How To Choose The Right Foundation?

Friday, October 21, 2016

foundation, choosing a foundation, makeup foundation, makeup tips, articles on applying foundation, choosing a foundation for your skin tone, Beauty With Zainy, Zainab Dokrat
Now this is probably one of the hardest things to learn when it comes to makeup, 
whether you want one foundation or many,
choosing the right foundation is a very difficult process.

Not only is the shade selection process hard and confusing 
but also what type of foundation you're looking for can be pretty baffling.

It was only till recently did I really get the hang of choosing foundations. I've experimented a lot, had my 'oh my word I look HORRIBLE moments'  and my 'oh my word I look AMAZING moments' and that is why I have decided  to share with you all easy tips and tricks
I have learn't along the way.


foundation, choosing a foundation, makeup foundation, makeup tips, articles on applying foundation, choosing a foundation for your skin tone, Beauty With Zainy, Zainab Dokrat
When buying makeup, if you're on a budget or honestly have no idea where to begin in this makeup process, you need to ask yourself some questions to determine what type of foundation you want, your budget, what brands would seem to suit you, which brands have a range closer to your skin tone, when you will be wearing the foundation and so on.

Here's a list of questions to consider that have helped me along the way:

  1. What is your budget?
  2. What type of foundation seems to be perfect for you?
  3. What coverage are you looking for? (full, medium or light)
  4. When will you be using this foundation? (everyday, special occasions, night time, day time)
  5. How long you will be wearing the foundation?
  6. What is your undertone?
  7. Do you want a foundation that has a matte finish or dewy finish?
  8. How fast do you tan or how light/dark do you get when seasons change?
  9. What climate do you live in?
  10. Do you have oily, normal or combination skin?
Okay just breathe it's not as bad as it seems. 
It shouldn't overwhelm you and once I break it down,
you will see how easy it is to have small points in the back of your mind
 when choosing a foundation.

BUDGET - The main question is how much you want to spend. This will help you decide if you need to go for a drug store foundation or something more lavish. I suggest going to your drug store and other makeup stores (if there aren't any, check online) and check prices and see where you draw the line.

TYPE OF FOUNDATION - I talk more in depth on the different types of foundation below, you need to see what you gravitate towards and what you find easy to work with.

COVERAGE - Now this is when you decide if you want a full coverage look, medium or light. Full coverage I would think is for those with a lot of acne, scars and pigmentation which is dark - you may need a bit for coverage to even out the skin tone and smooth out the skin. Medium coverage is the kind of coverage which evens your skin tone and covers the little acne and pigmentation you may have. Finally, light coverage I would think is for those who have been blessed with clear skin or don't want a whole lot of base on - this just evens out the skin tone and covers the light marks one may have. 

WHEN WILL YOU BE USING THE FOUNDATION? - Knowing this will save you a lot and also help you choose what foundation to get. Will you wear the foundation everyday, special occasions, at night, day time, both etc. These questions and depending on the coverage you want will narrow down the brand search either from a drug store, high end brand or both, depending on your budget. 

HOW LONG WILL YOU WEAR IT? - This goes hand in hand with the above question, but if you're going to be wearing foundation from the morning till late at night than you definitely need to choose one that actually states how many hours it can last.

UNDERTONE - Knowing your undertone is a must-know when you want to get yourself a foundation; yellow undertone or pink undertone (cool or warm). There are three classifications for undertones: warm, cool, and neutral. If you have warm undertones, your skin will lean towards being peachy, yellow, or golden. If you have cool undertones, your skin will lean towards being pink, red, or blue. And if you have neutral undertones, your skin will have some mixture of these colors. I am neutral but I do sometimes lean more on the warm side just for those who need more reference. 

MATTE OR DEWY? - I discuss this more down below, but this also depends on your preference, what finish you're going for in your makeup look and also depends on your skin type. 

