When you want to fake perfect skin, makeup, especially a good foundation, can be your best friend. When you find the perfect foundation formula that works with your skin type and needs, well, you’ve hit the jackpot. I know I’ve been loyal to some of my favorite holy-grail foundations for years because they never let me down and always make my skin look so dang good.
When it comes to foundations, the possibilities are endless. There are so many different types of formulas: powders, sticks, creams (like BBs and CCs), and, of course, liquids. They all serve different purposes, but if you want full coverage and want to even your tone effortlessly, a liquid version is a no-brainer.
When choosing a liquid foundation, it helps to think of the type of finish you’re looking for. “Do you like a more dewy, transparent finish or a full-coverage, matte finish? And everything in between,” says Mia Jones, a celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Cindy Crawford, Chelsea Handler, and Rosario Dawson. “For me personally, it comes down to weight on the skin. If I feel the base makeup is too heavy, I feel uncomfortable and that the foundation is actually wearing me.”
Since liquid foundations are super blendable, celebrity makeup artist Christine Cherbonnier recommends buying a couple of shades to better customize your foundation color, especially if you have multiple tones throughout your face and neck. She buys her winter and summer shade at the same time and mixes them together throughout the year.
Even though a foundation can give you perfect skin, you still don’t want to skip the skincare step. “A common mistake these days is choosing a foundation with added skincare benefits to replace actual skincare,” Jones says. “The work should always start with the skin by using proper skincare products.”
When it comes to skincare and skin type, you’ll want to keep a couple of things in mind when looking for the right liquid foundation. Oily skin types will want to reduce shine and excess oil. Dry skin types need a little extra hydration. Those who have sensitive skin need a product that won’t irritate.
“For dry skin, if the coverage is full and matte or specifically has a long-wear claim, this can exacerbate the skin condition, as would a heavy cream, in causing congestion to acne-prone skin,” Jones adds.
Take a look at the formula and determine whether there are any added skincare benefits or ingredients that could help (or even harm) your specific skin type. Also, Cherbonnier recommends looking at the viscosity. “It’s helpful to pick the right viscosity for your skin type,” she says. “A general rule is the more oily the skin the lighter the viscosity, and the drier the heavier.”
As for application, you can use your fingers or a brush. “Fingers provide a warmth, as it is skin-to-skin touch, and a sponge or brush allows more layering with the capability to blend layers with a bit more control. Fingertips are fine as long as you check natural light for areas that might not be blended,” Jones explains. While some people might be used to applying foundation with a sponge, Cherbonnier says the sponge can eat up the foundation, causing you to waste product.
Take the time to layer and blend the product. “When using a liquid foundation, don’t feel like you have to cover the entire face in one even coat like a mask,” Cherbonnier says. “I like to start from the outside of my face with a brush and down my neck, then use the remaining foundation on my brush through the T-zone. You can also use your fingers and apply it like a concealer where you need it instead of covering the entire face.” And don’t just stop at the neck. Cherbonnier says that most of us have different skin tones from the face to the neck, so she recommends blending down the neck and on the ears if needed.
Take a look at some liquid foundations below.