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Foundation guide

Foundation Buying Guide

Finding the right foundation can be every girl's beauty-mare. There's so much to think about. What foundation is best for your skin type? Are you oily? Dry? Combination? What type of coverage do you want? Full coverage? A sheer complexion or natural radiance? To help you, our Foundation Buying Guide will help you to achieve a flawless base.

Skin type
Skin type

Choose a formula

Selecting the right foundation formula can make all the difference to your overall finish. If your complexion is dry, opt for a liquid or stick foundation that is packed full of hydrating and nourishing properties. Powder foundations are ideal for oily skin as they help to absorb excess oil and eliminate shine. Or look for oil-free foundations that won't slip on the skin. For combination skin a tinted moisturiser and a concealer can do the trick.

Choose the coverage

If you're looking for a foundation that is light and enhances your natural beauty, opt for a light coverage foundation or a tinted moisturiser. If you want to even out your skin tone and revive radiance choose a medium coverage foundation. For an airbrushed effect for special occasions or to disguise scarring and acne opt for a full coverage foundation.

Choose the finish
Choose the finish

We've identified 4 foundation finishes that will help you to achieve complexion perfection.

best foundation


A sheer finish is when you want to achieve a fresh-faced natural look and just need a bit of coverage to even out your skin tone.

best foundation for oily skin


A dewy finish is when you want to create a complexion that looks fresh, glowing and youthful.

best foundation for dry skin


This type of finish eliminates shine and revives dullness so your complexion looks healthy and natural.

best full coverage foundation


Ideal for photoshoots and special occasions when you want to look your very best.

Know your skin's undertone
Know your skin's undertone

Understanding your skin's undertone can make all the difference to choosing the right foundation. The best way to check is to look at the veins on your wrist. If veins are olive, you'll have a warm undertone. Purple means your undertone is cool, and if they're blue-green, your undertone is neutral. Once you know this you can choose your foundation shade better.

Test your foundation
Test your foundation

For best results, test in natural light or near a window so you get a true idea of the colour. Make sure you also dab onto the jawline to get a flawless and even finish.

Types of foundation
Types of foundation
foundation for dry skin


Liquid foundation is a popular option as the smooth silk like consistency glides effortlessly onto the skin and easily blends.

Shop liquid foundations
foundation for oily skin


Cream foundations come in a compact or stick and are a great handbag must-have if you're on-the-go.

Shop cream foundations
good foundation

Mineral Foundation

Made from pure natural ingredients, mineral makeup is ideal for those with allergies or sensitive skin.

Shop mineral foundations
best foundation for combination skin


Pressed powder foundations are an easy way to even out the skin tone and get a smooth finish. They are also great for eliminating shine in problem areas like the T-zone.

Shop powder foundations
Complementary and alternative foundation products
Complementary and alternative
foundation products
best coverage foundation


Concealers are particularly good for problem areas such as under the eyes and to hide pimples and spots. For best results apply before foundation.

Shop all concealers
best foundation for coverage

BB Cream

BB Creams are in between a tinted moisturiser and foundation. They impart a dewy finish that is perfect if you want little coverage for a 'no make up' look.

Shop all BB Creams
best powder foundation

Tinted moisturisers

Tinted moisturisers are a great option if you don't need a lot of coverage but do want to even out your skin tone and relieve dry skin. The slight hint of foundation gives just the right amount of colour coverage whilst the moisturising formula nourishes, softens and protects the skin.

Shop all tinted moisturisers
Top Tips & Advice
Top Tips & Advice

Here's a run down of a few quick tips and tricks you can try when choosing your foundation.

• Sarah Sian Beauty Editor - 'Foundation should be applied to the areas that need it the most. For instance your
T-zone, nose, eyes and chin. The key to a flawless finish is blending well'.

• SJ bareMinerals International Makeup Artist - 'Its so important to ensure your neck and décolletage are the same shade as your face'.

• Shehla Shaikh, Head Makeup Artist for Lancôme UK - 'If you have dry skin, make sure you are following a good skin care routine with a hydrating moisturiser so you have the best possible canvas to start with'.

Discover more foundation advice:

Foundations for your skin type
Foundations for your skin type
Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade

The key to achieving the perfect foundation base is all in the prep. Use a primer prior to your foundation as these help to even out the skin tone, conceal blemishes and fixes your makeup for longer. Plus, for professional results everytime, use a good foundation brush that makes blending easy and even all over.