Introduction: How to Choose and Apply the Correct Foundation for Your Face

About: Professional MUA, educator, and Benefit Beauty Artist working in Sacramento & the Bay Area. I specialize in film, print, editorial, glamour, & special FX. FB: In…

Choosing the correct foundation for your skin tone and skin type can be a daunting task.  In this Instructable I’ll teach you how to choose and apply the correct foundation, concealer, and powder.

Step 1: Formulations

• Sheer or Tinted: has a natural, transparent finish with minimal coverage.
• Liquid: medium coverage, can often be buildable.
• Oil-based: great for dry or mature skin.  Stay away if you have oily or acne-prone skin.  Full coverage with a dewy finish.
• Oil-free: Great choice for oily skin.  Full coverage with usually a matte finish.
• Cream: when used sparingly, results in a natural, even finish; when used liberally it will result in full coverage.  Will settle into surface lines so might not be a good choice for mature skin.
• Powder: powder and foundation all in one.  Can be layered over a liquid or cream foundation for full coverage. Also can be worn wet or dry.

Think about whether your skin is dry or oily and what sort of finish and coverage you would like to determine which formulation to choose.

Step 2: Determining Your Skin Tone

When determining your skin tone and the right foundation to match it, you must first determine your skin’s undertone.  All skin tones have underlying shades of red, blue, yellow, and/or pink.  Look at your inner wrist to most easily spot your skin’s undertone and then match the undertone in your foundation. Test foundation colors on your jawline or décolletage.  When the foundation disappears, congratulations, you’ve found the correct color!

Step 3: Concealer

You can apply concealer either before or after your foundation, but if you are using corrective-colored concealer, you will probably want to apply it before your foundation. Liquid concealer (usually sold with a wand or brush tip) is the lightest and sheerest of the formulas, with stick, pencil, and cream pot formulations having more full and heavy coverage.  To neutralize redness or red blemishes, use a green or green-toned concealer.  To eliminate under eye circles, use an apricot-colored concealer.

Step 4: Application

Before starting any makeup application, be sure to clean and moisturize your skin. Primer should be applied first to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, smooth the skin’s texture, and keep whatever makeup you apply over it in place all day.

Begin your foundation application starting closest to the nose and stippling out as you work towards the hair/jaw line.  The areas in the center of the face are the areas that require the most coverage and balancing.  You can use a foundation brush for fuller coverage, a large fluffy brush for sheerer coverage, or a cosmetic sponge for medium coverage.  I like to use a foundation brush to apply and then a clean sponge to blend and diffuse.

Step 5: Powder

Powder is used to set the foundation, absorb oil and shine, and add extra coverage if needed.  Pressed powder has a more refined texture and gives fuller coverage. Loose powder is available in both skin tone for extra coverage, or translucent to set the foundation.  Apply powder with either a large fluffy brush or a powder puff.