Stick vs Liquid Foundation for Skin Types

Shopping for foundation? We can help. Learn when to use stick foundation and went to use liquid foundation

Learn whether stick or liquid foundation would be best for your needs

It’s difficult enough to find the perfect foundation color for your skin tone, but how do you then determine which formula works best with your skin type, whether you need the best foundation for dry skin, oily skin, or something in between? Your best friend, sister, or mother may have found a foundation that makes them look great, but will it have the same effect on you? Which will work better for you, a liquid foundation, or a foundation stick?

When to Use a Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundation makeup is the most commonly used makeup formula. It’s more widely available than any other type and comes in a wide array of colors, tones, and formulations. When using a liquid foundation, it’s important to know if the one you’ve chosen has a matte finish, or a dewy finish.

Matte finishes are best for oily skin types. They are lightweight and don’t feel heavy on the skin. They are a good choice for covering blemishes in acne-prone skin. Mattes work well in humid climates where it’s difficult to find makeup coverage that doesn’t melt away, or move into the creases of your face in high humidity. If you have oily skin, a matte finish liquid makeup will help your skin to appear less shiny.

If your skin tends to be dry, a matte finish may cake or become flaky. It can settle into lines and wrinkles. You can help to lessen this effect by applying a moisturizer first, but that will undermine the matte effect of the finish, and can cause streaking.

People with dry skin may have better results with a dewy finish makeup. These tend to be moisturizing, with a light, natural finish. They are hydrating for drier skin, and leave a fresh, youthful look.

These dewy finishes may not work as well for someone with oily skin. Applying a moisturizing foundation to oily skin will increase shine and also cause makeup to slide and move throughout the day.

When using either type of liquid foundation, you should always finish with a light dusting of a finishing powder to help makeup to stay where you put it.

When to Use a Stick Foundation

Stick foundation is basically a cake foundation that comes in a handy cylindrical tube and rolls out like a lipstick. Stick foundations are perfect for those who want excellent coverage without the bother of a messy liquid. It is foundation in a thicker format for medium to full coverage, and works well to cover imperfections, similar to a concealer. Because it’s more of a solid than a liquid, it provides more thorough coverage than most liquid foundations. It can be applied directly to the skin and then smoothed on and blended with fingertips or a brush or sponge. It works well on normal to oily skin.

Easy, fast application makes stick foundation great to carry in a purse for quick touch-ups, to use as a concealer for blemishes, or for traveling when you don’t want to carry liquid foundation. It’s also convenient for those days when you are rushing to get to work and don’t have time for liquids and sponge applicators.

Stick foundation doesn’t work as well on drier skin, where its thick formula can end up caking and flaking. If you have dry skin and would like to use a stick foundation, it’s generally best to use a moisturizer prior to applying.

Another concern with stick foundation is bacteria collection due to the fact that it is applied directly to the skin. If this is a concern for you, you can dab the stick with a short bristle makeup brush and apply as you would a cake foundation.

Stick foundations can aggravate acne due to the thicker formula, which may clog pores.

In general, dry-type skin does best with liquid makeup, but can also look great with a stick foundation if properly moisturized first. Normal to oily skin works very well with a stick foundation, or if using a liquid foundation with oily skin, it’s best to find one with a matte-type finish.

Anyone can find the best foundation formula for their skin type with a little experimenting. And that’s half the fun!

Resources —Adore Beauty, Paula's Choice, Frends Beauty, I Spy Fabulous

Share this article