Your biggest foundation questions answered

Flawless base, here we come!

Women's Health Contributing Editor / May 25 2017

It’s hard to go a day without our trusty foundation. It evens out our skin tone, hides imperfections and creates a flawless base so the rest of our makeup can shine. But just because it’s our saving grace, doesn’t mean we haven’t till got plenty to learn! Here are the answers to some of your top foundation questions. You’ll know all about that base in no time!

Q. Concealer over or under my foundation – can you please explain?

A. Contentious issue, but the majority of makeup artists agree you should use foundation first, then conceal after. “Concealer should only be used in areas you need extra coverage, and around the eyes,” says Lara Srokowski, Lancôme National Makeup Director. Apply your concealer with a small concealer brush like Nude by Nature Concealer Brush, then pat it with a beautyblender or your finger to blend.

Q. What’s the deal with cushion foundations?

A. Basically they’re lightweight liquid foundations that dispense out of a compact, with an application sponge. “They’re great for travelling and touch-ups,” says makeup artist Else Morgan.Try L'Oréal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Compact.

Q. Fact or urban myth – will working out in my makeup give me pimples?

A. Fact, sorry. “The combination of sweat and wearing makeup can cause a build-up of excess oil,” says dermatologist, Dr David Bank. “Since pores open up while sweating, we don’t want to block the skin’s natural ability to breathe by clogging it up with makeup.” Wipe it off. We love Natural Instinct’s Hydrating Cleansing Facial Wipes – quick, easy and gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Nude by Nature Concealer Brush

L'Oréal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Compact

Natural Instinct’s Hydrating Cleansing Facial Wipes

Q. Do I match my foundation to my fake tan? Or my actual skin colour – last seen in 1993…

A. If you’re a regular tanner – match your tan so your face blends perfectly with your body. If you only tan sometimes, you can purchase two shades of foundation (one lighter and one darker) and mix them to create your perfect colour, whether you are tanned or not, says Srokowski. Genius.

Q. Should I use a different foundation for day and night?

A. Think of it like changing from trainers to heels. Your more casual, daytime foundation should definitely contain an SPF for added sun protection, and coverage-wise keep it natural with something luminous and lightweight – like a tinted moisturiser. “For evening, lighting is often a lot dimmer, so a matte or full coverage foundation is a great option,” says Napoleon Perdis. Try Napoleon Perdis Foundation Stick.

TOP TIP: If you look like a ghost in photos on a night out – it may be because you’re wearing your daytime foundation, SPF can have a ghosting effect.

Q. Do I really need primer? I mean, really

A. Need is a strong word. You need water, food, shelter, Nike Frees… but primer? Primer is strongly recommended. “Primer will help perfect the skin first and smooth out any imperfections, so when your foundation goes on it will appear flawless and lasts longer. Primer is best applied with your fingers, as the warmth of your skin will help the product adhere to your skin better. Applying with your fingers also sets the primer a lot quicker, so you don’t need to wait in between steps,” says Srokowski. Try Lancôme La Base Pro.

Q. Which primer should I buy?

A. For oily skin, try a mattifying primer. If dry – a luminous primer like Dior Diorskin Glow Maximiser Primer 001 is best. If your skin has a red/pink undertone try a colour correcting or calming primer with a hint of green, says Perdis.

Q. Why is everyone on Instagram talking about baking?

A. Yep, baking is a makeup technique term doing the rounds on social media – and its not referring to dairy-free, paleo, gluten-free muffins. “You apply layers of concealer and powder, building up and finishing off with more loose powder, leaving it on to ‘cook’ and then dusting off the excess with a brush,” says Carol Mackie, MAC Cosmetics Senior Artist. Should you try it? “It has its place but if you want your skin to look real, it’s not for you,” she adds. Stick to muffins. For a non-cakey, weightless foundation finish, we love Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup.


Lancôme La Base Pro

Dior Diorskin Glow Maximiser Primer 001

Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup

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Image credit: Getty

Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.