How To Choose The Best Foundation For Your Skin

how to choose the right foundation

image by Kelly Cappelli
Makeup by Corinna Cooke


As a makeup artist I get asked all the time which foundations I like best, how to make foundation last all day, how to choose the right foundation.

Walk into any department store / Sephora / makeup emporium and the list of options can be overwhelming.
Half the time the people charged with helping you make the choice are so overly made-up they look like caricatures of themselves, which hardly inspires confidence. If you look to you tube and Instagram you will find the “beauty experts” favor obliterating any concept of skin by slamming so much makeup on the face it almost looks plastic.
And maybe you just want to look like a lovely, pretty, normal girl.


makeup artist model beach shoot

I use these same 4 steps to choose a model’s foundation as I do to choose and every day foundation.


Whether I’m getting a model or a movie star ready for a shoot, or whether I’m just shopping for myself, here are the criteria I look for, and that you need to look for to choose the best foundation for your skin:




foundation- textures

image via



What type of skin do you have? If you are oily you will want a slightly more matte finish or a water based foundation to offset some of the shine you are battling.
If you have dry skin you need a foundation with a glowing, dewy finish to make the skin look luminous.



Rather than hijacking the face and holding your skin hostage, foundation is supposed to create the illusion of a beautiful, radiant complexion.
If your skin is clear you only need a sheer cover foundation. If you have scarring, uneven skin tone, blemishes that need disappearing then you should opt for a more full cover foundation. If your skin falls somewhere in the middle, you need coverage that falls somewhere in the middle.
The worst thing you can do is overload the skin with a foundation that is far too heavy. Instead of hiding your skin, make creating lovely looking skin your goal. This is so important when choosing the best foundation for your skin.



Basically foundations come in two color groupings. There are cool toned foundations, which cover ivory, porcelain and pinky undertoned skins, and then there are your warm tones for girls with a yellow or olive undertone.
If you have a cool toned skin and wear a yellow based foundation it will look awful. The same applies to a warm toned girl wearing a pink based foundation. This is the absolute worst foundation violation! On more than one occasion I’ve had girls in makeup shops try to tell me that my cool toned skin needs a yellow based foundation to correct out the coolness. They could not be more wrong! The only people who should wear warm or yellow toned foundation are girls with warm or yellow undertoned skin. If you get this mixed up then your foundation will never look right.



Rather than testing your color on some remote corner of your jawline, test it somewhere where you can clearly see whats going on, such as your forehead or the front of your cheek.
You should be the same color from your hairline to your chest, and your face shouldn’t be any darker or any lighter than the rest of your upper body.

If you follow these four steps you will always choose the best foundation for your skin!



Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Limited US




12 Beauty Tips That Every Girl Should Know

beautiful girl red lips

Photo by Isaac bailey, makeup by Corinna Cooke

Every girl who wears makeup wants tips on how to make it last longer or look better. Here are 12 essential tips you need to know.

12 Essential Makeup Tips



1.Allow a minute or two between applying your moisturizer and your sunscreen to let your moisturizer soak in, and then another couple of minutes between your sunscreen and your primer. This will help your makeup to glide on more seamlessly and last all day.


2.Foundation is supposed to make your skin look flawless and perfect, but still actually look like skin. A thick layer of opaque, full cover foundation doesn’t look like skin, and generally looks awful. Choose the sheerest formula of foundation you can, and apply it sparingly.


3. Your foundation color choice should be based on your skin’s undertone. Warm toned girls need warm based foundations, cool toned girls need cool based foundations. Nothing will look right if you don’t get this most basic principal right!

Read more about choosing the right foundation here.


4. Powder sets foundation. If you want your foundation to stay on all day you need to set it.


girl feathered eyebrows, red lips

Photo by Isaac Bailey, makeup by Corinna Cooke


5. Nothing changes your face more than your eyebrows! If you have a small space between your brow and your lash-line, accent the upper edge of your brow to open the eye space. If you have a large gap between lash-line and brow you can soften it by accenting the lower edge of your brow. Too much color in the inner third of the brow can make you look angry and make your eyes look too close set.

Lifting through the arch and creating a slight extra tail to the brow can make the eyes look more alert and further spaced apart.

*Heavy eyebrow makeup can collapse a face.

**There is no place in the world for Instagram eyebrows.

Learn how to get the perfect eyebrow shape for your face here


6. Contour on the cheeks should be subtle. It should create a slight shadow under the cheekbone, making the bone look a little more pronounced and lifted. If the person standing next to you can see a brown contour line it is an epic makeup fail!


