Beauty

How to pick the right foundation for your face

By: Alexandra Donaldson

Getty Images Author: Canadian Living Credits: Getty Images

Beauty

How to pick the right foundation for your face

By: Alexandra Donaldson

The foundation of great makeup is—you guessed it—foundation. Picking the right formula and shade will create the best canvas for the season’s “it” looks. We can all use a little help when it comes to navigating shades and formulas, so we spoke to Grace Lee, lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York Canada, to help us break down the dos and don’ts of buying and wearing foundation.

Read more: The best beauty bets for fall

Discovering the right shade
It may seem like “light tan” and “buff” are so similar it doesn’t matter which you pick, but choosing the wrong colour of foundation can do everything from wash you out to give you the dreaded jawline streak. Here are three steps to help you get your shade right.

1. Determine whether your skin has pink or olive/golden tones. According to Lee, if you’re fair or you burn easily, you likely have pink undertones, whereas if you tan easily, you probably have olive undertones. Contrary to popular belief, your ideal match is “a foundation that counterbalances your undertone,” says Lee. If you have pink undertones, she suggests a foundation that’s more beige (not pink) to mask unwanted redness.

2. Hold a foundation swatch against the inside of your wrist. Get as close as you can to the shade at your wrist and you can narrow down your choices considerably.

3. The only way to know for sure if you have the right shade is to test it. “Never swatch a foundation on the back of your hand,” warns Lee. “It will always be different than your face.” Instead, the most accurate results will come from testing the shade along your jawline in a sunlit area.

Choosing the perfect formula
Deciding on which formula to pick means first identifying what you want to achieve. What type of finish are you looking for: matte, sheer or glossy? Do you need a long-lasting formula? How much time do you have in the morning to apply it? Narrowing down your needs will help you determine the keywords to search. For example, if you prefer a matte finish, look for “matte” or “shine-free” on the packaging.

1. Liquid foundation: Liquid formulas are the most popular because of the volume of options—everything from full matte coverage to sheer and dewy. However, Lee recommends seeing how a foundation sets over time. “Foundation colours tend to oxidize to a darker shade on oily skin,” she says.

2. BB cream: If you have dry skin, BB cream is a great way to add moisture while still having some coverage. It’s also a good pick for those looking for a one-step makeup routine or a more natural look. Plus, BB cream usually has the added benefit of anti-aging ingredients or sunscreen. BB cream is a good choice for older skin, too, as heavy or full-coverage foundation will accentuate lines and wrinkles. “For aging skin, less is more,” says Lee.

3. Powder foundation: Those with acne-prone skin should pick formulas that won’t clog pores. Lee prefers powder foundation, which helps control shine throughout the day.  

4. Cushion compact: Cushion compacts are relatively new to the foundation game, but they’re great for touch-ups throughout the day and also make application easy by controlling the release of product on your applicator. (Read our review of Korean brand AmorePacific’s Cushion Compact.)

Achieving a flawless finish

Prepping the skin properly for foundation application will help guarantee long-lasting and even results. Lee recommends using both moisturizer and primer to create the best canvas, then apply foundation. If using a liquid, Lee suggests swiping it on with a damp sponge, concentrating the product on the T-zone and working outward toward your ears. “This will ensure that you have more coverage where most people have skin issues and redness, while also ensuring you won’t have a harsh makeup demarcation along the jawline.” To help your foundation last all day, set your makeup with powder in the same shade; if you have oily skin, carry the powder with you for minor touch-ups.

Slideshow

prev next 1 of 13

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Primer

To ensure that your makeup stays all day, apply a primer over your moisturizer and under your foundation. An illuminating primer will offer a touch of radiance. Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Blur + Illuminate, $13, maybelline.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Maybelline New York Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Liquid foundation

For a versatile option that works for almost any skin type, try liquid foundation. Most liquids are buildable, allowing for coverage from light to full. Vasanti Liquid Cover-Up Oil-Free Foundation and Concealer in 1, $23, beautyboutique.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Vasanti Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Liquid foundation

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, $66, thebay.com. Everything you need to know about facial essences

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Giorgio Armani Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Liquid foundation

Maybelline New York Fit Me! Matte + Poreless, $10, maybelline.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Maybelline New York Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Powder foundation

Those with shiny or acne-prone skin should try a powder foundation. It will offer good coverage while mattifying high-shine areas. Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation, $36, beautyboutique.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Cover FX Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Powder foundation

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Powder Makeup, $44, esteelauder.ca. How to wear brown makeup from day to night

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Estée Lauder Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Powder foundation

BareMinerals Original Foundation, $35, sephora.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: BareMinerals Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

BB cream

If you prefer less coverage or have aging or dry skin, choose a BB cream. It's a cross between moisturizer and foundation and will give skin a subtle tint while offering hydration. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, $11, maybelline.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Maybelline New York Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

BB cream

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, $50, sephora.ca. The 12 dreamiest fall beauty products

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Smashbox Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

BB cream

M.A.C Cosmetics Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm, $37, maccosmetics.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: M.A.C Cosmetics Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Cushion compact

Huge in Asia, a cushion compact is great for on-the-go touch-ups and light to medium coverage. AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact, $72, sephora.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: AmorePacific Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Cushion compact

Lancôme Miracle Cushion, $48, lancome.ca.

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Lancôme Credits: Canadian Living

Our favourite primers and foundations for 2015

Cushion compact

Dr. Jart+ BB Bounce Beauty Balm, $58, sephora.ca. Read more: 10 targeted sheet-mask treatments The 411 on eyelash extensions

By: Alexandra Donaldson Source: Dr. Jart Credits: Canadian Living

Share X
Beauty

How to pick the right foundation for your face

Login