Foundation: Which Makeup Is Right for You?

Beauty, Home & Family
on September 19, 2011

Here are some tips, courtesy of top makeup artists, for choosing the right foundation.

Less is more. The late makeup artist and photographer Kevyn Aucoin favored this approach. For a more natural look, he suggested using just a concealer and a dusting of powder. If you do choose to use all-over foundation, be sure the color matches the skin on your neck, and blend the foundation over the jawline and slightly onto the neck.

The right finish. Robert Jones, author of Makeup Makeovers Beauty Bible: Expert Secrets for Stunning Transformations, explains some of the terms used to describe the “finish,” or look, of different types of foundation, such as matte, satin and dewy. A “dewy” finish, is one that “creates a soft glowing look with a slight sheen and luminosity, while matte foundations will “have absolutely no shine and appear flat.” These are the foundations best used on oily skin and those with blemishes and other imperfections. Satin finishes are somewhere between matte and dewy ones, Jones says, and “may have a sheen but are not shiny.”

“Find a formula that works and complements your skin tone and type,” advises British makeup artist Daniel Sandler. If you have dry skin, choose a moisturizing formula; if your skin is oily, opt for an oil free formula.

The right shade. “The next most important thing is to choose the shade correctly,” Sandler says. Although many women like to use a foundation slightly darker than their natural skin color, he advises finding a foundation shade closer to the skin tone and warming it up with a powder foundation or a bronzer in a warmer shade.

To find the ideal shade of foundation, he says, dab two or three different shades of the same formula of foundation on the back of your hand. Apply the chosen shades along the jawline and then blend in the foundation. The one that is least visible is the right one for you. If you want to warm the foundation up afterward, use a powder. “Don’t go too dark on the face,” Sandler says, “because … unless you blend your foundation past the jawline down the neck and onto the chest area, you’ll have two tones and it will not look good.”

This article was originally published as Foundation: Which Makeup is Right for You? on