HOW TO: FOUNDATION 101

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Foundation is a tricky product to choose as there are a few things to consider. Everyone is individual when it comes to their skin type, skin colour, any skin issues, preferred coverage, how it will sit with make up on top and budget. *deep breath* Let alone the tools to apply it. All hail beauty blogs and their reviews, hey?

DO YOU NEED FOUNDATION?

This is up to you. Although if you have great skin, why cover it up day to day? Why not embrace what you're blessed with and there's a ton of other make up you can experiment with. But that's just me...

I've realised that if you feel your skin looks rubbish, it probably doesn't look as "rubbish" as you think. A few make up artists report that women are actually convinced they require more coverage than they need. I can vouch for this, as I'm sure when I first used foundation, I just caked it on my face. Nowadays I'll only wear foundation if I'm out for the day so I haven't got 'my face on' for at least a few days a week. Why waste it on my own four walls?

BUT THERE'S SO MANY FOUNDATIONS (BB CREAMS, CC CREAMS)...

Start by choosing a foundation that works with your skin type. Then consider what type of coverage you'd prefer (sheer, medium or full) and what finish you desire. This can be a case of trial and error really but as a guide to keep in mind:

LIQUID FOUNDATION provides buildable coverage and works well on most skin types. If you have oily/combination skin, keep an eye out for "oil-free" or "matte" formulas - even better with a primer underneath (more about that below). This is my personal favourite!

PRESSED POWDER/COMPACT FOUNDATION gives a nice satin finish for those with normal/slightly oily skin. However not so great for dry skin as the powder can cling to and highlight dry areas, and it can change colour and separate on really oily skin.

BB/CC CREAMS BB stands for beauty balm; a base that was widely popular in East Asia before hitting UK stores in 2011. BB creams are a lighter coverage than foundation but heavier than a tinted moisturiser. These are good for most skin types but can be a little too oily for oily/combination skins - I can vouch for this. CC stands for colour correcting, addressing issues like rosacea and dull skin. BB/CC creams are promoted as all-in-one products that replace serum, moisturiser, primer, foundation and sunscreen. Not so sure on those claims... They also tend to come in a limited range of shades.

TINTED MOISTURISER gives a thin veil of sheer coverage and evens out skin tone with a hint of colour. For good skin (days)!

MINERAL FOUNDATION is a powder based foundation that is supposedly non-comedogenic, meaning it won't block pores or irritate the skin so it would be good for blemish prone/sensitive skins. But again, works well on most skin types. That said, it may not work well on darker skin tones due to the limited shade range.

Those are the main foundations on the market, but then there's high street or high end? This is down to personal preference and of course your budget. Don't feel you need to rush out and get the latest £30 something foundation just because. Approach the counters and ask for samples so you can try before you buy, without being out of pocket. There are some fairly decent foundations on the high street, the Rimmel London being an old favourite and retailing at around £7. The shade ranges can be a bit off as not everyone is "beige" or "sand" but that's not to say there aren't some good formulas. Plus sometimes all it takes is a bit of primer to enhance a foundation on the skin!

STILL STUCK? THIS WEBSITE COULD HELP!

PS Beauty is a website that helps you pick a foundation to suit you. By providing all your details such as skin tone, skin type, even foundations you've used before and liked/disliked, it gives you some recommendations. It suggested some foundations I would've never considered otherwise! Definitely worth a look.

...PRIMER This could be a whole other post. I love primer. It's perfect if you want your make up to last throughout the day, or feel that moisturiser alone doesn't give you a nice enough base for foundation, or you just want your foundation to look better...

+ TIPS

Besides using a primer, the finish of your foundation can also depend a lot on how you apply it - with your fingers, a sponge, beauty blender, brush... I prefer a stippling brush, personally, to buff foundation in to the skin, using circular motions. It's good for reducing the appearance of those annoying large pores, too.

If your foundation looks a little dry or chalky, spritz your face with a little water to create a dewy effect. Alternatively, pat your face lightly with a damp flannel.

On the other hand, if you want to get rid of any excess shine, apply a translucent powder such as Rimmel Stay Matte with a kabuki (big, fluffy) brush where needed.

›Only apply foundation to the areas of your face that 'need' coverage; where you want to even out the appearance of the skin. For me, that's my t-zone and tops of the cheeks.

› If you like a particular foundation or formula but you're in between the shades they stock, consider buying one shade lighter and one shade darker, either side of your "ideal shade" and mix the two!

›If you own a full coverage foundation and it becomes too thick for your liking, mix it with moisturiser to create a thinner formula.

›Foundation isn't really designed to hide blemishes (unless full coverage), that's what concealer is for. So go crazy with that instead.

›Foundation bottles that come with a pump or in a squeezy tube can help you stop wasting more product than you need. Less mess and saves you money, and it's a bit more hygienic.

Check out Gossmakeupartist on YouTube for a range of helpful tips and tricks for applying foundation (and everything else!)

And blend, blend, blend! Even if that means blending down your neck to your décolletage. Tidelines are never a good look.

Do you have any tips for applying foundation? What's your favourite?