Back to Basics: All you need to know about Foundation!


For some women, foundation can be a very scary makeup product, because they aren’t sure on how to apply it or just scared they might end up looking like a “cake face”, hence they just choose to avoid it like the plague and steer clear of anything that resembles or says foundation on it. 

Fear you might end up looking like this? Lol

To others, like myself, its a product that simply can’t be done without. Foundation is a key step in makeup application and acts as the basis for all other makeup products. 

Hopefully this post will be helpful and useful to those who are too sceptical to wear foundation or who are just starting out or for some of you just looking to perfect and get the most out of your foundation application.

Choosing a foundation shade or formula that’s perfect for your skin tone and type can be tedious and rather daunting, especially nowadays when there are sooo many brands, consistencies and formulations out there. So these are questions most women ask… 

• How do I find a foundation that’s perfect for my skin? 

Firstly, you need to take into consideration what type of skin you have. Generally it goes like this..

-Oily skin: A powder or cream to powder formulation is best. Or any formula that has a matte finish.

-Blemish/Acne prone skin: Should try finding formulas which have blemish fighting ingredients in them as well as formulas which are non-comedogenic. Stay away from any products containing mineral oils.

-Normal/Combo skin: Can basically get away with any type of formulation. But its advisable to choose a product that is non comedogenic and oil free to prevent any blemishes. 

-Dry skin: A moisturising liquid or cream foundation is best. Even gel based formulas are great for drier skin types.


Now after you’ve figured out the type of formulation you need, you now have to determine what your main skin concerns are and what type of coverage you want or need.

Liquid foundations tend to offer light/medium buildable coverages, wheras creams, powders and stick foundations offer more of a full coverage. 

If you have clear problem-free skin that just needs to be evened out a bit, opt for a tinted moisturiser or a BB/CC cream. These offer light to medium coverage and have skincare benefits in them. Or you could mix any foundation with your moisturiser to custom create your own tinted moisturiser. 

If you have blemishes/acne or acne scarring you might want to go for a medium to full coverage foundation depending on how much you actually want to cover up. For severe scarring and acne, try products like camouflage creams. Kryolan dermacolor is a great option. 

If you have very dry skin you need to look for moisturising foundations or foundations that have a luminous or dewy finish which gives dry, dull skins an instant pick me up. 

Most foundations do specify on the package whether they’re light, medium or full coverage, so this should take the guess work out for you. Some foundations are buildable, which means they start out as a light-medium coverage but can be built up to a full coverage. 

Next step, and probably the hardest one in the process is 

• How do I choose the correct foundation shade?

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen so many women make is test the foundation on the back of their hand. This is a BIG NO NO! Your hand and your face are rarely the same color. The best way to get your perfect match is to first select 3 or 4 shades that you feel are closest to your skin tone. Then swatch them directly onto your cheek, forehead or jawline. Some people match it to their neck color, which also should be taken into consideration because you want to avoid that mask effect.

Also, remember to try and see the swatches on your skin in natural lighting if they match your skin, fake lighting can be quite harsh and deceiving and  actually make colors look very different from what they really are. This is rather tricky when we’re testing out foundations at a department store (where natural lighting is nowhere to be found) in this case, the best way is to determine which color sort of disappears into your skin. Thats sure to be the right shade for you. Keep in mind that foundations with an SPF in them tend to cause a white cast or flash back when you use flash photography.


Another thing you want to keep in mind is that foundations tend to have different undertones. You might want to ask the lady at the cosmetic counter to help you find a shade. Although don’t just purchase any shade she tells you to. Try a few shades, walk around abit and do the rest of your shopping and then decide if the color matches. Sometimes foundations tend to oxidise on your skin. Meaning, they get darker when they are exposed to oxygen.

Moving on…

• What is the best way to apply my foundation?

The 2nd most important step in the process! I cannot emphasize enough, the key to a seamless foundation application is: blend, blend, blend and blend some more!!! I’ll be honest, mastering the application of foundation has taken me a good few years and many many foundations, shades and tools later I have finally perfected my foundation routine not only on myself but on my clients as well.

Another tip you should always keep in mind…for a more natural effect, dont jus stop at your jawline, always blend foundation down past the jawline and onto the neck and ears as well to avoid the mask effect and looking multi-colored. 