HOW FAST DO YOU TAN DURING SEASON CHANGES - We all get a natural tan when summer rolls around, especially living in hot climates and we also all get lighter during winter. Depending on how much you tan, this won't really help you choose a foundation more so you will just be conscious about it. I like to use shade adjusting drops for this if I feel I tanned way more than usual or I'm having a pale day. Another thing to note hijabis can get away with this if you covering your neck in your hijab style, you can also bronze up your face if your foundation is a bit lighter than your skin tone that should even it out. (click here to read my post on shade adjusting drops)

CLIMATE - If you're living in a country where summer gets close to the 40-50 degrees c or if it's extremely cold you need to really choose well. You cannot get something that can't withstand the heat or dries out too quickly.

SKIN TYPE - You should be more than aware of your skin type by now. There are 3 options; oily, dry and combination. If you're oily, gravitate towards matte finish. If you're combination, you can use both matte or dewy and finally if you're dry go for a dewy finish. I'm not saying this is a set-in-stone way of doing things in the makeup world, it's all just a simple guild-line you can use and tweak to your preference. 


foundation, choosing a foundation, makeup foundation, makeup tips, articles on applying foundation, choosing a foundation for your skin tone, Beauty With Zainy, Zainab Dokrat


This is probably the most common of foundations and the most used type of foundation. Usually comes in a bottle or tube (which may have a dropper or pump), depending on what sort of coverage you may want the liquid may be runny (light weight) or thick yet still liquid (full coverage). 

It's best to get a foundation with a pump its much more sanitary and you don't waste a lot of product pumping as you would squeezing out of a tube. Almost, if not all brands; from drug store to high end have a liquid foundation in their line.


Using a cream foundation usually scares people, I felt that way too because I wasn't accustomed to using much less than liquid foundation to do my base.
From the two I have tried, I prefer it to be a stick product rather than in a pan, because you get more product.

When using a cream foundation, expect a smooth, flawless finish. It may come across as a bit too much for 'running errands' kind of a day so I like to keep this for special occasions especially night time events. Again, there are quite a lot of brands that have cream foundations in their line, but unlike liquid it's not every brand that carries this type.


I will be honest here, I've never tried powder foundation nor has it ever appealed to me. The idea of a powder finish is not the look I personally like because I prefer more of a glow. Because I haven't experimented with this type I don't have much to say. 

However, I have noticed that if you have really good skin and you're not into full coverage or even the idea of wearing foundation, you just want to even your skin tone or look a bit alive, you may want to check out this type of foundation. Also, because it looks like a compact powder it's very travel friendly. However, I have noticed people setting their liquid/cream foundation with a powder foundation for more coverage. 


Similar to the powder I have no personal experience with this type of foundation. It's more of a loose powder foundation and it's rather compact. I would say this goes perfectly for those that may love a matte finish and light - medium coverage. Also, I think this foundation can only be applied with a brush. I also have seen a few people set their liquid/cream foundation with a mineral foundation for even more coverage as they do with the powder foundation.


Now this isn't really a foundation but I feel it deserves a mention because it does bring coverage when one uses it. It's basically a tinted moisturizer. Now some may do more in terms of repairing the skin, evening it out, protecting from the sun etc but it's main purpose isn't full coverage its just to smoothen your skin and even your skin tone. 

I have played around with bb creams, there was a time I couldn't find the right shade of foundation in my drug store and I only used bb creams. 

The shade selection is not wow; (light, medium and dark). If you're in between shades it's not such a pricey product and if the difference is a lot, you can buy 2 and just mix them every time you want to apply. 

Even though the coverage is light it does even the skin tone and for everyday use or just doing errands this really does feel so much lighter. It does not take a lot of effort and in my opinion if you're not such a makeup person but don't want to look dead when you go to work or just go out casually, this is a life saver. 


A lot of foundations have spf 15 in their formula. Now this is especially good if you're wearing the foundation out during the day, remember to always protect your skin from sunlight damage.

The only bad thing is if you have a favorite foundation that happened to have spf, you need to think twice about wearing it for a night occasion especially if there will be photography; because the spf flashes back in pictures making you look stark white.

Another thing to watch out for is if you're having an oily day, don't use foundation with spf, because it will make you more oilier and no one wants to be powdering and blotting all day. 


This is when your make is smooth and has no glow what so ever. I think if you have oily skin or you have a lot of acne problems, go with a matte finish foundation (it won't emphasis your acne or make you more oily).


