Types Of Foundations: Choosing The Best For Your Skin Tone

Foundations are one of the first things you put on while applying makeup, even before concealer and it is one of the most crucial steps in your makeup routine. 

It creates the perfect base for your makeup and allows you to apply everything else on top of it quickly.

As mentioned earlier, foundations serve as a base to even out your skin tone and act as a barrier between your skin and makeup products.

Foundations are so diverse these days, from liquid to powder foundations and stick to cream to cushion foundations.

Choosing a foundation can be stressful for many people because there are many factors to keep in mind: coverage, SPF, type of formula.

Should you go full coverage or sheer? 

Is it best to use chemical or physical SPF? 

Do you want a liquid, powder or stick formulation? 

These are only some of the questions that need to be answered before making the right choice for your skin.

In this article, we will be focusing on all you need to know before choosing the proper foundation for your skin.

Types Of foundation

1. Liquid Foundation 

Liquid Foundations are the most popular type of foundation in the market. 

These type of foundations are even more than powder or stick foundations. 

They create a flawless look and can make your skin look much smoother than before.

Liquid foundations typically have higher coverage and are used to even out surface irregularities such as discoloration or scarring. 

In addition, they can also be used as an everyday foundation under a powder to make skin look flawless. 

The adage “less is more” certainly applies when applying liquid foundations.

So, it is advisable to start with few drops and work your way up from there if the desired level of coverage still isn’t achieved.

Pros and Cons of Liquid Foundations


1. Liquid foundations are highly absorbent

2. These types of foundations are portable

3. They have a natural finish

4. Liquid foundations are long-lasting 

5. They are easy to apply

6. Liquid foundations have clearer undertones

7. They suit oily skin


2. They require a complete and total application

3. The long-term use of liquid foundations can damage the skin and doesn’t give a natural look

4  Some Liquid foundations are expensive

5. The excessive use of them can block pores and clog pores

6. Liquid foundations tend to settle into fine lines giving you an older appearance

2. Powder Foundation 

Powder foundations have been around for many years. 

Well, before the days of liquid and cream foundations.

While there is no denying that liquid and cream foundations have the power to grant invisibility to any minor skin flaws.

They conceal minor blemishes and are still widely used in salons and makeup counters.

Pros and Cons of Powder Foundations


1. It controls oil, Helps makeup stay longer, Reduces the appearance of Pores, Doesn’t feel heavy on the skin.

2. Some powder foundations can offer sheer to full coverage.

3. Over some time will reduce the appearance of fine lines.

4. Some powder foundations can control acne breakouts.

5. This type of foundation can build coverage by adding more layers

6. Powder foundation reduces shine on the face resulting in a matte look

7. They are mostly less expensive than liquid foundations


1. Dulls the skin

2. Can clog pores

3. It gives a  cakey looking  finish

4. Also, it may be a breeding ground for bacteria if not applied correctly

5. Tends to be heavy

 6. Makes contouring and highlighting challenging to manage

 7. It shows up imperfections sometimes.

3. Stick Foundation

These are foundations in stick form.

As a result of how it is designed, application is far easier than using a liquid or cream.

Stick foundation is quick and easy to apply.

You can take it on the go, and you don’t have to use a lot of product.

Furthermore, you get better coverage than with liquid foundations.

 You can change your coverage depending on how many layers you apply. 

They also tend to have a less greasy feeling when used.

Pros and Cons of Stick Foundations


1. Stick foundations are easy to use

2. Used for touch-ups on the go

3. Can be used as a concealer or even eye-shadow

4. Some have high SPF


1. It may have an uneven finish 

2. Can cause breakouts

3. Stick foundations makes the skin dry and tight

4. It does not give a natural look

5. The finish makes a face patterned

6. Stick foundation is sometimes expensive 

4. Cream Foundation 

A cream foundation is an alternative to a liquid or powder foundation. 

It differs as it is usually applied as a cream form onto the skin, rather than using a brush or fingers. 

A cream foundation gives the user more pigmentation and results in natural-looking skin. These foundations have a variety of uses.

Cream foundations are a great alternative to powder if you have dry skin. 

They tend to give better coverage and also improve your skin by adding moisture. 

Pros and Cons of Cream Foundations


1 It has superior coverage. Many cream foundations offer the full range.

2. Cream foundations can last longer than powder foundations. Some cream foundations can last up to so many hours on your face without flaking, fading or losing colour.

3. Furthermore, cream foundations are easy to apply in hot temperatures because they tend to have a lighter consistency and are easily blendable.

4. Its lightweight consistency blends seamlessly with your skin.

5. Furthermore, it offers medium to buildable coverage. 

6. It comes in a variety of shades and finishes and can suit all skin tones.

7. You can use it as an under-eye concealer for blemishes and highlight the brow bone as well as your cheeks.


1. Cream foundations tend to be very oily and heavy.

2. They can make your skin appear dull.

3. It is hard to find a good cream foundation that works for your skin type.

4. Many of them contain chemicals that are bad for your skin.

5. Takes longer to set when applied.

5. Serum Foundations 

Serum foundations are made from a serum-like base to offer more coverage than a typical liquid or cream foundation. 

