Picking a Great Foundation

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated September 13, 2012)

I remember in seventh grade when my mom gave me a bunch of new cosmetics for Christmas and I was so excited to finally be "grown up" and wear makeup. My mom just gave me a few essentials, but it was enough to make a difference, in my opinion, and it also taught me the valuable lesson that makeup is supposed to enhance rather than change or distort.

When I had that first makeup lesson from my mom that Christmas afternoon, she began with teaching me about foundation. Foundation is exactly what is says it is: a base for everything else you do with your cosmetics. It's an essential and important part to your makeup routine and you need to know how to choose the best one for you.

Foundation can come in a few different forms and you should make the choice about which form you use based on your skin type. Most younger complexions (especially if you're an adolescent or young adult) should be looser and lighter, rather than a heavier compound. I've found pressed-powder foundations to be great for young, soft complexions. The pressed powders don't clog your pores and don't make your skin oily, so they're perfect for a younger foundation.

If you have unusually dry skin or you're in your late-twenties to early-thirties and on, you probably want to go for a liquid foundation. Liquid foundation is more "evening" and gets rid of the tone inconsistencies in your skin. It's a bit heavier, so it works well with older or more weather-worn skin. It also serves to effectively moisturize. If you're unsure about what medium of foundation you should use, ask a dermatologist or a makeup expert at your local department store.

The color of foundation you use is also important. If you want to add a bit of color to your skin, be careful and don't choose something that will be obvious once applied. You want it just a shade or a shade-and-a-half darker than your actual skin tone because if you go any darker than that then you'll suffer from the unfortunate obvious-foundation look. Foundation shouldn't be noticeable; like the rest of makeup's purpose it should enhance rather than draw attention to itself. You don't want people to know you have foundation on and that can easily be achieved by simply picking the right shade. If you're having a hard time figuring out what your skin tone or shade is, the cosmetics expert at the makeup counter will be more than willing to help you out.

Foundation doesn't have to be an intimidating part of makeup application and often times makes all the difference when applying the rest of your makeup. If you know how to pick the right kind and the right color within your chosen medium, then you'll have no problems choosing and applying your foundation!

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