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Are you unsure of what foundation is in the makeup world? If so, you’re probably just getting started on your makeup journey. Welcome to the world of makeup! There are so many fun and exciting things to discover with makeup. It’s a way that you can practice self-expression without having to worry about judgment. Plus, makeup is an art form, so there aren’t any rules!

By learning about the basics of makeup, you can get started on your own unique journey with makeup. Even if you aren’t looking to learn about makeup to start working on self-expression, makeup can help you feel more confident in yourself.

Today, I’m going to break down what foundation is, how you can start using it, tips for applying, and how to buy the best foundation for your skin tone and skin type all in this makeup foundation guide. Let’s get started!

What Is Foundation?

The first thing is first: what the heck is the foundation? Foundation is the makeup that you see people apply over the skin that makes their skin appear smoother, more even in color, and covers up any blemishes. Using foundation in your makeup routine will help to give your entire makeup look an even base, even if you’re just looking to apply a natural look.

When you apply foundation to your skin, you’re going to want to apply it over your entire face. Depending on what type of clothing you’re wearing, you may also want to apply it to your neck and your chest area. Sometimes, women will apply it to their shoulders too.

Each type of foundation on the market is different, so you won’t necessarily get the same results on your skin using one foundation that you would with another. That’s why it’s so important for you to understand how to apply foundation to your skin and how to pick out the right foundation for yourself.

Why Should You Use Foundation?

Using foundation in your makeup routine is important, but picking the right foundation can be challenging. You should use the foundation for several reasons. It’ll help to give your skin a smooth canvas for the rest of the makeup you end up applying. Also, it’ll help to even out your skin tone, cover up any dark spots, cover up acne, and can help your skin to look more radiant (depending on the formula you chose).

Plus, the foundation is a great tool to use to help other layers of makeup that you apply (such as bronzer, highlighter, and blush) stay on your face for full-day wear.

How Do You Pick Out The Right Color of Foundation?

Whether you’re online or in-store shopping around for foundation, you need to choose the right color of foundation. If you end up choosing a foundation shade that isn’t the right shade for your skin, it can make your makeup look unnatural.

But, how do you find “the one”? Sorry, I’m not here to give any dating advice. But, I will help you choose the right color of foundation for your skin! Here are a few tips for you to consider:

Start By Swatching

The first thing you’ll want to do is swatching shades of foundation on your chest. There’s a lot of people who recommend you swatch shades of foundation on your forearm, but this isn’t a good idea. The skin non your forearm tends to be a lot darker than the skin on your chest and face.

When you’re swatching the makeup on your arm, pick the foundation shade that matches your skin tone the closest. It doesn’t have to be a completely perfect match, and it’s okay if you end up choosing a foundation shade that’s a bit lighter than your skin.

By choosing a lighter shade, you’ll help to ensure that the foundation you chose will match your skin tone the best as the day goes on. The foundation will oxidize on your face as the day goes on, so the color will naturally get darker.

Consider Your Undertones

Another tip to ensure that you’re choosing the right shade of foundation for your skin is to make sure you’re choosing a shade that matches the undertones in your skin. If you have yellow undertones in your skin, you’ll want to choose a foundation that has yellow undertones. But, if you have pink undertones in your skin, go with a foundation that has pink undertones.

If you’re unsure what your undertones are, check out our guide that highlights how to identify your undertones. You could always go with a foundation that has neutral undertones.

Think About The Season You’re In

Foundations aren’t a one-size-fits-every-season type of deal. When you’re outdoors a lot during the warmer months, your skin tends to get darker. So, you’ll have to pick out a foundation shade (using these above tips) for each season – or just cold vs warm weather.

Related Read: Best Color Changing Foundation Guide: My 7 All-Time Favorites

Cream vs Liquids vs Powder

When you start shopping around for foundations, you’ll also need to consider cream foundations vs liquid foundations vs powder foundations. Of course, there’s a variety of other types of foundations on the mark, like cream to powder foundation. But, this is just a glance at what the most commonly found types of foundations are and what they do. What are the benefits of each type of foundation and which one should you use?

Powder Foundation

Powder foundation isn’t the finishing powder that you’ll set a lot of people to use to set their cream or liquid foundation. Instead, powder foundation is super fine but has a lot of pigment to it. You can use powder foundation to completely replace the liquid or cream foundation you were previously using.

