It’s all about that base
I always get asked about which foundations I use, on myself and on photo shoots, we are so lucky now that we have so many to choose from, but it can be confusing when trying to decide on the right one for you. Then there is the task of applying it, do you use fingers, sponges or brushes – we all just want to look flawless, right?
Here is my guide to getting the perfect base It all starts with your skin, your foundation won’t sit beautifully if your skin isn’t prepped, it doesn’t matter what skin type you have; be that Dry, oily or
mature, exfoliating should be an integral part of your skin care regime.

I love Dermalogica’s Skin resurfacing pads, these little beauties are essential for me when I’m on shoots, and I never start a skin without using one. They come individually packed, so just tear open the sachet, slip on the little finger mitt and use circular motions to gently lift of any dead cells to instantly brighten the skin. They do contain alpha and beta hydroxy acids so just check before using with your doctor/dermatologist if you are on medication or have taking medicine in the past 6 months for skin conditions like acne (Antibioltics/ VitiminA/ Accutane)

Ok so now your skin has a fresh even texture, your ready for your moisturizer/and or primer. If you have dry skin use both, waiting 30 seconds in between applications. If your skin is very oily then you can use a primer directly onto your skin. But I do recommend you alternate this routine with a lightweight oil free moisturizer. Oily skin can still be dehydrated (lacking water, not oil) this will hydrate your skin in the right places to allow your foundation to sit beautifully, without being greasy.
Again wait a minute for your primer/moisturizer to absorb and settle before applying your foundation.

We tend to have the most amount of discoloration in the center of our face; redness around the nose, breakouts on the chin and forehead etc. So you want the highest concentration of product to be on these areas and then your foundation to blend out seamless – there is nothing worst than seeing
foundation in the hairline – yuck!

 Typically I like to use my hands to apply foundation with, be that on myself on a model or client, just like you would your moisturizer, and then I use a brush to gently buff in and perfect the skin. I’m loving the hourglass blush brush at the moment, it has a slightly domed head and it give a beautiful polished

 If you want to take it one step further, than you can also go in with a beauty blender. When I first came across the beauty blender I thought it was just a fancy looking expensive sponge –  which it kinda is but after a few goes, I was hooked. They have a suede finish and it doesn’t absorb product like a normal makeup sponge does – so wasteful. The beauty blender will lift of any fingerprints or brush marks and is fantastic under the eye – they also make mini ones now for the smaller areas – so cute!

Your foundation should be treated like a base coat, it’s designed to even out your skin tone and give you a better version of your own skin. Then use concealer sparingly to go in and cover any blemishes or pigmentation. Depending on the size of the blemish – use a brush accordingly, I like to use a small eyeliner brush like the MAC #209, it will give you a lot of control and deposit only the exact amount of product you need for this area, this also avoids a build up of product which will  in fact draw more
attention to the area that your trying to hide. Always conceal after foundation!

 I like to then go ahead and finish the rest of my makeup before powdering, giving the foundation time to settle, this also allows you to easily clean up any mistakes or ‘fall out’ from eye shadows etc.
SMA Tip – if you are doing a Smokey eye or using loose pigments then I would recommend completing your eye makeup first then doing your foundation. This saves you ruining your foundation and not having to clean up fallout!


Foundation textures for skin types

Choosing the right foundation for your skin type is also important, it also depends on the type of finish you want.

Sheer/Glowing skin

Opt for a tinted moisturizer or BB cream, these are great for all skin types, especially drier and more mature skin, you can use directly onto your skin or on top of your daily moisturizer (I like to use op top for added hydration & shine)


Great or normal, mature and drier skin types, these can have a high sheen, which personally I love, but you may wish to use powder down the t-zone. I love the Hourglass ‘Illusion’ Tinted Moisturizer – it’s a lot heavier than a tinted Moisturizer, actually more like a liquid foundation. Very reflective, not ideal for bridal as could create to much ‘bounce’. Hyaluronic Filling Spheres to help minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – so fancy!