This is my favorite finish. I love having an extra glow. I used to mix my dewy foundation with my matte foundation when I had acne problems and still today when I'm having an oily day.


foundation, choosing a foundation, makeup foundation, makeup tips, articles on applying foundation, choosing a foundation for your skin tone, Beauty With Zainy, Zainab Dokrat

If you have seen foundation right out the bottle, you can see the pink in the foundation or the yellow in it. That is a quick tip on how you should know what your undertone is so you can match perfectly. Otherwise, even though it may seem like it matches, it will make you stand out a lot in person and in pictures. 

I won't go into much detail because this post will really drag on, but here are some pictures that can give you a sense of what under tones are and how to find what yours is. Finally, I found a post that really explains this topic very easily and is more informative Click Here.


Once you know your under tone, choosing a shade is piece of cake. Yes, you can swatch the shade you think is close to your skin tone on the back of your hand but it is not always accurate. The best way to swatch is on your jaw line, where you can check if it matches your cheek as well as your neck. 

Always swatch 3 shades side by side; the shade you feel is the closest, a shade lighter and a shade darker. I won't go on in this section because the next step is where I go a bit more in depth of how to really test if that shade is the right one. 


This is a 'must' before you commit to a foundation, I actually did this and even though it does take patience and time, it is worth it. If you find a foundation you like, the shade is right and you think it's the one, you need to do a test run.

By test run I mean putting a bit of the foundation on your cheek and down your jaw line. It should be a perfect or really good match. Now walk around the store for a bit, carry on shopping, basically pass around 10 minutes of your time.

Now check in the mirror under the store lights and see if it still matches. Some formulas oxidize, so something that may be your shade may darken after a while on your skin and no one wants to realize that when it's too late.

I did this with all my foundations, even concealer, and I noticed the Urban Decay Naked concealer oxidized on my hand and became darker. This step, as much as it takes time, is really something I swear by. Obviously, go foundation shopping when you have a bit of time to spare. Then again, there's always time for extra shopping, right? ;)


Just like how there is different foundations, there is different ways to apply your foundation. The type that's been a trend for quite some time now is using a beauty blender (there are different versions from different brands nowadays which are more affordable) and not forgetting applying using a brush. 

I have been loving to use a damp beauty blender - I prefer the black one by the way. Real Techniques, Morphe and Artist of Makeup have their own versions which are just as good. Also, check at places where you usually buy your affordable makeup, you'll be surprised at the new dupes that are out. Using a damp sponge really makes your foundation flawless. It doesn't crease and it gives a lovely glow to the skin. I like the damp blender for liquid and cream foundation, obviously it won't work for powder.

Now on to brushes; you can use the traditional foundation brush or a stiff buffing brush. I've actually been loving a buffing brush more. I feel the traditional brush makes me apply more foundation than needed and I end up looking very cakey. The buffing brush is way better because I apply the foundation in a circular motion as it creates a flawless and smooth base. However, only do this if you don't have facial hair, especially around your cheek area. I say this because buffing with make the hairs stand out more whereas if you use a traditional brush and you apply the foundation in a downward motion, it will keep them in place.


Now, this is a crucial step. You have to lock your foundation in so it lasts all day or all night. You don't want it to fade along the day, become patchy, crack \, melt and just end up looking very messy.

Some may use a light compact powder, which can also help if you tend to get oily quickly. But the best way to lock your foundation is to use a setting spray.

Now, again, no reason to buy a very expensive setting spray, it depends all on your budget. If you can, go for the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. Alternatively, for a good drug store one, check out the L'oréal Infallible Setting Spray which I personally love and finally if you want to make your own, you can use a rose water solution (2 parts rose water 1 part normal water in a spray bottle) - not only is it refreshing but also it does lock your makeup in place.


foundation, choosing a foundation, makeup foundation, makeup tips, articles on applying foundation, choosing a foundation for your skin tone, Beauty With Zainy, Zainab Dokrat
I have shared my foundation collection previously and I've showed both affordable and high end products.
 If you would like to know my favorites from both sides of the spectrum -
 I've shared the many pros, cons, tips and much more which will give you more of a guideline 
on how to choose and from which brand depending on exactly what you need. 

