The Best Foundation for Every Skin Type

A survey conducted by revealed that the average woman spends almost $200,000 on makeup, including foundation, in her lifetime.  When you spend that much money on makeup, it's essential to choose the right foundation and get the best look for your hard-earned cash. 

best foundations for every skin type

Basic Tips for Choosing Foundation

There's no such thing as "one-size-fits-all" foundation. Wearing a foundation that’s not appropriate for your skin can make it drier, oilier or cause it to flake. Determine the best foundation for your skin type, and then sample different foundations designed for your skin until you find one that feels right and gives you the coverage you need.

You need to take into account several factors to find the right foundation. Your skin tone, skin type, facial features, age, hair color and the look you want (natural, classic, high-fashion, edgy) are all components of the right foundation choice.

Finding a foundation that fits your skin type is the most important factor in choosing this makeup necessity. You can damage already compromised skin if you have dry skin and wear a foundation designed for oily skin, or wear foundation for dry skin and you are acne-prone.

Subscription Boxes Can Make Choosing the Right Foundation Easier

You probably don’t have time to browse store makeup counters or Sephora all day, and that’s where a subscription beauty box can help you save time and find the right foundation.

A Beauty Box contains different types of makeup including foundation, so you can try out different shades and brands without spending a lot of money at the store.  For example, the BoxyCharm Beauty Box contains lipstick, powder, eyeliner, nail polish and other cosmetics. This subscription box is available in one, three, six or 12-month subscriptions, so you can try out new cosmetics, including foundation, as often as you want.

Beauty Boxes contain high-quality products at a discount so that you can save 50% or more on foundation and other cosmetics. Experiment with foundation, eyeliner, and other beauty products in the privacy of your own home, and not at the store counter  

You can also order a Walmart Beauty Box, which contains lotions, body wash, moisturizers, hand creams, shampoo, suntan oil and other beauty products. The Walmart Box is sent four times a year, in the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, with appropriate seasonal beauty choices.

Don’t waste time listening to pushy sales clerks, or sampling foundations that sound better than they look. Get the latest beauty products delivered to your home by contacting a subscription box service instead.

Determine Your Skin Type

The first thing you need to do is accurately determine your skin type. Oily, dry, combination and sensitive are the four most common skin types. Your skin type can change a few times during your life, so it's important to reexamine your skin every few years to make sure you're still using the right foundation.

You could be making oily or dry skin worse or causing new problems if you’re using the wrong skincare products-soaps, scrubs, washes, etc.- on your face.

Regardless of your skin type, you should stop using heavy emollients, products containing fragrance, abrasive scrubs, harsh cleaners or cleaning brushes with stiff bristles.

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and then follow it with a toner. Wait 15 to 30 minutes later, and judge how your skin reacts to the application.

You have dry skin if your skin becomes tight, flakes or feels dry. Oil diffusing over your face or shiny skin means you have oily skin. You have combination skin if your jaws and cheeks feel somewhat tight or dry and your T-zone (your nose, chin, and mid-forehead) becomes shiny or oily.

Most people have combination skin because the center of the face contains more oil glands than the cheeks. 

How to Choose the Right Foundation

There are hundreds of well-known foundation brands at all price ranges. Some women buy foundation at the drugstore, while other go to beauty supply stores, Sephora, Ulta or high-end department stores. Regardless of the price or brand, if you know your skin type and have a specific overall look in mind, it's much easier to find the right foundation.

Browse our list of some popular foundation types to determine the best foundation for your skin type.

Liquid Foundations with a Matte Finish


  • Liquid foundations feel light on the skin and are easy to blend.
  • They are safe if you have an oily or acne-prone complexion.
  • Liquid foundations control excess shine and are excellent if you live in humid climates and other foundations don’t last long.


  • Blending mistakes after the foundation sets may cause hard-to-correct streaking.
  • Matte finish foundations may highlight wrinkles or flaky skin. Avoid this problem by applying moisturizer or serum before using foundation.

Pressed or Loose Powder


  • Powder foundations are excellent for normal, slightly oily or slightly dry skin.
  • They are lightweight and portable. Some brands offer a subtle glow, or luminescence, which softens the complexion.
  • Use powder over your daily moisturizer to reduce the shininess if you use sunscreen or a lotion containing sunscreen.


