Foundation 101: Cream, Liquid, or Powder? What Your Skin Needs During Chemotherapy

+ CV Skinlabs Team

Okay, whoever said choice was a good thing probably wasn’t a woman trying to find the right foundation. Years ago we just grabbed a bottle of beige cream and called it good, but now we have so many options to choose from, including liquids, powders, sticks, pressed powders, and of course the new mineral powders. How are we ever to pick the right one?

We’ve collected a bit of information here to help narrow it down for you. As a basic rule: oily skin types should go for more powder and matte formulas, whereas normal to dry can use more oil-based options. If you’re going through chemotherapy, you most likely have dry and dehydrated skin which will work best with liquids. Here are the foundations, and when it’s best to use each one.

Liquid: The most popular option, liquids have been around for a long time and continue to be favorites because they’re so flexible and natural-looking. Oil-based formulas are best for dry to normal skin, and water-based formulas are better for those with oily skin. Liquids also work well in color combinations, if you’re into making your own shades by mixing two or more colors. Be careful of the long-wearing, smudgeproof versions. Though they may stay on longer, they typically have waxy and oily ingredients that can cause skin irritation or breakouts. (In humid conditions, though, they can be lifesavers.) Oil-free options or matte finish brands are best for those with oily or acne-prone skin. Ultra-mattes can also be good for oily types, but tend to leave the skin dry and taut.

Tinted Moisturizer: These are great for ladies who don’t want a lot of coverage but need something to even out skin tone and relieve dry skin. It also cuts down on the application process, combining two steps (moisturizer and foundation) in one. Tinted moisturizers usually come with effective sunscreens, and are great for normal-to-dry skin types. If you’re going through cancer treatment, this is a great option for casual days. If you have acne-prone skin, however, these may not be for you. (Try Juice Beauty Organic Mineral Light Moisturizer.)

Mousse or Whipped: These simply have a little air whipped into them. The process makes the foundation lighter and smoother, so it goes on your skin a little easier. This can be a good option for mature skin as it’s less likely to settle into fine lines and wrinkles.

Cream-to-Powder: These go on as a liquid or crème, but then dry to a powder finish. If you like the quick application and no-powder mess, this option is for you. Cream-to-powders also offer a bit more coverage than liquids or mousses. However, some can create a thicker, made-up look, and the cream ingredients can make oily skin types look more oily. This option is best for normal to dry skin types.

Cream: Cream foundation is a good choice for those with dry or mature skin. It provides medium to heavy coverage, and helps skin look soft and smooth.

Sticks: These foundations come in solid form and have more of a drying effect, which may make them best for those with oily skin. They are also good for covering scars and flaws, and for creating more coverage. These are often used in photography sessions, but for everyday use, you may find them too heavy and thick-feeling.

Pressed Powder: These come in a compact and act much like any pressed powder, with a little extra coverage ability. They feel light on the skin and are great for women with normal to oily or combination skin. If you have flaky or mature skin, don’t chose pressed powder.

Powder: Similar to pressed powder, loose-powder foundations help control shine. However, they can be too drying. All but the most oily skin types may want to use these for touch-ups only. They also work well when you’re in a hurry, and can be great options for young girls just starting out on makeup as they’re light and easy to apply.

Minerals: Perfect for people with sensitive skin, minerals are the latest to hit the market. The foundation is made mostly of inert minerals, and is brushed on with a large foundation brush. Dry skin types, however, may want to steer clear, as the powder can accentuate fine lines. (To try: Jane Iredale.)

How do you choose the best foundation for you? Let us know.

Photo courtesy of Anita_Bonita1 via

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