Choosing foundation is never easy and I hate those moments when you find a great product but it just doesn't work for you.
Remember what may work for one person may not work for another. 
It does take trial and error, but it's better to learn with affordable products (what type you like, what finish you like, etc) rather than with high end. 

Having help from the sales ladies at the makeup counter is a great way to get an opinion, 
but it's easy to make a mistakes when you don't have enough information (I'm sure you'll be way more prepared if you've made this far into my article :p).

 Remember their job is to sell, in the end you have no guarantee if the sales assistant 
who's helping you will be 100% honest, so always know what to look out for. 
I know the last two topics on this post don't really have much to do
 with how to choose your foundation, 
but I really think the whole process needed to be mentioned.

These are the small tips and tricks I have learnt over the years and it makes me so happy being able to share it with you.

I have come across foundations that just did not work for me 
but were from a good brand or in some cases I never found a shade that matched. So, don't beat yourself up if you've struggled with finding a foundation yet. It takes time and effort but you will.

I tried to explain everything as simply as possible because 
I get asked a lot of 'foundation choosing' questions all the time. I hope this article answers most of those questions in an easy to understand format.

If you have a question or even tips,  
please leave a comment down below 
to help all the lovely ladies out there 
who really struggle with this part of makeup!

You Might Also Like


  1. No wonder I look like a spook at night in pictures! Thank you for sharing this really helped I can never get the hang of finding the right foundation.

    1. Yeah I learn't the hard way that spf is not my friend at night lol I still struggle with it sometimes but that is how you learn, hope this post helped with that.

  2. loved the article , so much info! these days i have been loving pancake foundation for longer wear. at first i had no clue how to apply it but practice makes perfect! i am currently in dhaka and i hate how people here look for "white" foundation rather then buying their skin tone. i have to get all my banana shades from the states.

    1. I think most Asians love to go lighter but it's so noticeable that it just makes you look bad. Embrace your natural skin colour. I know most shades I have to really search for because it make look right but the undertone is always what makes a huge difference. Thank you for reading and I hope it helped :)


  3. This is extremely helpful. I also don't have any experience in powder foundation or mineral foundation I tried to get one along time ago but they didn't have my shade. Finding the perfect foundation can be such a struggle especially drug store brands because they sometimes don't stock many shades. Once I find one that I'm happy with I keep repurchasing it and all my foundations are liquid.
    After reading this my next makeup buy will be a setting spray to keep my foundation in place.
    Thanks for sharing; I'm sure this will help girls find their right foundation xx

    1. Thank you for reading and leaving a lovely comment. It is a struggle and if your foundation isn't right nothing works out from there. I do think a setting spray really does make a difference, so that is my recommendation to getting that next. I hope it does help girls out there :)

  4. This is whole new thing to me....thank you for the pointers....I never knew that there is so much in make up too....

    1. lol I learn't the hard way :D hope it helps when it comes to choosing foundation shades. Some countries stock shades close to the skin tone range of the people, but usually they have from both spectrums.

  5. Oh yes! I went through this really confusing time with foundations. Literally had no idea where to begin with when choosing one. This type of post would have been so helpful to me!

    1. Yeah I had the same problem when I was choosing. The posts I find online usually talk on pink undertone foundations etc and it's always more confusing so I had to share a simple explanation :)

  6. Thank you for these tips, it's the first time to read about the indertone. I also prefer liquid foundation and applying it with a beauty blender. Loved the article and will definitely use these tips when buying my new foundation.

    1. You're welcome :) thank you for leaving a comment. Hope the tips helps you choose the best shade for you :D

  7. So helpful because truth be told I haven't quite found my shade yet lol :)

    1. It's even more hard when you're in between shades and the difference seems a lot. I'm like that at times lol but I hope this post helps sometimes a brand doesn't cater to a lot of shades, so always research depending on your skin tone.

  8. Great tips! I love using mineral loose powder because I don't like too much coverage, just enough to even out my skin tone!

    1. I think I need to give mineral foundation a try especially since sometimes I don't need a whole lot of coverage, I just want to even out my skin tone as you said.



Instagram Feed