The majority of powder foundations on the market using minerals or talc powder. However, talc powder-based foundations are heavy on your skin like liquid foundations are. So, I would stay away from talc-based powder foundations if you don’t like the weight of liquid foundation on your skin.

But, mineral foundations (my personal fave) give me decent coverage to cover up small imperfections on my face. Yet, it feels light and breathable on my skin!

The biggest downside with powder foundation is that you aren’t going to get full coverage from this type of foundation. It’s great if you’re looking for just a little something on your skin. But, if you want to do a glam look or have complete coverage on your skin, you should look into something other than powder foundations.

Liquid Foundation

When you say the word “foundation”, most people are thinking of a liquid foundation. The majority of the people in the beauty community use liquid foundations because they offer a lot of benefits. Plus, there are so many different liquid formulas out there that are different from one another based on benefits, coverages, and shades.

Don’t want a full coverage foundation? Liquid foundation is there to help. Want to have a foundation that’s so full coverage, it makes your skin look brand new? Liquid foundation. Want something to cover texture? Liquid. Foundation.

Plus, liquid foundations are the easiest type of foundation to work with, even if you’ve never put on the foundation before. Some formulas offer a dewy glow, while others offer matte coverage. Also, there’s a bunch of different ways you can apply liquid foundation to your skin. And if you hate the way one foundation feels on your skin, another brand may be a better fit for your skin.

No matter if you have dry, oily, or normal skin, the liquid foundation will change your makeup game.

Cream Foundation

Cream foundation used to be used on individuals who were filming movies and on stage. However, the cream foundation became mainstream when people realized that the formula won’t budge off of your face. But, the cream foundation isn’t as popular as it used to be, because liquid foundation came into the world.

The reason why the cream foundation isn’t as popular s it once was is because it’s very heavy on your skin. So, it’s not really something you want to grab for daily use or if you’re looking to wear a natural look.

Light Coverage vs Medium Coverage vs Full Coverage Foundation

liquid foundation

You’ll want to think about how much coverage you want on your skin. If you don’t want a thick foundation (or you hate the feeling of a lot of makeup on your skin), you may want to go with a light to medium coverage foundation. You can always build up the coverage on a light or medium coverage foundation to customize the coverage of the foundation to what you’re looking for.

But, if don’t mind the foundation feeling heavy on your skin, go with a full coverage foundation. Let’s take a closer look:

Light Coverage

Light coverage foundation is sheer and breathable for your skin. You can expect a light coverage foundation to show off the freckles on your skin. This type of foundation is great for people that still want to look natural and highlight the beauty of their skin underneath the foundation. Your skin won’t be completely covered with a light coverage foundation.

Also, with a light coverage foundation, you don’t have to worry about your pores getting clogged. If you aren’t interested in having your skin feeling heavy, you should look into a light coverage foundation. Plus, if you like using skin tints or BB creams, the light coverage foundation is pretty similar to how those products look and feel on your skin.

Medium Coverage

With a medium coverage foundation, you can build more coverage than you could with a light coverage foundation. You can build an even canvas on your skin with a medium coverage foundation. How much product you apply to your skin with medium coverage foundations will affect whether you’ve got full coverage or lighter coverage.

Full Coverage

If you want complete coverage that’ll make your skin look absolutely flawless, look into full coverage foundation. I personally love using full coverage foundation because of my breakouts. All of the scarring, active breakout areas, dark circles, past mistakes, and regrets of my life – it’s all covered with a full coverage foundation.

But, you don’t have to wear a full coverage foundation every day if you don’t want to. The biggest downside with full coverage makeup is that it’s really easy for your makeup to look “caked” on your face. However, a full coverage foundation is a great option to consider using if you want to take pictures or be on camera, and want to have the appearance of flawless skin.

Can Foundation Cause Wrinkles?

No, wearing a foundation won’t cause wrinkles. But, if you wear foundation and don’t take proper care of your skin, it can cause your skin to age.

To ensure that you don’t age your skin while wearing makeup, you need to make sure that you take care of your skin! You can do this by making sure you remove the makeup from your skin before you go to sleep. Don’t ever sleep in your makeup!

