Beginners Guide: Foundation 101

Beginners Guide: Foundation 101

5 steps

  1. Skincare
  2. Base
  3. Matching the correct foundation
  4. Tools for applying
  5. Setting

Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist nor am I a professional makeup artist. This is just my opinion based off of my experience and by no means is any of this set in stone. Pick and choose what you may like to try and see if it works for you.

Also as this is for beginners I wanted to stick to drugstore brands so that it’s more accessible for everyone to try and all these products are tried and tested for myself as I mentioned in the disclaimer, so if you try and you don’t like it it’s okay! Life is all about trying different things and finding what works best for you 🙂


  1. Skincare

Before you apply make up it’s essential to make sure that you’re really looking after your skin. The people with the most flawless foundation tend to be those who have gorgeous skin. Whatever your skin type it is always important to remember to exfoliate. Of course the other steps are still essential but in terms of better foundation application, exfoliating removes all the dead skin cells on your face and allows for a smoother canvas for you to apply your foundation. My favourite exfoliator is the the St Ives Apricot Scrub, I’ve been using this for years and it’s perfect for my skin type. If you have more sensitive skin go for a more gentle exfoliator such as the Garnier charcoal daily exfoliator. If you have oily skin this is also very useful as the charcoal absorb the excess oils. For more dry skin try a creamier exfoliator such as Neutrogena visibly clear scrub.



So this series is focusing on foundation so assuming you’ve proceeded with the rest of your skincare we’re now going to talk about your base. The is the step directly before you apply your foundation. Depending on you skin type there are various products to use as your base for your foundation. This step is important as it increases the quality as well as the longevity of your foundation. As we’re currently in the winter season my combo skin tends towards to be oily/dry, which may sound bizarre but I basically have an oily t zone and the rest of my face gets a bit dry due to the harsh English winds. So what I love to use for my dry area is one of my fav skincare products of 2016 and it’s the Superdrug own brand night cream. This is one of the richest and moisturising creams I have ever tried and works as an excellent primer for my foundation. Don’t ask me how because I have no clue looool all I can say go and try it for yourself and let it work it’s magic. However it really is no good for my t zone and for that I use the Boots No 7 beautifully matte primer which is actually discontinued!! I have never been more upset that a product is no longer available! I have heard really good things about the NYX Angel veil and so I shall be trying out that quite soon. If you have fairly normal skin then the maybelline baby skin primer provides a great base for a smooth foundation application.


3. Matching the foundation

When picking a foundation it is important to determine a few things. First is your undertone, people are categorised into 3 undertones, cool, warm and neutral. Most brands offer just cool and warm and others also provide neutral tones. For the most accurate result I would suggest going to a make up counter and ask to get colour matched. This is because once you’ve done this once you will be able to use that colour as your base when comparing other colours. For example I first got matched at MAC as NC50 and from then any foundation I was looking to get I knew it had to be cool toned plus I can compare to this foundation to see if the colour would suit me. Once you’ve got your undertone sorted you need to find the foundation that best suits your skin type. Most drugstore foundations do state which skin type they are for but some don’t. If you have oily skin it is best to stay away from dewy/glowy foundations as these will be oil based and tend to add to your oil problem. Similarly mattifying foundations should be avoided by those who have dry skin as these will only intensify the dryness of your skin. However don’t be discouraged, if you’re oily but like a dewy finish or are dry and like a matte finish there are ways to manipulate your foundation to get the finish you desire.  Lastly watching YouTube videos helps A LOT. Once you know the type of foundation your looking for it’s quite hard to compare all the ones you round like to try. YouTube is full of foundation comparison videos in terms of quality, finish, colour, longevity pretty much anything you would want to find out about a foundation. This is how I managed to find the Milani foundation colour that I needed as these foundations are not available at UK drugstores, but I knew my undertone, colour group (NC50) and skin type so I could identify which colour round suit me best. Remember it’s still trial and error so you may not always get the exact perfect colour match but there always ways to make it work.


4. Tools

Nowadays there are so many tools for applying foundation I feel like I discover a new one every week! I’ll show you the 3 different tools I use and how I use each one of them. First up is the OG which is the brush. When picking a foundation brush I tend towards ones that are quite dense and kabuki shaped. I feel like this type of brush provides the best application coverage wise and it always gives a flawless finish. When using it I use patting motions to apply the foundation rather than swiping as I believe that this distributes the foundation more evenly and gives the best coverage. Another tool is the beauty worlds favourite, the beauty blender.  This is a fantastic tool especially if you’re fairly new to make up as it can be used for so many things. Specifically for foundation you dampen the beauty blender and then use patting motions to apply the foundation. This tool is great for everyone but especially those with dry skin as it gives added moisture to your application. The moisture is also responsible for the flawless finish that it gives once you’re done.

5. Setting

This part is just as crucial as priming as it really increases the longevity of your make up. No matter what foundation you use, priming and setting is key to having a flawless base all day and all night. The most common ways to set the face would be to use a setting powder and/or a setting spray. Setting powders can be used by all skin types as it is only a light dusting on the face. Although it may seem like a small step it can really make the biggest difference. My favourite setting powder at the moment is the Bobbi Brown sheer powder in Golden Brown as I feel that it gives my skin a beautiful velvet finish and the colour is just enough, to give what ever foundation underneath, a soft glow. I am also a fan of setting sprays although I must admit I’ve not tried too many. My usual go to was MAC Fix+ as for me it did an excellent job of setting my make up. I am currently using the Mario Badescu Rosewater spray which is doing the same job as the MAC Fix+ but at half the price. I am really keen to try the NYX matte and dewy setting sprays as they fit the description of setting sprays better than the Fix+ or the rosewater.

Thank you for reading xxx


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