Choosing and applying the right foundation

estee lauder teint
Foundation is essential for flawless-looking skin. Find out how to choose the right foundation for your face among the different types out there, and learn how to apply it perfectly.
How do I choose the right foundation for my skin tone?
For a beautiful and natural effect, you should choose your foundation according to your natural skin tone.
The colour shouldn't be too dark, so that it doesn't look obvious next to the shade of your neck.
For an immaculate look, choose a foundation that is slightly lighter than your skin tone and apply to the rounded parts of your face: cheeks, bridge of the nose, chin and forehead.
If you have fair skin, aim for transparency, steering clear of shades that are too light, which will make you look washed-out.
If you have darker skin, opt for a powdered foundation that blends into your skin.
Whay type of foundation should I be using?
This depends on whether you want to cover up imperfections, smooth out your skin or make it look natural and radiant.
- Liquid foundation
These are perfect for a natural look because they don’t give you too much coverage but they do even out skin tone.
There are two different types of liquid foundation:
Moisturising liquids provide a satiny, shiny effect and are suitable for all skin types.
Mattifying liquids conceal imperfections and give a smooth, matte finish. They’re ideal for shiny faces and combination skin that tends to get oily.
- Mousse or spray foundation
These are light and natural-looking, and they make skin look and feel very smooth. They're easy to spray on, give light cover and feel good against the skin because they blend in as soon as they’re applied.
Mousse foundations are suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin.
- Compact foundation
Thicker, with more cover, these are perfect for an even skin tone and give a sophisticated, impeccably smooth finish. They’re ideal if you want to hide imperfections or if you prefer slightly heavier make-up.
There are two different types of compact foundation:
Cream foundation is slightly satiny and perfect for combination or dry skin.
Powder foundation is a big hit with women who are short on time because they're two-in-one. They provide a soft, smooth, peachy finish and are are great on skin with a tendency to shine!
- Stick foundation
Practical and easy to use, these foundations are applied directly onto the face. They fit perfectly in your handbag and allow you to touch up your face at any time of the day. They’re suitable for normal to dry skin, but not for oily skin.
- Tinted moisturiser
Tinted moisturiser is more discreet than foundation and gives less cover. It's easy to use and just adds a hint of delicate, natural colour to your skin. Tinted moisturisers can also be used as daily moisturisers because they’re enriched with moisturising ingredients.
How do I choose the right colour?
Select a foundation that’s close to your skin tone. Test on your face if you can, and if not on the back of your hand. The right shade should blend and merge into your skin.
Applying foundation
- Preparing your skin:
Your skin needs to be in tip-top condition to look flawless. Regular exfoliation polishes the skin and eliminates dead cells. It helps make-up stay put and even.

Cleanse your face
with make-up remover or cleansing lotion to unblock your pores before applying make-up.
Moisturising is an essential step before you apply foundation. It ensures make-up stays on and makes it easier to apply.
Concealer hides imperfections and should be used under foundation.
- Applying foundation:
Heat up liquid foundation in the palm of your hand so that it’s easier to apply. You can also use a lightly moistened sponge to obtain even and accurate cover over your whole face.
Avoid applying a thick layer of foundation so that your skin doesn’t suffocate.
Start with the centre of your face (chin, cheeks, forehead) then work outwards carefully, from top to bottom.
Be sure to blend your foundation well at your hairline, eyebrows, the base of your ears and around your nose.
Essentials
- Always test your foundation before buying!
- Apply to clean, moisturised skin.
- Finish with powder to set your foundation, keep it in place, make applying other make-up products easier and provide a silky, smooth, matte effect.
- In winter (or under neon lighting), opt for foundation with a hint of pink.
- In summer, choose a sandy beige foundation that will glow in the sunlight.
- Don’t go overboard trying to cover imperfections: use concealer instead, which is far more effective.
Photo: Estée Lauder
Published by Sarah Horrocks
30 Oct 2007
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