Yep, that’s right, I have another Back 2 Basics for you guys. The last post talked about primers and their purpose. The next step in a beauty routine is typically foundation. At work, I feel like this is the one product that clients don’t know much about (and thats ok, there are hundreds to choose from and they all have a different purpose – it took me a long time to become familiar with all of the ones that we carry just in my store, and I’m at a smaller location). It seems as though people just choose a foundation based on what their friends recommend (which as we know, will only work out if your friend has the same skin as you) or buy and return foundations until they happen to find one they like. But trust me, I can make this process a lot easier and a lot less complicated. Foundation is one of those things that can make-or-break your makeup look. If it is too light in colour, you look washed out. If it is too dark, you get a line of demarcation. Too little coverage and you have to cake on concealer, too much coverage and your skin is being suffocated for no reason. Honestly, once you find the perfect shade and the perfect formula for your skin, it is the best feeling in the world. I’m going to break this post down by skin type, and within each skin type I will have options for light, medium, or full coverage. I’ll then list some tips and tricks for foundation afterwards. I have a lot to cover in this article so get yourself a snack or a stiff drink and lets get started.

Dry: If you read my last post, you’ll remember that finding primers for dry skin was a breeze and finding primers for oily skin was a nightmare. In the case of foundation, I think it is the opposite. With dry skin you need to find a foundation to keep you hydrated (obviously), otherwise your skin will be prone to peeling, leaving you with a patchy- or flakey-looking application.
For a lighter coverage option, I recommend a tinted moisturizer. Note: a tinted moisturizer does not replace your regular moisturizer. The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is a fan favourite and I also really like the Smashbox BB Cream. If you want more of a true foundation, Makeup Forever Waterblend is a great option.
For a medium coverage option, the Too Faced Born This Way foundation has coconut water and hyaluronic acid (❤️) to keep your skin ready to party all day long. The cool thing about this foundation is it’s versatility; by itself, it is a medium coverage. By mixing in the Too Faced Hangover primer (mentioned in the Back 2 Basics primer edition), it sheers out to a thinner, lighter coverage. This foundation also layers well, so if you want a more full-coverage look, you can add a second layer of this foundation without looking cakey.
Full coverage foundations are a tricky one with dry skin. Any sort of flaking or dry patches will be accentuated by certain foundations. I have had great luck with the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation on dry-skin clients. It contains 20% water to hydrate the skin as well as Tarte’s exclusive ‘rainforest of the sea complex’ – a blend of algae and marine flowers to smooth and blur any imperfections. Although it is marketed as a full-coverage foundation, I find it gives a more medium coverage right off the bat but is easily build able and still feels lightweight with that extra layering.

Oily: Oily skin, if primed properly, only really has one issue when it comes to foundation:  when the oils come through the skin, it might separate like when you try to mix oil and water. Which brings me to my next point: if you have oily skin, avoid a water-based foundation. If you use a water-based foundation on your oily skin, it will separate because oil and water do not get along.
For my oily skin party people, a foundation powder might be your best option for a sheer coverage. Powders typically will even out the skin and blur any discolouration, but will not provide over-the-top coverage. If this is what you’re looking for, the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder is a great option as well as the Bare Minerals BarePro Performance Wear powder. Powders will also keep you looking matte all day.
A medium coverage option is the Lancome Teint Idole 24h foundation. Although I don’t have oily skin, I still use this foundation as it is a nice natural finish (as opposed to matte). It is a medium buildable coverage, transfer-resistant, and is also infused with silica and perlite which are oil-absorbing ingredients. I love this one for oily skin because you can get away with a natural (borderline dewy) finish foundation and not have to worry about looking like a greased chicken because of that silica and perlite.
For full coverage, I swear by the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation. Again, even though I do not have oily skin, I still love this stuff. It was actually my first high-end foundation (not that anyone cares, this article is long enough as it is, just keep rambling Paige). Anyway, this foundation is great because Amazonian clay adapts to it’s environment – in other words, whether you are dry or oily, it will adjust accordingly to ensure your makeup lasts. It will absorb oil if you are oily, or provide moisture if you are dry.

