Foundation Formats: Explained

Here are Claire's top tips for knowing how to navigate your way through and find the best foundation
Here are Claire's top tips for knowing how to navigate your way through and find the best foundation format for you and your needs.
Foundation Formats: Explained
Foundation Formats: Explained

The perfect foundation should be lightweight, sheer (but with great buildable coverage), dewy, long lasting and easy to apply.

Foundation serves as the canvas for the rest of your makeup and should blend smoothly and evenly.


This is one of the most popular foundation types as it offers sheer to full coverage, depending how you build it up, and has the most natural look. Most women prefer a liquid foundation due to ease of application and because it feels like a ‘second skin’. You can apply with your fingers, a sponge, or with a make-up brush – just make sure you match it correctly to your skin tone by testing along your jawline.


Are you prone to dry skin? Then use a cream foundation, as the formula tends to be a bit thicker than in fluid foundations. They generally come in compact cases or sticks, and are renowned for providing good coverage. You sometimes have to blend a bit more with a cream foundation, but they are also great for really building up your coverage. They are also great for a night out because they can be really quick to apply a touch-up, and they often have a mirror in the packaging. Perfect!


A stick is practically a two-in-one foundation, given that it also acts as a concealer. Sticks are great at covering scars, birthmarks and larger imperfections that other foundation forms may just gloss over. The best application method is to use a foundation brush to pick the pigment up from the stick and then blend it into the skin. Stick foundation works a treat for those who want medium to heavy coverage.


You may need a concealer if you want to cover any imperfections on the skin, providing an extra layer of coverage on top of your foundation. It can be particularly good to cover blemishes, under eye circles, and other imperfections like unwanted pigmentation. Your concealer should work alongside your foundation not instead of it – think of them as two members of your skin “dream team” working together to give you flawless, even coverage. For less coverage, apply your concealer before your foundation and vice versa - for more coverage, apply your concealer on top of your foundation.

Pick a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than your foundation to counteract the discolouration you want to cover, but not so light that it stands out and draws attention to it.

Top tip: concealer can also be used for contouring the face across your nose, cheekbones, and jaw line.


A setting powder is the perfect complement to your foundation routine, whatever format you have chosen. Powders will suit any skin type, and are applied on top of foundations to ensure the foundation stays put and doesn’t slide around the face. You should opt for a translucent powder, as this will not affect the chosen shade of corrective foundation and provides a matt and natural looking finish.

This article reflects the opinion of Claire Ray and is intended as general advice only. You should seek advice from a professional before altering your diet, changing your exercise regime or starting any new course of conduct.