Makeup 101: The 7 Qualities Of A Good Foundation

January 19, 2023
Images Of Makeup Foundation

These foundation tips will help you finally find “the one”

Want in on the beauty secret of what makes a good foundation? Here’s a hint: it’s about so much more than the finished effect it gives your skin. So many factors go into the qualities of a good foundation. To us, a good foundation is one that makes our skin look better, more even and glowy, oh and as natural as possible (pretty please). It also means one that won’t require us to eat instant ramen noodles for a month in order to afford it. That’s right, a good quality foundation can be yours without breaking the bank. From ingredients to texture to finish, here’s what you need to look for in a good foundation.


You heard it here first: a good foundation will have a formula that works well with your skin. So start with your skin type before shopping for a good foundation. Is it dry, oily or combination? This will determine if you need a matte or moisturizing formula. Do you want to apply it with a beauty sponge, blending brush, or your fingers? Or do you have a preference for liquid vs. powder? Asking yourself these questions before you buy will help you find a good foundation that works best for your skin.

Skin benefits

All good foundations should have good-for-skin ingredients. After all, foundation is the one product that goes all over your face so it’s important to consider it as an extension of your skincare. Look for ingredients that you’d see on a skincare label like hyaluronic acid (for mega moisturizing), or ingredients that soothe and calm like aloe vera. Just as important to consider is what ingredients aren’t on the label. If your skin doesn’t love formulas with oil, alcohol or parabens, scanning the label for free-of-claims is your best bet.


The trick to a good foundation that melts into your skin is all in the right formula. Essentially, all foundation textures fall under three categories: liquid, powder or cream. Once you figure out the ideal match for your skin type, you’ll be set. Liquid foundation tends to be the most forgiving and user-friendly while powder is a great option for those with oily areas they want to spot treat. Cream foundations provide substantial coverage and are great for those with really dry skin.


Finding a good foundation means one that matches your skin tone. Color-matching may take some trial and error but thankfully, it’s easier than ever to find your best shade (we also love to check out product swatch photos and even blend a couple of shades together to get a custom color). Just remember: liquid foundation oxidizes over time, meaning it gets darker after you apply it and in the bottle so this is really where the trial part comes in. Wear your formulas for a few hours and then check out your skin in natural light before committing to your color.


Something that can immediately ruin a foundation contender is one that doesn’t provide enough coverage. Luckily, finding a formula with good coverage is easy if you know your needs. Start with if you’re a light, medium or full type. If you’re somewhere in the middle and want to have a naturally glowing complexion, this hydrating foundation is a great start. Need to balance out oily areas of the skin for a uniform complexion? This powder foundation is your friend. If you need a bit more coverage, a little of this cream formula goes a long way in the coverage dept and makes skin soft and seamless looking. But you don't necessarily have to commit to a certain level of coverage before buying the foundation. This long-lasting foundation provides medium to high coverage, so depending on how much coverage you need that day you can easily build it up.


The finish is probably the most important quality of a good foundation. Think about it: if the finish is either way too sheer or way too heavy, it’s not going to be a good look. Luckily, you can avoid this by finding your finish sweet spot. Always start with a light-handed foundation application before building up to your desired finish. One of our fave tricks to cheat is to sheer out liquid or cream foundation by mixing it with a hydrating primer before applying it.

Staying power

A foundation that stays put is a good foundation by our standards. There’s nothing worse than applying your foundation in the morning only to have it slip off by noon. Look for clues on the label about its staying power and don’t settle for anything less than 8 hours of coverage (there, we said it!).

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