The right foundation will leave your skin looking polished and flawless. The wrong foundation will turn it cakey, masklike, streaky or greasy. If you want the former, you need to get two things right: color and texture.
The Right Foundation Should Disappear
When it comes to finding your perfect color, look for a shade that matches your skin tone exactly, says Hollywood makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown. "Don't try to find the color you want your skin to be or the color you were in the summer. Instead, match the color of your skin when you woke up that morning." Test your foundation on your jawline, blending it up to your cheekbone. Step outside to check it in daylight. "The color should be undetectable without any blending," Brown says.
Finding the right foundation can be tricky, so enlist the advice of an expert. At ULTA stores, the staff is trained in "exact color matching," and can easily zero in on the lines and shades that best complement your skin. If you've never found the right color match, now is a good time to try again. Many cosmetics companies have expanded their color range to complement women of all ethnicities and skin tones. Bases covered!
Know Your Skin's Nuances
When you're shopping for a new foundation, first think about your skin type. If your skin is oily, you'll want to choose an oil-free liquid foundation, like Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow, or a powder formula.
Mineral makeup is a good choice because the particles help absorb extra moisture so your skin looks smooth instead of slick. The new bareMinerals Ready SPF 20 Foundation is the first solid powder foundation from the beauty company that started the mineral makeup craze. Another plus: It comes in 20 shades to match all skin tones.
Dry skin will get a dewy boost from a liquid or cream foundation that has moisturizing ingredients. Tarte Maracuja Miracle Foundation contains a hand-pressed oil from an Amazonian passionflower that's rich in vitamin C and essential fatty acids to add luster to dry skin.
Two alternatives to foundation can provide light coverage with extra benefits. Tinted moisturizers hydrate skin while offering sun protection and laying down a sheer veil of color. ULTA Fabulous Face Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 is a lightweight and oil-free formula.
BB creams—the abbreviation stands for beauty balm—are even harder working, adding skin treatment ingredients to a feather-light formula. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector is pretty much all you need after you cleanse your skin. It evens out skin tone, hydrates, smoothes fine lines and has an SPF of 30.