Can't-live-without foundations for every skin type


Kathleen Lee-Joe

Natural-looking finish: Mix and match foundation to suit skin tone.

Natural-looking finish: Mix and match foundation to suit skin tone. Photo: Supplied

A good foundation looks just like your skin, only better. Here are seven tried-and-tested, can't-live-without formulas that promise a natural-looking finish, whatever your concern.

Acne-prone skin  

If you have so-called "problem" areas you need to fix, you should actually avoid acne-targeting, skin-clearing foundations. These usually contain salicylic acid and tend to dry out skin, adding another layer of dehydration and making foundation look flaky and caked-on. Take care of what's underneath by cleaning, exfoliating and moisturising regularly, and choose a lightweight, everyday foundation.

A good foundation looks like your skin, only better.

A good foundation looks like your skin, only better. Photo: Stocksy/Brian Powell Photography, LLC

Always a fan favourite, Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup blends easily, conceals redness and blemishes, nixes shine and creates a matte finish. Sure, everyone harks on about Luminous Silk, but Maestro Fusion with SPF 15 offers definite coverage yet feels as though you're wearing nothing. 



We swear by Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel. The lightweight, non-comedogenic formula is packed with antioxidants from fruits such as goji berries and pomegranates, to deliver skin-perfecting benefits while leaving a flawless semi-matte finish. The only thing they need to work on is the shade variety.

Tinted moisturiser

Think foundation's a bit heavy for everyday wear? Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser is barely-there, slap-on sheer. No wonder it's the go-to product for model Alexa Chung. One application leaves you with a natural, all-over glow, thanks to the luminous particles built into the formula. Use a primer first to ensure it lasts through the day. 

Shade variety 

Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover promises medium to full coverage and comes in 40 shades, which play to "warm" or "cool" undertones as well, so almost everyone can find a match. You can also mix and match to suit skin tone. (If you're between shades, err on the lighter side because of the full-coverage pigments.) The formula is oil-free and has light-diffusing properties, so it doesn't look too heavy when blended into your skin. You don't need a separate concealer with this one – it's buildable, so you can dab it on to spots to cover blemishes.  


Want to know how K-pop superstars get their elusive dewy glow? Lancome Miracle Cushion Foundation. The weightless formula provides the benefits of BB cream (lasting hydration, anti-ageing properties, SPF 23) with the semi-sheer, buildable coverage of foundation. Press the foundation's sponge into the liquid cushion and pat it around your face, making sure to blend into the edges. No creases, no cracks and definitely easy enough to do in the back seat of an Uber.

Matte finish

There's a fine line between luminous and greasy. Avoid the midday shiny T-zone with a matte-finish, long-wear foundation such as Estée Lauder Double Wear as it stays put through sweat, heat and humidity. When applying, concentrate on the forehead, nose, chin and any other areas prone to excessive oiliness. Skin prep is key for oil control, so prime first.

Sensitive skin

You may recognise BareMinerals Original SPF 15 Mineral Foundation from daytime TV infomercials. Applied using a kabuki brush, this loose powder goes on super light and even. The fact that it's non-drying, non-comedogenic and talc-, oil-, bismuth-, paraben- and fragrance-free makes it a solid option if you suffer from eczema or rosacea. Another one worth mentioning is Diorskin Airflash Foundation Spray. As some people react poorly to brushes and sponges, sensitive skin types may prefer this spray-and-go formula.

Older skin

Growing older, foundation isn't for 'painting over the cracks', but to even out skin tone and provide subtle coverage to pigmentation and blotchiness caused by sun damage. Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation will do so while bringing brightness back to dull skin. Smooth and thin, it softens wrinkles without caking or getting caught in the lines. A light-reflective concealer pen is also great for nixing those pesky under-eye shadows.