  • Powder foundations clump on oily or acne-prone skin and can slide into pores, making skin oilier.
  • Avoid powder foundation if you have dry skin. The powder absorbs moisture and makes your skin drier.
  • Powder foundation can cake on your skin if you put on too much of it, and make your face look like it has a mask over it.

Foundation Sticks


  • Like pressed powder foundations, you can carry foundation sticks in your purse. They are great for touch-ups and can conceal pimples and other imperfections.
  • You can use it as a concealer stick only, regardless of your skin type and it usually won’t lead to breakouts if you use it in a small area.


  • Foundation sticks can melt if you keep them in your purse or backpack outdoors for a long time. They can break if you roughly handle them.
  • It’s hard to blend waxy foundation stick over your cheeks or other large areas.
  • Foundation sticks can clog pores to lead to breakouts. It works better with dry or normal skin and is a poor choice for oily or even combination skin.

Anti-aging Foundations


  • Also called anti-aging serums, these foundations provide coverage and nourish all skin types, but are particularly suitable for mature skin.
  • Use an anti-aging foundation along with cleansers and lotions designed to prevent lines and wrinkles. This combination helps keep skin youthful-looking. You don’t need to be an older adult to use anti-aging serum; even young people can benefit from using them.


  • Some anti-aging foundations are advertised as miracle-workers. Some foundations can certainly refresh your face and make you look younger, but no makeup can turn you into a movie star overnight.
  • The amount of age-defying ingredients in anti-aging foundation varies. Some foundations only contain small amounts of Retin A, Vitamin C serum and other ingredients necessary for younger-looking skin.

Moisturizing Liquid Foundations


  • Hydrates skin without being greasy.
  • Gives skin sheen to make it more youthful-looking.
  • Satin or satin matte finishes are perfect for normal to dry skin.


  • Not recommended for oily skin since the moisturizer makes oily areas even shinier.
  • Liquid foundations aren’t suitable for on-the-go touch ups unless you have a small sample bottle.

Tinted Moisturizers


  • A tinted moisturizer covers up uneven areas and offers light coverage.
  • Tinted moisturizer is great for warm months when little coverage is needed.


  • Tinted moisturizer works best for women with healthy skin.
  • Even if a tinted moisturizer has SPF, use sunscreen with an SPF of 40 or more for additional protection.

Compact Cream to Powder Foundations


  • You can blend cream to powder foundations with a brush or sponge.
  • This foundation is portable and excellent for touch-ups.
  • Cream to powder foundation is best for normal, slightly dry or slightly oily skin.
  • Offers full to sheer coverage


  • The heaviest-looking foundation.
  • Not for excessively dry or oily skin, as it tends to accentuate those traits.

Find the Right Shade for Your Skin Tone

Match the foundation shade to the skin on your chest, not your face, to choose an accurate color. This method works best if you are careful about protecting your face with a good sunscreen.

Test a spot of foundation on the back of your hand and let it stay on your skin for a few minutes to see how it absorbs. Does it change color when it dries? You can check the color in natural sunlight – you don’t need to rely solely on the artificial store lighting or make-up mirror lights to give you an accurate appraisal of the shade.

Find the best foundation undertone by checking the color of the veins on your wrist. Blue or purple veins mean the foundation you choose should have cool undertones.

Check Out the Foundation’s Ingredients

Choose a foundation with salicylic acid if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Buy a foundation that contains SPF 15 sunscreen or more if you spend a lot of time outdoors and don’t want to use a separate sunscreen on your face.

Mineral foundation is made with minerals and may contain a minimum of chemical ingredients or no chemicals at all. It is usually applied with a fluffy brush. Ingredients in mineral foundation include some of the same ones you'll find in other foundations, like zinc oxide, mica, and iron oxides.

Using Foundation Primer

Some women like to apply foundation primer before putting on the foundation. Foundation primer fills in the pores in your skin and allows the foundation to go on smoothly. It works the same way paint primer does. You can apply moisturizer before putting on foundation to get the same effect, but some women prefer primer. Experiment with both methods to see which one works best for you.

Wrapping Up

Finding the best foundation for your skin type can involve a bit of trial and error. However, if you follow our advice, you’ll likely save a good deal of money and locate your ideal product sooner. Best of luck!

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