A Guide to Choosing & Applying Natural Foundation Makeup

by | Read time: 4 minutes

Want to achieve an even, uniform skin tone and flawless complexion? Foundation makeup to the rescue! An important part of any beauty regimen, foundation makeup serves as the base for powder, blush, eyes shadow and many other cosmetics. That’s why it’s so important to get it right.

Here’s what you need to know about choosing and applying foundation makeup.

Natural Makeup Bottle with Brush and Sponges to Demonstrate How to Apply Foundation Makeup | Vitacost.com/blog

Types of foundation

  • Liquid Foundation. Typically packaged in bottles or tubes, liquid foundation provides ultra-sheer to full coverage. Because of its texture, liquid foundation is easy to blend, allowing the wearer to gradually built up coverage and, if necessary, combine two shades to better match their skin tone. Ideal for all skin types, Liquid foundation offers a natural-looking finish.
  • Cream Foundation. Usually packaged in compacts or jars, cream foundation tends to have a heavier texture, and therefore provide fuller coverage, than liquid foundation. Best for those with dry skin, cream foundation may be used to create a dewy look. Just be sure to use it sparingly!
  • Cream-to-Powder Foundation. Generally packaged in compacts, cream-to-powder foundation starts off creamy and turns to powder as it dries. Recommended for individuals with combination skin, cream-to-powder foundation may be used to create a smooth, matte finish.
  • Powder Foundation. Typically packaged in compacts, powder foundation is perfect for both touch-ups and crafting an even, matte look. Recommended for oily skin, many powder foundations can be used either wet or dry, depending on the amount of coverage desired. Fair warning for those with dry skin: using powder foundation may accentuate flaking and wrinkles.
  • Whipped Foundation. Usually packaged in jars, whipped or “mousse” foundation has a light, airy texture, resembling the consistency of mousse. Ideal for all skin types, it tends to offer a matte look—and a weightless, non-cakey feel that those with mature or dry skin are sure to appreciate.
  • Mineral Foundation. Often packaged in compacts or jars, mineral foundation is composed of crushed minerals from the Earth. It doesn’t contain any artificial colors, fragrances, talc, paraben or potentially harmful chemicals. Generally available in loose or pressed powder form, mineral foundation provides medium to full coverage. Because it’s gentle and organic, it’s a great choice for those with sensitive skin or conditions like acne and rosacea.
  • Stick Foundation. Packaged in a tube resembling lipstick, perfectly portable stick foundation can provide heavier coverage than cream foundation and do double duty as a concealer. Although it is highly effective for covering blemishes, stick foundation often contains oil, which can clog pores, so those with acne-prone skin should proceed with caution.
  • Tinted Moisturizer, BB Cream and CC Cream. Although not technically foundation, tinted moisturizer, BB cream and CC cream may be used in place of foundation. Perfect for those with practically flawless skin, tinted moisturizer provides ultra-sheer coverage to even out skin tone. BB cream (blemish balm or beauty balm cream) and CC cream (color correcting cream) both act as a lighter foundation with added skin benefits. For instance, BB cream may contain anti-aging ingredients whereas CC cream may include ingredients to help combat redness.

How to apply foundation 

1. Select your formula.

See Types of foundation above and check out product labels (e.g., product may say “sheer” to indicate light coverage, “satin” or “semi matte” to indicate medium coverage and “matte” or “full-coverage” to indicate full coverage) for guidance.

2. Choose your shade.

The easiest way to do this is to pick the color that appears to best match skin tone, apply it to your entire face and view it under a variety of lighting conditions.

3. Prepare your skin.

To help prevent foundation from settling into fine lines and creases in your skin, first wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Then apply a lightweight moisturizer followed by any other skincare products you typically use. Wait 15 minutes before applying foundation.

4. Apply your foundation.

Foundation can be applied to the skin with fingers, a brush or a damp sponge. Many experts prefer using sponges as brush bristles may leave streaks and fingers may not blend the makeup in a natural-looking way. To use a sponge, simply dab some foundation on your chin, cheeks and forehead and rapidly tap the sponge over the foundation, blending outward toward the jaw and hairline. Keep tapping beneath the jaw and chin until color blends seamlessly.

5. Set it with powder.

You don’t have to apply a loose setting powder to your entire face to set the foundation. Just use a powder brush to coat oil-prone areas, such as the T-zone, and you’ll be all set—literally!