7. Bronzer is to make you look like you have been outside in the sunshine. It is not a contour product, and it is not to correct a foundation that is too pale. Bronzer is one of the greatest makeup products ever created, and also the most abused. Keep your bronzer subtle, apply it to the high planes of the face – forehead, cheekbones, chin, and also apply to your collarbones if they will be exposed.

Liquid and gel bronzers help you look glowy instead of shimmery.


8. Eye shadow primer will make your eye shadow last longer (hopefully all day) and will boost the color.

Related Post: Makeup Tips For Girls Who Wear Glasses


9. Waterproof mascara should only be worn when you are planning on swimming or crying! Daily use of waterproof can lead to lash breakage and thinning. (not based on science, but based on years of doing makeup and seeing broken lashes on girls who wear waterproof all the time!)

10. Waterproof mascara should be removed with an eye-makeup remover that is designed to dissolve waterproof makeup. This helps to minimize breakage.


11. Dark lipstick is incredibly aging. It also makes lips look thinner, more compressed, and angry. If you are older or have thin lips, dark lipstick is your enemy.  Matte lipstick is not a great choice for an older woman. It makes the lip look deflated and dry.

girl kiss red lips

Photo by Isaac Bailey, makeup by Corinna Cooke


12. Red lips can be daunting, but there is a red for everyone! You just need the right undertone and the right texture.

Read more about choosing the right red lipstick here.



Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Limited US

makeup tips

How To Choose Your Perfect Foundation In 3 Easy Steps


Do you ever get overwhelmed at the thought of choosing a new foundation? 
Have you found yourself standing  in front of a wall of foundation bottles, all different colors and formulations and not known where to start?

Have you ever had buyer’s remorse when you get home and find the pricey new bottle of foundation that you just bought doesn’t look right?

Well rest easy – your perfect foundation is only 3 steps away!

How To Choose Your Perfect Foundation In 3 Easy Steps


Know your skin type.
In order to get a flawless complexion you need to match your foundation to your skin type. If you have dry or maturing skin you need to avoid a matte finish or oil free foundation because it will make your skin look dry and old. Instead choose something more emollient and glowing such as a silicone based foundation.
If you have oily skin a glowy foundation can leave you looking far too juicy, so you may be better suited to a matte finish foundation.


Choose your coverage.

image via

A word to the wise. Contrary to everything you see on the IG and You Tube your foundation should not look like a thick mask. It should be as sheer and lightweight as possible – it’s job is to even you out a little and look like fresh glowing skin. Coverage should be based on what actually needs to be covered. Full coverage foundation is for skin that has extreme discoloration, scarring, melasma, etc. If you have perfect skin you need to look at a sheer coverage base, and if you fall in the middle you need to find a coverage in the middle. The key is to not go too thick or too opaque, and to always remember the goal is to create what looks like gorgeous skin.


Choose the right undertone.
Either you are a warm toned girl or you are a cool toned girl.
No matter what they tell you on Instagram, cool toned girls need cool undertoned foundation, warm toned girls need foundation with warm undertones.
There are no exceptions.

A yellow or warm based foundation looks wrong on a cool skin. It leaves the complexion looking anything from flat to jaundiced.
A pink or cool based foundation makes a warm skin look ashy, grey and cold.

Lets break this down further, because so many people get this so wrong. Warm toned girls look more golden. Their skin ranges from yellow toned to golden honey tones, olives and deep sand tones. Warm toned girls typically tan really easily.

jessica alba
Jessica Alba has warm toned skin

Cool toned girls have ivory, pink and beige undertones. 

christina hendricks
Bombshell Christina Hendricks has a cool skin tone

Still not sure? Try Charlotte Tilbury’s Foundation Finder, a super simple way to figure it out!

If you get the undertone of your foundation wrong, your makeup will never look right.

If you’re not sure if a foundation is cool or warm, hold the bottle against something that you know is. If you hold something pink next to the foundation you should be able to see that they either talk to each other or clash with each other.

You can’t always trust the judgement of the person selling you the makeup. I recently had someone adamantly trying to tell me that a very yellow Makeup Forever stick foundation was the perfect shade for my cool skin tone. Not only could she not see that it looked completely crazy, but she told me the yellow base would cancel out the pink in my skin. Not so. It looked ridiculous!

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Limited