Types of Makeup Foundation: How to Choose Foundation for Indian Skin

  When there are so many options available in the market, it’s hard to choose right from the many types of makeup foundation, not only according to your ...

5 min read


how to choose foundation type

When there are so many options available in the market, it’s hard to choose right from the many types of makeup foundation, not only according to your skin, but also according to the occasion, time of day, and other factors.

In this post you will learn about:

  • How do you apply liquid foundation
  • Is liquid or powder foundation better?
  • What is a stick foundation?
  • What skin type is mousse foundation for?
  • Which foundation lasts the longest?
  • What is a serum foundation?


Types of Makeup Foundation

Liquid Foundation

liquid foundation type


Our introduction to foundations is often in its liquid form. Liquid foundations come in oil-based as well as water-based formulas, and cater to all skin types. Traditionally though, liquid foundations have always been the choice foundation for those with dry skin. Since it is easy to apply, it is the perfect choice for makeup beginners. You can apply liquid foundation with sponges, brushes, and, with a little practice, even your fingers. In terms of coverage, liquid foundation is very versatile, and is available in light (to even out the skin tone), medium (to hide light blemishes), and heavy coverage (to cover enlarged pores and dark marks).

Seems like liquid foundations are the answer to everything, right? Not really. Liquid foundations that give high coverage tend to clog the pores, and cause whiteheads and blackheads. When worn for long hours, sweat and oil can make liquid foundation appear patchy.

Powder Foundation

Powder foundation type

If you have oily skin, powder foundations are a good addition to your makeup kit. Because powder foundations are talc-based, it soaks up the excess oil secreted by your skin. However, in case you have very oily skin, you will notice your powder foundation turning clumpy after a bit. Dry skin types should avoid using this type of foundation since the powder isn’t able to fill in the lines and wrinkles, which are more visible on dry skin, and tends to ‘çake.’ You would be familiar with the pressed-powder compacts. There are also loose powder foundation available in the market. Powder foundations are best applied with a brush or sponge (never with your fingers!).

Powder foundations come in light(sheer) to medium coverage. Trying to use powder as a full coverage foundation by applying multiple layers can give your face a heavily caked look. Powder foundations also tend to change color after reacting with sweat and oils. Given the light coverage, it doesn’t help cover fine lines and blemishes.


Don’t know how to choose a foundation for your skin complexion? Our guide to understanding SKIN UNDERTONES will get you started.


Cream Foundation

Cream foundation type

If you are a dry skin type, and have an all-day event coming up, then a cream foundation would be your best bet. An HD cream foundation lasts upto 10 hours without creasing or caking, keeping your skin hydrated the whole time. The coverage of a cream foundation is medium, i.e. it can hide light blemishes and very fine lines.

The problem with cream foundations is that they tend to crease after a while, in case your skin is extremely dry. To avoid this apply a face primer or a moisturiser before applying a cream foundation.

Mousse Foundation

Mousse foundation type

Mousse foundations are gaining popularity due to their lightness. Also called a whipped foundation, the formula contains micro bubbles which make a light foundation to wear. It comes in medium to full  coverage variants. What makes it a great pick over a cream foundation is that mousse foundations do not settle into the ridges and accentuate lines and wrinkles. But, they also don’t last as long as a cream foundation does. You can wear a mousse foundation for upto 3 hours before it starts wearing off. This makes it a good option for an evening out with friends, but not a wedding.

Mousse foundations can be applied with either a beauty blender, or a brush.


Serum Foundation

Serum foundation type

One of the less familiar foundation types to hit the market, serum foundation is perfect for women with oily skin. Serums have the lightness of a tinted moisturiser and the coverage of a foundation. The silicone-based formula makes it watery and thin, which makes it easy to spread. However, serum foundations set soon which is why you have to apply them quickly. You can use a flat foundation brush to apply over large areas at once, and evenly.

The problem with serum foundations though is that they start wearing after 2-3 hours.


Table: Types of Makeup Foundation


Type of Foundation Suitable Skin Type Coverage Finish Wear Duration
Liquid foundation Dry







3 – 4 hours
Powder foundation Oily Light




2 – 3 hours
Cream foundation Dry Medium


Matte 4 – 5 hours
Mousse foundation All skin types Medium


Matte 2 – 3 hours
Serum foundation Oily Light


Semi-Matte 2 – 3 hours


Last Words on Types of Makeup Foundation

Even after you’ve done ample research on makeup foundation types, there are bound to be lingering questions. We’ve tried answering some of those.


Can you use a CC cream instead of a foundation?

A CC, or color corrector cream, is a good option for your daily makeup routine. A CC cream will even out your skin complexion, and keep your skin moisturised the whole day. However, it won’t be able to cover pores and blemishes since the coverage is extremely light.


What are the different foundation finishes?

Foundations come in mainly 3 finishes –  matte, dewey, and luminescent. While a matte finish reflects no light and makes the face look mature, a dewy finish reflects light and has an almost moist appearance. A dewy finish also gives a youthful appearance.  A luminescent finish gives subdued


What is a stick foundation?

Stick foundations are essentially cream-based foundations pressed into a stick format. They usually have a matte finish.  While they can be applied directly from the stick, professionals recommend using either a brush or a sponge.


What is the best foundation for oily skin?

Oily skin types should opt for liquid foundation, serum foundation, or powder foundation. On the basis of coverage, those with oily but flawless skin can apply a powder or serum foundation since it gives a sheer coverage, while oily skin that has enlarged pores or blemishes should go for heavy/ high coverage liquid foundation.


What is the best foundation for dry skin?

Dry skin types should opt for cream foundation or mousse foundation. Both makeup foundation types hydrate the skin,  and fill in the fine lines and wrinkles, that dry skin is prone to.


After having read all that, many might discover that the type of foundation they have been using all this time, may not be the right one after all. But there’s no need to throw away that expensive foundation just because it’s not the right type or color. You can use a wrong foundation as a tinted moisturiser by adding a little of it to your regular cream.

In case you need some professional help, you can book Urban Company’s at-home Makeup and Hairstyling services.

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