Spy Guide: All the Different Kinds of Foundation, Explained

Different beauty foundations
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* Foundation options for all skin types
* Light, medium and full coverage
* Perfect skin is within reach

Foundations these days are nothing to be scared of — gone are the days of thick, goopy liquids, cake face and minimal color options. Today’s foundations are so good there is really no reason you shouldn’t be wearing one. The goal is to choose the formula(s) that are right for your skin type, lifestyle and preferred coverage.

Below we have compiled a list of all the different foundation types available to you, from the sheerest of coverages to the heaviest and everything in between. Your job is to ultimately find one (or a few) that you like, test them out and then gradually watch your skin transform.

1. Tinted Moisturizers/BB Creams

Tinted moisturizers and BB creams provide the lightest and sheerest coverage of the bunch. BB creams stand for either blemish balm or beauty balm and are typically a multipurpose product that combines makeup and skin care benefits with moisturization and sun protection. While a tinted moisturizer is simply a moisturizer with some light tinting and sometimes SPF, BB creams tend to offer multiple benefits. BB creams and tinted moisturizers are both great options for your lighter makeup days, when you’re lying pool or beachside or when you’re simply short on time.

BB Cream Maybelline Image Courtesy Amazon


2. CC Creams

CC creams are another option when it comes to those days when lighter coverage is desired. Similar to a BB cream in that they tend to be multi-purpose in use, the CC cream stands for Color Correcting cream and usually provides a slightly heavier coverage to help disguise imperfections, redness and dark spots. Because CC creams offer more coverage than BB creams, they tend to have thicker formulas which might need a little more time to blend out.

CC Cream OLAY Image Courtesy Amazon


3. Stick Foundation

Stick foundations are portable, multi-purpose and make application quick and easy. They come in varying coverages from medium to heavy and are easily buildable depending on your desired level of coverage. Their buildability comes from their creamy formulations, which make application easy and less likely to cake. Perfect for travel as they are spill-free, stick foundations can be used to cover, conceal,  contour or highlight at your leisure.

Stick Foundation Flesh Image Courtesy Ulta


4. Cushion Foundation

Another Korean beauty import, cushion foundations are liquid foundations housed in a compact that tend to have light to medium coverage and are known for their hydrating properties and luminous finish. Cushion foundations are unique not only because they are housed in a compact but also because the liquid is kept in a sponge-like cushion, making application seamless and easy. Another buildable option depending on your coverage preferences, these foundations provide slightly more coverage than a BB or CC cream and are meant to make your skin look great in a small amount of time.

Cushion Foundation Maybelline Image Courtesy Ulta


5. Powder Foundation

Powder foundations are a great option for oilier and sweat-prone skin types as their powder formulations allow them to absorb excess oils throughout the day. Powder foundations tend to have buildable and long-lasting formulas and provide sheer to heavy coverage options. They’re also travel-friendly and make mid-day touchups a cinch. They can be used alone or on top of your liquid foundations to set or increase coverage.  Their formulations can also be infused with SPF and a slew of other savvy ingredients all meant to give you the best in skin care benefits.

Perfecting Powder it Cosmetics Image Courtesy Sephora


6. Mineral Foundation

Mineral foundations are considered a more natural option when it comes to coverage and are able to provide an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen. Their finishes can vary, but for the most part, they are very natural-looking while providing a subtle luminosity that doesn’t come with your average powder formula. Mineral foundations are usually free of your basic comedogenic ingredients, feel weightless and won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.

Mineral Foundation bareMinerals Image Courtesy Sephora


7. Full Coverage Foundation

As the name implies, full coverage foundations provide the highest amount of coverage of all other options. These foundations tend to be packed with pigment and can conceal and cover all imperfections while leaving a natural matte finish. For days or nights when extra, long-lasting coverage is called for, a full coverage foundation will leave your skin looking flawless and seamless with just one coat.

Conceal + Perfect Foundation Milani Image Courtesy Amazon


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