20 years ago, selecting a foundation was simple.

You had 2 options: matte or moisturizing.

Nowadays, your options may include–but are not limited to–luminous, velvet, satin, dewy, HD finish, mineral powder, aerosol, liquid mineral, cream-to-powder, and cushion.

But, wait! We haven’t mentioned the variety of benefits–beauty balm, color correcting, anti-aging, pore-refining, acne fighting, and the list goes on. Then, of course you still need to decide on the level of coverage…

Don’t get us wrong, as a consumer it’s great to have options, but it can get really confusing – even for those of us who work in the business. Fortunately, while there are a zillion names and descriptions for skin coverage they all fall somewhere on the same spectrum: matte to shiny and sheer to full coverage.

Here’s our guide for choosing and applying the correct formula:

What kind of finish do you prefer?

There are very few women who want to look ultra dry or ultra shiny. Most are simply looking for skin that look hydrated but not greasy, right? So, simply choose the formula that works with your skin to give the desired finish.

Let’s break down the 3 basic finishes:


+Oil-free, powder finish, long-wear, smooth finish

+Skin has a dry finish and no shine



+Natural, velvet, silk

+Skin has creamy finish and no shine



+Dewy, luminous, naked, skin

+Skin has a shiny finish


Do you want a formula with a skin care benefit?

If you can find a foundation that has the finish and benefits that you want, awesome. If you can’t find an anti-aging matte formula (they don’t usually go together), then simply use a skin care product with that benefit instead.


What kind of coverage are you looking for?

While certain finishes are limited to coverage (dewy is sheer to light finish while matte is medium to full) you can adjust the coverage depending on the brush or sponge that you use.

Sheer Coverage

Stippling brush – perfect for a sheer application of liquid formulas. Smooth over skin using circular motions or press on with the tips of the stippling brush for areas that need more coverage.

Miracle complexion sponge – dampen the flat edge of the sponge and smoothly apply liquid or cream over skin for a sheer but flawless finish.


Medium Coverage

Miracle complexion sponge – use dry to sweep liquid or cream foundations on for a medium finish that is still buildable. Blend over skin with the flat edge, then roll or press the rounded side into the skin to build the coverage.

Buffing Brush  great for applying powders, cream or cream-to-powder formulas. Using circular movements, buff product into skin for seamless medium coverage.


Full Coverage

Expert face brush and sculpting brush – the firm bristles work cream and liquid foundations into the skin for a pixel-perfect finish, while using very little product.

Foundation brush and 101 triangle foundation brush – for the most opaque finish, use your foundation brush to lay liquid products over the skin.