By sleeping in your makeup, you’re going to cause both environmental pollutants, your skin’s oil, and the makeup to seep into your pores and cause them to get clogged. As a result, the elastin and collagen in your skin will break down, causing your skin to look aged a lot faster. The solution? Make sure to take off your makeup before going to bed.

Can Foundation Expire?

Yes, the foundation does expire. Typically, facial makeup products (like primers, powders, and foundations) take to last for 12 months after you open them up. If you haven’t opened up the foundation yet, it can last for two to three years.

Also, if you notice that the pigment in your foundation has changed since you purchased it, the foundation has gone bad. Be sure to throw it out and not use it anymore on your skin after you’ve realized your foundation is bad. In addition, if you notice that your foundation is separated, try shaking it up. But, if the formula doesn’t blend after you shake it up, your foundation is expired.

Can Foundation Be Used As a Concealer?

Yes, you can use foundation as a concealer. The color of your concealer formula is typically a bit lighter than your foundation shade. But, if you have a foundation that’s lighter than the foundation shade you’re wearing on your skin, you can use it to brighten up the areas under your eyes.

Be careful with the foundation formula you use as a concealer, however. If you use a foundation that’s full coverage, it can cause your undereye area to look cakey.

Can Foundation Cover Sunburn?

If you’ve got a bad sunburn, you can use a matte foundation to cover it up. By using a cooler foundation that doesn’t have a shimmer to it or red undertones, it’ll help to hide the redness of your sunburn.

Best Foundations Of All Time

Now that you have a better idea of what foundation is and why you should start adding this makeup product into your makeup routine, let’s talk about some of the best foundations on the market. Depending on what type of results you want to receive from your foundation, there may be a better foundation for you that’ll suit your skin type and skin tone over something your friend recommended.

However, the foundations listed below were chosen based on affordability, positive customer reviews, and availability. These are some of the best foundations in the world, according to beauty experts!

Best Foundation For Oily Skin: Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

amazonian clayI love the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation foundation for full-coverage, all-day wear. I have oily skin and this is a foundation I love and trust. What makes this foundation special enough for me to recommend (because my runner-up is the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation) is because it has clay in the formula.

Having clay in the formula of this foundation really keeps your skin smooth and mattified all day. If the weather isn’t sweltering outside, I don’t have to worry about applying a setting powder to my face to keep this foundation on my face all day.


  •  Keeps your skin matte all-day
  • Full coverage
  • Liquid formula
  • 40 shades to choose from


  • Expensive
  • Only available at certain stores

Read More: Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation Review: Why I’ll Never Trust Beauty Influencers Again

Best Oil-Free Foundation: Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

maybelline fit me

If you’re looking for an oil-free foundation because you want something that isn’t going to clog your pores, the Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation is an excellent pick. This foundation is a cult fave and so many people keep going back to buy bottles of this foundation, even after it runs out.

Not only is this foundation oil-free, but it helps to remove excess oil off of your face. Plus, your big pores? They no longer exist when you use this foundation!


  •  Affordable
  • Oil-free
  • Easy to find and readily available at many drugstores
  • One of the best selling foundations on the market


  • It’s a drugstore foundation, which some people are biased against
  • Isn’t cruelty-free

Best Full-Coverage Foundation: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

If you’re looking for a full-coverage foundation that doesn’t play games, the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation is here for you. This foundation comes from Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty makeup line. This is a full-coverage foundation that offers matte coverage but also helps your skin to look smooth.

Also, I love this foundation doesn’t have any oil in it, so for those of us with oily skin, you don’t have to worry about this foundation clogging your pores. Plus, this foundation adapts to the weather outside, so you don’t have to worry about sweating through this bad boy!


  • Great for acne-prone skin
  • 50 shades to choose from
  • Climate-adaptive technology
  • Sweatproof


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to find in some stores

Best Foundation For Mature Skin: Makeup For Ever Reboot Foundation

Makeup For Ever Reboot Foundation

The Makeup For Ever Reboot Foundation is the absolute best foundation for mature skin. It contains ingredients in its formal to plump your skin, which helps any powder or liquids you put on your face to settle into the fine lines on your face.