Combo (dry-oily combo): Combination skin seems difficult because you typically have to address either the oiliness or the dryness – most foundations will do one or the other, but not both. So as with my last article, you could mix foundations, but it does not really give the same effect and some foundations just do not mix well. You could also put different foundations in different areas of the skin if you can find an exact match in both brands, which is hella rare and can get expensive. There are a few options for my combo party people though.
For sheer coverage, I would refer to the paragraph in the ‘dry skin’ foundations – typically some sort of tinted moisturizer or BB cream. I recommend these because a) it will hydrate the dry areas and b) typically, oiliness stems from dehydration, so a tinted moisturizer/BB cream will also hydrate the oily areas so they will not have to produce as much oil [in order to moisturize the dehydrated skin].
A medium coverage option is the Smashbox Studio Skin foundation. This foundation is perfect for all skin types, meaning it will work with your oiliness and your dryness. It is also hands down the most durable foundation I have ever used – exercise-resistant, sweat-resistant, and transfer-proof.
For full coverage, I would opt for the Amazonian clay foundation mentioned earlier. As I said, the clay adapts to it’s environment, which means it will adapt according to the dry and oily areas of your skin.

Normal: Ah, the easiest of the skin types. Honestly, you can get away with pretty much anything. Just find a foundation that works for you based on any skin concerns, coverage, colour, and the finish you like, and you’re golden. As someone with normal skin, I prefer something more sheer to medium coverage as I don’t need anything excessive. I am obsessed with the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation – I’ve gone through more bottles than I care to admit. For the days where I do want more coverage, I opt for the Teint Idole because it feels lightweight even though it does have a more full coverage look.


  • Use a foundation that is going to work well with your other skincare/makeup products – for example, you should avoid using a powder foundation if you like to apply cream blush because a cream on top of a powder can sometimes cake up or ‘pill’ (it’s like when your favourite sweater pills – it kind of creates little balls of lint, or in this case, makeup)
  • Use the right tool – read up on what the brand suggests (brush, sponge, or fingers). Sometimes the reason your foundation doesn’t look the way you anticipated is because you are using the wrong tool.
  • Find your perfect colour. You would be surprised at how many clients ask me if they should be going a shade darker. Where did this rumour come from??? No. No no no. If you want to look more tan or add some colour to the face, opt for a bronzer. Your foundation is there to look like your skin. Going a shade or two darker leads to that line of demarkation or you have to blend it all the way down your neck and chest which wastes expensive product. Go into your closest Sephora and have them use the ColourIQ on you (a machine that takes pictures of your skin and matches you to your perfect foundation shades)
  • Do your foundation (and the rest of your makeup) in good lighting. There is nothing worse than thinking you look amazing in your yellow-toned, dimmed basement lights and then going outside to reveal your makeup is 17 shades too dark.
  • Avoid foundation under the eyes if you plan on concealing. Using foundation under the eyes and then concealer defeats the purpose of the products. Foundation is there to even out the skin tone, and concealer is there to do the concealing…layering on the products is unnecessary if you have the right concealer (which will be talked about in the next Back 2 Basics) and can look and/or feel heavy.
  • Learn about undertones. This is not something you can learn overnight, and this is not something that comes easily to everyone because it is difficult to explain. There are 3 undertones for skin: cool (pink), neutral, and warm (yellow/golden). The easiest way to tell your undertone is to look at the veins in your wrist. Cool skinned individuals will see blue or purple veins. Neutral will see blue-green. Warm will see green or even olive veins. This trick does not always work however, because a) the skin tone on your wrist can be different than your chest and face and b) your veins can be close to the surface and be more likely to look blue even on a warm-toned individual (I am an example of this exception – I have warm skin but blue veins because they are so close to the surface, therefore the blue blood is more prominent)
  • Dab foundation. Regardless of if you are using a sponge or a brush, begin by dabbing and stippling the foundation into your skin. This gives a more skin-like finish and also gives optimal coverage because you are not rubbing the product into the skin, but laying it on top. Some foundations require some buffing (such as the Amazonian clay), but do your best to stipple at first.
  • cLeAn YoUr BrUsHeS. If you’ve been around since the beginning, you know one of my first articles was about brushes. Check out that article for some good brush cleaners. Dirty brushes, especially foundation brushes, carry bacteria which can cause breakouts. Not only that, but foundation that has been sitting in your brush for a while can oxidize or change colour due to buildup and cause your final application to look darker than your foundation really is.
  • If you have a foundation that is too heavy for you (in texture or in coverage), add a bit of moisturizer or a hydrating primer. It will sheer out the coverage and make it feel more lightweight.

Ok. I think that’s enough for today. I’m exhausted. I hope this helped and if you have any other questions or want more tips, leave me a comment or feel free to email me. Also as usual, do me a huge favour and scroll to the bottom of the page and hit that ‘follow’ button to receive an email when I post! Thanks for hanging out with me idiot fam,
Until next time,