Which Foundation Formula Should You Be Using?

Cream, powder, liquid, tinted moisturizer, oil-free, firming -- take this quiz to learn (finally!) what face makeup is best for your skin type and issues like dry, oily and sensitive skin

In recent beauty news, we learned that the topsy-turvy economy isn't stopping people from buying foundation. It probably correlates with the fact that if we can't afford facials and expensive skin care products, then we at least have to have winning face makeup to cover up imperfections and even things out a bit.

But with the dizzying assortment of foundation formulas out there, it can be difficult to know what's best for you. Which is why we called on the expertise of makeup artists Fiona Stiles and Nick Barose to help you figure out what type of foundation formula you should use based on your unique skin type, skin problems, age, the level of coverage you need and more.

Scroll down to start the quiz.

And once you've determined which formula is best for you, you'll need to figure out what shade is perfect for your skin as well -- and though it's not what this quiz is about, our experts wanted to share some helpful shade selection makeup tips:

"Everyone should have at least two foundations (even three) so that they have a color for summer and a color for winter, and they can mix these colors to match their skin throughout the year," says Stiles. "Buying two colors that seem close will insure that you can mix the right color."

If you're shopping at the makeup counter:
Stiles says: "The skin on the inside of your wrist is paler than the back of your hand, so that's a good place to see what the real undertones of the foundation are. See if the edges of the swatch [swipe you put on your wrist] turn a different color than the center when it dries -- this is the color oxidizing, and it is the color it will turn on your face. Many foundations don't shift in color, but some do. Also, be patient when shopping for foundation and trust your instincts. You know when something doesn't look right. If you aren't sure, ask for a sample. The back of your hand has small lines and pores on it, like your face. If a foundation makes your hand look wrinkly, or settles into the lines on your hands, then it will do the same to your face."

Barose says: "Be sure to check [the foundation color] in daylight to see how accurate it is. Department store lighting tends to be way off and might look completely different when you see it in daylight."

If your beauty budget limits you to the drugstore:
Stiles says: "CVS will take back opened cosmetics with a receipt." So you can check with your local drugstores and see if they honor the same policy.

Your Results

The best formula for you is an oil-free liquid or cream-to-powder foundation

Why: "It's tricky to find foundation for acne-prone skin since you want your skin to breathe, but still need heavy coverage in certain areas," says Barose. So, since "acne-prone skin is usually oily, use oil-free formulas to prevent breakouts," says Stiles.

Products to try: For light/medium coverage try Clinique Stay-True Makeup Oil-Free Formula, $21 or Bobbi Brown Oil-Free Even Finish Foundation SPF 15, $42. To cover up blemishes, acne scars, etc. opt for an oil-free cream-to-powder foundation like Benefit Some Kind-A Gorgeous, $28 -- its oil-free, sheer texture can be built and layered for heavier coverage, says Barose. For best results, use it with a sponge and add heavier concealer on areas that need even more coverage.

Tip: "Really pay attention to your skin care program. Use toner with salicylic acid to keep pores clean, and a light, oil-free moisturizer. Or skip moisturizer all together," says Stiles. She also recommends using a concealer that has salicylic acid in it to "aid in clearing your skin while covering spots," she says.

products mentioned
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20

8.4

As low as $29.99

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Clinique Stay-True Makeup Oil-Free Formula

8.9

As low as $21.81

BUY ON AMAZON
Bobbi Brown Oil-Free Even Finish Foundation SPF 15

9.1

As low as $52.99

BUY ON AMAZON
Benefit Some Kind-A Gorgeous

5.6

As low as $2.95

BUY ON AMAZON
MAC Face and Body

8.9

As low as $34.00

BUY ON AMAZON
Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil

8.4

As low as $6.90

BUY ON AMAZON
MAC Select Cover-Up

8.5

As low as $15.00

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Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation

8.7

As low as $18.35

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Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation

10.0

As low as $76.99

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Estee Lauder Double Wear Light

8.6

As low as $14.00

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Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation

8.2

As low as $33.60

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Estee Lauder Individualist Natural Finish Makeup

7.6

As low as $46.99

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Clarins Extra-Firming Foundation

7.6

As low as $30.00

BUY ON AMAZON
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