Plus. the formula is radiant, which helps your skin to look hydrated, healthy, and younger. In addition, you’ll find ginseng in the formula to help encourage your skin to start producing collagen by itself. It’s lightweight too, so your skin won’t feel too heavy.


  • Radiant formula
  • Helps to plump up your skin
  • Encourages your skin to start producing collagen, so it helps with the skincare aspect too


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to find at some stores

Best Foundation For Dry Skin: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

The Too Faced Born This Way Foundation is a great foundation for dry skin. It’s got medium coverage, but you can build the coverage on this foundation. Plus, it’ll give you a beautiful glowy look to your makeup, due to the dewy and natural finish of this foundation.

There are several ingredients in this formula, such as coconut water and hyaluronic acid, that add to the moisture in your skin. Your skin will feel (and look) hydrated without you having to worry about any of the makeup settling into your pores or dry patches!


  • 35 shades to choose from
  • Liquid formula
  • Medium buildable coverage
  • Oil-free


  • Expensive
  • Only available at certain stores


Question: Can foundation cover stretch marks?

Answer: Yes, the foundation can cover stretch marks! You’ll just want to invest in a full-coverage foundation that has a lot of pigment in it, which will help to cover up the darkness or discoloration in your stretch marks.

Question: Can foundation cover scars?

Answer: Yes, the foundation can also cover scars! If you have scars that cause your skin to be discolored, rather than scars that are raised, you can cover them with foundation. Again, all you’ll need is a highly pigmented, full coverage foundation that matches your skin tone. If you have this, you’re all set to cover up your scars!

Question: What do you do when the foundation is too dark?

Answer: When your foundation is too dark, you can lighten your foundation by adding in a moisturizer. By mixing in a moisturizer with your liquid foundation, you’ll help to lighten up the pigmentation of your foundation. However, you need to keep in mind that this will also make your foundationless full coverage.

Question: What do you do when the foundation is too orange?

Answer: If your foundation is too orange for your skin, it’s also probably too dark. Sometimes, the foundation is made for people who have orange undertones. Other times, the foundation will oxidize when it’s exposed to air (on your skin).
If you find that your foundation is too. orange when you’re applying it (and not after wearing it for a few hours), you should add a small amount of a blue foundation mixer. You’ll want to mix this in with your foundation, as the blue tones will help to neutralize the orange tones in the foundation.

Question: What do you do when foundation is too light?

Answer: When your foundation is too light, you need to darken it up. You can mix your lighter foundation with your summertime shade of foundation to help slightly darken it up. But, if you need to darken it up, even more, you can try mixing in contour or bronzer powder into the foundation. Just make sure you finely crush the powder to ensure there aren’t any chunks of powder that are going to mix unevenly into your foundation.

Choosing The Best Foundation For Your Makeup Routine

Now you have a much better understanding of what foundation is, why you should start using it in your makeup routine, and how to choose the best foundation for yourself! I would highly recommend you look into trying out the Maybelline Poreless foundation, as they also have a dewy option available too. With its price, anyone can afford to try out this amazing foundation!

Do you want to learn more about makeup, to become the next beauty expert in your area? Check out the rest of our website to learn more!Recommended Reads:

Clinique Even Better Glow Review: Does It Provide Sufficient Coverage?

Clinique Foundation Line Guide: Which Is The Right Foundation For You?

Best Chanel Foundation Options

Best Gucci Foundation Options: Two Foundations From This Luxurious Brand

Why is My Foundation Patchy And What Can You Do About It?

Best Silicone Foundations Options

Covergirl Foundation Line Guide: How To Pick The Best One For Your Skin

Revlon Foundation Line Guide: Which Is The Best Pick For You?

YSL All Hours Foundation Review: The Long-Wear Classic

Cover Girl+Olay Simply Ageless 3 in 1 Liquid Foundation Review

Loreal Serum Foundation Review: What I Really Think of This Foundation

YSL Cushion Foundation Review

• How to Find the Best Korean Foundation For Your Skin

• Water Based Foundation Guide: How To Find The Best Foundation For Your Skin Type

• NYX Total Control Drop Foundation Review: What I Really Think

• Best Foundation for Textured Skin Guide: How to Choose It & Top 11 Options

• Nyx Born to Glow Foundation Review: Is It Good Enough For Your Skin?