Beauty School 101 | The F Word

There are very few rules in makeup that you absolutely must abide by. One of them is using the right foundation. Unfortunately, there’s no holy grail product that everyone can use to get perfect results. It’s a very personal matter. But there are a few points that can help in making the right choice for you, to enhance, rather than mask, your complexion.



You really want to get this right. Your foundation should blend into your natural skintone rather than be lighter or darker.

  • Apply a tiny bit each of 2-3 shades to the base of your cheek/jawline and see which one blends best. Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to see a shade difference between your made-up and un made-up skin.
  • Always test foundation in natural light. Fluorescent bulbs in shops can throw the colours way off.
  • As your skintone changes between seasons, it’s important that your foundation changes to match. Either buy 2 shades, or opt for a product that you can mix into your foundation to deepen it for summer.


You’re looking for a level of coverage that you feel comfortable with, a formula that works with your skin type and a finish that you find flattering.

  • A more mature skin will generally be boosted with a dewy, radiant finish.
  • Heavy, matte foundations are not always overly flattering, especially when fine lines start to creep in. They can be incredibly ageing and are best left to the very young (who don’t normally need them anyway!).
  • Focus on complementing, rather than covering your skin. A foundation with light reflective properties will cleverly help to divert attention from imperfections, without heavy coverage.
  • If you have problematic skin, consider a 100% mineral foundation. These currently will only be in loose powder format (at time of writing this anything pressed or liquid cannot be 100% mineral), but they can really help to calm and heal concerns like acne and rosacea. As they don’t have preservatives, fragrance, silicone or common irritants, they are a brilliant choice. I would always recommend minerals for oily skin, but they aren’t great for very dry skin as they can cling to areas of dryness. Mii makeup is a relatively new brand, but their mineral foundation is the best I’ve tried, you can see what they offer here.

matt likes close up


So you’ve found the foundation that works for you. The colour’s great, the formula is flattering, there’s just one more step in the journey to a perfect complexion, and that’s how you apply the stuff.

  • Start with cleansed, moisturised skin. For a really flawless application, first apply a face primer. This will also help you makeup to stay put longer.
  • Every formula will have a ‘best practice’ application method that should be communicated on the packaging, or by the salesperson. I always use a brush as I find it the best way to get even, flawless results. There are so many different foundation brushes out there at the moment, I personally love a flat topped foundation brush to buff liquid on. For mineral foundation, you’ll need to use a kabuki brush.
  • Blend it like Beckham – Victoria I mean. Make sure you’ve blended the product up to the hairline, ears and over and under the jawline. It is not a good look to be able to see a ‘tide mark’.

If you’re unsure, it’s always best to get some advice – just remember that in a department store, the Counter Manager will be lovely and friendly, while trying to up her commission. So keep your wits about you. I would recommend perhaps trying somewhere like Space NK, with multiple brands and salespeople who don’t push one specific range. Salons are also a great idea, as beauty therapists tend to be less sales focused and more skin focused. Always ask for the foundation to be applied to you and for a sample if possible, it’s the best way to see how it’ll wear on your skin.

Have you found your perfect foundation? Which one is it?


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