brittany S January 23, 2015 - 6:08 pm

I have extra dry skin, so I never use powder unless I’m setting my foundation. :-) I also use tinted moisturizer and build it up to as much coverage as I need (I use stila’s as they are the only one I have found that is light/pale enough). I just haven’t found anything else that works with my dry skin. Would you have any suggestions on what I could use?

Sarah January 23, 2015 - 6:59 pm

Hi Brittany, going by your skin type and the products you’re currently using, MAC’s Face and Body would be a great option for you. It’s hydrating without leaving any oily residue behind and it’s also buildable to medium coverage which looks flawless. Being a pro-artist product, the color range is also quite extensive.

If finding pale shade foundations is a challenge (with MAC or any other brand), MAC Face and Body also comes in the color White. It’s actually a color adjusting fluid (basically white foundation) so you can add it to any foundation and make it as light as you need to match your skin tone. It’s been a part of my pro kit for years to help match paler skin tones. That way you’re not restricted on foundation choices either. I hope this info helps; please let me know if you have any other questions :) xx

Brittany S January 24, 2015 - 2:04 am

Thank you! :) I’ll definitely be looking into that. By the way, I love your site. I found it today (thanks to Pintrest) and am trying to absorb everything. ;)

Sarah January 24, 2015 - 2:20 pm

Thank you Brittany! Welcome to the site and I’m so happy you’re enjoying it :) xx

Emily January 15, 2015 - 4:16 pm

I’ve been waiting for this post and it was worth it like always. I tried powder foundations before but I don’t like them either. It always got patchy or stuck on flaky skin. I use True match and love it! I might try some of your other suggestions. Thank you for a great post.

Sarah January 19, 2015 - 4:40 am

Thank you Emily, my pleasure :) xx


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