Finding the best foundation isn’t just about getting the perfect color — it’s figuring out the best formula for your skin. A creamy foundation that works on dry skin will feel too thick on someone with oily skin. And as your skin changes because of hormonal shifts or aging, you’ll have to reconsider the best foundation for your particular concerns. This article describes different formulas so you can find the best one for you.
Best foundation for oily/combination skin: Oil-Free or Mattifying Foundations
This is usually the best foundation for oily skin. It is light, and since you don’t need any help in getting “dewy” skin, it tends to have a smooth matte finish. Make sure it’s non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and can control oil. If you have very oily skin, you may want to consider a special makeup primer.
Look for buildable coverage (so you can apply a thin layer, then double up on the T-zone). This is very important if you have combination skin (this video will help you test for your skin type) or have fine lines on the forehead and around the mouth. Mattifying formulas can emphasize dryness or wrinkles, so go easy on those areas. You can also apply a serum just on those areas to counteract the dryness, but let it absorb or pat off the excess before you put on your foundation.
Best foundation for very oily skin: Long-Wearing, Matte-Finish Liquid Foundations
If your skin is very oily (just an hour after applying makeup, you already feel your face is a greasy, smeared mess) go for a long-wearing formula with a matte finish. The best foundation in this category are usually very thin liquids – cake or cream foundations may be harder to blend out. Tip: apply with a damp Beauty Blender or sponge, in very thin layers, so you still have a natural finish.
Bonus makeup tip: Matte foundations will emphasize dryness and lines, so caking can be a problem. Moisturize dry areas with a serum or day cream, and look for blushes or eyeshadows with a silky finish to recreate a youthful glow. Highlighters – subtly applied with a brush on the high points of the cheeks and inner eyes, can also prevent your skin from looking “flat.”
Best foundation for dry skin: Moisturizing Liquid Foundations
The best foundations for dry skin not only have a satin or dewy finish, but contain moisturizing ingredients. Many of the sheerest formulas are best applied with fingers or a damp sponge, and only in areas that need the most. Too much foundation will cake in the driest areas, so you just want to even out the skin tone and use concealer to cover scars or heavy discoloration. To make your skin look even more dewy and youthful, use cream blusher.
Bonus makeup tip: Moisturizing foundations tend to “catch” powder products and make them look too heavy, so always apply your blush or setting powder with a high quality fluffy makeup brush.
Best foundation for normal skin: Cream-to-Powder Foundations
The best foundations in this category apply as a cream but then dry to a slightly matte, powdery finish as you blend. They are sold in compacts, bottles, or as stick form and in sheer, full, and buildable coverage. We recommend getting buildable, because all makeup pros say it’s better to put as little foundation as possible especially in Singapore’s humid weather! Bonus makeup tip: This type of formula also tends to be more difficult to blend out, so to get a sheer and natural finish, swipe it on your hand and then apply in thin layers with a damp sponge.
Avoid this type of foundation if you have very dry or very oily skin, because even when you’ve prepped your skin with primer or serum, the powder finish will emphasize lines, and the creamy formula won’t be able to control oil.