Ace Your base: How to pick the perfect foundation (for your Wedding Day!)

I’m often asked what foundation I wear, and what I recommend. The truth is, when it comes to foundation, I’m polyamorous to say the least. I pick and choose my foundation depending on my the day/event/mood and of course based on current skin concerns.

The right foundation is the only way to ensure a smooth, glowing and even complexion, and is essential to making the rest of your makeup look natural.

Whether picking your wedding day foundation (if you’re doing your own make-up), or looking for a new product for everyday-wear, I’ve got all you need to know to ‘Ace your Base’.

How to pick the perfect foundation shade

Many women wear the wrong shade of foundation – that is, it’s too light or dark for their skin. The most important aspect of choosing a foundation is the colour/shade. Most department stores and make-up counters will have experts to guide you, but incase you find yourself navigating solo, follow these tips.

  1. In natural light, swatch the foundation from your cheek to your jaw and gently blend it into your skin.
  2. Do the same with another foundation that’s one shade lighter and another that’s a little darker. The shade that best blends in with your skin colour should be your pick (rather than changing the colour of your skin).
  3. Double-check the shade it against your forehead, since some women tend to be darker there.

Not all foundation lines will have the perfect match to your skin, so if you don’t feel like the colour is a perfect match, look for another range – there’s plenty to choose from.

The right foundation solution

Your skin type will indicate what the best type of foundation suits you. If your skin is oily, you’re best to use an oil-free liquid, or a powder/mineral foundation. Mineral makeup often works well on oily skin, because the dry particles absorb moisture.

If your skin is usually dry, choose a liquid or hydrating powder foundation. Liquids and sticks both have a moisturising consistency and usually offer more coverage. In general, liquid foundation is suitable for all skin types (an oil-free formula if you tend to get more ‘shiny’ than glowy).

If you have combination skin, you can apply a powder foundation strategically over your liquid foundation, which allows you to distribute more of the oil-absorbing makeup where you need it and less where you don’t.

How to choose the level of coverage right for you

Women choosing a foundation for their wedding day are often torn between wanting to look ‘natural’ while also wanting to look perfect. It’s a fine balance between having coverage that lasts all day (and night), looks good in photos all day, but doesn’t overwhelm. For this reason, many women hire a professional make-up artist to assist, but if this is out of budget or logistically unsuitable, you can definitely achieve a professional look with the right products.

My advice would be to let ‘you’ shine through, rather than wanting to look too ‘perfect’, so if you usually show your freckles, let them show through! With use of under-eye and targeted concealer, you can still look your best with a light coverage foundation.

Lightest coverage foundation

MAC Cosmetics’ Next To Nothing Face Colour has just launched, bringing a very different option for your base than other MAC foundations. A sheer balm face colour, it can be built up to fuller coverage, but with general application it is very light and natural (i.e. Next to Nothing). It gives more of a dimensional texture to the skin, rather than a lot of coverage, so you have more control over where you want your texture and coverage to be.

I tried Next to Nothing and found it perfect for my everyday-wear. best-wedding-foundation-bridesbest-wedding-foundation-brides

While I have dry skin and don’t usually need a powder, oily skin-types may wish to  add Next To Nothing Face Powder which has more oil control without dryng out the skin at all. Keri Blair, Global Senior Artist, M∙A∙C Cosmetics says “The finish is luminescent, balmy and dewy, with sheer coverage” – perfect for a very natural wedding day look. See also Next to Nothing review by Christchurch MUA Painted Lips.

A little more

For something with a little more coverage (rather, as much coverage as you like), Clinique’s new Blend it Yourself drops are effective – and playful. You can transform any moisturiser into a BB, CC, or fuller coverage foundation by adjusting the number of drops you mix in. One drop of pure pigment creates sheer coverage. Two or three, a fuller, more flawless coverage.

I love that you can tailor the coverage to suit you, and that these drops can be used with any moisturiser – you really can make it suit your needs. I added 2-3 drops and still found the coverage very light – this is a product you’d want to be very comfortable with before trying for a big occasion.


I’m a newbie to Lancome Foundation, this being the first time trying Teint Idole Ultra Wear. Lancome’s first 24 hour long wear foundation for medium-to-full coverage. It has a reasonably thick consistency but smoothed easily over my skin (post-primer), and left a natural-looking, velvety matte finish which I liked. In hindsight, I felt like perhaps I’d applied too much, and I don’t think the colour was quite as perfectly matched as it could have been – but I am a fan of the consistency and velvety finish. I’ll try it again – and if you’re looking for a medium to long-wearing full coverage foundation, it could be the one for you too.


While not specifically used for this article, I’ve also had years of experience wearing Clinique Superbalanced or Even Better, and am already addicted to Double Wear Light.

Full Coverage

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what my make-up artist used on my skin on my wedding day, but if I was doing my own bridal make-up, I’d probably use Estee Lauder Double Wear because I am so familiar with it, and know that it works for my skin. I’ve been a DW devotee for almost a decade, as and when I need a full-coverage foundation. A warning, though, this really is full coverage – armed with the matching concealer, it’ll see you right through from morning to the wee hours of the next day. A note from make up artist Stacey Banfield of Painted Lips, Double wear does have ‘flash-back’ especially in night lighting, so ensure to use a suitable primer. Stacey suggests Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer.


I’d also heard really good things about L’Oréal Infallible Matte Foundation, a steal at just $30. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the consistency – I prefer the liquid consistency of the others, and this was not the right colour for me, but with perseverence and a little added colour, I actually found this foundation pretty good. It’s more matte than I’m used to, which I like for Autumn/Winter beauty, and it certainly delivered on coverage. I felt quite ‘blanketed’ by it until I applied a little colour – which I didn’t feel the need to with other foundations (aside from Double-Wear. However, for a full coverage with a promise of 24 hours and at an amazing, I’d say it’s a foundation worth trying to see if it’s for you.

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Ace your Base

Whatever you do, don’t rush your decision – good make-up counters will give you a ten day sample, which is essential to see how it reacts with your skin. If you’re planning on using this foundation for your wedding, ensure to check how it reacts with flash photography too. When you’re ready to buy, book in to have your make-up done at the same time, redeem the cost of the service on product and pick up a few tips as you go. Win-win!