When you're choosing a foundation, the choice can sometimes be bewildering, especially when you find out just how many different types of foundation there are! Which one you choose will depend on your type of skin and the level of coverage you want. So if you're confused by just how many types of foundation there are, here's a guide to help you decide which one is right for you …
1. Matte (Oil-Free)
If you have oily skin, then matte foundation should be the one for you. You don't need to add more oil to your skin, so the oil-free formulation will suit it well. However, you should first apply moisturiser or a primer. Matte foundations dry more quickly, so if you're going to avoid any unsightly streaks of foundation you'll need to blend it in quickly.
Do you have dry or mature skin, on the other hand? Look for an oil-based foundation, which will give your skin some much-needed moisture. You may not therefore need to use moisturiser or a primer first. Because of its oil content it can separate in the bottle, so always shake before applying.
Are you going to be swimming, or do you find that hot days make your makeup slide off? Then a waterproof formulation could be just what you're looking for. But because it's meant to be durable, waterproof foundation can be a bit too persistent and clog up your pores. So save it for irregular use, rather than daily application. You'll need to remove it with a makeup remover rather than cleanser.
4. Spray on
If you can spray on a tan, then why not a foundation? This type of product is meant to give you an airbrushed look and is the home version of the airbrush system often used by professionals in the film industry. You'll need to close your eyes when you spray it, blend quickly, and use a makeup cleanser when you want to remove it. It may not be what you want for everyday use, but if you have a special occasion (like your wedding) or are going to be photographed, it could be just what you're looking for to give you that 'picture perfect' skin.
5. Tinted Moisturiser
Do you just want a light coverage? Go for a tinted moisturiser. It's perfect for summer, when you don't want a heavy coverage. Since the SPF isn't too high if it contains one, you should add a sun screen as well. Because of the light coverage of tinted moisturiser, it won't be that effective if you need to hide any imperfections. But it's ideal for the summer months when you want a light, natural look with just a hint of color to warm up your skin. And it's a boon for pale women who don't want to use bronzer!
Mineral makeup was designed for women who prefer a more natural product, and because it contains natural ingredients (and few in total) is good for anyone with sensitive skin or allergies. Use a fluffy brush to apply. It's also good if you want coverage that leaves your skin looking perfect. If you're really concerned about what is in the products you're putting on your face, this is the best foundation for you.
Do you prefer the 'no makeup' look? Sheer foundation may be what you're looking for. You can build it up if you want, but it generally gives a very light coverage. It works best for dry to normal skin, but because it contains silicones may not be so good for oily skin. It's also not the best choice for anyone who needs to hide blemishes.
Any skin type can use a mousse foundation, which has air in it to give it a lighter texture. It works particularly well for dry or mature skin as it doesn't get 'caked up'. If you don't like the feel of heavy foundation, then try this type, as its lightness makes it comfortable to wear.
Before we had all this choice, foundations used to come in sticks and was often horribly heavy, looking more like something actors would use on the stage. Today's formulations are much improved though. They're best suited for normal to oily skin, and should only be used on the areas that need more coverage, like dark circles (use a liquid foundation on the other areas).
10. Powder (Compact)
Do you need to touch up your makeup during the day? Try a powder foundation, which as the name suggests is a combination of powder and foundation. It's best suited to women with oily skin, although there are versions for other skin types. If you find liquid foundation too messy, this could work well for you. Powder foundation is also useful for traveling, and unlike liquid foundation there's no risk of it spilling all over your bag!
11. 24 Hour
Is this the Holy Grail of foundations - a base that lasts and lasts until the same time tomorrow? In practice it probably won't last anywhere near that long, and it's certainly not advised to leave your makeup on overnight. However, 24-hour foundation could be worth trying if you need your makeup to last and don't have the time or opportunity to touch up your makeup during the day. Give it a miss however if you're prone to breakouts, as it will be rather too heavy for your skin.
If you have naturally good skin and only need very light coverage, try shimmer foundation. It may be best used as a highlighter rather than for all-over coverage - unless you want an all-over glow! Shimmer foundation could also be good for an evening look - try out what works best for you.
13. Foundation Primer
Technically primer isn't a foundation in itself, but it's an essential step nowadays if you want your makeup to last. Think of it as one of the building blocks that will support your foundation. You can use moisturiser instead, but primer will work better and help give you an even skin tone. Primer creates a smooth base for foundation by filling in any little gaps; you can't see them but you'll notice the difference once your primer and foundation are on. Experiment by using primer on one side of your face and not the other - then play spot the difference!
With so many different types of foundation to choose from, it can seem like pot luck in finding the right one - and that's without the challenge of finding one to match your skin tone! Start by deciding what kind of coverage you want, then narrow it down to the types of foundation that work well with your skin type. That will give you a shortlist of ones to choose from. You may even like to have different foundations to choose from in your makeup bag; one day you may want lighter coverage, and another day prefer something heavier. You change the lipsticks and eye shadows that you use, so why not your foundation? And do invest in the right tools to apply your foundation; you will really see a difference in how good it looks.