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Foundation 101

Foundation 101

So you want to learn how to get smooth, seemingly airbrushed skin, but you have no clue where to start? Well that's what foundation is for. 

But before you can choose a foundation there is so much to consider: What color is your  color? What formula should you choose? What best suits your skin type? (more later on skin type, I promise!) 

Today for Makeup Monday, I'm going to break down the foundation basics you need to know to decide which foundation is right for you and why. Let's get started. 


So before you start to pick a foundation, you need to decide just how much coverage you need. There are sheer, medium and full coverage foundation products depending on your preference. Their names are pretty self explanatory, but I'll elaborate below:

Sheer Coverage: 

slight coverage almost transparent, you will be enhancing your skin with this formula of foundation; this coverage will decrease the appearance of minor imperfections and even out your skin tone. 

Medium Coverage: 

This type of foundation covers most minor imperfections; this type of coverage is one of the most commonly desired as the skin still appears natural. This type of foundation can also be built up for desired coverage and blurring of imperfections in the skin. .

Full Coverage: 

This is the most pigmented foundation. These foundations are useful for covering heavy scarring, skin imperfection, such as discolorations, hyperpigmentation (dark spots), or for dramatic makeup. These give the appearance of  Flawless, airbrushed Skin. 


In addition to considering the level of coverage you want, you also have to consider finishes. Do you desire a slight shine, a matte look? do you want to just mimic your skin's natural glow? read on: 

Matte Finish: 

This is my personal favorite. The skin is left with a powder soft finish without any shine or extra glow. It also gives an even airbrushed look to the skin. 

Satin Finish: 

This finish leaves the skin with a slight sheen, or subtle glow.

Luminous Finish: 

If you've ever heard the expression "dewy"  associated with skin finish, this is the type of finish used to achieve such looks. These foundations give the skin a opalescent glow. 


So now that you know a little more about coverage and finish, we'll move on to the forms foundations come in. 

Liquid Foundation: 

This is my personal go to choice, as it's buildable, blendable, can be applied using a brush, a sponge, even my hands in a pinch. And most often, since I'm a full coverage gal, a little goes a long way, meaning more bang for my buck. These come in a wide range of formulas and price points, as well as levels of coverage. 

Powder Foundation: 

These are just what they sound like, powders. I find these most useful, personally for setting, as they tend not to have as opaque of a coverage unless you apply them with a dense sponge, which just makes my pores shriek in dismay. I find they're best applied with a dense brush for consistent coverage. The benefit with powders is you can find them in more skin friendly mineral forms that are free from Talc if that's a concern for you. They're also found in many price points, but again usually come in medium coverage at best. 

Cream Foundation: 

I enjoy cream foundations for contouring and highlight because of their build-able malleable consistency. They easily adapt to almost any skin type (again, more on skin type next week!) so you usually can't go wrong with these. I find that they're best to work with using a blending sponge of some sort to really blur out any inconsistencies in the skin or coverage. These are often medium to full coverage due to their cream consistency; they're thicker than liquids and powders, which also benefits their staying power. 

My Faves: 

I have A LOT of foundations, so it's hard to narrow down the best, but I'm going to give you my three favorites, powder, cream and liquid and the "why" on how they made the cut. 



As I said I'm a sucker for a full coverage, matte, liquid foundation. MAC's Matchmaster (pictured above in my shade - NW35) is my number one holy grail in that department. It's also SPF 15 so it shields me from harmful sun rays (hello, double duty for the win!) A little of this stuff goes a long way, and it also has a convenient pump - unlike some foundations you have to pour out, which are a pain. It's easy to apply with a beauty blender or, as I prefer, a flat kabuki style brush. And it's got all day coverage that won't quit and doesn't easily rub off onto everything you touch (I wore it on my wedding day, and my husband had on a white tux, trust me here!)


Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse (pictured in my shade, Cocoa) used to be my holy grail until I stumbled upon liquids. It's light and airy, more whipped than solid, but still very blend-able and easy to manipulate. The biggest upside is that this foundation is virtually weightless. I used to apply it quick and easy with a sponge. Beware though, this will transfer onto other items, clothing, etc. 


I hate to give the same brand twice in one list of faves, but when it's not broke, don't fix it! MAC's Studio fix powder is literally the only powder I put on my face outside of the purpose of setting a cream or liquid. It's got enough coverage for me to wear it on a trip to the grocery store or just errands and give me an even, matte finish, without looking cakey (which a lot of powders have a tendency to do if applied heavily) it's also light and airy and doesn't make me feel like my face is suffocating - yet another complaint I have about powders. And like

its liquid counterpart, it matches my warm undertones perfectly. 

Feel free to try any of my faves in your respective shades if you're just starting out with foundations or take these tips on consistency, coverage and finish to narrow down your search for the holy grail. If you have a holy grail foundation, let me know below. I'm always looking for a new fave, as are other readers!  Also if you have any questions, leave those too and I'll do my best to answer. Happy hunting!

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