Navigating the foundation aisle can be overwhelming to say the least. Because sure, while there are more formulas for more skin types and tones than ever before, the sheer volume of it all can make the selection a little tough to navigate. Should you try a stick foundation over your usual liquid? Do they, essentially, all do the same thing? And is there really just one way to wear base? So many foundation questions, so little time! Okay, okay, we're being dramatic, but we could still use some help.
We've partnered with Ulta Beauty to make sense of it all and reveal not only which formulas are right for you but how to use them, too. Because foundation does so much more than just cover your skin in makeup. There are different finishes, different opacities, different places to wear it, and different reasons to. In fact, that's why we brought in the pros to share five totally unique ways to use use foundation on your face. And with the impressive selection available at Ulta Beauty, you can find whichever one fits in best with your routine.
1. For Full Coverage
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer with SPF 50+
When you wake up to a fresh breakout, a sheer finish isn't going to cut it. Enter the full-coverage foundation, which conceals redness and blemishes and evens out skin tone in one swipe (#lifesaver). The trick to getting this fuller coverage without a heavy look is to have a light hand when you apply it. "There's an instinct to think our skin is worse than it actually is, so take a paint-by-number approach when applying it," says makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci. "For instance, a lot of redness is focused throughout the T-zone, so maybe you don't need to apply a ton of it along your jawline."
2. As A Contour Stick
Makeup Revolution Fast Base Stick Foundation
Not only are stick foundations perfect if you tend to do your makeup during your commute (and prefer to avoid liquid foundation spills), but they can also double as contour. Ciucci recommends using one that's two shades darker than your skin tone. Then, "place it under the cheekbones, up to the temples, and on either side of the bridge of your nose," she says. "Buff with a duo fiber brush — or a fluffy shadow brush to blend your nose contour — and set with loose powder."
3. As A Concealer and A Foundation
Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer
Get you a foundation that does both. But keep in mind that since these formulas tend to be thicker in texture, your skin will also need a bit of prep. "First off, make sure your [skin is] hydrated," says Ciucci. Otherwise, "a product with this much kick won't blend properly." Using a duo-fiber brush (its soft bristles will create an air-brushed effect), buff in the foundation through the center of your face and around your jawline. Then, Ciucci suggests switching to a tapered eyeshadow blending brush to conceal any blemishes or redness. "It conceals with precision and without hard edges," she explains.
4. As A Mattifier
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation
If your forehead turns into a grease slick by noon, no prob. There's a foundation for that. Mattifying formulas nix oil or shine throughout the day as well as minimize the appearance of pores (which tend to look larger when you have oily skin). For the most seamless look, "use a nylon foundation brush for application," says Ciucci. "You'll get a lot of control with a stiffer brush, which will help you avoid makeup meltdown." And if you have combination skin and don't need as much mattifying power, Ciucci recommends mixing it with a drop of luminizer for a dewier, satin-matte finish.
5. For Natural, Moisturizing Coverage
Covergirl Simply Ageless 3-In1 Liquid Foundation
When you fall into the category of dry or mature skin, it's a no-brainer to opt for formulas that are especially hydrating, since they won't settle into lines or get cakey. But sometimes, a true tinted moisturizer doesn't quite do it in terms of coverage. That's where a foundation-moisturizer hybrid comes in. It acts like a tinted moisturizer in terms of hydration but also covers like a foundation, giving you the best of both worlds. For the most natural look, apply it with clean fingers, says makeup artist Ciucci. "The warmth of your fingertips and your own natural oils [will] emulsify the cream, so you're less likely get that pancake makeup look," she says.
This post is presented by Ulta Beauty.
Design: Hannah Chua/BDG