top of page

Finding the Best Foundation (for YOU)

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

Here's the tea-

There's no "miracle foundation" that's suitable for all of us, no matter what the person at the makeup store who's getting paid minimum wage with minimal experience and kinda hates their job might say. Keep in mind that more often than not, the sales associates at the makeup stores are pushing products they're either working for, is a store brand focus, or the vendor of that brand is a friend. OR they're just winging it, only recommending the extent of what they've been told and are limited to what the store carries. If you're lucky you'll find the angel of an artist toting a brush belt, waiting for you to need their honest unbiased opinion.

This isn't a dig at beauty stores, it's just a common experience and has resulted in the loss of trust from unsuspecting shoppers. We're all relentlessly buying foundations that don't work, tossing money down the drain, or returning products over and over.

If someone tells you there's a foundation that works for everyone, they're lying to you. Period"t".

We all have different concerns, want different results, might have more fine lines than others, varying skin types, tones, the list goes on. It's impossible for a one size fits all formula. So how do you find the right fit for you?

It's honestly something I'd like to help people with in my beautique when we do a sit-down consultation so if you're in the area you can book with me and we can talk through it. For those of you who aren't in the greater Seattle region, I'm giving you some options that you can narrow down to your specifications. There's a new foundation launch (what feels like) every month so, in the ever-changing world of cosmetics, experimentation is key. I will update this post periodically.

Typical Skin Type Woes:

If you're an oily skin type, usually you're not going to want to shine with your foundation formula. If you're dry, you're not going to want a matte finish. If you have mature skin you don't want to look like a pug after you smile and it creases into every crack. If you're normal or combo skin you get to choose what you prefer...lucky you!

Finding Skin Tones and Undertones Online:

Some of us already know our undertone but for those that don't, IL Makiage has a really great system that helps match your skin tone perfectly so if you'd like to see what yours is, you can use it as a cheat sheet to then match yourself to other brands using a foundation finder like the one Sephora offers online. There's also, if you know your MAC tone or other popular brands, it can match you in that same tone to other products available. It's really too bad brands can't all stick to a universal tone chart to save us all the headache. I've done more foundation matches than one could count (in nearly every brand available) and I can honestly say everyone has the same concern- Which one is best for me and why does my go-to favorite suddenly look like crap? As our skin changes whether hormonally or from age, we have to adapt to different formulas over the years so what once worked, may not anymore. Some women have had to switch formulas purely after having a baby, noticing a change in their skin. Once, I had my own favorite foundation look absolutely flawless on me...for about a year. Then POOF, one day my skin decided to hate it and it gradually began to look like someone kicked clay on my face by 5 pm.

But enough chatter about how we got here- in a world feeling hopeless that we may never look as good as Cher at 75 years. I got you, babe.

Here's what I've found are the top favorite performers for each category. This list is based on personal accounts I've narrowed down by multiple people of every age and every skin concern, and what they've told me is the best overall (or I've applied it to them myself).

Combo/Oily Skin

Med-full buildable coverage, natural finish, natural brand

Med-full buildable, natural finish, raved about by oily skin clients, good tone range selection, primers, and setting sprays will help it last

Med-Full but natural coverage, fan favorite, covers well, you either love it or hate it

Full coverage, vegan/cruelty-free

Full coverage, good for combo/oily Estee Lauder Double Wear

Very FULL coverage, good for combo/oily, fan favorite

Affordable Option: L'Oreal Infallible Pro Matte

Great affordable option, good full coverage, works for combo/oily

Normal/Dry Skin

Beautiful but expensive, slight glow, natural finish, good coverage, glows more with an illuminating primer (this is my current favorite)

Buildable med-full coverage, natural brand, doubles as a concealer, slightly matte finish (2nd favorite), good shade range

Lightweight, buildable-full coverage, great for natural glow finish

Highly rated, expensive but beautiful natural finish

Affordable Version: L'Oreal Infallible Pro Glow

Natural glow, medium coverage finish, very affordable (I've found the Infallible matte works for normal skin as well)

Mature Skin

Lightweight, light-med coverage, natural brand

Full coverage but can be applied sparingly, doesn't crease (on most)

Lightweight powder with med-full coverage, go matte or choose the original finish

Lightweight, light coverage to even out skin without worry of creasing

OR just use a concealer where needed (minimal product) the new Clinique concealer is great

OR BB/CC Creams are a great way to get a bit of color without heavy product since they act as a moisturizer more than a foundation which leaves less room for falling into fine lines. Laura Mercier makes a good one with SPF, and is a fan favorite. First Aid Beauty also makes a great one however it's getting harder to find for sale anywhere, not sure if it's going to be discontinued or not.

For an affordable option, I'd recommend Neutrogena.

Favorite Natural/Clean Brands/Cruelty-Free

There's also sensitive skin, skin conditions, and acne-prone, which there are special formulas out there for. I always recommend you check with your doctor or dermatologist what's best for you and be aware of whatever medications you might be using and how they will react with certain ingredients. It might require a little research before buying. IT Cosmetics has set its focus on the founder having rosacea and formulated her products to cover redness under even the heaviest of stage lights (like being a news anchor on television) which is brilliant marketing. Those who love IT are die-hard, and you can't convince them otherwise (and I wouldn't dare try). If it works it works. It just didn't for me but who's to say I won't try it again in ten years and love it?

I get asked about IL Makiage a lot and for me, it was nice but not my absolute favorite. I felt the Woke Up Like this foundation was comparable to the PUR Love Your Selfie, and the After Party full coverage would be more for oily since it's so incredibly matte and VERY full coverage. I just felt the PUR was much better without looking like a mask. I will say the customer service at IL Makiage surpasses most brands and they make trying it at home incredibly easy so if you're curious, definitely give it a try.

Sidebar: Who the heck is in charge of these foundation names that are becoming entire sentences?

Does it matter if you're using drugstore vs. prestige?

In my opinion yes.

The drugstore brands might look just as nice, but I do recommend going with brands that are on a path of being more transparent about what ingredients go in their foundations. Parabens simply should NOT be in our products. I'm also {trying} to only buy cruelty-free but not 100% there yet as several of my favorite brands sell in China and therefore, must submit their products through animal testing guidelines. It's 2022, get with the program brand peeps.

I will say, the DIOR Forever Skin Glow foundation that I'm wearing in the photo above is the newest release and it's beautiful. I can even say it might officially be my personal favorite aside from the PUR Love Your Selfie which I wear for the days I want to be more full coverage/natural-matte (I'm normal/dry). Skin Glow has just the right amount of dew without looking wet. It covers well, goes on like silk, and reminds me of my once favorite, Clinique Superbalanced Silk, that's been discontinued. Bonus, Dior offers Klarna if you're so inclined, you can shop around while there and pay in small payments over time. I also got the monogram DIOR eye pads and the lip maximizer gloss because why not! It's DIOR! You can see me unbox it in my latest vlog.

I feel like I barely grazed the surface of your foundation woes but it's a start.

If you have questions I'd be happy to help so feel free to comment and I will try to get back to you about it. Otherwise, book with me and we'll chat in my studio!

X's & O's, your personal makeup artist


*NOTE: These opinions are my own and based on over fifteen years as a makeup artist in the beauty business. Use your better judgment in what's best for you- what may work for one might not work for another but there's definitely something out there for everyone. Some links are affiliate which means I might get a small percentage of the sale and that helps run this blog so thank you for your support and contribution!

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page