Light To Full Coverage Foundations For People Who Hate Foundation

Publish date:
November 28, 2014
YSL, Lancome, Smashbox, bb cream, foundation, foundation coverage, le teint

Up until recently, foundation was mostly a funny song from a plucky British pop artist to me. I've been dubious of the makeup, spotting it like an unzipped fly caked on other people’s faces. The fact that there are countless formulas available to avoid that pancake effect overwhelmed me with choice and I pretty much just backed out of the room slowly, figuratively speaking.

My mind took a turn after I had my makeup done by a makeup artist on a photo shoot: she expertly (and swiftly!) applied foundation in a way that looked so natural and perfectly blended I could’ve been a cyborg version of myself. Best part? She used her FINGERS (and a sponge to pat things over when she was done). I have those! I can do that!

But how do the foundation-phobic overcome their fear?

If you’re me, you spend way too much time at a Sephora dabbing foundation on your jawline and inner wrists until an employee takes pity and helps you find your shade. But there's more to consider than just color. Matte? Dewy? How about skin finish?

I applied the tried-and-true Goldilocks method to suss out this whole foundation deal.

Light Coverage

Obviously, this is not foundation, this is a BB Cream. They’re worth throwing in the ring though, since BB Creams are heavier duty than a tinted moisturizer but less high-maintenance than foundation. I’ve been using this daily for the past few months. With perhaps a bit of a placebo effect, this and other BB/CC creams like it are a perfect intro to foundation, because while coverage is light--meant to blur and even skin tone rather than cover blemishes--consistency is similar to foundation, so you can apply it like moisturizer with much more forgiving results. I apply this with my hands and pat it in; it takes less than a minute!

It evens my skin out without covering freckly stuff and other “real skin” details like that. I remember buying this one because it has SPF 35, which was higher than some other BBs with this type of coverage.

Medium Coverage

I’ve had YSL’s Touche Éclat concealer pen for a while, and that thing rules. So naturally I wasn’t surprised to hear that the line's foundation was also pretty great. It did not disappoint. The medium-coverage formula focuses more on illuminating and making your skin look glow-y, rather than covering it up completely. The consistency is liquid-y and has a lot of slip to it, so it blends very easily into your skin with fingers. I applied it with my fingers, dotting four small blobs on my cheeks, forehead, and chin, and then blending with a foundation brush.

Skin looks even, bright, and it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing much more than my night cream or a heavier moisturizer. There is a slight translucency so you can still see faint freckles, which is nice. Blemishes would still need a once-over with concealer if you wanted to hide any.

Full Coverage

This one is a twofer--not only do you get foundation, you get a matching concealer in the lid with a flip-up mirror! Genius packaging. When you pop off the lid, there’s a pump just like the YSL one for the foundation. It’s formulated with “skin correcting” serum, so theoretically it helps even your skin tone for realsies, if that’s a concern of yours.

The consistency is the same as YSL Le Teint, but this feels slightly more velvety on my face. I’m more aware of it when I have it on. The concealer is excellent at layering over blemishes (like this weird, almost-cyst on my chin). I like that the finish of the foundation is dewy, so my skin still looks fresh even if it's caked in makeup.

Honestly, I wear foundation maybe twice a week. I’m happy with a BB Cream for daily use, but I love the effect of a perfectly even canvas--especially for more dramatic makeup looks. There are LOTS of foundations out there, many of which can work for you (some better than others). My foundation fear was mostly paralysis by the epidemic of TOO MUCH CHOICE (plus laziness). You guys are so savvy, I don’t doubt you’re way ahead of me in this department.

  • What are your favorite foundation formulas?
  • Any lazy-girl application tips? I’d look them up, but…