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How To Choose The Right Makeup Foundation

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011

How To Choose The Right Makeup Foundation

What Is A Makeup Foundation And How Important Is It?

I believe that there is not a single woman in the world who doesn’t understand the value of a clear and healthy skin.  To be able to step out into the world everyday without having to worry about makeup and covering facial flaws would just be liberating, to say the least.  Women born with perfectly smooth, clear, almost like photoshopped skin are always the envy of other women.  However, that is a gift that only very few women are blessed with and, sadly, not the reality that the rest of us is probably ever gonna wake up to. For most of us, we have no other choice but to “get by with a little help from our friends” – cosmetics (particularly, makeup foundation)!

First, I must briefly define what a makeup foundation is and what it does for the face –  the foundation is a type of cosmetic that is commonly used as a base for makeup.  It helps enhance the facial complexion, even out skin tone, and hide skin imperfections.  Many define makeup as the art of face painting.  Well, as the “artist”, you need to prep your “canvas” – which is your face – before you begin your art, right? That’s what the makeup foundation is for!

The makeup foundation is not a necessary part of our daily beauty regimen.  For daytime and more casual activities, a tinted moisturizer or face powder should normally suffice. However, the makeup foundation is an absolute must-have for special occasions, or activities that require a longer wearing makeup.

Straight to the point:  There is nothing more ridiculous (other than a pencil drawn pair of eyebrows) than a foundation that’s too white (or too dark) on the skin that it leaves a woman looking like she’s got someone else’s head attached to her neck, or worse, looking like a mime artist!

Mime Artist

So this post simply aims to review the basic guidelines to follow when choosing the right foundation for your skin tone.  Let’s begin then.


First Things First: Coverage

Coverage refers to the opacity of the foundation, or how much of your flaws it is able to cover up.  Depending on your present skin condition and what particular skin issues you feel the need to conceal, use the following as your guide in selecting which type of coverage you need:

  • Sheer is the most transparent or least pigmented; it will help in slightly minimizing the appearance of skin discoloration and maybe help make your skin appear a little bit smoother, but it will not be much help if you need to conceal dark spots or acne marks.
  • Light can slightly fix blotchiness and uneven skin tone but again, not opaque enough to hide dark spots and acne marks.
  • Medium can cover discoloration, blotchiness and acne marks well enough, especially if set with a tinted powder.
  • Full Coverage is heavily pigmented and very opaque, it is often referred to as camouflage or corrective makeup, and is also what makeup artists use for professional photo sessions, films and stage performances since it can effectively hide any flaws.


Choosing The Right Formulation Next

assorted makeup foundation

Before you worry about the shade, you need to choose which formulation for the makeup foundation suits your skin type.  If you have oily skin, I would recommend that you get either the water-based, oil control, oil free or mattifying formula.  If you have dry skin, then you will need the oil based, moisture rich, moisturizing or hydrating formula.

  • Oil-based is the oldest type of formulation for makeup.  It has a very thick and very dense consistency.  It stays moist, thus giving your skin the dewy appearance.  It often provides medium to full coverage and is slightly water resistant but it has the tendency to smudge, fade or discolor after long hours of wear.
  • Water-based provides medium coverage but with a lighter, more natural appearance and feel than the oil-based.
  • Mineral makeup foundation most commonly refers to any foundation in loose powder form.  Minerals such as mica, bismuth oxychloride, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and talc are the most common minerals used as the base for this type of makeup, hence, the name “mineral“.  Mineral makeup foundation provides sheer to light coverage.


Finally, Choosing The Right Shade

choosing the right color of foundation

Now let’s move on to picking the right foundation shade for your skin tone.  When testing a foundation at the cosmetic shop, apply a tiny swipe along your jaw line and blend it evenly into your skin.  Don’t be too shy to excuse yourself and find a way to quickly step out of the building and into the sunlight, take out your compact mirror and look at the color of the foundation on your skin.  What you want is for the foundation to closely match the color of your neck yet appears almost invisible on your face.  Take note that I did not say “you want a shade that matches the color of (the skin on) your face.  Why?  Simply because most of us have a slightly different skin color on the face due to various environmental and genetic factors that affect our skin and if that’s the case, we surely don’t need a foundation to match that color but something to correct it.

So why test it along the jawline?  That’s because that is the line that separates the neck and the face!  So the color you’re looking for has to balance, or sort of “marry” the two colors together, making that line almost undetectable, and still has to come out as natural looking as possible.


Take Note: Cool Skin Tone vs. Warm Skin Tone

If for some reason, the cosmetic shop does not provide a tester for the foundation you’re thinking of purchasing, one way for you to determine which shade would match your skin tone the closest is to first figure out whether you have a warm or cool skin tone.  How the heck would you know?!

How To Choose The Right Makeup Foundation

Look at the underside of your wrist.  If your veins appear mostly greenish in color, then you have a warm skin tone. If your veins appear mostly bluish or purple, then yours is a cool skin tone.  The right shade of foundation for a warm skin tone is one that has a yellow, gold or peach undertone; whereas if you have a cool skin tone, you should pick a foundation with blue or pink undertone.


Ready to Go Makeup Shopping Now?

So that’s it, folks!  Very easy and simple guidelines to follow the next time you go shopping for your makeup foundation.  Just another reminder though – if you have extra shopping money, you should also buy a makeup primer and make sure to apply it first before your makeup foundation, ayt?

If you would like to learn more about how to achieve a healthier and clearer skin complexion so that makeup is totally optional and NOT a requirement, check back again next week and visit this other post which I will be working on next.  :)




About The Author: Myla “MyMy” Upshaw

Myla “MyMy” Upshaw is a stay-at-home mom who prides herself on her status as a Filipino Christian wife and mother and “domestic goddess”. She blogs about popular subjects for stay-at-home moms such as fashion, family, beauty, relationships, entrepreneurialism (“mompreneur”), movies, self-improvement, health & wellness as well as about her faith as a follower of Christ.

To learn more about Myla Upshaw, please click here:



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Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Nielma E. Verzosa

    You’re blogs are really so useful, My. Thanks a lot for the tips again.

  2. Joshua Beistle

    This is good writing. Kudos to the author very well said. Keep up the good work!

  3. moncler

    This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

  4. Loan Liebsch

    well written and has valuable info. bookmarked and shared on my twitter!

  5. Joe

    Hi myla!

    I just started reading your articles and now i m so hooked i cant go to sleep. Im just wondering what make-up foundation do you use., im also fiilipino and just recently moved out of our homeland, so im used to local filipino brands, now im having a hard time choosing from all the make-up brands not familiar to me.

    • Myla Upshaw

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Joe. It’s so rewarding to see comments like this. It certainly validates all my efforts. :) I honestly use different products to suit my needs for any given day. For example, my everyday go-to foundation is actually the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream because it’s a 5-in-1 product –> a primer, moisturizer, foundation, concealer and sun protection in a single tube! If I’m going for a dewy, no-makeup look, then I normally use a tinted moisturizer. Laura Mercier is one of my favorite brands when it comes to tinted moisturizers. I use the oil-free one because my skin can get really oily sometimes that I may just consider competing against the Middle East for oil production! (LOL) My most recent addiction, however, is Shu Uemura’s Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation. It leaves my skin looking really flawless for literally hours! I strongly recommend any of these products for you.

  6. Kathleen Case

    Thanks for listing all the tips, these are really helpful. I must say, you’ve taken the initiative to mention even the slightest details. I especially liked the part where you’ve mentioned about how one can easily differentiate between cool and warm skin tones.

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