Remember before applying any makeup to your face make sure you have cleansed your skin thoroughly and moisturized. This will ensure your makeup goes on smoother and lasts longer. You can also use a makeup primer before applying your foundation. I personally skip this step, as primers cause me to break out. I use MAC Fix + as a primer. I simply spritz my face and my brush and apply my foundation. This makes it easier to blend and gives a dewy finish. Again you can experiment with primers and see what works best for you. So before, foundation used to be applied with a wedge shaped latex sponge. This was basically the only tool available for foundation application. (If you still buy these or have these, then theres something seriously wrong with you LOL!! Jus kidding) Ok no… get rid of them…like NOW!! Those things soak up foundation like crazy and you end up going through a bottle of foundation much faster. Rather switch to a beauty blender type sponge (Those teardrop or oblong shaped ones) They are simply amaaaazzing and leave no streaking!! Or even better, try to invest in a good foundation brush. I personally feel brushes give you more control and it’s much easier to attain a seamless, well blended flawless finish for any type of foundation consistency you’re using. My new favourite right now and a holy grail product is the range of kabuki face brushes, specially made for the application of liquid or cream products. They’re made of synthetic hairs, so they don’t absorb product and you end up using much less, so your foundation lasts you twice as long 😀 and blending is a breeze! 

For those of you who don’t like using tools, your fingers can do a pretty good job at applying foundation as well. If  you are going to be using your fingers, make sure your hands are clean before touching your face as fingers tend to carry the most amount of bacteria and oils and we don’t want any of that transferring onto our faces as it could cause breakouts. 

If you’re a applying your foundation with a beauty blender or something alike, remember, it has to be damp. This just makes the blending process alot easier. So start out dotting your foundation directly onto your face and then take the sponge and bounce it around on your face until evenly and fully blended. Seee…Easy peasy 😉 You can also use your fingers afterwards to smooth out any areas you need to. 

If you’re using a flat foundation brush: dot the foundation onto your face and use the brush to work the foundation down and outwards. Always remember to blend in the direction of your facial hairs. This will give you a smoother finish. 

And lastly if you’re applying with a kabuki buffing brush then you can either dot the product on your face or place the product directly onto the brush. First do stippling motions with the brush until the product is evenly distrubuted on your face and then start buffing it in circular motions. This creates the most natural, flawless looking foundation.

I highly reccomend investing in one of these brushes. Its a must have in my own makeup collection as well as my kit. Some clients that I’ve used these brushes on have actually said that people have asked them if they’ve had their makeup airbrushed! 😄

Kabuki face brushes

Another tip, always remember to keep your sponges and brushes clean at all times. Try to clean your makeup applicators atleast once a week. If you have acne prone skin then you might need to clean them 2-3 times a week.

When applying foundation, dont worry about areas you need to conceal, like blemishes or dark patches. The purpose of a foundation is to even out your skin tone. So after you apply your foundation, you can concentrate on covering up those areas with a concealer or more foundation. Use a small brush or your ring finger and gently stipple the concealer directly onto areas that you need more coverage. Always apply concealer AFTER foundation. I will do a seperate post on concealers and corrective concealing methods soon 😀  (comment if you would like me to do a post on this)

Lastly, “How do i keep my makeup in place?”: 

This step comes after you’ve applied your concealer,blush, bronzer/contour and highlighter to your face and you’re ready to set everything in place. There are basically 2 products used for setting your makeup; using a makeup setting spray or a loose or compact powder. I have never ever been a powder kinda gal! Well up until recently, because I found that you can actually use both together, first set with powder and then follow with a setting spray, this gets rid of that dreaded “cakey” look. Experimeting is good! The best products I’ve come across for setting my makeup in place is any brand of translucent powder (loose or compact) teamed up with my MAC Fix + or any makeup setting spray. Alternatively you can use rose water in a spritz bottle. 

Setting sprays make the skin look amazing and dewy and also gets rid of any powder residue. Hence, no cakeface! 

The best way to apply powder is to use a large fluffy brush, you could also use a powder puff. Both work great. Dip or swirl it into your powder, tap off the excess and PAT it lightly onto the skin. Don’t drag or swirl on your face. You don’t want to mess up all the work you’ve just done, you merely want to set everything in its place. Especially under the eyes and around the mouth (smile lines) where creasing occurs.

I suffer from under eye creasing and this patting motion of applying powder prevents the creasing and keeps my makeup in place for hours. 

After you’ve applied powder, simply spritz your face with a setting spray and voilà! You have flawless skin! 


I think I have covered all aspects of foundation. If you’d like any advice or have any questions please feel free to PM me on social media, email or drop a comment. I will be more than happy to assist! 

Remember…No one is born an artist…it takes time and alot of experimenting before you finally get it right.

I really hope you guys enjoyed this post. I will be doing more posts like these..(highlighting/contouring, eye makeup application etc) So don’t forget to like and subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter and Instagram 😀 

Thankyou all for reading.  

Lotsa love

Mariam 💋


3 thoughts on “Back to Basics: All you need to know about Foundation!

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