They are best applied with a dense brush for more excellent buildable coverage and faster application. 

Serum Foundations are formulations of typically full makeup that offer higher coverage to provide a flawless finish. 

The foundations in the category will give a medium to the high level of coverage for those who desire greater luminosity and staying power than your average foundation.

Pros and Cons of Serum Foundations


1. It mostly looks natural

2. You get to see the effects instantly

3. Complete coverage

4. Longer lasting wearing and long-lasting effect on the skin

5. Serum foundations provide a flawless finish to a makeup look

6. This type of foundations can be worn by people with sensitive skin because they are non-greasy

7. Best for controlling oil production because it contains too much oil-like liquid foundation or powder.


1. The high oil content makes your face shiny

3. They do not adhere to dry patches, wrinkles, fine lines, and pores

4. Many are formulated in a way that adds more acne problems after use.

5. Some are available with fragrances that cause allergic reactions.

Choosing The Right Foundation

There are a few things to look out for when choosing a foundation. These include;

  1. Complexion

2. Skin Type

3. Undertone

4. Know the colour wheel

5. Look out for brand reviews

6. Choose Foundations with SPF

7. Know the ingredients it contains 


Choosing the best foundation for your complexion is essential. 

Otherwise, it can be disappointing to think you’re getting a great product and not getting the results you want.  

Knowing one’s skin tone is very important when buying a foundation.

A foundation that matches your skin tone will not only give you a fresh-looking complexion but will also help neutralize dark spots and even your skin tone.

This can sometimes be tricky because complexion has generally been grouped into dark and light skin. 

But two dark-skinned people may not use the same foundation color, which brings us to another important factor in choosing the proper foundation.

Know The Color Wheel

This is a visual representation of the relationships between colours in the form of a circle.

 A colour wheel is often used as an educational tool.

It is a useful guide for artists and designers for choosing colours that will make a visually pleasing composition when placed next to each other.

Foundation colors are usually selected based on skin tone first. 

However, sometimes it can be challenging to determine what colors work with your skin tone.

Color wheels are a beautiful way of displaying all possible combinations for those who are not sure what color to pick. 

They can also be used to help you when choosing complimentary foundation colors for your skin tone.

Skin Type

Finding out your skin type is essential because specific types of foundation are targeted at them.

Also, what types of foundations are most suited for your skin will depend mainly on the type of skin you have. 

Whether you have oily, everyday or even dry skin, there’s a foundation for you!

1. Oily Skin

Oily skin type is a type of skin that secretes excessive sebum. 

The natural oils found in the face are produced by sebaceous glands and are released onto the skin’s surface. 

If an individual has oily skin, there will be an overproduction of these oils.

Foundation for oily skin is no easy task.

You need something that will sit nicely on the skin, control oil while also providing a medium to full coverage.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a foundation for oily skin, but it boils down to two: oil control and coverage.

Below are a few helpful tips;

1. Stick to matte formulas

2. Choose foundations with coverage of a light to medium

3. Opt for formulas that absorb excess oil

4. Check the finish and ingredients closely

5. Keep your face soft and hydrated by drinking plenty of water and adding a moisturizer to your routine.

6. Use a primer

7. Avoid adding too many layers.

2. Dry Skin

Dry skin type is the most common of all skin types.

This type of skin is characterized by a dehydrated and rough outer layer of the skin.

A dry skin type is not the most accessible skin type to possess. 

It is a skin type that needs much more care than the standard or oily skin types. 

Furthermore, it is also very prone to irritation and breakout, which can only be avoided if you maintain your skin exceedingly well.

A foundation for dry skin needs more moisture than a regular foundation as it will be applied over dryer areas. 

Also, the formula needs to have additional emollients and humectants to help keep skin hydrated while you wear it. 

Look for a foundation with ingredients such as Glycerin, Hyaluronic acid, Aloe Vera, silicones, glycols and oils like jojoba or coconut oil.

3. Normal Skin

If your skin is normal, it’s the type of skin that doesn’t get oily or gets oily only during a specific phase of life; e.g. puberty, pregnancy, and so on. 

Normal skin, like dry and oily skin, has unique characteristics and requires a combination of cosmetics and grooming to provide it with optimal care.

4. Combination Skin

Combination skin is a common skin type.

It is characterized by having oily areas on the forehead, chin and cheeks, with dry areas around the nose, mouth and eye area. 

People with combination skin types sometimes have to face many constant changes and problems that other skin types rarely experience. 

They may have uneven skin texture, huge pores, occasional breakouts and tiny bumps.


It is crucial to know your undertone when it comes to makeup, especially foundations. 

Some foundations tend to work with your skin tone, while some just make it look odd.

This is why knowing your undertones will not only make you feel confident about the kind of makeup you buy, but it will also make you look great.

To determine your undertones, look at the veins in your arms.

If they seem more blue than green, then you have cool undertones; if they appear more green than blue, your undertones are most likely warm.

The types of undertones are;

Cool Undertones

What is a cool undertone? Cool undertones, or cool skin tones, are skin colors that contain a blue or green hue. 

Cool undertones are trickier as most foundations are made for warm skin coloring.

