POSTED: 29 Aug 2017


I must admit, foundation was always a part of makeup that scared me a little. The worry was that I would clog up my skin, the colour wouldn’t match or that it would look too cakey. Foundation has come a really long way in the last 10 years, however. Good coverage is now possible using pigment reflecting products that give skin a radiant and natural-looking glow. After much trial and error in my teens and twenties, I am now able to share with you my 3 steps to finding your perfect foundation.

The 3 Cs For Finding Your Perfect Foundation

1) Composition

The first thing to decide when choosing a foundation is whether you want a powder, liquid or foundation stick. This depends on you knowing your skin type and skin care needs. Powder and oil-free liquids are good for oily skin types. More dry skin types would benefit from a hydrating liquid, pressed powder and foundation sticks. If you are very much in the middle and have a mixture of both oily and dry skin then you might like a loose oil-free powder. you can use this liberally in the oily zones and sparingly in dry areas.

Another point to consider is whether you would like a matte-finish or a more dewy look. This again depends on your skin type. Those with oilier skin may want a matte-look and should opt for a mattified foundation (powders are usually best). For those with dry or ageing complexions then dewy looking skin might be just what you need. In which case, illuminating liquid foundations are usually best. Demi-matte and stick foundations provide something in between and are great for those who only want a little radiance or have combination skin.

Water Or Oil Based Foundation?

Regardless of your skin type, your skin needs to be hydrated. Once you’ve decided whether you want a stick, powder or liquid then think about the formulation. For oily skin or combination, opt for a water-based oil-free foundation. If your skin is towards the drier end of the spectrum, then consider an oil-based foundation.

Vitamins, Anti-oxidants & Other Skincare Add-ons?

I personally think its a great idea to have skin nourishing ingredients in your foundation. As a fan of bioactive skincare and makeup, it makes sense to work on your skin even when you’re wearing makeup. So, I highly recommend foundations that include skin revitalising ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and Vitamin B3. These reagents not only hydrate the skin but can also reduce the appearance of ageing. Another key ingredient is Shea butter which is not only hydrating but also enables easier and smoother application of the makeup to your face.

Sun Protection?

For me, this is an absolute no-brainer. Sun-damage is the main cause of skin ageing as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer. It’s a great idea to use a foundation with SPF in it during the daytime but remember to use a long-lasting formulation of at least SPF 30.

2) Coverage

Now that you’ve figured out the basic composition, you need to decide what kind of coverage you need. This is essentially from light to full coverage. To determine this, I recommend asking yourself where you intend to wear your foundation. Also what other makeup do you want to wear?

If you only want to smooth your skin and plan to be out and about in the full daylight, then you might prefer a lighter coverage. This will provide a sheer coverage and refreshing feel to your skin. This is especially good if you’re after a more natural look and minimal makeup look. Pair with nude eye makeup, subtle blush and a touch of bronzer for a fresh-faced appearance,

For skin that has a rough texture or uneven colouring or if you will be at an evening event or in artificial lighting then you might want to consider fuller coverage. This can be done with a product designed for fuller coverage or by building up your light or medium coverage foundation. With the right foundation and correct application, you can achieve a flawless appearance to skin that is still natural looking. This look is also fantastic if you want to pair it with more dramatic eye makeup. It is also great for a very polished daytime look.

3) Colour

Where so many people needlessly fail is colour. There are a few basics. If you observe them, you will get the perfect colour for your skin every time. Firstly, I highly recommend going to a makeup counter and enlisting the help of the makeup artists. They can colour match the correct shade and show you how to correctly apply the foundation. They can also recommend complimentary makeup products. If you aren’t fortunate enough to live somewhere near a store with a makeup counter then visit the foundation matrix for online help to find the correct shade of foundation for you. If you do the latter, make sure that you make a note of the suggestion. Then go to a physical store to try the foundation if this is the first time you’re buying the brand.

Whether you go the makeup artist or follow online advise, here are the 5 tips that will help you choose the perfect shade of foundation:

  1. Cleanse your whole face and neck thoroughly before trying the foundation
  2. always choose in the daylight
  3. test the foundation on the forehead, cheeks and jawline
  4. never test on your hands or arm
  5. If your skin tans significantly, consider a shade for winter and a shade for summer. Choose each during the correct season

When it comes to foundation, Bobbi Brown sums it up best. Good foundation should look like skin. The key is to choose a product which works with your skin type to produce natural-looking coverage. Ensure that you have the correct coverage you require in the right formulation and colour. These tips have helped me every time to choose the right foundation. I hope they do the same for you! Also, remember that you should ensure that you cleanse your skin properly before you apply foundation and at the end of the day to prevent clogged pores and outbreaks. Look after your skin when you’re not wearing makeup and consider advanced skincare treatments to exfoliate, refresh and rejuvenate your skin.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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