Natural finish

Ok, so you just want you skin to look like…. Er Skin! I get it, Again I would chose a liquid foundation, it’s the most natural looking, no reflection particles, with a medium lightweight texture – try something like – Dior’s Star foundation it has a beautiful creamy constancy, its long lasting and is buildable. Great
for Normal skin types.

Opaque finish

A liquid foundation is best, this will give you a heavier coverage, you can also try using a stick  foundation  – Bobbi brown stick foundations are fantastic – apply with a flat foundation brush in downward motions towards the hairline and down the neck. (we all have tiny hairs on our
face, so if you don’t go in the direction of these downy hairs you can draw
attention to them with this heavier type of foundation. Great for – blemished
skin or those who want a fuller coverage. If you are oily, try an oil free
foundation like MAC’s studio fix liquid.

Matte finish

Cream to powder foundations are great for this, apply with a sponge (often provided – make sure you wash at least once a week to avoid bacteria buildup – shampoo is fine) Again Oil free foundations are best – these work best with oily skin.


A dewy skin is a modern skin, gone are the days of the 100% matte faces that we saw in the 90’s, I myself was partial to a heavy dusting of Max Factors pressed powder in Transpacncy  (was definitely not transparent! que my orange teenage face Lol)   Powder can be an essential part of the kit for most girls (and some boys) but using to much can make your face look flat, over made up and it can age you dramatically.
Opt for a powder that is colourless . If you use a powder that has colour or pigment in it, you run the risk of getting that over made up, orangey face – never a good look! (if only I could go back and tell my 16 year old self this) Also you can re-apply a clear powder throughout the day without it adjusting
your foundation colour. (also great for TV makeup)

Of course pigmented powders have there place – they are fantastic to use alone (without foundation) I love the MAC Mineralize powders for a quick on the go base – just don’t use them with a liquid foundation.
Use a smaller brush than you think – try using a small fluffy blending brush and just powder the forehead, nose and chin, leave the cheeks to glow naturally. I love MAC’s #224 brush for this.
Powders I love Shu Uemura’s Face Architect – in colourless (loose) MAC Prep & Prime powder   – (pressed & loose)
NARS – Light Reflecting  powder (pressed & loose) – this is also amazing to use under the eyes to set concealer – so fine and also light reflective – be careful not to over use if using for bridal or where flash
photography is being used.

Some more of my Favorites


MAC Studio Sculpt – $52 
Texture – Gel like, but goes on the skin like silk.Coverage – medium, but builable if you want more coverage.Finish – SatinSkin Types – All * Great for evening makeup, Brides and on Photo shoots.

MAC Face and Body – $60Texture  – very thin liquid Coverage – Sheer Finish – Dewy Skin types – All  *This looks amazing on, if you have great skin, it’s lightweight it feels like a second skin, great for photo shoots, or brides that want a very sheer base. Tip – squeeze a 5 cent coin amount into palms of hands, rub hands together and apply to face like moisturizer, the texture will change as it sets in place!


Dior Capture Totale SPF15 – $108Texture – Liquid, goes on really well, absorbs into skin with ease.Coverage – Medium Finish – Natural Satin Skin types – Mature, Dry skin  *Great for mature skins, contains moisturizers, skin looks brighter.

Georgio Amani Luminous Skin – $59
Texture – silky Liquid – glides on beautifully to the skin! Coverage – Light but buildable coverage Finish – Natural Skin type – All * This truly is a beautiful foundation, great for all skin types, perfect for brides.

Revlon Photo Ready Foundation
Texture – Liquid  – OIL FREE Coverage – light – medium Finish  – natural, light reflective .Skin type – Normal skins  great for oily/combination skins as oil free! *Excellent foundation, really reasonable price, great finish, blends well. A great 1st foundations, blends easily

Benefit – Some kinda Gorgeous – $29

Texture – cream to powder  (use a brush or puff to apply) glides on beautifully Coverage – medium Finish – Semi matteSkin Types – Normal skins. Excellent value for money, this is great for a quick application of touch up, come in a cute package with a mirror – would make an ideal first foundation. Downfall is it only comes in 3 shades!

Photography // Rhyees Wedes

Hair & Makeup // Nicola Johnson


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