How to Apply & Choose Foundation

By on June 7, 2011

 How to Apply & Choose Foundation

Applied properly, foundation can make any complexion seem healthy and flawless. The aim is to leave the skin looking as natural and unmade-up as possible. Before you start, think hard about your complexion, as you may not need to apply base over the entire face.

When Choosing a Foundation

Take into consideration your skin type, the amount of coverage you require and the kind of finish you are after. And remember, foundation is one of those products you wear every day, so making the right investment at the beginning will pay off.

The word foundation means exactly that: It is the foundation, the basis, of your makeup routine. If it isn’t right, your whole look may be off. Foundations are either oil or water based. Some skin experts will tell you that if you have oily skin, you should use a water-based foundation, and if you have dry skin, use an oil-based one.

It is important to choose a foundation similar in color to your own skin. This is really easy-it is a matter oftrial and error, and will take at the most an hour of your time in a department store or makeup center. Try one color on the inside of your wrist (never on your face-that is a good way to spread bacteria) and walk around for a few minutes. Now look at the shade again, and then try another one. It is well worth the time to find a foundation that will look good on you.

If you think you will be interested in contouring and or highlighting your features, you need to buy another foundation a shade lighter than the one that matches your skin, and one that is three shades darker than your basic color. Again, a good cosmetician or a salesperson in a cosmetics department can help you choose the colors you will need.


To find the perfect foundation for your particular coloring, apply three suitable shades in strips across the cheek and jawbone. You are looking for the one that literally disappears into the skin. Your foundation should blend with the skin tone of the neck and not the face, as this is where it has to work down to. If you can’t find the correct color  custom-blended foundations are available.

When you try a new shade, check it in natural light. You should always aim to apply your make-up in daylight, so if this is not going to be possible invest in a natural daylight bulb (these can be found in lighting stores and some professional make-up outlets).

When trying a new foundation, always wait fifteen minutes before reaching a decision as the oil on your skin and the air can conspire to darken the shade you have chosen.


When looking for a new foundation, bear in mind that it should contain a sun protection factor of at least 15 for daily use. This should then be increased in summer, as the sun is responsible for 10 per cent of premature ageing. Antioxidants will also help protect the skin from visible signs of ageing, and light-reflecting pigments will give a flattering finish, taking attention away from any dark circles and sallow-looking areas, while adding instant luminosity.


If you have sensitive skin, look for formulations which do not contain potential irritants such as fragrance, chemical sunscreens and alpha hydroxyl acids. Mature, dry skins will benefit from rich, creamy foundations which contain emollients to boost the skin’s moisture content and antioxidants to protect from environmental damage.

Oily, problem skins will benefit from oil-free formulations which are enriched with oil absorbers to keep unsightly shine at bay. Normal skins can wear any sort of foundation. In hot, humid weather, every skin type will benefit from an oil-free foundation.


To apply foundation, start from the centre of the face, dotting on to the cheeks and forehead and blending outwards, first making sure your fingertips or make-up sponges are spotlessly clean. Gently blot the skin with a tissue to remove any excess product or surface oil. Never drag the skin if you are using your fingertips to apply cosmetics.

Smooth foundation over the lips and eyelids to act as a base for lip and eye products. If you’re not very good at blending foundation, try applying it with a make-up sponge. After smoothing on, moisten the fingertips and then work over the neckline to remove any signs of haphazard application.