Beauty & Health

Ace your base! How to choose the perfect foundation

by Adriana Donnola, expert beauty stylist 

A second-skin, flawless foundation has the ability to make you look  - and feel - like a more beautiful version of yourself.  It can be tricky to select this hero staple but the easiest way is to start with your skin concern and follow these top tips:  

When you’re shopping: 

  1. Colour match to your decolletage and/or cheek not the back of your hand which has seen more sun and is not a true reflection of your skin tone. 
  2. If your budget allows, buy two shades at the same time. Use one for winter and the other for summer and blend the two for the months in between for a perfect match.   
  3. Purchase a foundation without sunscreen for special events (such as a wedding) where flash photography will be used. When added to a foundation, the SPF can sometimes leave a white or ashy look on the skin. 

When you’re at home:  

  1. Don’t be heavy-handed  with your application.  All that is needed is one dab on the forehead, nose and chin and then blend outwards to the hairline. Make sure you check in natural light before heading out.  
  2. Foundation pilling? Then you haven’t waited long enough for your moisturiser or primer to absorb properly. 
  3. Brushes and sponges produce a beautiful, more professional result, yes, but take into consideration you’ll go through more product than using just your fingertips. They also need to be washed every single week (don’t forget!) with a mild shampoo to prevent the spread of bacteria. 
  4. Apply concealer after foundation, not before. Also, you’ll need two concealers as the one for under your eyes is not the same as the one you need to mask a blemish. Choose a shade or two lighter to brighten the undereye area but for dark spots or blemishes match the concealer to your foundation.  

My top picks for results-driven foundations to suit different skin types: 



If you have sensitive skin: Look for calming ingredients and a mineral base to hide skin conditions such as acne, scarring, rosacea or pigmentation while minimising irritation. 
I love: Bare Minerals Original, $51, Mecca Maxima;  Innika Organic Loose Mineral Foundation, $65, Myer



If you have dry skin: Look for formulas with built-in serums to keep skin dewy and soft throughout the day without sitting in creases. 
I love: BY TERRY, Hyaluronic Hydra Foundation SPF30, $96, Mecca Maxima;  Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF 25, $98, Mecca Maxima, David Jones



If you have teen skin: Look for oil-free and non-comedogenic formulas that won’t clog pores. 
I love: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation, $22, Coles; e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation, $16, Big W.



If you have ageing skin: Look for sheer formulas with buildable, luminous coverage so it doesn’t settle in creases but evens-out redness and dark spots where needed.  
I love: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 15, $79, Chanel Beaute, David Jones; Giorgio Armani Fluid Silk, $100, David Jones.



Best Value: Natio Pure Mineral Foundation, $19.95, Priceline Pharmacy. This clean-beauty base gives great glow at a purse-friendly price. 

Full coverage:  IT CC Cream SPF 50+ $63, Sephora. An award-winning, skin-correcting base which deserves every accolade and more! 

Sheer Coverage: Mecca Weekend Skin, $40, Mecca Maxima.  Your skin but better. This one sells out pretty regularly so waitlist this one if need be. 

Anti-ageing 2-in-1: Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless Foundation, $25.50, Coles. Silky smooth and loaded with hydration thanks to a serum-infused formula that won’t sit in fine lines. Good for on-the-go touch-ups.  

Remember: Just as our skin changes with age, we need to change our  foundation every few years too. If it’s not giving the result you need, check your skincare routine too. 

Adriana Donnola has been writing about all things lifestyle for over 25 years on magazines including New Idea, Who, InStyle, TV Week and New Weekly. She has interviewed the world’s top celebrity makeup artists, skincare specialists and hairstylists loves to help women become a more beautiful version of themselves. For more information, please click here to visit her website 'Shop With A Beauty Editor'.