Foundation 101: Your Guide to a Makeup Bag Staple

Foundation Types, Coverages, Finishes, Processes – Plus the Difference Between Foundation and Concealer

Foundation is called “foundation” for a reason. It truly lays the foundation for your makeup look, creating a blank canvas upon which you can express yourself.

Now, if you’re here, you’re probably already somewhat familiar with what foundation is, generally. But did you know that there are about 5 different types of foundation? And that concealer is a completely different product? And if you use both, do you know which to apply first?

There’s a lot to learn about this seemingly simple makeup product.

Got a Question About Foundation and Concealer? We’ve Got Answers.

Foundation provides a neutral-toned base layer that evens out imperfections in the skin and makes it easier to apply makeup. Easy enough, right?

Not so fast!

Types of Foundation Coverage 

There are 4 different types of foundation coverage you’ll see:

-Sheer Foundation

This helps improve skin tone but offers little-to-no coverage of imperfections.

-Medium Foundation

This conceals some imperfections.

-Full Coverage Foundation

This hides all blemishes and imperfections.

-Buildable Foundation

This can be layered to provide more or less coverage where you need it.

Types of Foundation Finishes

Plus, there are 3 foundation finishes you’ll come across:

-Natural Foundation Coverage

This most closely mimics skin.

-Matte Foundation Coverage

This is shine-free and a top pick for those with oily skin.

-Dewy Foundation Coverage

This provides a youthful, glowing look.

Foundation’s a little bit more involved than you thought, isn’t it?

Ultimately, the best foundation for you depends heavily on the level of coverage you want, your skin color, and the texture of your skin. There are several different types of foundation formulations available so you’re sure to find something that’s perfect for you.

Types of Foundation 

Foundation has come a long way over the years. Here are some of the foundation types you can snag these days.

-Liquid Foundation

This typically provides the best coverage but can be a bit too heavy for some people.

-Powder Foundation

Powder Foundation is usually recommended for oily skin, free from too many fine lines, but Mix Mineral Foundation is infused with extracts of Meadowfoam, Rosewood, and Elderberry which will give you a silky finish no matter your age or skin type. It is the easiest to apply and gives you the most natural-looking finish.

-Cream Foundation

This provides great coverage for mature skin or skin with scarring. It can be a bit much for those with oily skin. Check out our Luminous Moisture Beauty Balm (BB) Cream, which we custom match to your exact skin tone so it’s always a perfect fit!

-Stick Foundation

This is a much thicker foundation that can be used as a concealer after you’ve applied a lighter foundation to your entire face.

-Tinted Moisturizer or Sunscreen

These types of foundations tend to provide sheer coverage that doesn’t work for covering blemishes or skin discoloration. It’s a great, lightweight option for warmer weather or if you have mature or dry skin.

Rich results on Google's SERP when searching for "BB Cream"

What’s the Difference Between Foundation and Concealer?

Now that you’re an expert on foundation, let’s talk concealer.

Both foundation and concealer helps cover up blemishes, imperfections, and fine lines. But they also serve two different purposes.

While foundation provides a single, solid foundation for your makeup, concealer is generally used for color correcting and covering dark spots, blemishes, and dark circles under your eyes.

Our Illuminating Concealer is the perfect way to color correct and hide away blemishes. And guess what? It’s custom matched to your unique skin tone!

illuminating concealer tube with various shades smeared on a table

Foundation or Concealer: Which to Apply First?

There’s no hard, fast rule about which you should apply first, foundation or concealer but I recommend applying foundation first. It is a foundation, after all.

When you apply concealer first, you might find that it all but disappears once you get started on your foundation, making it harder to create the finish you need to easily apply the rest of your makeup and keep it in place. Plus, you might find that you don’t need the concealer (or don’t need as much of it) once you’ve applied your foundation.

Does that mean it’s “wrong” to apply concealer first?

Not at all!

Some days, you might have some serious dark circles you want to cover up using concealer. In that case, try applying a color-correcting concealer first, patting it on and blending the edges in with your foundation. Once you have your foundation applied, add more concealer as needed.

What’s the Purpose of Primer?

Just when you thought we had it all squared away, primer sneaks in! Simply put, primer is a base you can apply to make the rest of your makeup process even better.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking:

“Now, wait a minute, Lanae. You just spent all this time telling me that foundation was the, well, foundation of my makeup routine. What gives?”

Primers generally go on right after your moisturizer and before your makeup. The purpose of a primer is to create a barrier between your skin and the makeup you’re putting on it.

So, in a nutshell, your skincare and makeup routine looks like this:

  1. Cleanse your face
  2. Apply moisturizer (even something as simple as jojoba oil applied to slightly damp skin)
  3. Apply primer
  4. Apply foundation
  5. Use concealer as needed
  6. Put on the rest of your makeup
  7. Finish with our Makeup Setting Spray (it’s also a primer!)

Tips for Flawless Foundation Application

Iconic makeup artist Bobbi Brown was so right when she said “skin should look like skin.” You want your foundation to look as natural as possible — not cakey, streaky, or patchy. And it should absolutely not change the color of your skin.

We’re highlighting our natural beauty here, not donning a mask. To make it easier for you to get that natural, “I woke up like this” look, here are some foundation tips:

Foundation Makeup Application Tip #1: Find Your Undertone

There are three basic undertones:

Hint: sometimes if your skin appears too red it is ok to correct that ruddiness with a color-correcting primer or powder.

Foundation Makeup Application Tip #2: Use the Right Application Tools

The tools you use will vary depending on the look you’re going for. Applying foundation with your hands will give you a more natural finish while applying with a foundation brush uses the stippling technique (a light tapping motion) will give fuller coverage.

Foundation Makeup Application Tip #3: Blend

We’ve all seen that person with the foundation line around their jaw line or hairline. Don’t be that person! Blend your foundation into your hairline and below your jaw line onto your neck for a seamless, natural look.

Build Your Makeup Look on a Solid Natural Foundation

I hope you feel more confident about foundations thanks to this article!  Remember, foundation is the base for every great makeup look. And you can find the right foundation for any skin type and any occasion.

Be sure to check out our foundation, concealer, and setting spray options here at Mix Cosmetiques, and don’t hesitate to give me a call, send me an email, or drop into our Duluth shop if you have questions!

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