Saturday, 19 March 2016

Ever since I was a wee little girl, caking Dream Matte Mousse onto my face and lips, foundation has been the bane of my entire makeup life. There was actually a time when I'd avoid buying it because it was just such a pain. I've been through hundreds of foundations, never finding one that was the right shade for my skin or didn't make me look like I had some kind of disease. But recently, I seem to have found the right foundation for me, after five long years of looking like a hot mess. Along the way, I've picked up some tips on how to get the best foundation for you, so I thought I'd share them!

I'm going to start off with where you're looking. If you have particularly problematic skin, in the sense that foundations tend to look bad rather than good, like me, you'll probably want to invest in something a little pricier. Also like me, if you can't find the right shade, it's likely you'll need to move up to high end. Generally, high end foundations have more shade range and look less orange.

That all being said, the drug store does have some favourites. L'Oreal True Match is a raved about foundation with a lot of shade ranges - and I think it's the only drug store brand to range in cool, neutral and warm undertones. If you're struggling with shade and have a smaller budget, go down to Boots and check out these foundations. 

If you don't struggle with shading and want to try something a little wallet-friendly, definitely check out Bourjois! I have heard so many good things from people with all different skin types about Bourjois foundations. The Healthy Mix is definitely a cult product I would recommend. Unfortunately I can't use mine as the lightest shade is too dark, but I love everything else about the formula. 

If you have dark skin, it's really hard to find a good match in the drugstore, as many brands just offer one or two dark shades and hope they match everyone. Brands like Mac, Clinique, and Bare Minerals offer a much more extensive range for dark skin tones. 

Don't be afraid of mixing foundations to make your perfect shade!


Leading on from this, I have to quickly mention makeup counters. Makeup counter attendants do not know everything. I have a post planned on this actually, because I definitely have had more bad experiences at counters than good. If you're reading this, there's a high chance you're a blogger, and to be honest, we know just as much, if not more, than the people who are at the counters (in most cases). Places like Mac have really good attendants who I would generally listen to, but at the end of the day, you know your face and what you like best. The amount of times I have been colour matched orange with foundation is just horrifying. 


I've already spoken a lot about shade, but it's also important to say that the higher the coverage, the darker the shade. For example, in Mac, NC15 in the Studio Sculpt foundation, which is a good match for my skin tone. But NC15 in the Studio Fix is too dark. This is because the former, which is my favourite foundation (spoiler alert) is a low to medium coverage, and the Studio Fix is medium to high. So bear that in mind when browsing. If you don't know what the coverage of the foundation is, most counters will tell you, and most drug store displays say on them.

Also with coverage, I've found that higher coverage foundations leave my skin feeling drier. I have combination to dry skin, especially round my nose, and the higher coverage foundations I've tried have completely clung to that. An example of this is Estèe Lauder's Double Wear. So, if you're looking for a high coverage foundation but you have oily skin, I would recommend that, or Too Faced Born This Way.

If you're looking for high coverage but you have dry or combination skin, I would suggest ditching the search for high, and getting a medium but buildable foundation instead. This is what I currently use - my Mac Studio Sculpt is advertised as medium to high, but it's definitely more low to medium. This way, the formula of the foundation isn't putting strain on your dry patches, and you can top it up in the places you need more coverage.


This one's pretty basic. Before you find your perfect foundation, you need to do some research into your skin type. You can get consultations for this at places like Kiehl's if you're not sure! The main three that are important when shopping for foundations are:


It's likely that you'll fit into one of these three categories. I would say I'm combination, because my nose is very dry, but my forehead and the tip of my nose can still get oily. So think about what your problem areas are and fit them into these categories! Brands have clocked onto this skin type thing and often advertise their foundations as being for ___ skin, so that will put you in the right direction.

It's also important to know your undertones. There are three types: warm, neutral and cool. To check, look at the inside of your wrist. If it looks pinkish, your undertones are cool. Yellow, and they're warm. Somewhere in between? Neutral. This is important for matching with foundations that come in W, C and N shades. Also, if your foundation seems a bit off but you can't place your finger on why, it's probably the undertones in it!


Choosing a formula is usually based on your skin type. Liquid foundations are safe for any skin type and have the most range as they're the most popular. However, if you don't like liquids, there are other options.

For oily skins, there are lots of powder foundations, particularly those done by Bare Minerals and L'Oreal. Mineral powders and those that are oil free are also usually great.

For dry or combination skins, an alternative to liquid would definitely be gel formula! These are harder to find, and some people loathe them - but I swear by them! My Mac Studio Sculpt is a gel formula and I love the way it applies. 


It's very hard to make foundation look good and last without a primer. Lots of primers are silicone based, which I personally hate, but if you don't mind that, the L'Oreal Infallible primer is a good drugstore buy. 

If you want to invest, I'd suggest the Marc Jacobs primer, or the Too Faced Hangover Cure as they're both amazing. At the moment, I'm actually using a Barry M Colour Correcting primer in green as I have some redness and wanted to try it. This isn't anything to write home about, but it's okay for the price, and it's better than nothing!

That's all the tips I've got! I hope I can manage to help and I'm sorry for going on about my Studio Sculpt..I'm just in love. If you have any foundation recs for really pale skin, let me know! And if you have any more tips, comment them down below!

Thanks for reading,

Charlie CP x


  1. I really think that foundation can make or break your makeup look! I am really pale so honestly finding a shade that suits me is so difficult! I think that this is such a great post for people who are just starting out at makeup 👌🏼

  2. I'm still yet to find my perfect foundation in fact most of the time I just find it easier to not wear foundation because non look 100% right on me. I'm thinking of trying the L'Oreal infallible matte foundation next and maybe investing in a good primer too. The struggle!

    Sally - DiagonSally

    1. Blah I wish I had the confidence to go without foundation!! I've heard good things about that foundation though! xx

  3. Thank you for the tips! I still struggle with finding my correct shades at the drugstore.

    xx, A Little Dose of Makeup

  4. There are some good foundations and, in general, great drugstore gems, but with base, I think you really get what you pay for. I'm currently using a Dior foundation and it's the best I've ever used. I am pretty picky with my primers as well. I currently use L'oreal Lumi which has silicones in it, but the formula doesn't feel as "slick" as other silicone based primers. May have to pick up and try the Too Faced Hangover primer next!

    1. Ooh I want to try that L'Oreal primer! I think they're definitely one of the better drugstore brands!

  5. Very helpful post gal!! Thanks for the tip about looking at the inside of my wrist, I had no idea haha! I need to invest in higher end foundation, but the Bourjois one im currently using is greaat!!
    Becky Shannon xx - Life-by-Becky

  6. I love True Match foundation! As you pointed out, it's great that they have quite wide variation of shades, so there's more of a chance to find the one that suits your skin tone. In general, I think L'Oreal foundations are amazing :) x