How to Know What Type of Foundation Coverage You Need

Do you need light, medium, full, or buildable foundation coverage? Here's how to pick. Choose the right foundation coverage for your skin and style.

Foundation Coverage Types: Light, Medium, Full, or Buildable?

With so many foundations currently on the market, being able to choose the perfect foundation for you out of the sea of options can be overwhelming if you don't know where to start. To figure out which type of foundation coverage you need, here's what you need to know.

How to Know Your Skin Type

This is the first part in identifying what kind of makeup you think will work for you. Depending on your skin type, certain foundation formulas (whether from Sephora or the drugstore) will match better, going on smoother or staying on longer, and will ultimately be a lot less fussy as they will perform and look better on your skin. There are three common skin types — oily, dry, or combination skin — depending on which you have, some foundations will look and work best, or might not be so well-suited.

If you hardly notice any dry patches on your face, for instance, around your nose, chin or cheeks, and are mainly able to identify excess of oil sitting on top of your skin in the morning or throughout the day, then you most likely have oily skin.

Foundation For Oily Skin

The best foundation formulas to work with are oil-free liquid foundation, or powder foundations, as they can properly minimize the amount of oil you feel on your face. These types of foundations mainly come in medium to full coverage, which usually has pore-minimizing, skin-blurring benefits that will and last all day to keep the oil at bay.

If you have noticed you've had dry patches on your skin, that other foundations break up on you, or that you always need a good moisturizer, then it is likely that you have dry skin. You may also experience a lot of redness, flaking or cracking that just feels uncomfortable like your skin is regularly dehydrated.

Foundation For Dry Skin

Foundation formulas that match best with this skin type are BB and CC creams that provide lighter coverage, but double as a moisturizer to help out that dry skin. Unfortunately, full coverage foundation tends to be more drying on this skin type, so be sure to switch it up occasionally with a lighter, more hydrating foundation to let your skin breathe.

And if you've noticed multiple signs from each of these can types, then that means that your skin is most likely combination skin, which means you never stray too far to one side or the other. You might experience a little bit of everything which makes it both easy and hard to find the right foundation for you.

Foundation For Combination Skin

You can probably make any type of foundation work for you, by using tricks to make it a bit more suitable for whatever issue you might have, like making sure to set your make up correctly for less oil throughout the day, or using the right primer to ensure comfortable wear. Stick foundations can be especially good for this skin type, as a lot of them can be hydrating and creamy, but also mattifying where you need them to be, as some even have powders built in. Medium to full coverage might be best for you, as the creamier formulas themselves tend to be both hydrating as well as oil-controlling.

For those with particularly sensitive skin, you probably know yourselves, as you might have a list of different products that have caused breakouts. The best type of foundation for you would be a mineral powder, as it won't come with harsh ingredients that many products tend to use. This means a light to medium coverage would work best for you, as it won't be too heavy and potentially pore-filling, or as drying and irritating as some others.

And if you haven't noticed many of these issues from other skin types, then it is likely that you have "normal skin," meaning your skin is probably pretty easy to please, as it tolerates most things that would otherwise turn into issues on other skin types. So choose your pick--you can probably work with any foundation, so a nice buildable-coverage foundation can't go wrong on you.

Know What Makeup Look You’re Going For: What's Best for You?

The last step to ensure your choice of coverage depends on what type of look you're going for. Sometimes, coverage just depends on the day. If you are into lighter, fresher, more luminous looks, then it is best to keep it fair with a sheer, or light to medium coverage foundation in order to match the rest of your makeup. Nothing looks better with fresh, natural-looking makeup than a sheer foundation that allows the skin to glow.

If you instead like to play around with color, a medium coverage foundation with a natural-finish would suit you best, as it won't detract from the rest of your makeup, but will cover up what you need while still looking fairly natural.

And if you prefer those darker, smokier eye looks, or a very clean, precise look, then a full coverage foundation will be your best friend. It will completely smooth out the rest of your face and provide the perfect base for your makeup. It will help to call attention to a bold eye or dark lip that will be sure to stop everyone in their tracks.

Resources— Life Hacker, Advice From a Twenty Something, Today