How to Choose the Right Makeup Foundation

By Tina Tatarková
Tina Tatarková
Tina Tatarková
December 17, 2013 Updated: June 14, 2014

Do you use foundation regularly but still feel you haven’t found what suits you best? Or maybe you don’t wear foundation often and are thus all the more clueless about what to choose.

With varying thickness, so many shades, and a variety of special features—anti-aging, illuminating, hydrating, and more—the choice becomes complicated.

Here are some tips to get you started.

The Right Shade

Epoch Times Photo

Shades of foundation” (Shutterstock)

Gone are the days when women tried to look as tanned as possible, at any cost. Actually, a shade that is too dark for you will make you look older, which is probably not what you’re going for.

The foundation should be indistinguishable from the rest of your skin.

Test it directly on your face if possible at the store. Otherwise, the inner side of your wrist is much better than testing it on your hand. The skin on your hands is usually darker than your face. You can also ask someone who works in the makeup department to help you with a second opinion if you are unsure.

When applying, also apply it a little on your earlobes and under your chin so there isn’t a line where your makeup ends, just in case you didn’t choose the perfect shade.


Foundation comes in varying consistencies, from thick and creamy to light and fluid. The main difference is their ability to cover imperfections. If you have acne-prone skin or uneven pigmentation, a medium to high thickness is recommended.

Toning Creams or Mineral Foundation?

Epoch Times Photo

Mineral foundation. (Shutterstock)

In addition to standard foundations, there are also toning creams and mineral foundations.

Toning creams are designed to only lightly cover, unifying the varying shades of your skin. They are especially popular in the summer for their light texture.

Mineral foundations looks like powder, but turns into cream when applied. Some makeup artists use them instead of powder, because they don’t dry out the skin like powder does. Their big advantage is that they hide fine lines and wrinkles. 

Their quality, along with their ability to cover, varies with the brand. Some of Elle’s top picks include BareMinerals ($17.99 at, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Mineral Makeup ($39 at, and Clarins Skin Illusion Loose Powder Foundation ($42 at

Solid foundation is good for people with oily skin.

BB Creams

Epoch Times Photo

Lioele BB cream. (

BB creams, where BB stands for “beauty balm”,  have become massively popular worldwide. Dr. Christine Schrammek created the balm for patients to cover scars, while hydrating and healing skin after surgery.

The BB creams first became a hit in South Korea and Japan. Many Western products marketed as BB creams have faced criticism, with people saying they are nothing more than toning creams and lack the comprehensive effects of BB creams.

Our top pick is Korean Lioele BB cream ($17.79, which is especially good for covering.  Some of the New York Times top picks for BB creams include Dr. Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm ($32 at Sephora), Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream ($37 at, and Boscia BB Cream ($38 at Sephora).

*Image of “makeup foundation” via Shutterstock.