I am asked about foundations almost daily. Because I test out a ton of foundations over on my YouTube Channel, I’ve gotten pretty good at shopping for new foundations and helping people find their perfect formula. Today’s blog post is to help you decided on what foundation to buy, by asking yourself five simple questions before buying foundations. Think of it as the structure to how to buy foundations.

how to buy foundations foundation

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Foundations?

1. What’s your skin type?

Dry – Avoid matte finishes, try moisturizing foundations instead.

Oily – Avoid luminous, radiant, and glittery foundations. Stick to mattifying and natural finishes

Combination – Try a natural finish foundation or moisturizing foundation. Depending on your trouble areas, you can really play around here.

2. Formula? What kind of coverage are you looking for?

Light, medium, full, or cake it on? This will help narrow down the formula.

Here is also where you decide your type of foundation. There are liquid, cream, stick, powder, and cushions.

3. What’s your perfect shade?

Are you cool, warm, or neutral? I like to start with neutral and go from there. While I have yellow undertones, I prefer to neutralize it versus adding a yellow foundation to accentuate the yellow in my complexion.

Ask for samples of the formula and shade before purchasing. My recommendation is to ask for 3 samples, the shade you think you are, the shade darker, and the shade lighter. Try it out at home in natural light before buying.

4. SPF or No SPF?

Do you need SPF in your foundation? My recommendation is no. Most foundations do not have enough SPF in the formula to offer the kind of protection you should be wearing daily. There are exceptions when it comes to BB, CC creams and cushion compacts, but for the most part, I say focus on formula and avoid SPF. Because SPF can cause flashback in different lighting situations, especially flash photography, buying a foundation without SPF or very minimal SPF offers more options for use. Besides, I say buy a stand alone SPF 30 + to add into your skincare routine.

5. How long do you need the foundation to last? Under what kind of circumstances?

Ask for a 3-5 day sample. Try the foundation at home with your own tools and makeup. How does it work in your lifestyle? Do you sweat a lot? How does it hold up under stress? Test it under different lighting as well. How do you look at work? Do you have oily skin? Oily skin can cause foundations to oxidize.

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Tips for How To Buy Foundations

  • Always shop for foundation with bare skin whenever possible. Visit the counters and stores with just your daily skincare routine, maybe your favorite primer.
  • No samples? Apply to jawline, cheeks, and neck. Walk outside, take a selfie, ask a friend. I’ve even asked strangers.
  • Shopping online? Did you know Beautylish will send you samples? Contact them.
  • Don’t buy into the hype, we have all been there. At the end of the day, you won’t love a trend if you don’t feel amazing. So don’t buy it because everyone else is.
  • Remember you are beautiful, foundation is just there to enhance your beauty and make you feel better about how you look. It’s a tool.

If you’d like more on how to buy foundations, check out my YouTube video here. Hope these tips help you decide on which foundation to buy the next time you’re shopping.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive content and giveaways each month! May’s newsletter will be out soon.



Here are a few foundation reviews on the blog:

Dior Diorskin Nude Air Serum Foundation

By Terry Terribly Densities Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow Foundation

Givenchy Teint Couture Foundation

YouTube Foundation Reviews

Shop Some of My Favorites

KOH GEN DO Maifanshi Moisture  Foundation$62 (I’m in the shade 123)

KOH GEN DO Maifanshi Aqua Foundation $62 (I’m in the shade 123)

IT COSMETICS YSBB CC + SPF 50 $38 (I’m in medium)

GLOSSIER Perfecting Skin Tint $26 (I’m in medium)



  1. Joselyn T
    May 8, 2017 / 11:15 am

    Love this information! This will be very helpful as I shop for a new foundation!!

    • May 23, 2017 / 11:58 am

      So happy to hear! Thanks for reading.

  2. Casandr
    May 8, 2017 / 5:13 am

    I love this letter ‼️Great information

  3. May 7, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    These are amazing tips! I’ve only been wearing foundation for a few years and it was so difficult at first trying to figure out how to pick a foundation! I’m now happily wearing Armani Luminous Silk and Nars Sheer Glow I and feel more confident about picking and trying out foundations at the store 🙂

    this is yna | a petites fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blog

  4. May 6, 2017 / 6:45 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I still struggle to find the right foundation for my skin and so these tips will help!

    xo Jamie

  5. May 4, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    This is such a great guide for buying foundations and so informative as well. I will definitely use this guide to find my perfect match next time. xo

    Ann-Marie |

    • May 6, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by Ann-Marie 🙂

    • May 6, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Aw thanks for stopping by Jessi!

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