You know a foundation has a better chance of flattering your face if it’s neutral and matches the lightness of your skin exactly.

If you have cool undertones, you’ll need a foundation to bring out those cool tones and help blend them into your skin tone as seamlessly as possible.

Warm Undertone

The warm undertone meaning is the literal opposite of cool undertones.

If you have warm undertones, you have yellow, gold, and orange undertones that are the opposite of cool undertone hues that would be blue and green.

Warm undertones typically give your skin a golden or red tint. This undertone is perfect for those with light skin, a beige or olive complexion.

Determining your undertone will help you make the right choice when picking a foundation.

Neutral tones

Neutral skin undertone is a significant part of foundation choice.

In essence, it means that your skin tone appears to be neither pink nor yellow.

This look helps to hide imperfections and even out your skin tone while appearing natural. 

A neutral skin undertone can be hard to determine.

Which is why you want to make sure your foundation doesn’t have any gold or pink undertones if you have neutral skin.

Furthermore, if your skin’s undertone is already gold or pink, the foundation won’t match your skin tone right.

You don’t want to spend money on a foundation for your skin color, resulting in a bad match.

Look Out For Brand Reviews

Makeup is an essential aspect of a good appearance.

However, choosing the best foundation by looking out for reviews is not an easy task.

You have to learn how to find genuine reviews before learning how to find the best foundation.

Choose foundations with SPF.

I am sure you understand the importance of foundation for face.

It provides the perfect base for your makeup, which is why choosing the proper foundation for your skin is essential.

In addition to providing even coverage, it should also protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent wrinkles and other skin problems.

This is one of the major reasons why it is essential to pick one with SPF.

SPF, which means sun protection factor, is essential because of the following;

1. Protects against harmful Ultra Violet B (UVB) Rays. UVB rays are the leading cause of sunburn in most people.

2. Helps prevent discoloration: UVA Rays can cause long-term damage even though they do not lead to immediate sunburns.

3. Prevents Skin cancer: Melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer for a reason, and it’s simply because people don’t wear sunscreen.

Know what ingredients it contains

When choosing foundations, we are always attracted to the pretty packages with gorgeous models, brightening with fake smiles and smooth skin looking to be envied.

It can get confusing that we buy one without even checking what it contains.

This is seriously bad because it is essential to check the ingredients list before using it.

Similarly, it doesn’t matter what the price for a foundation is or the brand.

It is advisable to look out for the ingredient information to determine if it’s suitable for you and your skin’s needs.

This is because we all have different skin types, and our skin reacts to these ingredients differently.

FAQs About Foundations

What are some common mistakes In foundation application?

  1. Failing to consider your skin tone 

As we have discussed, it is essential to consider your skin tone before applying a foundation.

This is important so as not to end up looking too white or darker than you should typically look.

2. Applying foundation when your skin is damp

Applying your foundation on wet skin is very tempting for a quick and easy application. Nonetheless, it is also a huge no-no!

This is because it might end up being uneven, causing you to look like a mess.

3. Not using a moisturizer before application

Moisturizers are essential, especially if you have dry skin.

4. Applying too much foundation

Don’t apply too much foundation. Using too much can result in uneven texture, fine lines, caking, and even cause damage to your skin.

 5. Using the wrong texture of foundation for your skin type

Foundations should enhance our look and appearance, but using the bad surface for your skin can do the opposite.

 An example of such a mistake is using a matte foundation on dry skin.

6. Applying foundation to large areas of skin without blending

 It is essential to correctly blend your foundation after application to give an even finish.

7. Double-dipping your brush in the container

The more you double-dip your brush, the more bacteria will grow and cause breakouts. 

Any bacteria from the previous foundation application will spread to the new one you might apply to your face.

8. Not cleaning brushes and sponges regularly

Did you realize that allowing your brushes or sponges to dry with makeup still on them not only decreases their lifespan but also puts you at a higher risk of having an outbreak due to the bacteria and yeast living in your cosmetics? 

9. Picking a colour that does not match

Applying a color that does not fit can give you an unnatural look.

What is the best foundation for very oily skin?

Liquid foundations with a matte finish are best foundations for oily skin. Powder foundations can also work as they help to soak up the extra oil.

What is the best foundation for dry, sensitive skin?

Liquid foundations are advisable for dry skin. 

If you have sensitive skin, endeavor to look out for the ingredients before buying a product. 

This is important because people with sensitive skin react to certain chemicals.

Is it better for my foundation to be a bit darker or lighter?

Your foundation should be a shade lighter than your skin (not too light). 

This helps to brighten up your skin a little.


There are different types of foundations ranging from liquid, powder, cream, stick and serum. 

Some of these foundation types are recommended for some particular skin types.

So it is essential to identify your skin type to know what kind of foundation to purchase.

Your complexion, skin type and undertone are significant determinants of the best-suited foundation for you.

Always remember that foundations are one of the most crucial parts of your make-up application because they provide the base, which holds everything else together.

This emphasis the importance to choose the proper foundation so that you can have a smooth and flawless look.

You can find so many other articles about makeup tips for dark skins on Africana Fashion.