We love playing with this season’s bold eye and lip trends, but to pull them off, a clean canvas is essential. Here, we break down the different types of foundations to use to achieve it.
What: These are the chimeras of the makeup world, delivering the sunscreen and skincare benefits of a BB cream, the polished finish of a liquid foundation and the fuss-free portability of a pressed powder. With nearly every big-name beauty label carrying one, there’s a cushion for all types of skin concerns.
Best for: Those who are time-pressed or just plain lazy, and midday or post-workout touch-ups.
Difficulty level: Easy, once you get the hang of the application technique. Press the sponge onto the cushion firmly (but not so much that the foundation oozes out) and pat gently onto skin.
The pioneer of cushion compacts, it gets an upgrade with the 3D Skin Fit Cushion, a more elastic version of the sponge that allows you to pick up the perfect amount of product. It also contains a two-step oil-control system that supposedly absorbs surface sebum and strengthens skin’s barrier.
Perfect for layering and touch-ups, it has an ultra light and non-oxidising formula that allows for multiple applications to give good coverage without caking. Bonus: It contains bamboo sap for a cooling effect.
Light-diffusing nylon particles and radiant powders instantly make skin appear more radiant upon application, while anti-pigmentation ingredients work to do the same over time.
Enriched with mineral pigments and hydrating essence, it promises a touch-up-free, dewy and poreless finish with long-lasting moisture.
It contains red fruit moisture complex to minimise the look of fine lines; cold water kelp extract to control shine; red mineral radiance complex for a rosy glow; and silk powder to reflect and diffuse light.
It doesn’t simply illuminate the complexion with added pigments, but also tackles dullness and dehydration with a vitamin C derivative and a host of seaweed extracts.
What: A step up from cushion compacts in terms of coverage and staying power, the new generation of liquid foundations have even lighter, almost watery textures, and better blendability. They also offer a variety of finishes and coverage – from radiant to dewy and velvety – and can be applied with your choice of tool, be it a sponge, brush, or your fingertips.
Best for: People who want to look naturally radiant; or those who hate the feeling of makeup on their skin, but still want to look polished.
Difficulty level: Intermediate. Some skill is required to create a streak-free, even finish.
This gives dull skin a radiant boost. A unique mineral pigment in the formula reportedly absorbs light rays and reflects the white component in the light spectrum, while transmitting the red component through skin, creating a slight rosy halo.
Developed to adapt to the wearer’s individual skin, the clever formula contains a host of polymers and powders in a lightweight liquid base, so that it appears dewier on dry skin or more velvety on oily skin. It also repels sebum for a continuously fresh finish.
The oil-free, liquid-to-powder formula dries instantly with a matte finish. Plus it has cashmere kaolinite clay that reportedly absorbs 75 per cent of its weight in sebum while retaining moisture, making it ideal for extremely oily skin.
An upgrade of the original, this has translucent hybrid semi-spheres, which are said to capture and diffuse light for a shine-free glow. An anti-fatigue complex reduces shadows and dullness by supposedly stimulating microcirculation.
A water- and sebum-resistant polymer helps the foundation adhere to skin, while a hydro-formulated polymer creates a flexible mesh over skin for comfortable wear. The satiny fluid also promises up to 16 hours of shine-free, flawless coverage.
Radiant-pearl mica, purified water and lightweight oils work together to hydrate and smooth – and supposedly recreate the soft glow of candlelit skin.
What: Not the heavy, pancake-like “masks” of yesteryear that either made skin feel dry like the Sahara, or greasy like an oil slick. The current generation boasts better wearability, more comfortable textures and natural finishes, while maintaining rich, full coverage and longevity.
Best for: Those who wish to cover acne scars and uneven skin, or want their foundation to last through the apocalypse (or at least until the lights come on at the club).
Difficulty level: Intermediate. Like liquid foundations, creams require some finesse with the sponge or brush to avoid looking patchy or streaky.
Silica powder and a special film-forming agent work together to give this heavy-duty, full-coverage foundation a lightweight, breathable feel. Bonus: It’ll stay fresh for up to 12 hours without drying or settling into lines and pores.
Suitable for oily skin, it provides all-day hydration while reportedly balancing oil production. It also provides a cooling sensation – perfect for the hot, humid weather.
Thanks to spherical transparent powders and rose fruit extract, the rich, creamy formula glides onto skin. The finish is semi-matte with a soft-focus effect, blurring imperfections and pores, and lasts all day without fading or becoming shiny.
Despite being developed to provide the highest level of coverage for acne, melasma, under-eye circles, post-surgical bruising, vitiligo and even tattoos, it feels light and leaves a radiant, flawless finish.
It’s non-comedogenic, gentle enough for sensitive skin, and boasts an infusion of natural volcanic perlite that absorbs sebum and brightens the complexion for a fresh, matte finish.
Thick and creamy, it covers imperfections without requiring additional concealer, and has a dewy finish that’s neither flat nor cakey.
It has a silky texture that blends seamlessly and covers imperfections (it’s said to be invisible even with ultra-high-definition 4K cameras).
What: Despite the rise of cushion compacts and featherweight fluids, there’s a reason the more traditional pressed powders are still popular. They are portable, provide customisable coverage, and don’t require any special tools to apply. They also give a variety of finishes, from glowing to matte, and leave the skin feeling velvety soft.
Best for: Absolute beginners to the foundation game, and oilier skin types.
Difficulty level: Dead easy. Just swipe the sponge over the powder, and glide over skin.
With a technology that is reportedly able to match all skin undertones and blend into any complexion, this has a unique texture that smooths like a primer, evens out skin tone like a foundation, covers flaws like a concealer, and finishes like a powder.
A silky powder that gives a translucent and radiant finish, it’s infused with the brand’s Even Better Essence Lotion, and is meant to feel like a soft veil of water on skin.
A combination of two powders, this supposedly mimics the subtle glow of frosted glass without the tell-tale “white mask” and obvious shimmer of traditional pearl pigments.
An excellent basic foundation if you want to cover imperfections with a smooth, matte finish. This sweat-proof and transfer-resistant powder promises to last up to 24 hours.
Satin-smooth and buildable, it can be applied with a dry sponge for medium coverage, or a damp one for higher coverage (without the lacklustre flatness of older formulations).
This has circular-shaped powders that diffuse and reflect light, and soft-focus powders to blur the appearance of pores. It also comes with a double-sided applicator that allows for adjustable coverage.
An adapted version first appeared in Female’s August 2016 issue.
Like this? Check out Female’s top 20 makeup products, 9 skin illuminating foundations for instantly radiant complexions, and the most innovative beauty products of 2016.