Aaaah! The world of makeup is full of possibilities. Purchasing possibilities. And foundations are no strangers to the multiplication of formulas. There are so many different types of foundations that it’s sometimes hard to know what the hell you’re supposed to buy for your skin type or the kind of coverage you are looking for. Let’s have a look at what’s available…
This probably one of the most popular types of foundations nowadays and the market is absolutely flooded with them. They can be put into three big categories:
- oil-based foundations: which have become quite rare because, let’s be honest: who wants oil in their makeup? They might be suitable to very dry skins, but they’ll be hard to find as a lot of brands have discontinued them. One of the only examples of oil-based foundations is Alexandra de Markoff Countess Isserlyn Cream Makeup.
- water-based foundations: fun fact: the main ingredient is water (also listed as aqua or eau). Take the name water-based foundation with a pinch of salt, though, because most of them do add silicone to their formulas. It’s just that there’s more water than silicone. Example of a true water-based foundation (or so I’m told): MILK Makeup’s Blur Foundation. Water-based foundations are said to be more gentle on the skin and better suited for skins which are prone to breakouts.
- silicone-based foundations: are usually known for mattifying and controlling shine and tend to be preferred by people who have oily skin. Silicone-based foundations contain water as well, of course, but it isn’t the main ingredient. Popular silicone-based foundations include Maybelline FitMe and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear, Revolution Conceal and Define, Colourpop No Filter.
Ingredients for the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Isododecane, Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Phenoxyethanol, Acetylated Glycol Stearate, Magnesium Sulfate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Tristearin, Cellulose Gum, Nylon-12, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Diphenyl Dimethicone, Acrylates Copolymer, Fragrance, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Aluminum Hydroxide, Hexyl Cinnamal May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Ultramarines, Mica
Tip: silicones are often listed as cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone and phenyl trimethicone and any cone/-methicone, and -siloxane words.
As you can see here, the second ingredient is a silicone, meaning the foundation contains a lot of it (obviously, water is always first, otherwise it would be impossible to spread the product on your face).
If you are interested in what ingredients are contained in cosmetics, I highly recommend having a look at the Skincarisma website. You can copy/paste ingredients and it will break down what they are and what they do to your skin.
Tip: for better results, make sure to always pair a water-based primer with a water-based foundation. Same for silicone.
The coverage of liquid foundations range from light to full, can have all sorts of finishes (matte, dewy, semi-matte, etc.) and cater to all skin types.
Much like liquid foundations, stick foundations can cater to all sorts of skin types and range from quite heavy to skin-like finishes. Each brand has a way of making them and you need to read or watch reviews to know what to choose. They range from very affordable (Revolution’s Fast Base) to high-end (Hourglass Vanish Stick).
Personally, the only stick foundation I’ve ever tried was Clinique’s In the Nude Foundation and it didn’t go down well on my oily skin. It felt very heavy and I looked like a huge walking pore.
Powder foundations are the OGs of the makeup game. They tend to be preferred for oily and/or acne-prone skins because they don’t clog pores as much as other types of foundations do. They usually give a matte finish. The coverage ranges from light to full.
Are you still alive? Good. Serum foundations are part of the more ‘modern’ types of foundations. They aim to be very lightweight and give a skin-like finish. They give a velvety, no-makeup makeup look and also have skin care benefits.
BB creams are supposed to be lighter than foundations and their main job is to even out your skin tone and provide skin care. The letters BB stand for Blemish Balm (some people also say Beauty Balm). BB creams provide moisture, coverage and usually SPF. They should work on any skin type.
Examples: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35, Maybelline Makeup Dream Fresh.
They are pretty much the same as BB creams, except that they’re supposed to colour correct on top of the other benefits (hence the letters CC). Again, the coverage, the texture and the skin type they work better on depend on brands. A CC cream is normally lighter than a BB cream, but some CC creams are pretty heavy (e.g. Clinique).
Examples: Clinique’s CC cream, Bourjois 123 Perfect CC cream
Side note: the shade range in BB and CC creams is usually extremely limited.
They’re moisturisers that give you a bit of colour without any added skin care benefits. They get a lot of competition from BB and CC creams and aren’t as popular as they used to be. Their coverage is pretty sheer.
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far. I hope this post has helped you get a good overview of all the types of foundations that can be found on the market.