A makeup artist on the best foundation for every skin type

Illustration by Twylamae

Match made in heaven.

Finding the perfect foundation for your skin type is no easy task. On the way to a flawless complexion, it’s possible to try practically every product at the makeup counter. And after all the trial and error, it’s not uncommon to settle on a less than ideal option.

To save you a whole lot of pain (and expense), we asked makeup artist Rob Povey to share his top tips for finding the ultimate match.

Here’s what foundation you should be wearing for your skin type:


To counteract drier skin, opt for foundations that are moisture-rich and provide dewy, luminous finishes. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Éclat are two perennial makeup kit staples that have stood the test of time in delivering beautifully radiant medium coverage. Ensure you’ve prepped your skin with rich, hydrating creams first so your makeup blends with ease. 


Look for long-wear, matte textures when searching for a suitable foundation for oily skin. Try the already iconic Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation or Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation. Both offer impressive global complexion ranges of 40-odd shades and deliver on their promises of an all-day, shine-free face. Be sure to prep your skin with lighter gel/serum formulas, so as to not exacerbate the skin’s natural sebum production under your makeup.


Combination skin types take a bit of effort to perfect since you’re almost fighting against two paradoxes to balance everything out. The safest bet is to choose a foundation that offers a ‘velvety’ finish – one that’s neither too matte and drying, nor too dewy and shiny. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation is one such option and has been a staple in my kit since its launch. Leave the foundation as is in all the areas you want to glow, like the cheekbones, while de-shining all the hot spots that can get greasy through the day (namely the T-zone), with something like Rae Morris’s incredible new Invisible Mattifier.


More mature skins tend to benefit from the ‘less is more’ ethos. When you’re trying to minimise fine lines and offset a generally drier skin type, the less pigment on the surface of the skin, the less product there is to be settling into said fine lines or ‘catching’ to dry patches. Opt for something sheer and watery, like MAC Face And Body Foundation, or even substitute foundation altogether for a tinted moisturiser or BB/CC cream (which often have the added benefit of SPF, which is imperative for preventing pigmentation and sun damage) like IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream.


If coverage is your primary concern, look towards some of the best full-coverage formulas that still deliver a relatively natural finish. Too Faced’s Born This Way Foundation and Kat Von D’s Lock-It Foundation both yield maximum cover without sacrificing believability. As somebody who suffered from adult acne for many years, I understand how debilitating it can be. However, it’s also important to try and find the confidence to allow your skin to breathe and have makeup-free days weekly – this is truly the best way to help the healing process begin. Makeup can only ever look as good as the canvas it is applied to, so seek to treat the root of your concerns first and foremost.

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