Powders, Creams, Sticks: Which Foundation Should You Use?

A woman applying make-up.

Foundations all have slightly different uses, effects, and are suited to people of different age brackets — and skin types. (Image: Valuavitaly via Dreamstime)

There are four different types of foundation on the market: liquids, creams, sticks, and powders. Which one is best for you?

All have slightly different uses and effects, and are suited to people of different age brackets — and skin types.

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Liquid foundation for all skin types

Liquid foundation can be used by all skin types, including combinations.

They are very versatile, and can really work with the look you are going for — be it a dewy, matt, or satin finish.

Liquids are lighter and thinner, making them an ideal product for younger skin that doesn’t need full coverage — a great place to start if you want to try makeup. You can just use the liquid under the eyes, over the nose, and around your T-section — or to cover your problem areas.

Creams give fuller coverage

Creams are thicker and give you fuller coverage. They are a good choice for more dramatic night makeup or for women with aging skin, as they suit normal to dry skin.

The look obtained will be a flawless, fresher even tone. Use this thicker product to cover scars, spots, and uneven skin tone. Make sure you extend the use of your cream makeup down your neck to avoid a line along your jawline.

There are four different types of foundation on the market: Liquids, creams, sticks, and powders.
There are four different types of foundation on the market: Liquids, creams, sticks, and powders. (Image: Pavel Chernobrivets via Dreamstime)

Stick is oily skin-friendly

The stick is suited to people with normal to oily skin, as it can easily become flaky when applied to textured or dry skin.

Stick foundation is very concealing; it can be used under powder to hide spots, dark rings, pimples, and redness when needed.

Sticks are compact and wonderful when you want to touch up your makeup during transit. Take a little on your finger and warm it before gently smoothing it on.

Powder gives a matte look

Powder foundation suits very oily skin, as it leaves a matte surface. These are ideal to use in the warmer months when you have sweaty, shiny skin. You can also use a little over your sunscreen.

You can use a powder over the top of any other foundation as a finisher. Be aware that any lines can be amplified by the powder, as it sits above the skin and doesn’t meld into the skin — as the oilier liquids and creams do. Therefore, apply a thin veil.

Make-up tray with brush and make-up.
Powder foundation suits very oily skin, as it leaves a matte surface. (Image: Martinmark via Dreamstime)

How to choose the right color

We all have slightly different skin tones — typically pink, yellow, or neutral. However, if you have a warmer skin tone, go for a neutral or cooler foundation, as this will help you look balanced. If you have rosy pink skin, the last thing you want to do is become pinker.

When you sample a foundation inside a shop, walk away, and observe the changes that happen in the hours that follow. The color may appear different in natural light, and as it reacts to your skin’s natural chemicals.

Go for a natural look

Choose colors that are closest to your skin’s natural shade, and try not to appear too pale or too tanned — it will look unnatural.

When applying makeup, work in thin layers — that’s how it’s designed to be used. Any more than one or two layers will look ‘”caked-on.”

The idea with makeup is that you accentuate your natural features and colors — not override them. This will have your face looking its best.

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