For many at home amateur makeup artists, it can be overwhelming to pick a product from the hundreds of different products out there. Hundreds of questions may rush through your mind as you peruse the makeup counters and the counter girls spritz perfume at you and tempt you with free makeovers.

What's the best foundation type, a cream, a powder, a liquid? What are the funny foam wedges and fan brushes for? Should I choose a lengthening or volumizing mascara? Should I get waterproof or non-waterproof mascara? What's the best type of eyelash curler for lashes that are hard to curl? The choices go on and on and this is all before we settle on a brand! In this article series, we'll cover the basics starting here with the base of your entire makeup look, your foundation.

The first step in choosing the right foundation is knowing what type will suit your skin type. Many people fail to take this into consideration and then wonder helplessly why the latest and greatest product doesn't work with their skin. Your skin can be oily, normal, sensitive, dry, or combination and this may even change with the weather and seasons. The right type of makeup for your skin will allow you to get the best and most natural coverage with your makeup. Not only will the right foundation look better, it will also stay on longer and smudge less.

In general, those with normal skin are the luckiest. They can use almost any type of makeup. Those with sensitivities and allergies need to be careful. Many environmental factors such as allergens, chemicals, dust, and extreme weather can cause bad reactions with makeup. You may get redness, peeling, or pimples if you react badly with the wrong makeup. That's okay, just let your skin heal and note that your skin does not work with that type of foundation. So why is it so important to choose the right type of foundation for your skin type? Well consider this, a cream foundation uses an oil base and using this on oily skin is a recipe for disaster as your face will start sweating and melting off hours after application. Also think about using a dry mineral powder foundation on dry flaky skin, the dust will settle into the lines and crevices of your face and make your dry skin look even worse.

Here's a quick guide to help you determine what type of skin you have and which products you should use.

Normal Skin

  • Not too dry nor too oily, no large pores or flaky skin, smooth and no pimples.
  • Can use any foundation, powder, cream, liquid, and gel.

Oily Skin

  • Acne prone, skin appears shiny, large pores and blackheads.
  • Should stick to oil free foundations such as powders and gels.

Dry Skin

  • Feels rough, wrinkles easily, may have skin flakes. Smaller pores and is especially irritable and sensitive to sun and wind.
  • Should use an oil based foundation such as creams and liquids. This helps to double as a moisturize and stay on longer plus keep the flaky skin down.


  • Both dry and oily skin. Most common is an oily T-zone which includes the forehead and nose with dry cheeks.
  • You will need to use a combination of products. For the T-zone, follow the guide for oily skin and for your cheeks follow the dry skin guide.